I have a tendency to accidentally dial people’s numbers while my phone is in my purse. I’ve left countless voicemails for friends with sounds of me walking and having conversations with the cashiers at the supermarket. So I started locking my phone with a passcode. In my relationship, I make sure that my boyfriend sees my passcode and I unlock my phone in plain view. If he wants to go through my phone, he’s free to do so because I want him to feel that he can trust me.

Why is this a big deal?

With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, email and all other online communication these days, divorces have actually increased. Facebook causes 1 in 5 divorces. Affairs have gone virtual and emotional affairs have become a rampant problem not because access is much easier  these days.

Emotional affairs are affairs that don’t include physical intimacy but emotional intimacy instead. When you allow someone outside a relationship to fulfill emotional needs and create an emotional attachment with someone else that should be between you and your partner, this is emotional infidelity.

Are emotional affairs worse than flings?

If I had to chose, and I’d hate to chose between the two, but I’d prefer a sexual fling over an emotional affair any day. Something about my  husband or boyfriend sharing his intimate emotional needs with someone else makes me feel more betrayed than a one-night stand with no emotions involved.

Even if you don’t so much as touch the other person, an emotional affair has just as much potential as a full blown sexual affair to damage a relationship. With our lives as busy as they are these days, you really have to make a special effort to make time for your relationship and and maintain an intimate connection. Getting such intimate emotional needs met by someone outside of the relationship means your relationship is in serious danger for two reasons:

  • You’re taking the time away from your spouse/partner
  • If you’re allowing your emotional needs to be met outside of the relationship, there’s essentially no need to share that connection with your suppose/partner. You’re diminishing your need for them.

How do you know if you’re in an emotional affair

Just like a physically intimate affair, deception and secrecy are key to keeping an emotional affair going.

If you feel that you have to hide your interaction with that person from your spouse or partner, this means that you know something is not right about it. Hiding text messages, rushing off to another room when this person calls, spending time with them that interferes with your relationship, sharing things with them that you don’t share within your relationship, making an effort to have secret gatherings are signs that you’re in an emotional affair.

Can men and women really be just friends?

I  believe that they can. I have a few good friends who happen to be men. The key is appropriateness. Whether I’m in a relationship or those friends are in one, we make a point to keep our relationship appropriate while respecting those relationships. For instance, one of my good friends, who happens to be my high school boyfriend, is a happily married man.

When he first met his wife, I made sure that I created a good relationship with her as well. We made sure that she was included when we went out, or that she was invited if she’d like to come … and why shouldn’t we? We had nothing to hide. I maintained my closeness with my friend and gained a new friendship with his wife.

So you’re had an emotional affair…where do you go from here?

  • Fess up to the affair – There’s nothing worse than someone who won’t take responsibility for their actions.
  • End it completely – Don’t half-ass this one. In order for you to focus on your relationship, that relationship has to end completely.
  • Work on your relationship – Figure out what made you look elsewhere in the first place.
  • Regain your partner’s trust – Not everyone breaks up over affairs, but it’s going to be a long road.

Affairs come in all shapes and sizes, but what matters is how they affect your partner and the relationship in general. Investing your intimacy in someone other than your partner means you’re taking away from the relationship.

Do you think emotional affairs are worse than physical affairs?

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