Anger and love are two relatives that never go to the same family reunion.
They are emotions which inspire the best you feel and drag out the the worst you feel.
Love doesn’t even qualify as an emotion all by itself if you base the definition on researcher Robert Plutchik’s basic list. Plutchik defines love as a combination of two emotions – joy and trust.
That’s why when a partner is having an emotional affair, it feels so awful. Your love, your joy, your trust are all betrayed.
The first response some people have to the damaging effects of emotional affairs is:
“But there’s no sex.”
Sex is not love. It may express love, but deep down sex can and does happen sometimes just for the sake of… sex.
That’s why when partners who have been cheated upon are asked what hurts most about a spouse or lover’s affair, they say…
Studies have shown that both men and women who have been deceived by a partner feel more hurt over the SECRET than the SEX.
About 70 percent of women, slightly more than men, say sexual infidelity is more forgivable than emotional unfaithfulness. A partner who has a strong attachment to a third-party weakens the bond in the first relationship, sometimes to the breaking point.
For those who feel that an emotional attachment between two people is not enough to label it an affair, consider that giving one’s body can be as temporary a gift as the giver wants it to be.
With emotions, it’s difficult to even know where friendship ends and deeper feelings begin. Being emotionally close is a risky and usually longer investment. Backing away from that investment is much more difficult than zipping a fly.
Sexual attraction is a part of an emotional affair, even if it is never acted upon. The truth is the stronger that attraction is, the more likely it will move from fantasy to reality.
More gender-balanced workplaces and online social networking sites make intimate relationships easier to have…and hide. How far a person takes the relationship – a colleague, a chat buddy – is a matter of choice.
So, how do you know that a friendship, virtual or real, has crossed the trust boundaries of a marriage or other committed relationship?
Cheating Signs in Emotional Affairs
a. Verbal intimacy
The lover or spouse that moves outside a first relationship to confide to a third-party is breaking the privacy bonds of a primary relationship.
It’s one thing to say “I’m having a rough time at home right now” to a colleague and quite another to reveal “My husband isn’t very satisfying in bed.”
A partner who gripes about a first relationship with someone who is not part of it should be talking with a counselor or a lawyer. Better yet, that partner should be trying to work out the problem at home instead of sympathy and solutions beyond it.
b. Time Out
A partner who gradually extends a work day or a solo computer session might be letting a spouse or lover know that they’d rather be with someone else.
Time itself is a key factor in determining how vested beyond a promised relationship a partner may be.
When a spouse or lover would rather, in their hearts, be away, it’s a sign of one who will stray or one who already has.
c. Sexual Short Circuit
Something is off in the bedroom and none of it is pleasant.
A partner who declines the opportunity for sex repeatedly or seems distance and mechanical may mentally be elsewhere. If that elsewhere is an emotional tie to a third person, the symptoms will increase.
On occasion, the opposite occurs. A regular sex life suddenly becomes unusually vibrant. It may seem like a partner is taking the initiative to improve or shake up life in the bedroom, but it can be a sign that they’ve been fantasizing about having new sex with a new person and may be ready to practice those physical moves soon.
d. The Eyes
The secrecy and deception that is part of every kind of affair lives in the eyes. Partners who try to hide deep feelings for someone else will betray themselves with body language.
– Averting a spouse’s gaze
– Turning away from a lover
– Failing to show affection and warmth
– Creating verbal and physical distance
Often a partner engaged in an emotional affair is at war inside. Feelings are so consuming beyond a marriage or other relationship that there’s a double guilt – guilt about betraying a spouse and confusion about betraying a third person. A cheater is caught between duty and unexpressed feelings.
The End and The Beginning
Emotional affairs don’t last, but what happens with them can go one of two ways. Something happens to either stop what’s happening between two people or the relationship propels forward into a physical relationship.
One survey reported that people guilty of affairs online never started out looking for an affair. Maybe consciously they weren’t, but in almost half the cases, that innocent beginning turned into a physical affair.
The combination of an emotional affair that turns into a physical one can be the most devastating of all.
If you suspect that your partner has a relationship that has passed the stage of friendship, it’s time to act and ask some hard questions. They are difficult questions because the answers you might get may not be the ones you want to hear.
That makes them even more important to ask them.
How do you approach your partner?
What words can you say?
How do you know if the emotional affair is real?
What will you do if they admit it… or, worse yet, don’t recognize or acknowledge the relationship as an affair?