Many emotional affairs begin as mere friendship. We enjoy the warmth and company of the other person, which sometimes causes us to be blind to the more glaring boundary violations taking place. How can you tell if your friendship has turned into an emotional affair? Here are the signs:
The biggest difference between a friendship and an emotional affair is the level of secrecy involved. If you purposely omit certain details about your conversations with your friend or colleague when you speak to your significant other, or deny that these conversations are happening at all, you may be tip-toeing the line of an emotional affair. Hiding your phone, deleting your chats, or only speaking to your friend or colleague when your partner isn’t around is also secretive behavior.
Most friendships build up to a vulnerability that then shows up infrequently. With your platonic friends of your preferred sexual-interest gender, how often are you telling them your deepest secrets, or your regrets about your marriage? In emotional affairs, there tends to be a deep intimacy that comes from both parties being vulnerable with one another. This makes the connection feel especially strong because it has bypassed the day-to-day of getting to know a person in various settings, over time. The affair partners only see the vulnerable and emotional side of each other, which makes it easier to have affection for the other.
The most obvious sign that your friendship is an emotional affair is the established mutual desire between you and your friend or colleague. It often starts as a slight flutter at the thought of getting to work with them or receiving their text. If your affair has any real-life interaction, touch may grow from friendly, acceptable touch to lingering, intimate touch. Your conversations may start to describe wanting to spend more time together, eventually becoming sexual.
Emotional affairs are not a judgment on a person’s character if they do not realize that they are in one. However, choosing to continue an emotional affair can have serious implications in a relationship. If you’d like some help in sorting your feelings or dealing with the aftermath of an emotional affair, contact us to arrange a consultation and/or appointment.