“An affair of the heart”—this is how marriage therapist Sheri Meyers describes an emotional affair. Sex or physical affection isn’t necessary, but for some reason, this kind of affair is worse than any other act of unfaithfulness. Well, maybe it’s true. If it’s the heart that starts to stray, it becomes harder to say it’s all going to be okay.
But what exactly constitutes an emotional affair? How does one cheat emotionally?
5 Signs You Are Having an Emotional Affair
It’s hard to define something that can barely be seen. Emotional affairs, after all, are all about feelings, unlike physical ones that don’t necessarily involve affection or love. But still, if you’ve grown more distant from your partner and have been craving for the attention of somebody else, it’s time to reevaluate things.
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Ask yourself some questions.
1. Do you have someone you go out of your way just to see?
We all have friends. Who doesn’t? But there are people we consider more special than everyone else in the circle. If there’s that person you enjoy hanging out with so much that you go out of your way just to meet them, you change your schedule and exert extra effort just to make your planned dinners happen, that’s something.
2. Do you feel the need to hide that relationship from your significant other?
You start having meals with them more frequently, you exchange messages till late night, or talk to them at work longer than usual. This is all fine, but if you feel like you need to hide all this from your partner, that only confirms you know it’s something that can ruin your relationship.
3. Do you often compare that person with your current partner?
One of the signs you are having an emotional affair is you start comparing that person and even think they’re better than your partner whom you’ve been with for a long time. It’s not looking good. While you vowed that you’d love your partner’s imperfections, you start seeing their flaws and how that new person is the complete opposite.
4. Are there things you talk about with that person that you don’t with your partner?
Has there been an instance where you find yourself sharing a story with that person that you have not told your partner? Has there been a time where you feel like there’s something you can only let out only when you are with that person? If there are stories you reserve only for them, that means you’re getting closer than you should be—and that could be a problem.
5. Do you often think about how it would’ve been like if you two were together?
Another one of the warning signs you are having an emotional affair is that you’re stuck between what-ifs and what-could-have-beens because of that person. What if you were both single? What if you left everything behind and be with them? What if you both didn’t have commitments to face? If you start imagining a life with them, you’re starting to develop some feelings that you should only be having for your partner.
You’re friends and you do things friends do, but if you think your relationship has to remain a secret, do you really consider them just a friend? If you feel a certain way for someone outside the relationship and even hide that same friendship, you want to make yourself believe that you’re doing nothing wrong; but truth be told, you’re being unfair to your partner. If you’re having doubts, there must be a reason, face it.
You might not have slept with them or even kissed them on the lips, but an emotional affair is how physical cheating starts. Before it gets even more complicated, do some reassessment. And if you don’t want to lose the person you are with now and the relationship you’ve invested so much in, then you know what to do next.
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