“But we never did anything… nothing physical happened between us…” Words to this effect are often the response of those confronted about their inappropriate emotional involvement or emotional affairs.
When it comes to emotional affairs of the heart with someone other than your spouse, you are sailing on very dangerous waters indeed. Consider the following pointers regarding the topic of emotional cheating and getting over emotional cheating.
How emotional affairs happen?
When you spend a large percentage of your day, every day, working in close proximity to someone else, and only see your spouse for a few hours at the end of a long tiring day, it is understandable how emotional affairs can start.
This is especially true when unresolved and ongoing tensions exist between you and your spouse.
Another easy option these days is the internet where numerous contacts are available and you may find an emotional affair developing in cyberspace before you even realize it.
Danger signs of emotional infidelity in marriage
When you find yourself sharing your heart with someone other than your spouse, spending a lot of time talking together, even sharing about your struggles with your spouse, you should see a big red flag waving in the wind.
Soon you may find yourself looking for every excuse to be with this other person, emotionally cheating your spouse, making up elaborate schemes to spend time together and lying to your spouse about where you really are.
Stages of emotional affairs
Emotional affairs are intimate, volatile and emotionally provocative in nature.
To deal with an emotional affair and the devastating repercussions it entails, it would be helpful to understand the occurrence of how their emotional affair started.
When a spouse feels inadequate and unappreciated in a marriage, they may seek an emotional affair to feel heard, validated and appreciated. An emotional affair fills the void and replaces the emotional intimacy that the cheating spouse once shared with the partner in marriage.
When the partner is unavailable most part of the time, owing to housekeeping responsibilities or demands of the workplace, the vulnerable partner in marriage seeks companionship and sets out for an emotional affair.
When a partner feels rejected by their spouse in bed, they seek a company of someone who will make them feel desirable and sexy by sharing flirtatious texts, coy smiles, interactions with double innuendos, and fleeting touches. Such individuals want more attention from the emotional affair to feel attractive and enjoy admiration.
The cheating partner may now start feeling guilty and look at ways to end an emotional affair. This can either lead to the couple in an emotional affair calling it quits amicably due to the tension being too high to contain or the unwilling partner to feel outraged. The jilted partner may resort to manipulations to continue the affair or even threat to disclose the affair to the unsuspecting spouse.
What lies ahead?
As with every relationship, an emotional affair is not static; it runs a natural course. If left unchecked, the probability of emotional adultery turning intimate is very high. Don’t think you can stay “just friends” forever. The answer to the question, “do emotional affairs turn into love?”, lies in an affirmative.
Once you have seen the danger signs you will need to make a decision about your relationship.
Make a radical choice
When you realize that you have become involved in an affair of the heart outside of your marriage, you will need to make a radical choice either for your marriage partner or for the other person.
It is unfair and unhealthy to yourself and to your spouse and friend to continue splitting your heart in this way.
How to end the emotional affair?
Why emotional affairs are hard to end?
Ending an emotional affair is never easy. The accused may feel wrongly blamed for infidelity. If the affair does not constitute of sexual intimacy and the cheating spouse does not intent on leaving their spouse, they rationalize the affair and regard the emotional affair as healthy and legitimate.
Also, it is difficult to let go of a person you have come around to confide in. You fear losing one person who gets you, and it seems is looking out for you.
Besides, it is very heartbreaking for someone in an emotional affair to put a stop to the “high” or a sense of euphoria they were experiencing from the affair.
Emotional affair recovery is just as hard as healing from a sexual or physical affair.
But if you have come to your senses, wishing to act in the best interest of your spouse, and you choose to be faithful to your marriage partner, then the only option is to end the relationship with the other person.
On how to end an emotional affair, this will require determination on your part, especially if you work together. It may even be necessary to change jobs.
In conjunction with these, another tip on how to get over an emotional affair is to work at creating a more appealing version of the reconciliation and future lives together as a couple.
Emotional infidelity recovery is possible if couples are willing to work it out. Taking up marriage therapy together to recover and stay married can go a long way in restoring a healthy marriage.
Rebuild your marriage
Make it a priority to rebuild your marriage and to be transparent and accountable to your spouse. Consider getting help through counseling if you are struggling before it gets too late for reparations.
In the end, you will realize that in order to enjoy a happy and healthy marriage it is worth guarding against the dangers of emotional affairs.
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.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.