5 Tiny Signs You May Be Having An Emotional Affair — Even If You Don’t Think You Are

You've developed feelings for someone outside of your relationship.

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For many people, an affair isn’t an affair if there isn’t intimacy involved. Unfortunately, there is a kind of infidelity where there is no intimacy, but something worse — true emotional connection. This is known as an emotional affair. Emotional affairs are, in many ways, more destructive than physical affairs. Emotional affairs can lead to a deep connection with someone who is not your partner, a connection that is hard to walk away from.


Unfortunately, emotional affairs aren’t always easy to identify. More often than not, they start as a friendship but slowly evolve into something more. I am guessing if you are reading this article, you might be wondering if you are having an emotional affair — but you might not think it could be true. You are "only friends," after all.

RELATED: Who Your Spouse Is Most Likely To Have An Affair With — And Why

Here are 5 tiny signs that you’re having an emotional affair — even if you don’t think you are:

1. You're sharing confidences

More often than not, emotional affairs start with confidences, things that are somewhat intimate when shared. One woman's emotional affair started when she was in the local grocery store and ran into a male friend of hers, one that she had known for years. She was feeling depressed that day and, for some reason, she told him.


And for some reason, he told her he was feeling depressed, as well. So began their friendship, bound by the admission of depression. Her husband and his wife never understood how their partners could be depressed. Life was good and the kids were thriving — what was there to be depressed about? But they understood each other. They understood that, even though life was good, people get depressed.

As their friendship grew, they started sharing more and more with each other, things that they didn’t feel safe sharing with their spouses. They came to believe that the other person understood them in a way no one else ever had, certainly more than their spouses did. They grew to rely on that friend more and more for support, turning away from their spouse in the process. Do you share confidences with your friend in a way that you don’t with your partner? Does your friend know things about you that others don’t? It could be that you are having an emotional affair — even if you think you're "just friends."

2. You have a growing need for contact with them

As their friendship grew, so did this couple's need to be in contact with each other. They worked together, so they saw each other frequently. Their casual hallway conversations turned into coffees, lunches, and cocktails. The feeling this woman got when her phone text alert went off was one of anticipation and excitement. When it was him, she was thrilled. When it wasn't him, she felt anxious and uneasy, wondering where he was and what he was doing.



The worst, she said, were the weekends when there was no communication at all. She felt adrift without her friend to talk to. Have you found that you have more communication with your friends than you used to? Do you find yourself looking forward to talking to them, but being disappointed when you aren't able to? If yes, you just might be having an emotional affair, whether you want to believe it or not.


RELATED: 17 Real (And Heartbreaking) Reasons People Have Emotional Affairs

3. You feel preoccupied

As their friendship and connection grew, the woman found herself having a hard time thinking of things other than the time she spent with her friend. She would think about him first thing in the morning and dress carefully so that when she went to work, he might notice. She made herself available at lunchtime, distancing herself from her other coworkers. At night during the family dinner, she found herself unable to focus on her family, thinking instead about her friend and a conversation they shared as they sat next to each other on a bench.

Do you find yourself preoccupied with your friendship with your person? Do you find yourself going out of your way to see them? Do you find yourself having a hard time focusing on other things in your life because of your preoccupation? If you are, this is a sign of an emotional affair that shouldn’t be ignored.

4. You're hiding things from your spouse

When she first started spending time with this coworker, she would often tell her husband about their conversations, because they were just that, conversations. Conversations she'd have with any other co-worker. When the conversations became more intimate and full of confidence, she stopped telling her husband about them. She started to lie to her husband about who she had lunch with and who she was texting and why. She would purposefully not tell him things that she told her friend, things wanted to share with her friend exclusively.


She pulled further and further away from her husband and moved toward her friend. It's commonly accepted that if you're involved in a friendship and you lie to your partner about it, you are having an emotional affair. Are you keeping things from your partner? If you are, you are most likely having an emotional affair.

RELATED: 11 Subtle Signs You're On The Verge Of Having An Affair

5. You're romantically attracted to them

This final sign sneaks up on you. After just a few weeks of talking intimately with her friend, the woman started to feel attraction to him. At first, she ignored it, figuring it was a figment of her imagination. This guy was just a friend and having feelings for him was absurd. But as the weeks went on, her attraction to him grew. She would find opportunities to touch his arm whenever she could, and when she did, she felt an electricity that would move down through her body.



It was a feeling that she hadn’t had for years with her husband, and the feeling drew her closer, emotionally, to her friend. Physical attraction isn’t always present during emotional affairs. But if you're feeling it, you are more than friends, and you should carefully consider your next steps before your friendship gets out of hand. Although this woman never expected the emotional affair to develop, she and her person were friends and had been for years. For this friendship to grow into what it was surprised and overwhelmed her.


She realized she loved this man and would have walked away from her family because she believed he was her soulmate. All because of some confidences a few months earlier. So, take a good look at your close friendships. Do you share things with them that you don’t tell anyone else? Do you need to be in regular contact with them, or do you get anxious? Do you find yourself distracted by thoughts of them and the time you spend together? Are you hiding things from your partner?

Are you feeling deep intimate attraction to your friend for the first time in years? All of these things are signs of an emotional affair. Again, I know that you never thought of yourself as a cheater, and you didn’t set out for this to happen. But emotional affairs creep out of nowhere. Take some time, right now, to consider if you want this emotional affair to expand into something more. Is it worth blowing up your life for? Whether the emotional affair is in real life or online, it has the power to change your life in a way that might not turn out very well in the end.

RELATED: The 3 Types Of Couples Who Experience Affairs (& The Ones Most Likely To Stay Together)


Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.