Nine Signs of an Emotional Affair
If 82% of affairs happen with someone who at first was “just a friend” as Shirley P. Glass’ research suggests, then maybe there’s benefit in exploring how these friendships begin. How does one have an emotional affair, and what signs are there that an emotional affair is developing? Is there something missing in our traditional monogamous relationships? What’s the emotional cause that paves the pathway for a statutory clause?
To begin let’s define the term. Emotional affairs exclude physical intimacy but include emotional intimacy. This would include anyone you know and may see in person during work or recreation as well as virtual friends through social media. This would include a friend you text, email or Facebook. While there is no in-person physical intimacy, emotional affairs are carried on in secret. I’ve listed for you nine signs that you may be developing an emotional affair in the hopes that you will be able to avoid them. Keep in mind while reading that is a how to in reverse, meaning if you can identify with these signs you may be developing a dangerous “friendship”.
Signs You Are Developing an Emotional Affair
1. Intimacy avoidance:
To have an emotional affair it’s helpful to forgo intimacy and substitute closeness. Intimacy is the willingness to know your mate as well as a willingness to be known. Avoid speaking up and creating conflict in your marriage. Instead settle for closeness and avoid the risk of rejection by your mate. To have an emotional affair it’s necessary to compromise yourself in order to make your mate happy. Intimacy avoidance allows you to silence the conversations which brought your marriage together and opens up the door for new opportunities. Avoiding rejection can successfully foil your mate’s attempts to know you and create new desire for a connection from an acquaintance, or newfound friend on the Internet. Save conversations about marital dissatisfaction for your ”friend”. Dealing directly with your mate about marital issues can rob you of opportunities to connect with someone outside the marriage.
2. Approval seeking:
The void created by those fearing rejection and settling for false intimacy creates a craving for the approval of others. It won’t be long until you discover someone who listens well and who’s fascinated by the words you speak. Pursuing opportunities to acquire their validation will help fuel the flame for more. It’s not really an affair, right? What’s wrong with talking with someone who tells you how good you look or who is fascinated by your success, or who appreciates your accomplishments? Allow yourself to believe this new person accepts your true self and don’t forget to blame your mate for not providing the same validation as your new friend.
3. Pimp tenderness:
To have a friend you have to be a friend. Always show sincere interest in the lives of others. Learn how to listen and show unmatched concern when they have problems in their life. If at all possible criticize others when they fail to respond or truly appreciate your new friend. Show concern by picking lent off their clothes. Never miss an opportunity to tell them how nice they look or what a good job they’ve done. Learn to be their number one cheerleader so they’ll always come to you for encouragement. Seek out every opportunity possible to be thoughtful. Bring them coffee in the morning, offer to help when possible. Create opportunities to go to lunch or dinner. When dressing always consider what they would like. Non-sexual touch such as rubbing their shoulders or hugging will help create familiarity and fuel relational desire. When your mate shares an opinion always remind yourself what your “friend” would have said. Forbidden fruit is always sweeter. You’ll find the excitement of keeping your relationship secret will only enhance your time together. When it feels your family is getting in the way of your time with your “friend” you’ll know you finally ignited an emotional affair.
4. Relational lethargy:
It takes a lifetime to truly know the mysteries of your mate. It takes over 30 years of marriage to even reach your sexual potential. The deeper waters of a person’s soul take years to discover. As the second law of thermodynamics states, you can never get as much out of a system as you put into it. Marriages have seasons where it feels you’re putting in far more than your getting out. Relational lethargy can allow you to justify your actions due to the lack of return from your marriage. Convince yourself your mate deceived you and that they’ve failed to live up to expectations. Curtail your investments in the marriage and enjoy the effortless infatuation that comes from the beginning stages of new friendship.
Sustaining the denial necessary to justify an emotional affair requires objectification. It’s necessary to see only the negative aspects of one’s mate if you have any hope of pushing away the guilt that might come from betrayal. When your mate raises concerns about your friend don’t listen; instead tell them they are being petty and controlling. Objectification of the affair partner is also necessary to sustain the emotional affair. Much of the benefit gained from emotional affairs is derived from seeing the other person as needing help, or as someone who is the most astute, most intelligent, most talented, or most beautiful. We imagine them being our counter part. Someone who gets me or who is like me. Why would you want to have an emotional affair with someone who’s just average? Magnifying what you most admire in the other person and minimizing their deficits will help you feel better about your decision to continue the “friendship.”
If people really understood the long-term cost of their actions would they be able to continue? That awareness would only serve as an anxiety generator. To have an emotional affair, minimize the impact of your actions and feign surprise when your mate gets upset. Never consider the impact on your children, after all they’re resilient and over time they’ll come to forgive you.
Deceiving yourself into believing you’re as wonderful as your Emotional Affair Partner sees you is necessary to obtain maximum benefit from your new found relationship. Always believe the lie that you’re better than their mate and that you’d have been far better off if you’d married them. Marriage partners are the makeup mirrors of our lives. They highlight every flaw and blemish. Emotional Affair Partners are vanity mirrors. We look amazing in their eyes. Approval seeking requires we suspend reality and imagine ourselves as seen though our EAP’s eyes. Failing to deceive one’s self makes entitlement almost impossible.
8. Be an emotional confidant:
To have an emotional affair it’s imperative that you begin providing the emotional intimacy that their mate doesn’t. You also need to look to them to be your primary source of support. Looking to them as your primary confidant will communicate their importance in your life and providing the same for them will cause them to become dependent on you rather than looking to their mate. Never miss an opportunity to probe how they feel and promise to be there if they need you. It won’t be long until you’re the most important person in their life.
9. Develop common interests:
Creating a shared activity with your “friend” provides something special the two of you can have in common. Activities such as bike riding, running, working out etc. are great activities that allow a legitimate excuse to spend time with your “friend”. Having something unique to your friendship allows for a feeling of exclusivity.