“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Emotional affairs can be very threatening to a marriage. An emotional affair is when two people form a strong bond and begin to share more and more of themselves with the other. What differentiates an emotional affair from a friendship?
Signs that an opposite sex friendship may be turning into an emotional affair include the following: 1) you find yourself preoccupied with thoughts about the person and can’t wait for the next communication 2) you begin to withdraw from your spouse, losing interest in either emotional or sexual intimacy 3) you spend less time with your spouse, sharing your thoughts and feelings with your friend instead of your spouse 4) you feel your friend understands you better than your spouse 5) when confronted about the relationship you insist “We’re just friends.” 6) you keep your friendship, or aspects of it, secret from your spouse.
For some, the emotional affair is a way to get needs met without having a full-blown affair. There are two problems with this. The first is that emotional affairs constitute infidelity, especially when kept secret, and the second is that the emotional affair often escalates into a sexual affair.
Sometimes emotional affairs occur because a spouse needs more than what he or she feels is available with the partner. Often it is the beginning of the end of a marriage that was disintegrating already.
The best way to defend against an emotional affair is to really listen to your partner’s needs. If he or she needs more affection, connection or intimacy do not just see this as idle complaining. Take it seriously! Take an interest in your partner’s life and suggest doing things together. Make “couple time” a priority, no matter how busy you are.
Try to be positive, supportive and encouraging. Aim to really understand what your partner is thinking and feeling. Express gratitude and appreciation, so your partner feels valued, and important to you.
It is much easier to prevent a partner from turning to an emotional affair, than it is to stop it once it gets going.
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CDs You May be Interested In:
Trust and Fidelity
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Codepenency and Projection
When Relationships Break Down