Have you sensed that your spouse isn’t fully plugged into your marriage?
With the abundance of available technologies for making connections, there seem to be even more opportunities for someone to be unfaithful in their marriage.
Often, the connections that are being made don’t even have to be physical. Your spouse could be forming a bond with someone of the opposite sex… and one that can be almost as devastating as a full-blown sexual affair.
In this blog, lets look at why discovering a spouses emotional affair can be such a painful blow, and the reason why those involved in emotional affairs don’t initially recognize how damaging they are. Then, we’ll look at 3 questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not it’s an emotional affair.
The Effects of an Emotional Affair
If you’ve done a little snooping and found out that your spouse has been developing a close bond with someone other than you, you may experience a range of emotions, including guilt, sadness, and anger.
You feel guilty for breaking your spouse’s trust if you snooped into their private account. Of course you’ll be angry and sad over what you find… no one wants to think their spouse is becoming intimate—even if it’s just emotional intimacy—with someone other than themselves.
And, not only are you hurt by their behavior, you may be hurt by your own actions. Emotional affairs can therefore be a dual painful blow. You can feel saddened that you felt pushed to do something you probably never would have done, but you wanted the truth and knew your spouse wouldn’t give you a straight answer.
The problem comes down to how your spouse is defining the marriage, and it’s highly likely they don’t see it as an emotional affair because they are defining it using a different set of terms.
If your spouse has developed a personal relationship with some intensity, the marriage has probably turned into an emotional affair.
When your spouse has created an emotionally intimate connection with someone other than yourself, the intimacy that rightfully belongs in your marriage gets watered down. To share your innermost thoughts with someone other than your partner means you are developing an emotional connection… and that should be something shared just between you.
Again, it’s a problem of definition. Your partner may very well say, “What, you mean I can’t have a friend of the opposite sex?” But when one partner goes outside of the marriage to seek fulfillment, whether that fulfillment is sexual or emotional in nature, it is considered cheating because it’s not being sought within the marriage.
Many people struggle with how to define such a relationship. To help define whether or not your partner is involved in an emotional affair, ask yourself the following:
Emotional Affair Question #1: Concealed, or Transparent
Is the extent of the side marriage concealed from you, or transparent to you? Does your spouse announce when a text message comes in, who it’s from? Is the message read to you?
Emotional Affair Question #2: Level of “Understanding”
Another indication it’s an emotional affair is if your spouse feels “special” with the other person, but not with you.
You may have heard something such as, “Mary really gets me and my sense of humor,” or, “John understands how I feel and where I’m coming from.”
Emotional Affair Question #3: Does Your Spouse Behave in a Guilty Way?
In most cases the cheater knows that the behavior is wrong. It usually feels wrong to communicate with someone outside the marriage on an intimate level—no matter how they try to define it. That’s why there is an effort to hide the truth.
Then, should you happen to stumble upon or snoop and find the truth, the cheating partner is likely to go on the attack and accuse you of being jealous, ridiculous or crazy, or offer the defense that it should be okay to have a best friend of the opposite sex.
Whether it’s okay or not is something that only you and your partner can decide on within the bounds of your marriage. Both partners should always be conscious of actions and behaviors that damage the intimate connection they share with each other. If an outside relationship is poisoning the well of your marriage, it’s worth reconsidering that relationship, or how that relationship is being handled.