When you hear the word ‘affair’ or think of someone cheating, chances are your thoughts will go immediately to the bedroom.
It is the physical aspect of cheating that many of us are understandably concerned about, but experts say that ‘emotional affairs’ are more common and probably more dangerous to your relationship, as well as being more difficult to spot.
What’s more, emotional cheating seems to be on the rise. So, what is it, and how can you lower the chances of it happening?
An emotional affair doesn’t need physical contact to cause a split in your relationship. They are when someone has platonic or friendly feelings to someone that then grow into romantic or sexual thoughts while in a relationship with someone else.
The problem is that these feelings can be hidden by the cover of a normal friendship, but in these cases, they cross the line of friendship and start becoming inappropriate.
Research shows that 45% of men and 35% of women admit to having had some type of emotional affair – which is over 20% higher than those who admit to having had a full-blown physical affair.
Hiding In Plain Sight!
‘Emotional Affairs’ are so common because they can be covered as being a regular, albeit close, friendship. Not only that, but a lot of people don’t even view them as cheating and not everyone is able to recognize when the line has been crossed.
This means that an ‘emotional affair’ is easier to stray into as well as easier to keep hidden!
Keep going to find out the common causes of an ‘Emotional Affair’ – they may surprise you…
What Causes An ‘Emotional Affair?’
The exact causes for people cheating are as varied as the couples themselves but, with an emotional affair, the reasons are often to do with a break-down of connection or communication with a partner.
When everyday life gets in the way of a relationship it is easy to become emotionally distant from the very person you sleep next to every night. Taking each other for granted, forgetting to take time for each other, and not communicating on an emotional level can all lead to someone finding that connection elsewhere.
Social media has only served to make the problem bigger as we can quite literally be sat at the table with a partner while communicating with someone else on the cell phone.
Being physically close but emotionally distant is a real problem and 88% of women say they’re more concerned about an emotional affair than a physical one!
Physical cheating can be explained away by desire and sexual needs, but how do you explain the connection formed by months of emotional cheating?
So, how do you spot the signs of an ‘Emotional affair?’
How Can You Spot Emotional Cheating?
The problem is that many people don’t recognize the signs of emotional cheating.
But, if for example, you find yourself eagerly awaiting a reply from someone, always seek a particular person’s input on difficult areas of your life, or constantly look forward to chatting with that person, you may be slipping into an emotional affair…
Especially if you are also not communicating with your partner.
Taking Things Further?
However, at this point, the affair could still be seen as a friendship. The balance tips when you start thinking about the person sexually or wondering what it would be like to date them.
With the emotional connection that you have formed, it is easy to go from friendly to romantic feelings.
From here, it is common for both people to begin to know that the relationship is something more than friendship. There may be flirting, expressions of attraction, romance, or a physical affair may even develop.
Want to prevent this happening to you?
How To Prevent An Emotional Affair
We often think that someone cheats because they are being ignored by their partner, so they look elsewhere for love or satisfaction. But with emotional cheating, the causes can also be more complex. Relationship advice columnist, Chelsea Leigh Trescott explained:
Preventing an emotional affair is all about communication.
Speak to each other about what you can do to connect more in the time you spend together, and work out the boundaries you each have when it comes to emotional cheating.
Is it cheating if your partner gets a coffee with someone else?
A drink at a bar?
How about a candle-lit one?
You get the idea!
Don’t take each other for granted and make sure you check to see how your partner is feeling. If you become emotionally detached, your partner is more likely to seek that connection with someone else who does want to listen and spend time with them. From there you are opening up the door to a potential affair.
But what do you do if you find yourself being drawn into an emotional affair yourself?
What To Do About An Emotional Affair
If you feel like you are getting close to an emotional affair yourself then you need to decide what you actually want. If you decide to stay then you need to recognize the causes of the emotional affair without casting blame.
Sure, your partner may have made you feel like you needed to look elsewhere, but this is not their fault but rather a sign of something wrong in your relationship with them. Maybe this something can be addressed and fixed?
If you are caught, then experts say you should come clean just like with a physical affair. Licensed marriage and family therapist Michelene M. Wasil says: