Emotional affairs are a form of infidelity that involves developing an intimate connection with someone outside of a committed relationship. While emotional affairs may not involve physical intimacy, they can be just as damaging to a partnership as sexual infidelity. In many cases, emotional affairs can even lead to physical infidelity.
Recognizing Emotional Affairs
Recognizing emotional affairs can be challenging, as they often start innocently enough. A friendship may develop with a coworker or a friend, and over time, the emotional connection deepens. Signs that you or your partner may be engaging in an emotional affair include:
Sharing intimate details about your life, including your relationship, with someone outside of your partnership
Feeling guilty or defensive about your interactions with the other person
Spending more time communicating with the other person than with your partner
Feeling emotionally closer to the other person than to your partner
Feeling a sense of excitement and anticipation when thinking about or interacting with the other person
Addressing Emotional Affairs
If you or your partner are engaged in an emotional affair, it is important to address the situation before it causes irreparable damage to your relationship. Here are some steps you can take to address emotional affairs:
Recognize and acknowledge the emotional affair
Communicate openly and honestly with your partner about the situation
Set boundaries with the person you are emotionally connected to
Work on rebuilding trust and intimacy in your relationship
Consider seeking the help of a couples therapist
The Importance of Boundaries
Setting boundaries is crucial when it comes to addressing emotional affairs. This may mean limiting or ending contact with the person you are emotionally connected to, or it may mean setting clear guidelines around communication and interactions. Boundaries can help prevent emotional affairs from developing in the first place, and can also help protect your relationship if an emotional affair has already begun.
Emotional affairs can be just as damaging to a relationship as physical infidelity. Recognizing the signs of emotional affairs and addressing them early on can help protect your relationship and prevent long-term damage. Remember to communicate openly and honestly with your partner, set clear boundaries, and seek professional help if needed.