One hot topic that seems to concern many these days is what constitutes and emotional affair. Emotional affairs are confusing for many couples. Because there are no concrete sexual betrayals, they can be easy to hide under the rug or justify. The partner involved in the “affair” will often get angry when accused and the tension can aggravate the stress and resentment building within the marriage. Emotional affairs can be defined by the following:
When one partner begins to develop emotional intimacy with someone outside the relationship that takes precedence over his or her spouse/partner. In an emotional affair, the person cheating is deeply connected to the new friend and often this is the first person that they will run to with all the issues taking place in their life. They will reveal personal details and share things that might upset their spouse. There is cause for alarm with emotional affairs because over half of emotional affairs do turn into sexual affairs.
Emotional affairs are a process. They are often very subtle and seemingly innocent in the beginning.
1) You may notice that you are developing a close friendship with a coworker or peer. As the friendship builds, one of the first signs of trouble is feeling like the new friend is the first person you want to share the joys, sorrows, and intimate details of your life with. This person begins to fill in the void that is missing between your partner and yourself.
2) The next phase is when the new partner begins to become your primary emotional support. Your alliances shift and there are definitely feelings that begin to develop.
3) Finally, sexual attraction develops. Even if there is not a strong physical attraction, the emotional intimacy you have developed leads you to begin to imagine your new friend sexually and wonder about your chemistry.
At this point, you are really in the danger zone. Since such a high number of marital affairs begin as an emotional affair, it’s really important to stay conscious and put the brakes on before further betrayal takes place. That is why it is important to take a step back and explore what is lacking in your primary relationship before the physical cheating begins. Once it happens, it can never be undone and if your relationship survives, you may spend many agonizing years working through the pain and heart- ache. Many people who have experienced infidelity in their marriage or long- term relationship can attest to the pain being as great or greater than losing a parent or loved one. If you feel that you or your partner are involved in an emotional affair, it may be helpful to seek therapy and get to the bottom of the issues that have made you seek such a deep level of intimacy outside your relationship.