Let us put on our imaginative hats on for 2 minutes. You are casually scrolling through Instagram and there’s this guy who you’ve been digging their pics and commenting on everything they say. If you were not in a serious relationship he could have been the perfect one for you. However you noticed that not only can you drool over his pictures he is responding to your comments and seems even emotionally invested. You even found out he stays in the same city as you do and belongs to a local gym just a few blocks from your house.
“This is a great time to get fit” you think out loud and then register in the same gym. you even begin to work out around the same time he visits the gym all in a bid to be near him. He notices you and both of you become work-out buddies and exchange phone numbers so you can discuss the best diets to back-up your work-out’s with. Suddenly it hits you again that both of you are so in sync with each other and if you were not in a committed relationship he would have been a perfect choice in all regards. You have now confirmed that he’s definitely emotionally invested in you and this sends ticklish flashes throughout your entire body.
At this point you are fine with all of the feelings, chatting, trust and new-found closeness you enjoy with this person. Everything is under control after all both of you aren’t having sex. I understand that there are exceptions to all these rules but I can tell you for free that you have begun an affair. A point your partner and therapist might align on. You still are not sure right? Well I’ll help you clarify this by giving you clear signals that could help you tell yourself the unhinged truth.
1.Putting Yourself in High-risk Situations With Them
The moment you begin to put yourself in situations where you’re trying to be alone with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t your partner. It’s considered high-risk. Getting drinks, going on long drives or simply making out exclusive phone conversation time for them should be your first sign that you are having an affair. Social media, whatsapp etc. has made it much easier for individuals to connect with their exes triggering intimacy in a flash for the undisciplined emotion. I chose the word ”Undisciplined Emotion” because Mark Zuckerberg did not ask you to send that message or respond to the one that was sent to you. You decided because you wanted to. So impulsive and reckless men and women have sunk their marriages themselves.
2. The ”How About Your Partner” Dilemma
The moment you cannot answer this question freely with this new person in your life, then you are really in trouble. Many individuals have told me how their affairs begun from them trying to help a friend navigate turbulent emotional times in their life. They simply asked ‘How about your wife/husband?” and things just went too fast from that point. They were in too deep before they could realize something had gone wrong.
For you making the moves, If you begin to talk to your new crush about your main relationship that is a serious no-no. Secondly if you begin to tell this person how your partner pees on the toilet without raising the toilet seat or inform them on how not-so-caring he is then you are almost full circle into the affair. Any conversation with this person that leaves you emotionally vulnerable is an invitation to have them fill up some emotional space. However, do not think that talking business with them either is safe, especially if you know deep down that you like this person. All you may be trying to do is keep them around you by any means necessary. It’s one thing to say these things to this new person in your life about your partner but my ultimate litmus test is this.
Telling this new person about a lack between yourself and your partner that you haven’t even spoken to your partner about is treachery. A sell-out.
3. You’re Hiding and Lying About YOUR ACTIVITIES
Going to hang out with your female best friend is one thing but lying about it simply means you felt some measure of guilt. Anything that makes you lie to your spouse or hide certain activities from them is a red flag.
Please do not tell me you are protecting your spouse and saving their insecure soul the torture of suspicion because now you will be lying to me as well. If your partner is insecure validate them and not further re-in force it. Even extremely insecure people can be helped.
If you find yourself waiting to leave the house to communicate, deleting chats, refusing to tell your partner about them or just feeling conflicted about the whole situation then you are most likely having an affair. One of the toughest things I struggled with at the onset of my career 12 years ago was learning to allow people their full session of ‘Falsification’ without interrupting. Clients most times know they are having affairs but yet deny it themselves even after being caught or confronted by a partner. If it’s a friendly outing then your partner needs to know.
4. You Suddenly Feel ‘DESIRED’ and ‘POWERFUL’
When you begin to contemplate an affair while married it simply means that your relationship has gone sour. If there was ever a thing as the benefits of having an affair, I would list the opportunity to sincerely fix your relationship with your spouse or an opportunity to love again. When you do not build your relationship it dies. An affair has such a powerful pull because it makes you feel both desirable and powerful all at once. The two things you lose when your relationship settles into a comfortable crawl. Rather than work towards correcting this, many individuals would rather seek thrills outside of their marriage or relationship.
