Is your relationship in the danger zone? Find out now!
If having an affair is the last thing you want to do, you better heed these six warnings signs. They indicate that you are heading down a slippery slope. One more step could be too late to prevent a disaster.
1. You resume a platonic relationship with an old friend. A phone call from an old flame? How risky! As one fellow explained to me, "When she contacted me via LinkedIn, there was a sense of titillation, and then she continued to reach out to me." Moral of the story: If you don't want to catch fire, stay far from the sparks. They are fun and often prove too dangerous to be worth the mini-delights of minor sexual pleasures. The two highest risk categories for dangerous connections are old flames and current business associates, especially ones that you spend a lot of time with.
2. You're in an already-fragile relationship situation. When a relationship or marriage feels frustrating it can be all the more tempting to slide into connecting with someone who seems easily kind, easy to talk with or appreciative of you. Have you two communicated effectively through the blockages to smooth sailing with each other? If not, it's time to start! If your skills are insufficient, upgrade them!
3. You hide that you're already taken. If in the course of your talking with a lovely person of the opposite sex, you find yourself avoiding mention of the fact that you have a steady relationship or are married, you are heavily already into the danger zone. Beware especially because as sexual feelings toward a new person grow, your recollections of how and why you chose that person as a mate will fade.
That's because of the nature of old versus new sexual feelings and new potential sexual partners virtually always evoke more intense sexual feelings. That says nothing about how good a match they could be for you; it's just a biochemical thing about how sexuality works. New trumps familiar — but for sex only. Intense sexual appeal only though does not a good match make.
4. You enjoying (and crave) flrtation. If you find yourself tempted to become increasingly flirtatious, emotional infidelity is already taking place. If you are fishing for affection and appreciation, beware because you are likely to be the fish that gets hooked. Sexual feelings with a new partner become like an addiction that you are likely to keep wanting more and more. Thinking often about the new romantic other and feeling excited when you do is similarly a dangerous sign.
5. You meet in private places and talk about personal topics. Are tempted to meet for lunch or dinner? Are you ready to claim that you are at work when you are setting up playtime? If so, you're almost guaranteed to fall eventually, so leave now, or don't say I didn't warn you! Titillating interactions may seem fun and harmless, but they are not so. Sliding down the slippery slope from monogamy down and off an infidelity cliff ends up being both self-destructive and extremely damaging to loved ones.
6. You add liquor to any red-flag encounters. Woops! This is likely to be the last big mistake before you've fallen from an emotional affair into a full physical connection.
Susan Heitler, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in Denver and author of the online relationship skills program PowerOfTwo.