Know the signs before it progresses
There’s no simple, one-size-fits-all definition of what constitutes an emotional affair. It’s based on the boundaries of both of the people in the relationship, and what one person considers innocent flirting can be construed as emotional cheating by the other.
While I think it’s normal to get the occasional mini-crush on someone even though you are in a committed relationship, pursuing and pushing your feelings could easily lead to an actual physical affair. An emotional affair involves secrecy, deception, and dishonesty, and thus is a betrayal. Even someone who exclaims that they “haven’t even done anything” has done something: They breached the trust of their partner.
The New Person
Making new friends is always great and should always be encouraged. No matter someone’s age or marital status, having people in your life that support you and that you can have fun with is priceless.
But some friendships are dangerous. Let’s say there’s a new person in the office you think is fun and attractive. A few people go out for drinks one day and the two of you hit off. You exchange phone numbers and start texting on the regular.
1. Are you hiding these texts from your partner? If so, ask yourself why.
2. Have you told them about this new work friend? If not, again, ask yourself why.
3. Would your partner be upset if they found out and read these texts? If the answer is yes, then you know you need to take several steps back and fix this little infatuation.
“Your partner should be aware that these conversations are happening and you both need to be clear about what the boundaries and limits are of that new relationship,” Gal Szekely, the founder of the Couples Center for therapy in Northern California told Huffington Post.
I get it. I’ve been there. There’s something titillating about a person who’s attractive, funny, and a does a spot-on Sean Connery imitation. Most of all, it’s the newness of getting to know someone that is alluring.
Now let’s say you are hanging out with this coworker at the bar after work without the rest of the group, just the two of you. Would you text your partner that you going to be late because you are: “Going to grab a drink with work people” or “Going to to grab a drink with Person X”? Maybe you find yourself confiding things in Person X that you don’t with your partner. Do you even talk about your S.O. to them?
If you are starting to hide things, even if it’s to “protect” your partner, it’s likely you are going to start testing other boundaries. Physical ones.
According to Stacy Notaras Murphy, a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C., the deception may come from a place of thinking you’re doing good: “’I want to protect my partner from the stress that’s happening at work,’” you might think. “‘I don’t want him to know that I might be losing my job or that there might be downsizing,’ so you start to rely on people outside the relationship. Let’s say it starts off as a fun little ‘I was thinking of you this weekend; I saw this funny thing in the newspaper’ and you text about it. Over time, it can develop into a full-blown affair.”
No, you haven’t done anything physical. Yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Imagine your S.O. was watching you and Person X at the bar together. Your conversations, your body language… would your S.O. feel jealous or upset?
Sheri Meyers, a marriage therapist, told The Huffington Post: “Having any sort of affair is usually a symptom of an underlying problem in your life and in your relationship,” she said. “Something is missing that makes you vulnerable to temptation.”
How to not be tempted? Keep Person X at an arms length. Work together with them. You can visit a marriage counselor; even if there are no major issues, think it of it as a tune up. Consider seeing your own psychologist to find out why have this crush. Talk to your S.O. more, remember to keep the communications line open, and discuss emotional boundaries. And when you feel the temptation arising, cut yourself off from it.
Be sure to SHARE this with other couples.
Original by Chewy Boese