Understanding what an emotional affair mean is crucial in recognizing the dynamics at play when two people, already in a relationship, experience strong feelings of attraction towards one another. Despite existing commitments, these intense emotions are often acknowledged and encouraged, creating a complicated situation.
These kinds of affairs are hard to figure out because it’s hard to tell if your partner is really seeing someone else. Emotional affairs are seen as friendships that have turned into something more, but not enough to set off alarm bells.
Why Is Having an Emotional Affair Wrong?
Even if an emotional affair isn’t a full-fledged physical affair, the fact that it’s called that is worrying. Many people have talked about their problems with partners who have emotional affairs, and most of them feel stuck in their own bad feelings because, technically, their partner is not cheating.
Or maybe not.
A study was done to find out what men and women thought about emotional matters. They found that women cared more about feelings than men did. Men were more worried about having a sexual affair, while they didn’t worry about having an emotional affair.
In reality, you should be worried. An emotional affair is similar to a sexual affair, but what people are doing to each other is not the problem. The problem is how they are starting to feel about each other.
How Other People’s Feelings Affect Your Relationship
People can be more open and vulnerable with the person they are having an emotional affair with because they both think they are safe from doing anything immoral that could be seen as cheating.
Talking to someone is not the same as cheating, but giving your love and attention to someone other than your partner is just as bad. This is because having an emotional affair lets you share the good parts of your relationship with someone else.
People who are in relationships talk to each other about their problems. They also share in each other’s happiness. They work out their problems together and try to stay close for as long as possible.
Sadly, if you start doing these things with someone other than your partner, you won’t have any left to do with your partner. By giving everything to the person you’re having an emotional affair with, you’re basically shutting out your partner and making this new relationship more permanent.
That’s when people start to cheat. That’s when your relationship’s problems come full circle. Then you realize that your heart has been unfaithful to the person you said it would be with.
How To Tell If Your Partner Is Having an Emotional Affair
They become friends with someone new all of a sudden.
While not necessarily a warning sign, it can help you narrow down the possibilities of who your partner is having an emotional affair with. If your partner has met someone who you think would be a good match for them if they were single, it’s okay to keep an eye on them. Don’t suffocate your partner or accuse them of something you don’t know.
They would rather tell that person how they feel.
This is the first warning sign. If your partner talks about personal things with someone else but won’t talk about them with you, they might be having an emotional affair.
They use what that person says to hurt you. The way they feel about your relationship depends on what someone else thinks. Your partner will think about how this new person thinks and compare it to how you think about your relationship. They will tell you how much they like this person instead of telling you about your flaws.
They have dates.
Hanging out is not the same as going on a date. When we say “date,” we mean a planned meeting with the goal of talking. People don’t plan things like this with people they don’t know well. If your partner goes out for coffee or drinks with someone “just to talk,” this could be a sign that they are having an affair.
They don’t mind being touched in a semi-intimate way.
When people sit too close together, hug too long when they say goodbye, or hold hands without feeling weird about it, they are touching in a semi-intimate way. When you’re in a relationship with someone, these things should feel wrong. Even though it’s fine for your partner, it’s not fine for the one left behind, which are you.
They look guilty even though they don’t think they are.
When you ask them about it, they don’t look or act like they’re not guilty. They know they aren’t doing anything wrong, but their gut and instincts are telling them otherwise. This will show in the way they talk or act when the subject of an emotional affair comes up.
With their friend, they look happier.
If you see your partner with this person, try to compare how they treat them to how they treat you or your friends. Talk to your partner about anything that doesn’t look or feel right. Even if they say they’re not in love, people who are having emotional affairs often look like they are.
You don’t think it’s right.
Trust what you feel and what you think. Don’t act hastily, but take the time to think about how you feel and what you want to do with it. Your partner will pull away from you if you fight with them, so try to devise a way to say what you want without insisting that you are right. Let them explain, and then you can figure out what to do next.
How Should You Handle It?
The word “okay” is the main reason why emotional relationships thrive. When your partner says it’s okay because they’re not cheating, the person they’re having an emotional affair with will start to agree that it’s “okay.” You will say “Okay” because you can’t find any proof that your partner is cheating.
No more of that. It’s not okay to have an emotional affair. Saying it’s okay is not okay. When you promise someone your heart, you are telling them that you will give them all of your heart. You can give it to your friends and family, but you can’t keep some of it for yourself and give the rest to someone else.
So, you should take care of this problem as soon as you can. They haven’t done that yet. No, they haven’t even kissed or held hands, but that’s not always a good sign of an emotional relationship. Sooner or later, they will move from talking about how they feel to touching each other.
Here’s what you should do before that happens:
Call your partner out.
Do it in a calm and logical way. Don’t get angry or start blaming others. Start by telling them what you think and how you came to this conclusion. Even though this article might help you, don’t use it to back up your argument. Use your feelings and the truth you’ve been hiding while watching your partner have an emotional affair.
Tell them why it’s wrong to have an emotional affair.
Most of the time, people with emotional affairs say they are not cheating. If you point out the mistakes in this situation, they might start to see that you have a good case against what’s been going on.
Offer to find a good time and date to talk about how to fix things.
Don’t try to force your partner to do what you need them to do to stop the affair. At this point, they probably don’t know what’s going on. If someone knows that you don’t want to be friends with them and that it hurts you, they might wonder why you started feeling that way in the first place. Give them some time to think about how they feel so they can go into this with an open mind.
Face the problems in your relationship and figure out how to fix them.
You now know what your partner is getting out of their relationship with another person because of their emotional affair. Whatever they like about that other person could be what they don’t like about you. Your partner might not be getting it from you or might think you’re not willing to give it. Talking can help clear things up, but first, you have to figure out what’s going wrong.
If you can’t fix it, start thinking about what else you can do.
You and your partner might not be able to make things better by talking about them or trying to fix them. You can take more time if you want, but if someone’s heart wants to go somewhere you can’t go, it’s best to just let them go. Unless you want to break each other’s hearts by trying to hold on.
Emotional situations can be hard to spot and hard to call out. Using our five suggestions, you can have an open conversation with your partner about the issue and hopefully work out your differences. Don’t forget that no one is perfect, and not every relationship is meant to last. Do what’s best for both you and your partner.
Related articles you might like: 20 Things You Cannot Ignore When Dating a Highly Sensitive Person, 10 Annoying Habits That Will Drive Your Partner Away, 7 Indications That Your Bumpy Relationship Needs Another Chance