One of the most common threads among the emotional affair stories I've heard is some version of:
the feelings I got from the emotional affair reminded me of the feeling I had in the beginning of my relationship with my husband.
There is frequently a "supplemental" component to these relationships. The feeling you're getting from someone else is one you should be getting from your partner - red flag. You're likely engaged in an emotional affair.
It's not always clear to those involved that boundaries are being crossed until they've gone too far. Unlike physical affairs, where there is a very clear sexual boundary being crossed, the boundaries of an emotional affair can be gray. For some, these relationships can feel like a close friendship.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU'RE HAVING AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR?
If you feel like you may have taken a friendship too far, it is important to gain an understanding of the situation before going any further. Take a look at the questions below. These are not meant to be a diagnostic tool, but to help guide your thought process and provide more insight.
Ask yourself: Would I show my texts/emails/messages with this person to my partner? Is there something in these communications I would want to hide from my partner?
Ask yourself: Am I doing things to intentionally keep this "friendship" secret from my primary partner? Why am I doing that? How would my partner react if they found out?
Ask yourself: Would I share these feelings with my partner? Do I find it easier to share my vulnerabilities and fantasies with my friend than my partner? What am I getting from my friend that I'm not getting from my partner right now?
EXCITEMENT AND NEWNESS
Ask yourself: What is it about this "friendship" that makes me feel so excited? What part of myself am I (re)discovering through these interactions?
These are some tough questions and, sometimes, the answers can be even tougher. If you think you may involved in an emotional affair, there are ways to repair your relationship. My next post will be covering this topic and, as always, feel free to contact us to start to process of moving forward.
Marina Voron, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Co-Founder, and Clinical Director of Nassau Wellness. Marina believes all couples have the power to form a loving and lasting relationship given the right tools. Marina specializes in couples therapy, sex therapy, emotional affairs, anxiety, and communication issues. Read more...