Affairs seldom start in the bedroom. Most affairs start out as emotional affairs. Emotional affair is the term used to describe a relationship that has crossed the line from friendship to a connection level that should be reserved for your spouse. An “emotional affair” is an affair which excludes physical intimacy, and is usually based on emotional intimacy I have found in working with hundreds of couples through the years, that emotional affairs can be just as damaging as sexual affairs. The challenge with emotional affairs is that they can be so easily rationalized and even spouses who were not looking to be unfaithful can find themselves caught in these types of relationships.
Emotional affairs are the result of a significant connection that usually starts out at the friend or colleague level. The truth is your relationship with your spouse most likely started in a similar way. The two major problems with emotional affairs is that while you are connecting with this individual you are not connecting and becoming more disconnected from your spouse. The spouse who is having the emotional affair ends ups spending the relational energy on their emotional affair partner as opposed to their spouse. The second problem with emotional affairs is that when they continue they frequently end up becoming physical. To affair proof your marriage be certain that you are not crossing the “friendship” line with anyone other than your spouse. How do you know if you have crossed the line? Here are six signs that you may have crossed the line:
- You share personal information about your marriage and particularly your dissatisfaction with your spouse. It is easy to fall into the “I was just looking for the opposite sexes perspective” or “We were merely supporting each other”, but this is never healthy for your marriage and can definitely lead to an emotional affair.
- You spend a great deal of time with this person, and this time is extremely important to you. Your time with this person is more important to you than spending time with your spouse. When you would rather be with this person than your spouse, you have crossed the line.
- When you share good news or bad news with this person before you share the same information with your spouse or when you have the need to share personal intimate details of your life with this person, you have crossed the line.
- You change your dress or your appearance for this person when you are going to see them. If you are concerned about your image with this person, chances are you have crossed the line.
- You keep secret the amount of time you are spending with this person. You minimize or would be embarrassed if your spouse knew how much time you were putting into this relationship. If you have conversations that you would not repeat in front of your spouse you have crossed the line.
- You start to contact this person at hours of the day that are different than normal “Friend” hours.
If you are having an emotional affair, do yourself and your marriage a huge favor and stop it immediately. Create healthy boundaries and distance between yourself and this person. Stop moving towards this person and begin to actively work on strengthening your own marriage. You may need the help of a relationship coach to end the inappropriate relationship and save your marriage, but the good news is that emotional affairs do end and marriages can survive them.