by Erika Townsend
A good relationship maintains a delicate balance of emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy. Whenever this balance becomes disrupted, a relationship can be susceptible to real damage. An emotional affair is defined as a close relationship that excludes physical intimacy but that features close emotional intimacy. Although some may not consider emotional affairs as cheating, it may exacerbate existing issues in the relationship. What begins as a harmless interaction with a friend may lead to more if there are already problems with intimacy.
We all should have friendships outside those with our partners. But if those friendships become sources of secrecy and lies, there is a problem. Deception can taint what began with the most innocent of intentions. If deception enters the friendship, or if you desire to spend more time with the friend because they offer more support and companionship, you need to do more work on your relationship with your partner. Your partner shouldn’t be expected to meet all of your needs. But if you find someone that seems to be a better match, it can raise serious questions and concerns in both relationships.
Some would argue that if the friendship has not become sexual in nature that it is not harmful to the relationship, but that is not always the case. There could be an underlying sexual tension in the friendship. Urges of infidelity, even if resisted, are red flags that shouldn’t be ignored. Obvious signs include daydreaming about your friend or openly flirting with them. While the desire for sexual intimacy is obvious, emotional betrayal may be more difficult to identify.
We spend more waking hours at jobs than any other activity, so close relationships with coworkers are natural. In work relationships, you commonly share details of your personal life and that is how great friendships blossom. But if you are closer to a coworker than to your partner, your attention is being diverted away from making meaningful strides in your romantic relationship. Since no one can be in two places at one time, someone in the threesome is being neglected. Wherever you devote your time, you will begin to see seeds grow.
Even a cheater is a choosy lover and will spread their love thin. The heart is always true to itself so whether you are the cheater or the innocent party, to thy own self be true. If you are involved in an emotional affair, and want to save your relationship, the following steps will help.
- Immediately make your relationship your primary focus.
- Rebuilding trust requires that you commit to full honesty from this point on. There can be no secrets or deception about anything.
- The friendship cannot continue in the same way. If it involves a coworker, expect the transition to be awkward at times.
- The couple may consider counseling.