Friendships are a necessity of life. We need them to maintain a physical, mental and emotional stability as well as to help our marriages be successful. Friendships between the opposite genders can shift into an emotional affair which is damaging to a marriage. Emotional affairs affect a marriage because the person starts having their emotional needs met by someone outside the marriage instead of their spouse.
Crossing the line
How do you know when you have crossed the line between friendship which is healthy for a marriage and an emotional affair which can damage a marriage?
First thing to check is if the friend is pro-marriage. A healthy friendship helps you become stronger in all aspects of your life which includes your marriage. Ask yourself is the friend supportive of your marriage? If they are avoiding conversations about your spouse or making derogatory comments about marriage this is a sign that they are not respecting your marriage.
Think about the friend. Did a smile just cross your face? Do you think about when you will see them again? Often there is an emotional high experienced when someone thinks about that person. They arrange their day so there is time in it to see them. They will pick their outfits based on if they will be with them. Basically if someone is in an emotional affair, they start to spend a lot of emotional energy on the person. It becomes hard to wait to see them because they need to share the joys and sorrows of everyday living with them as well as their hopes and dreams.
When you are in an emotional affair, your marriage suffers because you start turning your emotions and energy to the other person. This leaves an empty void at home of disconnection and loss.
There is hope
If you have identified that you are participating in an emotional affair it is time to stop it. Start filling those times that you spend with your friend by turning that emotional energy towards your spouse. Think about ways you can surprise them or take the time to listen and share your sorrows and joys with them. Sometimes emotional affairs have started because you already feel a disconnect at home so this sounds hard.
You might need some assistance to help you. Help is available to you so contact a marriage therapist in your area. You are worth having a happy, successful marriage.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.