We talk about affairs in the physical sense- someone cheated, ran away with someone else, kissed an ex, and other similar situations. We don’t often talk about the ramifications and the reality of having an emotional affair. An emotional affair can start out with the simplest and best of intentions. Someone finds a new friend, connects with them, and eventually finds them more emotionally fulfilling than their spouse or significant other.
When you are in a relationship there is a certain moment when you realize that you’ve overstepped the boundaries of friendship. If you are single this can be a great way to develop a relationship; however, if you are already in a relationship with someone else you run the risk of seriously jeopardizing that in order to seek emotional or physical fulfillment.
Emotional affairs are secretive and covert, filled with conversations and little moments that you don’t feel comfortable talking to your partner about. This is a major red flag. You should always feel like you can share things with your friends but be transparent with your partner at the same time.
If you are thinking about engaging in an emotional affair or you suspect your partner is embarking on their own emotional affair, here are ten things to watch out for.
- Someone else’s name is coming up in conversation more frequently. If your partner is mentioning a new friend they might seem bubbly, smiley, or otherwise happy talking about this person. This isn’t a bad thing at all- they can be excited to expand their social circle. However, this can also be a hallmark of an emotional affair.
- They deny their connection. Even if they are seeing this new person frequently and are taking away time from you, they will act like it’s not a big deal.
- They leave things out of their story. Your partner might tell you some of the story or half of the details in an effort to get you to not worry. They know the truth of their connection with this new person could hurt you.
- You don’t know where they are or who they are with. You start to question where they’re going and who they are going with, and they evade your questions. They hide evidence of their emotional affair and act more secretive around you than before.
- They pay more attention to their looks. If you notice that your partner is dressing up more or putting in more of an effort with their appearance to see this new friend, this can be a red flag. This could also be an indication that they’re just trying something new, too.
- You stop communicating. You and your partner might see a slowdown in the conversations you have. Those deep, connecting conversations keep us close together, and they might be going elsewhere for those life-affirming talks.
- You aren’t physically close anymore. They are withdrawing from you emotionally and might start to withdraw physical contact as well. They might want to spend more time alone or with other friends than they do with you.
- You bring out their bad moods and spark irritation, even when you aren’t doing anything wrong. You aren’t the problem- they are, since they are the one having the emotional affair.
- Your long-term goals start falling apart. As a couple you have ideas of where you want to be a few years from now. You might have talked about having kids, about moving to a new city, or about buying a house. Your partner might start changing their ideas of what they want.
- You’re the brunt of criticism. Your partner starts to become more critical of your flaws and your character as they invest emotionally in someone else. We all grow and change, but your character shouldn’t come under fire because of their affair.
There is no easy way to spot an emotional affair. If you suspect your partner might be having an emotional affair, talk to them about it. All relationships grow and change, and people don’t always stay in love. However, you can watch out for signs of an emotional affair and see what you can do to keep your relationship intact.