Having an emotional affair isn’t extraordinary anymore. When our emotional needs don’t meet in our relationships, we tend to bend towards people outside for support. One of the biggest misconceptions we have is that we cheat only when we get physical with someone who isn’t our partner. The truth is, emotional cheating also has the same number of red flags to break a relationship.
In this article, we’ll understand what this means, and how can we recognize the signs. If you find such behavioral traits in yourself, it’s time to pull back to save your relationship. If you see these traits in your partner, talk it out immediately!
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What is Emotional Cheating?
“We’re just friends,” some say. And yet, every time they return home, they leave a piece of their heart with that “friend.” Getting extremely attached to someone outside the relationship accounts for Emotional Cheating. It is more like a nonsexual intimacy with someone your partner doesn’t know about. One who is an emotional cheater might think it is harmless, “We’ve not been physical! What’s wrong with having friends?” Well, in the longer run, such people lose connection with their primary partner. Ultimately, it leads to the unfortunate demise of the real relationship.
You should know that no one decides upon emotional cheating intentionally. It begins with an innocent friendship. When you find that your partner is slightly disinterested at home or in you, it could just be a phase. But one who cannot handle a long period of this phase might end up making emotional friends outside their relationship.
Therapists confirm that many people share their discomfort with their partners having profound conversations with friends or colleagues. Plus, the internet has made it easier for people to cheat emotionally. Professional exchange of emails could convert into personal chats in no time. Or some flattery over social media using comments or DM’s. Within no time, we don’t realize when we cross a line. It could even be a teacher, a student, or a neighbor. If one is sharing more than they do with their partner, they’re having an emotional affair!
So, how exactly can we recognize an emotional affair? Let’s take a look at some signs.
Signs you’re Having an Emotional Affair
1. You don’t express your feelings with your Primary Partner
One who has an emotional affair will already feel light-hearted after sharing their feelings with their emotional partner. If you feel like you no longer want to express anything to your partner or that life is merely a routine with them, then it’s time you reconsider where you’re going wrong.
At the same time, if you find that your partner has stopped sharing things the way they used to, then you might want to check what’s wrong. There’s a possibility that they’ve already found a shoulder to cry on outside your house.
Rectifying why that is happening and how you can fix it is a responsibility that both partners should take. Talking things out or speaking to a Couples Counselor should do the deal for you.
2. There are no inhibitions in complaining about your partner
You might look for an emotional affair only when you are unhappy in your relationship. In such scenarios, you get so attached to your emotional partner that you might openly complain about your primary partner. Even spiritually, scriptures talk about how this is something people should avoid. When we don’t know someone too well, we hold inhibitions to share secrets about our relationships. But once you have an emotional affair, you’ll realize it’s not that uncomfortable anymore.
Reflect on incidents when you’ve felt this way. If it has happened to you, then maybe it’s time to put an end to this habit.
3. Getting ready before meeting your “Friend”
Notice how we put the word Friend within double quotes? It confirms what we said above. One might think that they’re friends, while in reality, they are their emotional partners. If you’re spending extra time in getting ready to meet this person or have butterflies every time you see them, know for sure that you’re in an emotional affair.
Observe your partner’s behavior in front of the person you think they are emotionally cheating with, that is, if you know them too. If you find such conduct, sit down, and have “the talk.”
4. The Biggest Red flag- You keep thinking about the person
You’re comfortably at home with your partner, but your mind still drifts towards the person you’re getting emotionally attached to. This is one of the biggest red flags of having an emotional affair. Despite being with your loved one, thinking about someone else is morally wrong. Introspect, and then take it ahead accordingly. If you find yourself doing that, then disconnect with the person immediately.
5. Password Reset!
Mostly, an emotional affair is secretive. You might not want to tell your partner about how close you are to someone else. Even if they know the person as your friend, you definitely don’t want them reading your texts. An emotional cheater will change passwords to their phones and other accounts to hide their emotional relationship.
Yet another sign is that you will not leave your phone alone even when you’re not using it. “What if the person messages you and your partner sees it?” Avoid this at once. One who indulges in such behavior is giving their partner a reason to doubt there’s something fishy, which there is.
6. Unfriendly Times
We all have some time set aside for friends and some particular hours set aside only for our partners. But an emotional cheater will subconsciously cross the boundaries of these hours. Staying awake to chat after your partner is asleep, taking your phone to the bathroom to text, going on sudden early morning walks to get on a call, and even setting raise work to get in touch are all signs of emotional cheating. In such a scenario, you’ll try and find every hour available when your partner isn’t around, only so that you can chat in peace. Here’s the news, you’re having an emotional affair!
7. Behavioral Changes
If your partner is having an emotional affair, then you might want to notice their changing behavior. Either they’ve quietened down in front of you or are mostly angry or frustrated at you. Then come the comparisons of you with their “friend” to prove how they’re unhappy. When such situations reoccur, you should consider speaking to your partner about it.
And in case you’re the one doing it, then, an apology should be on the way!
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8. Lack of Intimacy
Whether you like it or not, when you are in a committed relationship, emotions back intimacy. But when there are no emotions left from one person, how can there be an intimacy like before? If you notice that there is a lack of intimacy, or that there’s no connection when you have sex with your partner, it is because you are emotionally invested elsewhere. You know what to do when that happens, right?
How to end an Emotional Affair?
The answer is within you. Notice the signs, and first come to an acceptance that you’re having an emotional affair. Speak to your friend about how you don’t feel so good about it. Then analyze why you felt the need to look for emotional support outside your primary relationship. If it is because your partner is emotionally unavailable, then talk to him about it, and tell him where it led you. If the problem is that you want more from your partner, the solution is still the same, talk it out. But if everything is okay, and you still are an emotional cheater, it is time to take a break from your routine to find out the how’s and why’s.
Seek help from a mental health professional if the problem increases. Talking it out and letting the load off your chest is the first way to go about this. Disconnect from your emotional partner, and try to fix things at home.
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