If it’s only an “emotional affair,” is it really an affair?This is such a great question–and one we hear from a lot of people. Emotional affairs can happen in any number of ways especially with cell phones, the internet, Facebook, Twitter and all the new ways of connecting with someone that didn’t used to exist.
Reconnecting with old high school flames has never been easier than it is right now because of the popularity of all these social media sites.
With a few clicks of a mouse button, you can find and connect with that person who was so special to you earlier in your life.
Dating sites also make it easy to connect with someone who might have the same interests as you or just might look “hot.”
The workplace has always been an easy place to fall into what might be called emotional affairs (or even physical ones.)
So does all this spell the death of committed relationships and marriages?
We don’t think so.
But what it does say is this…
If you want a vital, alive relationship that grows with age, you have to be committed to growing it–that means being emotionally AND physically focused toward that goal.
M. Gary Newman in his book Emotional Infidelity says this…
“When a spouse places his or her primary emotional needs in the hands of someone outside the marriage, it breaks the bond of marriage just as adultery does.”
In our experience, this certainly says it.
So when does “friendship” slip into being more than friendship?
–When you want to share something–and the other person rather than your partner comes to mind first to share it with
–When you feel like you can “be yourself” around that other person (and you can’t with your committed partner)
–When you feel appreciated and admired by that other person (more than your partner) and want to be in his or her presence all the time
–When you want to be alone with that other person
–When you share details about yourself, your marriage or about your partner with that other person that are a little more intimate than you know you should be sharing
–When you find yourself writing, expressing or exchanging s*e*x*u*a*l innuendos with that person–and not your partner
What can you do about it if you see these signs?
1. First of all, be honest with yourself about what’s happening. Don’t kid yourself that you are simply “just friends.”
Take a good honest look at what’s going on and if this is really what you want.
In other words, be conscious about your words and your actions–even if it’s just via computer.
2. Look within yourself to discover what this relationship brings to you.
Does it bring more excitement or passion to your life?
Does it help you feel more understood?
Does it help you feel more connected to and loved by someone?
What is it that you’ve been missing that this relationship fills?
3. Look at your relationship with your spouse or partner. What do you want?
What do you want this relationship to be and are you willing to put some energy and focus on this relationship–and make it better?
4. Get some help to turn your relationship around.
Our “Relationship Trust Turnaround” is a great place to start to get your relationship on track again.
If you feel like you’ve strayed in an emotional affair, do you tell your partner or not?
Well here’s the thing…
Your partner probably already knows at some level what’s been going on–because your attention and focus has not been with him or her. But even so, when you say it aloud, expect your partner to feel deeply hurt, feel angry and lose trust in you.
On the other hand, if you don’t tell your partner, keeping those feelings of shame or whatever you feel inside may eat at you–and that’s not healthy for you or for your relationship.
So although there’s no easy “yes” or “no” answer for everyone, couples can come back together after there’s been an emotional affair and create something even better than they had before– if there’s a commitment on the part of both people to doing it.
If you both want to rekindle the love you once felt, it’s entirely possible to do it.
What do you do if you feel that your partner is in the middle of an emotional affair with someone else?
Be honest about what you see without accusations and a lot of drama.
Hard to do?
Sure–but if you simply say what you’re noticing and what you’re feeling…
–your partner’s attention directed at something else other than you or your relationship
–long hours on the computer when you’d like to have time together with him or her
It might be met with less defensiveness and more honesty.
Whether you’re the one in the emotional affair or you think your partner is having one…
Focus on what you want more of in your relationship instead of running from it.
“Should You Stay or Should You Go?” is one of the fundamental questions that MUST be answered if any kind of emotional or other affair is going on.
If you’ve ever had the thought or considered leaving your relationship or marriage… don’t do it before you go through our one-of -a -kind process for making that decision.