Written by Aaron & April Jacob
There you are, asking your good friend Google if you are having an emotional affair.
If you are asking, then your question is probably your answer.
If you aren't sure, but you kinda-think-you-might-be having an emotional affair, you probably are.
Recognizing your error is the first step to correcting it and making changes, so you are in the right place.
It's not too late to stop and to change!
You may have had some of the following thoughts before:
If you have ever wondered if you are having an emotional affair, or if you are cheating on your spouse, it's important to recognize what an emotional affair is and what it is not.
What an Emotional Affair is Not
1. An emotional affair is not one-sided. An emotional affair takes two. If you are thinking about someone, or have a crush on someone, or you just feel connected with someone, and they don't know about it and don't reciprocate those feelings, that is kind of creepy and not right, but it isn't an emotional affair. It is a form of cheating, because you are thinking about someone other than your spouse, but it isn't an emotional affair.
2. An emotional affair is not a real, platonic friendship with someone of the opposite sex that your spouse knows about. If you have friendships with members of the opposite sex from before you were married, and there is zero chemistry between you two, then doing something together with that friend is not cheating on your spouse. We wouldn't recommend it, because feelings CAN change, but boundaries can be set and as long as your spouse knows about it, it isn't an emotional affair.
3. An emotional affair is not a professional connection with a co-worker of the opposite sex. Even if you do spend a lot of time together.
4. Having relationships with members of the opposite sex, even if they are attractive members of the opposite sex, isn't an emotional affair. It's real life. And it's perfectly fine and acceptable, as long as you are respectful and professional in your boundaries and friendship.
So, what is an emotional affair?
According to good old Wikipedia, an emotional affair can be defined as,
"A relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse (or lover) that affects the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage." (here)
In short, it has been said that emotional affairs are affairs of the heart.
Any time you choose - yes, it is a choice - to open your heart to someone other than your spouse in order to connect and share on a deeper level, you are, in essence, beginning an emotional affair.
An emotional affair occurs when you seek out the kind of emotional, intellectual, spiritual & recreational connection reserved for marriage - with someone other than your spouse.
In essence, most people define having an emotional affair as falling in love with someone and perhaps dating someone (when you are married to someone else), without any physical or sexual aspect to the relationship.
Some don't think emotional affairs are a big deal, but we think otherwise.
We believe they are simply the beginning of full-blown physical affairs. And affairs always lead to heartache.
We would encourage you to beware the dangers of emotional affairs and to do everything possible to avoid the steps that lead to emotional affairs.
Am I having an emotional affair?
So, we didn't answer your question. Are you having an emotional affair?
10 questions you should ask yourself...
An easy way to know if you are cheating on your spouse and having an emotional affair - or if you are eve getting close - is to ask yourself a few questions, and to HONESTLY answer them:
1. If my spouse read the texts between me and this person, what would he/she think?
2. Would I want my spouse listening in on my conversations with this person?
3. Does my friendship with this person bring feelings of excitement, novelty, and romance?
4. Do I flirt with this person, even in small ways?
5. Do I look forward to being around this person?
6. Do I feel attached/addicted to this person, like I can't live without them?
7. What would my co-workers tell my spouse about my friendship with this person?
8. Do I text/email/talk about anything sexual with this person, even though we haven't been sexual together?
9. Am I intentionally lying to my spouse, hiding things, or being secretive about this person? Aka, does my spouse know about this person and about my relationship with them?
10. Do I feel bad, guilty, or wrong about my relationship with this person?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should take a step back and honestly evaluate your choices. Think about where they will lead you.
You know yourself best. If you pay attention to your inner feelings, you will know if you are having an emotional affair or not.
Once more, if you feel uncomfortable, uneasy, guilty, sad, depressed, or discouraged as you think about your secretive friendship, then it's probably time to cut ties completely and make things right.
It's time to stop cheating on your spouse.
Instead of trying to find out what the "boundaries" are and if you are cheating, decide to stay as far away from the "boundaries" as possible and to be the most loyal, loving spouse that you can be.
That choice is in your hands, dear friend.
You can get back on track, and fast. Just decide to do it. Decide to put all the energy you were putting into your "other relationship" back into nurturing your marriage, and you will see that doing things right feels good. Really good.
You've got this! And we are cheering you on.
~ Aaron & April
Photo Credit: Caitlinn Mahar-Daniels
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