What to do if your relationship is in jeopardy because of emotional infidelity.
Could you be cheating on your partner without even knowing it? If you’re engaged in an emotional affair, then the answer is yes. Emotional affairs can be difficult to pinpoint, because from the outside they simply look like close friendships, and it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not doing anything wrong because you haven’t crossed the line physically. However, a true emotional affair can be just as harmful as a physical one, so you have to be honest with yourself about the nature of your relationships. To figure out if any of your friendships are crossing the line, check out the following common types of emotional affairs:
1. Sharing your relationship problems with anyone other than your partner.
This is a big one. When you’re in a relationship, you should be talking through your problems with your spouse, not your hot coworker! Not only does sharing personal details with someone outside of the relationship create the illusion of intimacy, it makes the leap to a physical affair that much easier.
2. Providing emotional support for someone other than your partner.
Be wary if your friend or coworker constantly comes to you for comfort and support. Being a good friend is one thing, but if you get a charge out of being someone else’s sole source of intimacy, you probably have an emotional affair on your hands.
3. Maintaining inappropriate contact with an ex.
Whether or not your relationship with your ex is inappropriate depends on what you’re getting out of the relationship. If there are no romantic feelings involved on either side, then it’s fine to stay in touch. However, if you’re in contact with your ex because you know he still loves you and it makes you feel good, or because you want to keep your options open, you need to break ties immediately if you want your relationship to work.
So you’re having an emotional affair…now what?
If you realize one of your friendships is actually an emotional affair, the first step is to end it immediately. Then spend some time examining what you were getting out of that relationship that you aren’t getting from your partner. For example, did your coworker make you feel needed, loved, or wanted? Be honest with yourself first, and then bring that honesty to your partner so the two of you can work through your issues as a team.
This article was originally published at Make Up or Break Up. Reprinted with permission from the author.