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Are you spending more time thinking about an attractive coworker than thinking about your spouse?
Do you find reasons to connect frequently with a particular friend of interest over social media or text messaging?
Do you share intimate conversation with someone other than your spouse?
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions then you are most likely involved in an emotional affair.
Is an emotional affair considered cheating?
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.
BUT THERE IS HOPE…
Once you’ve recognized the signs of an emotional affair and make the decision to end it, you CAN start the process of recovery!
Here are the steps to recovering from an emotional affair and starting the process to healing your marriage:
- Accept responsibility. Hold yourself accountable for your actions. No matter what is happening in your marriage, you are responsible for your commitment to your marriage. Your decision to become emotionally involved with another person has put your relationship with your spouse in despair. Understand that your partner will likely feel just as betrayed as if you had a physical affair and that the pain associated with sharing yourself emotionally with someone outside of your marriage is often just as devastating.
- Cut off contact. End your emotional affair. Emotional affairs never result in emotionally healthy relationships. It is crucial to eliminate all contact. Delete contact information. Remove the person from your social media contacts. Change social circles. If you are coworkers, limit your interactions to essential business only. This may require changing departments or depending on the extent of the emotions involved, finding a new job.
- Go offline. What if you’ve been having an internet affair? This is a common way to rekindle a high school romance or date virtually. Just as technology can be part of the problem, it can also be part of the solution. Close these accounts and install monitoring software to help keep you accountable.
- Tell your partner. Living with secrets is not only a burden to you but has no place in a healthy relationship. In order to begin the healing process in your relationship, it is important that you are honest with your spouse. How to disclose this extremely hurtful information requires thoughtful consideration so that it is done in a way that is most beneficial for the both of you.
- See a counselor. It is likely that the reason for the emotional affair has deeper roots in your relationship. Talk with a helping professional who specializes in relationships and encourage your spouse to participate. Make a conscientious effort to use this opportunity to address your relational issues and create a stronger marriage. Research and interview several candidates to find someone you’ll both feel comfortable with.
- Cultivate your relationship. Strengthening your relationship will be the most important step in healing and preventing future straying. Create daily routines that bring you closer together and schedule consistent time to spend connecting together as a couple. Continue to utilize available resources to learn and practice your communication skills. Be intentional about pouring into your marriage each and every day.
It’s easier to protect your relationship from an emotional affair than to repair it afterwards. However, if you are in an emotional relationship outside of your marriage, you can recover! It is important to start by taking these steps. When you and your partner are committed to each other and your marriage, you can emerge from the experience with a deeper, stronger relationship and a fulfilling future!