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Are You Having an Emotional Affair?

We know that these days – where there are more females in the workforce than ever before, where they take more equal job positions than men – the parameters of male-female friendships are constantly being redefined to fit our modern world.

We’ve come a long way since Mad Men.

Are you having an emotional affair?

But even so, the parameters for platonic friendships are still are fuzzy for now – especially when one half of the friendship is already in a romantic relationship.

No matter how evolved we think we’re being, there will probably at some point come suspicion and jealousy when your partner starts spending time with a new friend of the opposite sex.

Adding to the grey area is the latest buzz-term in the world of deception: the Emotional Affair.

These are affairs that you may not even realise you’re having, because technically, you’re not breaking any rules.

There’s been no swapping of saliva, no one’s seen anyone naked… you may tell yourself you’re just good friends, even though you know you’re thinking about this person perhaps just a bit too much, talking to them more often than is appropriate, and sharing with them things that you would normally share only with your partner.

If this all sounds familiar, and you think you’re not doing anything dangerous, you’d be wrong. Emotional affairs are a little different to your regular run of the mill friendships.

Not only are these affairs the precursor to a full-blown, adulterous kind, but even if you never get to that stage, you’ve already broken your partner’s trust.

You are getting your emotional needs met by someone else, and in the process you are probably lying to your partner about the nature of this “friendship”.

I’ve been guilty of an emotional affair before – and yes, it turned to a between the sheets romp.

The “emotional” part of the affair was wonderful at the time – it’s flattering and exciting to have someone encouraging and supporting you, someone who thinks you’re fascinating and listens to every word you say, even if your boyfriend back at home has heard it all before.

My “friend” and I would walk down the street holding hands, flirt outrageously, hug often and spend long nights just talking – often about my frustrations with my boyfriend at the time.

While I told myself we hadn’t “technically” crossed any lines, it was not a friendship my boyfriend at the time would have approved of. I was certainly betraying him.

At the time, I wanted to believe I hadn’t done anything wrong but in hindsight, I know better.

And of course, the second my boyfriend and I broke up, I fell into the other guy’s bed.

The sex wasn’t nearly as good as the years of “emotional foreplay” we’d had before it and the relationship – in all forms – quickly died after that.

If you have a certain friend you think you may be getting a little too deep with, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth risking your relationship for.

Are you pushing your partner away? Confiding in your friend about relationship problems? Talking to them all the time? Fantasizing about them?

The good news is, it’s not too late to stop it now. Find out what you’re missing in your own relationship and go looking for it there, before you make a huge mistake.

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Author |

Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.

Discussion

3 comments for “Are You Having an Emotional Affair?”

  1. Posted by Cboyd | July 14, 2012, 10:01 am

    I myself have been in a emotional affair, the turn into full blown infidelity. I was married and got annoyed that my wife didn’t care to listen to my dreams or desires and believe in my heart she’d rather be with friends then family. What made it even more frustrated is that getting married was her idea; I only tickle with the thought because I had gotten her pregnant and felt jumping the broom was the right thing to do. after 3 years of what I felt was neglect. I sought the affection of a friend whom had reach out to me to cope with her own relationship pain. we became each other’s escape goat and we ended up falling into bed with one another. I can relate to the story so much I had to write. in the end I truly didn’t want a relationship with the other person, just for my wife to appreciate what she had, and what other women would do to get it.

  2. Posted by Babyface | August 9, 2012, 2:14 pm

    I can totally relate to an emotional affair. Currently I have been in a 3yr relationship that is so routine it makes me sick. A few months ago I met someone that I can totally relate to in every aspect. We laugh, play, and most of all confide in each other. I am totally infatuated with this person. My partner is a little bit older than myself and very settled. On the other hand this other person is younger and more vibrant. She makes me feel like a teenager all over again. There has not been any physical involvement but I can feel it coming. What can I do to stop this emotional affair?

  3. Posted by Emma | August 9, 2012, 2:24 pm

    @Babyface, it’s completely normal to seek a bit of an ego boost outside your relationship every now and then… after all, it’s new, novel things that our brains and hormones respond to. The only real problem is when it goes too far.

    If you really don’t want to let it cross the line and you love your partner, here’s my advice: Pull back from your flirtation with the other woman and focus that same attention on your current relationship. Take your partner out for some fun date nights, shake up your routine, try some new things together that will make you laugh and reconnect you.

    Once you’ve led by example, tell her that you’d like for the two of you to keep having fun like this. Relationships will only get boring and mundane if you let them. Fight against it.

    In most cases, you can let it cool off with your emotional fling and just be friends with them. Keep it at arm’s length, give yourself a few weeks of little to no contact… it’s hard to re-establish your connection with your current partner if your head is always being turned by another.

    Good luck, let us know how you go and feel free to ask if you want any more advice.

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