When I woke up this morning….I wasn’t prepared for what was in my inbox. I don’t even know how to prepare you guys for it….so all I can say… read it for yourself!
When one thinks of a cheating scenario, the first image that flashes in the mind is a man with his trousers around his ankles and a woman on a bed who’s holding a sheet, trying really hard to cover her body…
But over time, we’ve come to realize that having sex with someone outside the marriage isn’t the only way to cheat. Unknown to many, the most common kind of cheating that couples experience almost all the time is emotional cheating.
If you feel more emotionally connected and closer to someone else than your own partner, you’re probably emotionally cheating on your partner already!
What is the Definition of Emotional Infidelity?
“It’s an emotional connection with someone of the opposite sex that you keep a secret from your spouse, says Peggy Vaughan, author of The Monogamy Myth: A Personal Handbook for Recovering from Affairs.” Emotional affairs occur when one partner is channeling emotional energy, time and attention into someone other than the person they are in a committed relationship with to the point that their partner feels neglected. This can lead to the partner feeling as they have lost the connection to you, and in a way they have, because you aren’t taking the time to build that connection between the two of you.
One of the most difficult aspects of emotional affairs is that they aren’t always easy to identify, even when you’re the one doing the emotional cheating. Recognizing a physical affair is pretty straightforward: if you let someone have sex with you who isn’t your monogamous partner, you’ve definitely crossed a line. But emotions are more complicated, and the boundaries of “OK” and “not-OK” connections are way fuzzier. What makes identifying and dealing with emotional affairs especially hard is that a lot of the behaviors that define these types of affairs are totally normal and fine in moderation.
If there isn’t any sex, what is the big deal?
The marriage-damaging factor of affairs, it turns out, is far less about sex than it is about the total package of deception. “Most people, I’ve found, can recover from sexual infidelity more readily than from the fact that they were lied to,” says Vaughan. Finding out your partner’s been emotionally canoodling with someone else makes you think, “What can I believe about our life together? The big red flag is the secrecy. Emotional cheating is about breaking trust with your spouse, not having sex with someone else,” she adds. when you cheat emotionally, you’re not simply engaging in a casual, harmless flirtation; rather, you’re making a deep emotional investment in someone else—an investment that comes at the expense of your long term partner.
How to tell if the “Friendship I’m in, is an emotional affair?
Ask yourself: Am I doing things or talking about things with this person that I don’t do or talk about with my spouse? Am I going to complicated lengths to arrange time with this person? Am I either downplaying the relationship to friends or family members, or keeping it a secret altogether? Here are a few things to ask yourself….
You feel the need to hide what’s going on from your partner
You have the right to have a private life. We all do. Having things that your partner happens to not know about (they don’t necessarily need to hear about every single conversation you have throughout the day) is NOT the same as intentionally keeping certain things from them. Your partner shouldn’t be checking your email, reading through your texts, or spying on your social media interactions. But if you’re spending lots of time going out of your way to make sure that your partner doesn’t see your conversations, that’s a problem. You wouldn’t feel the need to hide if you didn’t feel that somehow what you’re doing is wrong.
You have consistent daydreams and/or sexual fantasies about this person
Again, having random fantasies about people other than your partner isn’t a big deal—it’s simply part of being human. But if you’re consistently fantasizing (both sexually and otherwise) about someone—to the extent that it’s interfering with your attraction to your partner—then you’re risking major damage to your relationship.
You communicate with your “friend” more than with your best friend
Your long-term partner can’t be expected to fulfill every single social need you have, so of course you have friends and family with whom you communicate regularly. However, if you’re spending significantly more time emailing or chatting with one particular person than you do with your best friends, you should sit down and consider why you’re investing so much time in someone who isn’t your partner.
You downplay how much time you spend talking with this person
Whenever you speak about this friend with your partner, you talk about this friend like they’re not important at all. You try not to speak about this person with your partner or you portray your friend as someone insignificant in your life. DO you talk to your friend when they are around? If no, then you need to ask yourself, why you only talk to your friend when your partner is away. Additionally, you make a conscious effort to downplay your friend’s role in your life, and you try hard not to bring up this person’s name while in conversation with your partner.
You need to talk.
Do you ever feel incomplete or feel like something’s missing when you don’t speak to your friend for a couple of days? Even when you’re on a vacation, do your thoughts drift and make you wonder what your friend is up to?
You share your secrets.
Do you share your innermost secrets with this friend? You may be sharing secrets that even your partner doesn’t know about. It makes you feel good to share such intimate details with your friend. At times, the idea of sharing a new secret may even excite you or make you feel more connected to each other.
You’re easily aroused
Do you get easily aroused when you’re having a conversation about sex with this friend? If you feel good talking about your own intimate sexual details with your friend and it somehow arouses you, there’s definitely an emotional affair in the air.
You flirt naturally
Both of you don’t always realize it, but there’s a lot of flirty conversations in the air when both of you share a moment with each other, and there’s no one around.
You spend more time talking to this friend of yours than you spend time with your own partner. And even if your partner tries to communicate with you, you subconsciously push them away because you’d prefer to have intellectual conversations only with your friend.
Talk of partners
Your friend and you avoid talking about each other’s partners too much. And even if one of you talk about your own lovers, it’s only for a few minutes before the conversation gets back to how nice both of you feel talking to each other and having each other as such good friends. It’s a subtle way of reassuring each other that even though both of you are in love with other people, there’s still something magical about your emotional relationship.
IS IT MORE COMMON THESE DAYS?
Oh yes. Not only do we have the option to connect with someone at work, online “affairs” are rife, says Jessica LeRoy, founder and clinical director of the Center for the Psychology of Women. “Now, if you’re thinking about your old boyfriend, you can probably find him on Facebook.” Plus, online communication makes connection both easier and more intense, more quickly.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Greg!! I do believe, that men and women can be “just friends” as long as you and your partner have an understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate. There should an agreed upon time, were phone, emails, and texts shouldn’t be answered unless they are an emergency. This is just a level of mutual respect. I reserve conversations about life, my goals, what I’m going through, etc for Mark. Mark is the man that I choose to spend my life with….he is suppose to be the one person that I should be able to share everything with. If the day comes that I’m more comfortable sharing personal trials and tribulations with someone of the opposite sex, then that is the end of Mark and I.
So since, you and this “Sara” have developed a very close intimate relationship, you need to back wayyyyy off. Don’t respond to calls and e-mails as often while you disengage from this person. Should you fess up? Probably not. The bigger deal you make of it, the harder it’ll be on your spouse. But you do have to nip the relationship in the bud. If you think you can shift the extramarital relationship back to something more innocent, you’re probably wrong! This is a time when cold turkey is best. Take the time to get to know your partner….fall back in love with her. Spend time, opening up to her….talk to her, tell her about your day, share with her the things you would share with your partner. Make her feel special, like she is your best friend. Like she is your shelter from the storm. She needs that from you. That will help build the connection between you two. In return….it will make your relationship strong…and it will help build trust. Because she will feel closer to you, and that she knows you. And there wont be any gaps in your marriage for someone else to come in, and give her the attention and connection she isn’t getting from you.