“Is This Jealousy or Is My Partner Having an Emotional Affair?”

Love, Heartbreak

Know the difference between jealousy and signs of an affair...

“You're just being jealous,” Randy's husband dismissed her criticism of his friendship with a woman on his co-ed soccer league. She brought up her concerns that he is spending an awful lot of time with this other woman-- at the field practicing, after matches celebrating and texting or messaging  with her several times every evening.

Randy tried to joke about it by saying, “If I didn't know better, I'd say you two are dating!” But both of them could tell that Randy wasn't joking around. She’s afraid that there's more to her husband's “friendship” than he admits. He got defensive and accused her of being jealous and paranoid.

She didn't say anything more about it, but her upset and confusion have only grown since then. Could her husband be right? Is her jealousy causing her to see trouble when it's not really there?

It's true.

Jealousy can skew your view. What you think you're seeing and hearing may not be what's actually going on because you're perceiving it all through a filter of jealousy. It's kind of like trying to drive your car with gauze wrapped around your head and over your eyes. You can sort of see the road ahead and the other cars too, but you can't see well and you might perceive things that aren’t really there.

If something about your relationship doesn’t seem right, you may be uncertain and questioning yourself. You think that your partner is acting strange, but you can't be sure. You do know that you’re sick of worrying-- either your jealousy is making you wrongfully suspicious or your partner actually is having an affair.

What IS clear is that you need to figure out what’s going on. If your jealousy is misleading you, finding ways to calm down and soothe your fears is called for. If the facts show your partner is weakening trust in some way or even cheating, that needs to be addressed.

Signs that jealousy is clouding your view:

  • Your information comes mostly from guesses and theories.
  • You don’t have present-day proof for what you think is going on.
  • You’re sure that cheating is inevitable because of low self esteem.
  • Your emotional intensity doesn’t fit the actual situation.

If you believe that your jealousy has taken over and is making it impossible for you to know what’s happening, get help. A trained counselor or coach can teach you strategies to use when you feel upset so that you can calm yourself, learn to trust yourself again and make decisions that will benefit you and your relationship too.

4 signs of an emotional affair:

#1: Secretive
Does your partner leave the room to take a call or text, regularly stay up late on the computer or quickly click to a different web page when you enter the room? This could be because your partner has different sleep habits than you or because he or she doesn’t want to disturb you with a call or it could be that your partner doesn’t want you to know about who’s on the other end of the communication.

#2: Evasive
When you two talk about what you’ve been doing, are there particular topics-- or people-- that your partner skips over or says very little about? Pay attention to any differences in communication. If he or she is usually pretty talkative, but clams up about certain things or people, this could be a clue that there’s more going on than your partner wants to admit.

#3: Absent- spends time and attention on another
Notice how much time you and your partner usually spend together. Have you both become so busy that you’re barely sharing meals and definitely not much quality one-on-one time? If so, regardless of whether or not your partner is cheating, re-prioritize your life so that connecting in with each other IS a regular occurrence. If your partner invents reasons to be with another person and he or she is with that person more and more, this could indicate an emotional affair.

#4: Absent- emotionally withdrawn or distracted
Signs of any kind of cheating usually include an observable and unexplainable change in behavior. This can come through in the bedroom, communication and even physical appearance. If your partner becomes more withdrawn or distracted and this is not the way he or she normally is, take a second look. 

Make sure you have reliable information first before accusing your partner of cheating. Look at the bigger picture including the health of your relationship, changes and inconsistencies in your partner’s behavior as well as the way he or she is around this “friend.”

Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help individuals and couples create close, connected and trust-healthy relationships. Get their 7 Jealousy-Stopping Secrets here: www.nomorejealousy.com