What Lies Beneath Emotional Infidelity?

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What Lies Beneath Emotional Infidelity? [EXPERT]
The only way to solve the problem is to understand what's underneath.

Emotional infidelity occurs when you or your partner become emotionally connected with someone outside of your relationship, either in person or on the internet. How dangerous to a marriage or committed relationship is emotional infidelity? One way of looking at this issue is that it is very dangerous because it not only takes away time and energy from the marriage, but it can lead to sexual infidelity and possibly to the end of a marriage.

Another way of looking at emotional infidelity is that betrayal is a symptom of the problems that already exist within a marriage. When the primary relationship is not emotionally and physically intimate, each person may be vulnerable to a form of adultery — either emotional or physical. Rather than blaming the affair for the problems in a marriage, why not address the real problemWhy So Much Infidelity?

Emotional affairs are compelling because it is easy to be close with someone with whom you have no shared responsibility — no money issues, no children, no chores. It is easy to share your deepest feelings with someone with whom you have no conflict. It is easy to get positive feelings when someone who does not live with you and does not see all of your flaws, thinks you are wonderful.

This is a cop out, or an easy way out of dealing with the real issues at hand. If this affair does lead to the break up of your marriage and into a new permanent relationship, chances are you will end up with the same problems. Why waste your time? Why not deal with the problems now?

The primary problem that leads to emotional infidelity is emotional distance between partners. While emotional infidelity is a symptom of emotional distance within the primary relationship, the emotional distance is also a symptom of the deeper issues within the relationship. These deeper issues might be: 

  • One or both partners trying to have control through anger, blame, and criticism.
  • One or both partners trying to have control through caretaking, such as giving themselves up and taking responsibility for the other person's feelings.
  • One of both partners withdrawing and resisting being controlled by the other partner.
  • Neither partner taking emotional responsibility for his or her own feelings. Each partner abandoning themselves and ignoring their feelings through addictions and making the other responsible for their feelings.
  • Power struggles that result from a control and resistance dynamic and an inability to resolve conflict.

The relationship pattern that develops when neither partner takes responsibility for his or her own feelings, and when each partner tries to have control in overt or covert ways, grinds down the love until each person feels disconnected from their partner and lonely in the relationship. This is when they are susceptible to emotional infidelity. Do You Love As A Form Of Control?

More Infidelity Advice From YourTango:

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
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Dr. Margaret Paul

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Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
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