Having an emotional affair is different to a sexual affair. However, it isn’t any less devasting to find the person you’re in a relationship with is having an emotional affair with someone. It’s also difficult to let go of when you’re the one in it.
Are You Having An Emotional Affair?
There are different types of affairs that can develop between people. Some people choose to have an affair and it’s as simple as that. They make the choice and go ahead and engage in a sexual affair.
Others don’t consciously make the choice. Inappropriate feelings can grow between two people when they spend a lot of time with together.
In my relationship counselling experience, the reasons differ on why an affair has taken place. The question is, can a relationship recover after an affair?
Is the relationship ruined completely or can people move past it? It really depends on what type of affair it was and motivational reasons behind it.
Let’s take a closer look and gain some understanding on this very personal issue.
What Is An Emotional Affair?
An emotional affair is an intense emotional relationship that is nonsexual in nature. It diminishes one partner’s emotional connection with his or her committed partner. That’s it in a nutshell.
An emotional affair is when a person is thriving on the secrecy of bonding, confiding and communicating with a person at a deep level whereby they build a relationship based on trust and emotional intimacy. The interaction can become addictive and becomes part of their daily routine.
It’s a commitment between two people, based on their emotional needs and is driven by the unconditional attention they receive. They can feel empowered simply by having someone there for them to talk to, someone who will listen and someone who will not judge them.
In fact, they have found someone who will laugh with them, encourage them and believe in them, no matter what is going on.
If you’re having an emotional affair, you will find yourself comparing your partner to the person you’re having the emotional affair with. It’s really unfair to compare the two people.
You can’t compare someone who is giving you 100% positive attention 10% of the time, to the person you’re sharing emotional baggage, past history, paying bills, household responsibilities, parenting responsibilities etc.
Comparing these two people is a comparison of the ideal versus the real in terms of a relationship. Of course, the ideal is going to win which is why it’s hard to leave an emotional affair.
The hard truth is, the emotional affair is giving the person an outlet for their problems and stress and can make them a better person in their real relationship.
Why? Because they have confided in someone, got rid of their stress, they feel better and they are feeling special. They are much nicer to be around when they feel like this but the problem is they are going to the wrong person for the right attention.
So, if they can confide all of this with someone else, why can’t they do it with their real partner? That’s a million dollar question I think. It’s not that the other person is a better person, or smarter, better-looking, better body or anything specific, it can be a number of things.
Some people give you a sense of comfort and it feels natural to be open to them and to trust them. There could also be a physical attraction for sure, but an emotional affair stays an emotional affair because neither party is willing to go the next level. They’re getting everything they need at this level.
They may have developed this connection because they share the same values and standards in relationships and can bond over that or they share the same history, the same hobbies and interests or they can come together through a mutual problem they share.
Sharing a problem or “their story” and having someone who understands, who may also be going through the same situation, is very common. Communicating and confiding is very intimate and this is what makes emotional affairs so hurtful to the Partner in the relationship.
Any kind of affair is going to rock the unsuspecting partner to their core. Sexual or non-sexual affairs, won’t make it any less hurtful or devastating.
Social Media Influencing Emotional Affairs
Hiding inappropriate communication is most common on social media platforms like Facebook. Facebook is playing a major role in emotional affairs. People have access to their past flames dating as far back as their High School years.
They surf the net looking for them, firstly out of curiosity and secondly because they have unfinished emotional business with them. Facebook is a great social tool if used for the right reasons.
It doesn’t mean people are looking to rekindle an old romance every time they come across someone they know from the past either. So, when is it appropriate to get in touch with past flames or people of the opposite sex?
This is a question you need to ask your partner. Every relationship is different. Whatever works in your relationship is what you need to follow.
If your partner is ok with you having communication with others, outside of your relationship then that’s great. If they aren’t good with it, then it’s not appropriate for the relationship. Remember, whatever you bring to the relationship will make it good or not so good.
Not Sure If You’re Having An Emotional Affair?
If you’re not sure if you’re having an emotional affair, here are few questions you can ask yourself to find out the answer:
1. “Would you be talking to another person as often, in “that” way, if your partner was over your shoulder watching?”
2. “Would it be ok for your partner to read any messages on your phone, email or Facebook account? Or would you guard those messages with your life or worst still, delete them?”
3. “Would you think it’s ok if you found the same messages sent from your partner to someone of the opposite sex?”
4. Is is ok if your partner receives “those of photos, selfies, images?” and is it ok if they know you have received or sent photo’s?
If you feel you need to hide any communication or friendships from your partner, then chances are you know you’re doing something that’s a deal breaker.
Ending An Emotional Affair
Ending an emotional affair is a very big deal. You are probably still convincing yourself that you haven’t done anything wrong or worse, you’re trying to convince your partner.
However, if it’s wrong for the relationship then it’s wrong full stop. Plain and simple. You may need help to end the emotional affair and connection you have with this person – if you’re going to do it seriously.
It’s not as simple as not sending them messages anymore or not talking to them anymore. You may need to sever ties with additional people, leave a job or leave a town. The point is, you will go through a grieving process and you may also feel resentment for having to give it up.
If you need help you can make an appointment online.