Emotional affairs are cheating
How do you know if it is an emotional affair? Here is a frequent scenario. You're in a committed relationship and don't want it to end. You think of yourself as settled. But then you meet an intriguing person and feel something special when around them. It's both comforting and stimulating. You feel they provide something that's missing. You have a lot in common, it's a harmless connection but a connection never the less. Eventually you start thinking about them when they aren't around.
Something feels compelling about it. You can't wait to tell them when something happens, they become a secret best friend. While there is no sex there is a high level of intimacy. You start to reach out them a lot. You feel great when they reach back.
Sharing outside your relationship
You share with them what you can't or don't share with your partner. You tell them about the empty spots in your relationship at home and they always understand. They start to become emotionally important to you. You don't want to lose them. You miss them.
You sneak around to have some form of contact with them. You sneak, not because it has become physically sexual, but because you know your partner won't like it. You tell yourself it's harmless. When asked if you have feelings for this other person you lie or minimize.
It might not be a new person but an old flame or hook-up that has popped back into your life. You don't actually want them back, they were never that right for you, but now you can have non-committed access to the parts of them that you did enjoy. It's a harmless personal perk, you think, something that makes your regular life seem less routine. Just a little gift to yourself that has no price tag, or so you think.
But it never got physical
Emotional affairs are dangerous. They are a slippery slope. Because they aren't physical they seem somehow ok, but that’s the illusion. They weaken your integrity, take away energy that should be going to your partner and they also keep you from fixing the rough edges of your own relationship and making it better. If your partner finds out it will be almost as bad as if you had sex.
Once caught you will have slashed the trust you partner had in you. Everything will come under suspicion now, your texts, phone calls, emails, social media, search history. Doubt has come to your house and like dust it will spread to every room.
I will work with you to restore your relationship
If you and your partner find yourself in this kind of dilemma, you may need expert assistance to put things right again. I have experience counseling these situations. Feel free to email me.
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I look forward to hearing from you.
Dona Laressa Desmond PhD
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