Sometimes friends become more than friends. Occasionally, bonds are formed which become more important than the bonds with your partner. Then you may be having an emotional affair. Emotional affairs compete with your existing relationships and can cause serious harm.
Below are some behaviors and thoughts, which my clients have told me, which they had while engaging in an emotional affair. It is not an exhaustive list. On the other hand, just because you or your partner might be engaging in some of them, does not mean that an emotional affair exists. Rather it is important to look for a pattern of thinking and behaving.
1) “We’re just friends.”
If you have caught yourself thinking or saying this, you may already be in trouble. You can use anything to rationalize a relationship. “But we’re just friends” are words sometimes said to rationalize something you know is wrong.
2) Thinking and daydreaming about the person more and more often.
Do you think and day dream about your regular friends in this way?
3) Looking forward to the next time you can see and/or talk to the person.
Do you feel excitement and anticipation, as you get ready to see this person?
4) Wanting to tell them first when something happens in your day.
It could be that this person has become your primary emotional support.
5) Sharing intimate problems.
Are you sharing problems in your marriage or relationship with this other person? This can be dangerous if you are not also sharing these problems with your partner.
6) You believe that this person understands you much more than your spouse.
This belief can draw you away from your partner and toward the other person.
7) Keeping secrets and covering up.
Secrets tend to bond two people together against a third person.
8) Giving gifts you would not normally give to a friend.
Things to wear, jewelry, and other intimate gifts send a message: we are very close and our bond is special
9) Spending more and more time away from your spouse.
It could be that you are physically spending less time together or having less sex. Maybe are staying up later and later, while your partner goes to bed. Perhaps, you are spending a lot more time on the computer. Your growing distance from your spouse is reflected in a desire to be far away.
10) You feel distant from your spouse.
This is pretty self-explanatory.
Emotional affairs, for some, can be as damaging as physical affairs. If you or your spouse are having one, it is a sign that action needs to be taken to shore up the relationship. Don’t be afraid to confront the problem. Don’t be afraid to call on our therapists and counselors to help repair the damage.
Copyright by Joseph Dragun