The Psychotherapist and Author, David Moultrup defined emotional affair “as a relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse that affects the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage. The role of the affair is to create emotional distance in the marriage”.
To put it simply, an emotional affair occurs when you have a friend you have feelings for outside of your marriage, it’s the grey area between platonic friendship and a sexual relationship. A lot of you might not know this, if you are currently in this situation, you are definitely cheating on your spouse. Although it might not be sexually, but you are cheating emotionally and to some, it’s worse because you end up falling in love for someone else outside your marriage.
How does an Emotional Affair start?
There are many different ways an emotional affair can start, it could be a rekindled friendship with an old friend, and it could be with someone new, from the office or online through social media apps or someone you run into frequently at a coffee shop. It simply begins when you take interest in someone and have entered a somewhat type of friendship with that person, a friendship with a lot of chemistry and flirtations and it gets to a point, they become the only person you want to talk to about everything, even though you don’t sleep with another, there’s a lot of sexual tension between you two.
18 signs that you are in an Emotional Affair
- You are always texting with them or on a call with them
- Your spouse doesn’t know about them and always avoid their text when you are with your spouse
- You enjoy flirting with them or at least playing the flirt game
- You have started to put more effort into your appearance; what you wear, how you smell etc.
- That person is all you think about, sometimes you get caught smiling at yourself at the thought of that person
- You are always seeking for that person’s attention
- You have started to compare your spouse to that person and finding faults with your spouse
- You don’t make efforts to spend with your spouse because you spend most of your time with that person
- You think the other person understands you more than your spouse
- You tell that person things you haven’t and don’t share with your spouse
- You are always anticipating your next meeting with that person
- You prefer talking or hanging out with that person than having sex with your spouse and when you do, you think of them while sleeping with your spouse
- You have taken an interest in their interests. For example, you have started listening to his or her type of music or playing their favorite game or eating their favorite food and you have even unconsciously involved your family in it
- When you wake up in the morning, that person is whom you want to speak to first, or whenever something exciting, him/her is the first person you speak to about it
- You are always chirpy and excited whenever you are with that person, but when you are with your spouse, it’s as if you have been drained of all excitement and energy
- You are always laughing with that person more than your spouse
- You are always distracted whenever that person is around or even mentioned
- Every little thing around you somehow reminds you of that person
The Effect of an Emotional Affair on your Marriage
Emotional affairs are worse than a sexual affair because it’s a somewhat defense mechanism to convince yourself that you are not cheating and therefore you don’t feel guilty towards your partner. You convince yourself you are not cheating and make mental excuses like “we are not sleeping together” “we are just friends” “there’s nothing to feel guilty of, can’t I have friends?” but the truth is, you are! Cheating!
Sure you don’t sleep with that person but you sleep and wake up to the thoughts of that person, you say you are not guilty of anything yet you don’t tell your spouse of this newly formed friendship and if I may ask, why is that? Well, just so you know, it’s called guilt and that why you find faults in everything your partner does, you feel dirty so you’re trying to drag them into it subconsciously, you might even go as far and blame your emotional distance and newfound comfort in someone else as their fault.
When starting an emotional affair with someone, it comes off as innocent but it’s not, it ruins marriage because all the time spent with that person takes away from your relationship with spouse, and the closer you get to that person, the more distant you become with your spouse, emotionally and if possible to the rest of your family.
What you don’t realize is that an emotional affair is more deadly because at the end every affair ends up sexual but an emotional one takes a deep connection to get there which is same as falling in love and making love, and the moment you fall for someone else that you have developed an emotional intimacy with, you fall out of love with your spouse, at least for short moment and that breaks marriage and even if the two of you were to get past it eventually, the trust is already broken.
How to stop a Budding Emotional Affair
If you truly love your spouse and don’t wish to break your family and you were just seeking some comfort from somewhere else because you feel you don’t get it from home, then there are basically two solutions to this.
First, tell your spouse about the other person and so-called friendship, include your spouse in the friendship, invite that person over to dinner or you simply minimize contact with the person. Also there is no way that person would be completely comfortable hanging with you and your spouse, so either way, contact will definitely be minimized. And secondly, tell your spouse how you feel and do everything you wanted to do with that person with your spouse, rekindle your romance and friendship with your spouse. But the most important thing is to accept that you are in an emotional affair because when there’s a problem will a solution be required.