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Are you really having an affair if there’s no physical contact?
Most adults think that simply talking to another person outside of their relationship could sometimes be a form of infidelity. According to research surveys, 60% of Americans said they would consider their partner unfaithful if they became emotionally involved with someone else.
Emotional affairs are never ok. When one partner puts their trust, vulnerability, time and focus on another individual that is not their spouse, the results are devastating to their relationship. Before you make the choice to rekindle a friendship with an old flame or reach out to an attractive coworker outside of business hours, consider the impact this could have on your primary relationship.
Emotional affairs can be prevented! Here are some suggestions for how…
Prevent the emotional affair:
- Recognize the signs in yourself. It may be more difficult to detect but there are signs that the casual friendship may have progressed to an emotional affair. Do you keep your relationship a secret from your spouse and others? Do you share things with your new friend that would be more appropriate to discuss with your partner? Do you experience feelings of guilt about what you’re doing?
- Confess your feelings to your spouse. Be sensitive to how your partner may respond. Recognize that rarely are the emotions toward your friend grounded in truth or reality. Often the feelings are an expression of discontentment in your marital relationship.Talk to your spouse about your concerns in the relationship and the state of your heart. It’s important to work harder at making your relationship the higher priority.
- Reduce temptations to go deeper. Guide the conversation with your friend and keep it superficial. Do not share personal or intimate information. Be prepared to change the subject of conversation to be more businesslike. Keep your interactions public and don’t spend time one on one with this person.
- Socialize in groups. Workplace affairs often happen because much time is spent together with coworkers. Be sure to go to lunch with the whole Department rather than one person. Do not meet with this person outside of office hours. Focus on friendships from work other than the person of interest.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol can impair your judgment and reduce your inhibitions. Drinking alcohol around this person may lead you to say or do things you otherwise would refrain from doing. Stick to sparkling water and exercise restraint.
- Adjust your expectations. An emotional affair is an indication that you need to pay more attention to your significant other and your relationship. Marriages naturally evolve beyond the honeymoon stage and can become more mundane. Be intentional about keeping your connection fun and rewarding. Plan date nights and intimate one on one time.
- Establish accountability. Choose a good friend to hold you to the expectation of integrity. Give this person permission to let you know when you are showing signs of inappropriate behavior or intentions. Heed their warnings.
Emotional affairs are never okay. Whether in the heart of the unfaithful spouse or within the marital relationship, emotional affairs will surely cause destruction. It is possible, however, to emerge from such an experience with a strong relationship and an encouraging future. But it is much easier to prevent an emotional affair than to repair the damage it can cause. Take these steps now and protect yourself and your marriage from emotional affairs!