What is An Emotional Affair?
An Emotional Affair can be much more devastating than a sexual affair, but why?
An emotional affair is when a person in a relationship has formed a bond with someone else outside of the relationship. It could be with someone from work, someone who plays the same sport or has the same hobby. A friendship starts and develops into something more.
The friendship becomes so strong it is all-consuming. The person involved lives with their phone in their hand or pocket and is just waiting for the next text, phone call, Facebook message or email. Sex is a result of a chemical and physical attraction. It’s also a human need.
Communication, on the other hand, is a learned skill. A skill that can make or break a couple. It’s the glue that keeps couples together. The ability to share your dreams, talk about your day and work through issues is essential for the longevity of a relationship.
To think your partner can confide in someone else, by telling them their deepest thoughts and intimate feelings is like a stab in the heart. There is nothing sexual in it.
An emotional affair is a deep admiration and a complete unconditional liking for a person. This bond becomes so strong that almost nothing can break it apart. The two people involved in the emotional affair are so convinced that they are not doing anything wrong because they are not having sex, so they will defend this friendship until the end.
The problem for their partner is that they would love to have this connection with them too, but they don’t have it. That’s the reason an emotional affair is more devastating than a sexual affair.
Let’s face it – you could have sex with anyone – I’m not saying you should but the truth is you could have sex with anyone. But forming a special bond, an unconditional admiration, a need just to see their name pop up your phone – is not something you can decide to have. It takes time, effort, willingness and a special kind of chemistry. Maybe you could call these people soul mates.
Why The Bond Is So Strong With An Emotional Affair
Emotional affairs develop over time and by the time the partner finds out it’s too late. The affair has developed and has it’s own energy keeping it alive. Even if you put your foot down and give an ultimatum “It’s Me or Her/Him” don’t be surprised at the reaction you will get.
You will not like the response you get because as I said, they don’t believe they’ve done anything wrong so why should they stop communicating or cut back on their communication? Most likely they are either in denial or they’re getting too much out of it to stop.
When an emotional affair develops the reason the bond is so strong is that they are usually bonding over problems they are having in their relationship with you or the other persons partner. So you see, these two people feel understood, they feel heard and they feel validated. And then they are cheered up by their “friend”.
They start to talk about very intimate details about the relationship which in turn makes those two feel “special and privileged” because they know this information isn’t shared with anyone else – not even their own partner. That makes them feel NEEDED. Everyone wants to feel needed. It gives people a purpose. That’s why they want to take every call and every message because they feel they are rescuing that person.
Suffice to say an emotional affair is a dangerous game to play because you just don’t know how deep the feelings are. It may feel like a deep friendship but it may only take one look, one moment to change everything from emotional to sensual to physical to sexual.
What Can You Do About It?
I have seen countless couples where this situation has occurred. They want to know how to stop the emotional affair once they catch their partner out. The truth is, your partner has to cut that person out of their life – completely.
That’s going to cause a problem especially when the majority of the emotional affairs happen in the workplace. Someone needs to find a new job and just because it’s the answer to stopping the affair – that’s only an environmental solution. There are other factors to consider – like income replacement and your financial situation.
It’s not an instant answer or an instant solution. One of the biggest things is you need your partner to acknowledge that an affair has occurred and although sex did not happen it doesn’t mean that betrayal hasn’t occurred.
Ok, after that you need your partner to want to choose you. Just because they have had an emotional affair and they have been caught out it doesn’t mean they will choose you in the end.
When they are given the ultimatum to get rid of the other person, that’s when they realise how strong their feelings are and if they want to live their life without them. Remember, this person has given them a purpose and needs them. (I’m not saying that it’s ok I’m just saying this is how it is for them).
Remember, your partner will probably not believe an emotional affair is a real thing – most people only believe that having sex with someone else rates as an affair.
What About You?
This is when need to take a hard and honest look at your relationship and decide if you want to stay in the relationship too.
You have been betrayed, you are feeling hurt and let down. It will push your confidence and self-esteem boundaries and you will find yourself comparing everything about you to the other person. The way you look, your body, your career, your car – I mean everything.
You are going to feel a mixture of emotions of love and hate. You’re going to question things from the past. You’re going to over-analyze every detail and try and piece together things together that didn’t make sense in the past. And you’ll probably try and find evidence to prove there was more in it than just friendship.
After an emotional affair has happened, you have some healing to do too right? So, it’s not just about your partner ending the emotional affair, choosing you and promising to never speak to the other person again.
What It Takes To Get Back On Track
If you both want to stay in the relationship you need to do it for the right reasons. You’ll need to go back to the basics of what worked for your relationship, what didn’t work and how it got off track. There’s going to be a lot of talking, explaining and understanding going on. You’ll need to find the gaps in your relationship and start to fill them.
To have a loving relationship you need to put the time and attention into it that it deserves. Repairing your relationship after any kind of an affair is a journey. A journey back to love, trust, forgiveness, commitment and the promise of something better.
If you or your partner are experiencing an emotional affair and you need some help then make an appointment for marriage counselling and let me help you work it out.