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5. You Start Avoiding REAL Intimacy With your Partner
When you start having an emotional affair, one of the things you lose is the intimate connection you once had with your partner. No deep conversations, moments or emotions are shared anymore. Most times the affair becomes the real avoidance mechanism for shying away from intimacy with a partner. At this point a partner cannot have deep conversations or share their feelings with you but rather would discuss it with an outsider just to maintain that distance between you and them. At this time, it would also be important to note this. especially with the up rise in the number of men and women attracted to married folk or people in committed relationships.
An attraction to a married person or someone in a committed relationship over 82% of the time points towards feeling unworthy and undeserving of a complete loving relationship that includes a give and take – both emotionally and physically.
6. The state of complete Obsession
Like a high-school kid in love, this person takes over your thoughts. Your routine and schedule now gets tinkered with to accommodate this person. Feelings begin to intensify and deepen at this stage. When you do not receive their messages you become very anxious regardless of who is watching. You start to take out your aggression on your partner, kids or anyone else who you consciously or unconsciously perceive to be a deterrent towards making this new relationship a lot more convenient for you.
This is the point where things begin to get dangerous because they have finally gained full control of your mental space. This means that at this point, they can be right there in the bedroom with you and your spouse even if not physically. At this point clients begin to build up libido with mental images of this person. After all, the aim is to satisfy your spouse RIGHT? Your sex life with you and your partner suddenly seems boring because there is a secret craving to sleep with this other person rather than your partner. Now the real problems begin.
7. The COMPLAINTS stage
All of a sudden you will come to realize that your spouse is not meeting up to most of your expectations. In fact you are really disappointed with them. Rather than reaching out to your former support structures of friends, siblings, in-laws etc. You would rather call on this one person who understands you more than everybody else in the world right now.
If you happen to be at this stage currently in your marriage or relationship, it’s the perfect time to seek out other healthy support systems you may require asides from your spouse. You could register for an online class, join a book club, schedule hang-out sessions with friends or simply connect via call with your family a lot more. This could help you not rely on your partners attention or lack of it.
8. Now you are LYING about the other person
It’s already bad enough that you are hiding a potential emotional affair from your spouse but having to lie about it is another level of deceit. Lying to someone who is supposed to rely on you 100 percent is your first step towards actual physical infidelity. The only two ways to stop this is by either speaking to your spouse about your struggle or simply speaking to someone else who you and your spouse trusts, holds in high esteem and relies upon.
The general idea is to become accountable and improve on your marriage again.
9. Requiring Support and Celebrating Successes with the other person
At this point it’s important to take note of who you run to when amazing things happen to you. Once this person isn’t your spouse, then you might have a much bigger problem on your hands than anticipated at the beginning of this article. Couples in healthy marriages turn to each other to celebrate happy times and also get support during bleak times. ONCE YOU ARE NOT RELYING ON YOUR PARTNER FOR THIS, you may have just replaced them emotionally. If this is the current state of affairs in your marriage then it’s time to work on your marriage and a good place to start is by asking your spouse for support. If they struggle with this, then it’s time to talk about it and get help from a professional near you.
Firstly, if you still do not think you are having an emotional affair and none of the points I mentioned resonate, then its a good time to go do something else and wait for my next article. However, if you know you were definitely having an emotional affair and have no plans of breaking up with your partner then you have taken the first step which is admitting that you were having an affair.
I wish I could tell you to go back to your crush and request that both of you remain business partners or friends. Unfortunately my usual advice is that you completely cut off ties with them. Most professionals are still divided on IF you should tell your partner that you had been embroiled in an emotional affair especially if there was no physical intimacy. I believe that this is the true test of honesty and friendship between partners and should be discussed. Other therapists may advice that you keep it under wraps and save your partner the emotional torture since nothing happened and all has been handled with ties cut.
My opinion is that the best marriages are the ones where both partners are mature and vulnerable enough to clean out their closets, communicate healthily and rebuild trust after it has been shaken. Whatever you try to hide, OWNS YOU. – Temple Obike
Couples therapy could help you and your partner rebuild intimacy and connect on a much deeper level than before. i would love to leave you with one piece of information. Your partner will NEVER be the most attractive person in every room or place and as long as you are constantly searching for a distraction, you will always find one. If you constantly find yourself in situations where you are looking, the real solution is to opt in for therapy and find out WHY you are doing this after which you can then understand how to stop.
This is a good place to end today’s piece and don’t forget that an emotional affair nipped at the bud is an opportunity to strengthen a union and make it better.