An emotional affair is perhaps one of the most devastating types of affairs, as it involves feelings and wants and desires – which can sometimes be more damaging than a purely sexual encounter where there are no feelings involved. The trouble with emotional affairs is that the spouse involved in the affair can feel like they are doing nothing wrong – after all, there is no physical contact involved, and it may never have entered their mind to make the jump from “just friends” to “lovers”. But the spouse’s partner can feel just as betrayed, hurt and cheated in the wake of an emotional affair as they would in the wake of a sexual affair.
As with any affair, an emotional affair carries its own warning signs. If you recognise your behaviour in the list mentioned below, it could indicate that you are engaged in an emotional affair.
You Say Things to Your Friend That You Wouldn’t if Your Spouse Were There
This is probably the biggest indicator that you are involved in an emotional affair. If you repeatedly hold conversations with your friend that would not be appropriate in front of your partner, or if you are flirty with the friend, but you wouldn’t be willing to act in the same way if you were in front of your partner, it could mean that there is more going on between you and your friend than you might be willing to admit.
You Become Your “Best You” Around Your Friend
If you always make sure that you look your very best to see your friend, it could mean that you are more invested in that friendship than you should be. Being your “best you” doesn’t always mean the most attractive you, either – if you go out of your way to show your friend how sympathetic, funny, wise, kind or charming you are, it could again indicate that you are involved in an emotional affair.
You Anticipate Spending Time with Your Friend
If you become excited at the thought of spending time with your friend – or if you long to see them, it could mean that you are involved in an emotional affair. Equally, if you find yourself wanting to tell your friend small details about your day – such as a compliment your boss gave about your work, or to tell them about a brilliant new book you think they should read, and you neglect to share that information with your spouse in the same way, it could mean that you are involved in an emotional affair with that friend.
You Share Your Marital Problems with Your Friend
An emotional affair can cause an individual to move away from their spouse in terms of both physical and emotional intimacy. It can cause the individual involved in the affair to believe that their marriage isn’t up to scratch – and they then start to talk about those marital problems with their friend. They may talk about how bad their marriage is and how unhappy it is making them.
Their friend may also start to talk about their own relationship difficulties. If you find yourself spending more and more time talking about your marital problems with your friend, rather than trying to work on those marital problems with your spouse, it could mean that you are involved in an emotional affair.
You Keep the Time Spent with Your Friend a Secret
You might rationalise spending time with your friend as just spending time with another friend. Because of this, you might feel that you don’t actually need to tell your spouse the details about the time spent with your friend – you might write it off as an entirely platonic friendship that you don’t need to share the details of. But if your spouse asks you questions about where you are going or what you are doing and you say “just seeing a friend” – without specifying the sex or any other details, it could mean that there is more to you and your friend’s relationship than you might be willing to admit.
You Make Sacrifices to Speak to Your Friend
If you’re involved in an emotional affair, you could find yourself sacrificing other things in your life – such as time spent with your partner, time spent with your family, having drinks with your friends, in order to spend time with your friend. You might stay up and speak to your friend online when your spouse has gone to sleep, or you might turn down a lunch with your friends in favour of meeting your other friend for a drink. If you find yourself wanting to spend more and more time with your friend, and sacrificing other things in your life in order to do so, it could mean that you’re involved in an emotional affair.
If You Suspect Your Spouse is Having an Emotional Affair
Your spouse could be involved in an emotional affair if they suddenly become much friendlier with someone of the opposite sex. They might not share any information about their friend, or they may seem unwilling for the two of you to meet. They could also seem a little bit distant and unresponsive, both emotionally and physically.
Your spouse may not have mentioned a new friend, but if they spend more and more time emailing or texting and are reluctant to tell you who they are speaking to you, consistently have to go on long lunches or work late at the office when they have never had to do so in the past and are picky, aggressive, cold or distant and reluctant to engage in conversations with you, it could mean that they are involved in an emotional or even a physical affair.
Although an emotional affair can be devastating, you can recover from it. An emotional affair can be a symptom of a bigger problem within a relationship, and if one occurs, it can be the push that both individuals within the marriage need to put more time, energy and effort into their relationship.