There are things you need to know if your relationship is impacted by an emotional affair.
The term emotional affair is being used now more than ever.
The internet has made it very easy for individuals to connect with other people and express their feelings.
Although an emotional affair may start in settings such as the workplace, charity organizations, and during sports activities, most emotional affairs happen online.
An emotional affair is a relationship with a person where he/she finds comfort in, outside of marriage, or the primary relationship.
People in an emotional affair often have strong feelings of affection towards each other, and there is also a presence of sexual chemistry.
But the connection is purely emotional, and there is no physical or sexual contact.
The only thing that is typically perceived as “wrong” with an emotional affair is that the relationship is sneaky, and the spouse is uninformed.
The person in an emotional affair may contact the one they feel connected to several times a day to share their feelings and emotions.
These feelings are not expressed to their primary partner or spouse but are discussed with the person outside of the primary relationship.
A catalyst may be that the primary relationship has shortcomings and problems that serve as the basis for the beginning of an emotional affair.
However, it is not the fault of the other partner.
The one partner uses the emotional affair as a way to escape reality and find comfort elsewhere.
An emotional affair may start as friendship, but as the emotional connection strengthens gradually, it transforms into something more serious.
This leads to the person being prone to let down their boundaries.
Doing this results in both of them feeling compelled to be together.
As time moves forward, they look forward to hearing from one another, and the frequency of contact increases.
When your partner finds out about the emotional affair
It does not matter if you were involved physically and sexually or not, when the significant other finds out; they will most likely feel an outburst of emotions.
They will feel hurt and like they are not being understood, and that thought is disturbing as well as painful.
The one who was in a relationship may say, “I did not sleep with someone else, why are you making a fuss about it?”
But it is the emotional affair that could be perceived as destructive as compared to a physical one-night stand.
The person in an emotional affair may be in denial that there is no big deal and as they have never met in person, there will be no meeting at all.
But regardless, the significant other is bound to feel hurt.
They will have questions like:
“Why did you need someone else when you had me?”
“Had I been a bad partner?”
“If it’s not a big deal, why would you keep the affair hidden?”
And what may start as an argument can become something more significant.
The reality is that an emotional affair is a threat to the relationship and the bond of love a couple shares.
If there is an outside force trying to break it, your partner will feel threatened.
Your partner will be upset and enraged to discover the emotional affair because trust has been compromised on some level.
You masked the emotional affair because you knew it is hurtful for your significant other.
And when the truth is finally out, you cannot expect your partner to act as if nothing happened.
For your partner is not just hurt but is now feeling insecure and betrayed.
Misunderstandings about emotional affairs
The couple will feel disconnected after the emotional affair surfaces.
The person involved in the emotional affair will feel over accused and offended.
The partner, on the other hand, will feel hurt and betrayed because there was a lack of physical intimacy among the two.
The spouse will think that if the emotional affair had stayed undiscovered for longer, it would most likely have been converted into a sexual relationship.
The partner who feels betrayed feels this way because if the affair didn’t matter why is someone else more informed about what is happening in their life than they are.
Partners often open up that they feel the most hurt when the person they have an affair with receives more phone calls and texts than they do.
This is a sign that the marriage or the primary relationship was failing somewhere.
Some needs had been unfulfilled by the primary partner who was later fulfilled by the emotional affair.
You end up getting stuck in an array of misunderstandings and problems.
When those misunderstandings pile up, your relationship becomes too tangled and getting back to normal very hard.
An opportunity for reconnection
After an emotional affair, the level of pain will only grow over time, and after months of arguing, you might give couples therapy a chance.
But because your partner was deeply hurt and the pain increased, resolving the problems will get more complicated.
Your partner may stay at work for longer and devote themselves to their career.
The closeness will no longer be there, and the relationship will most likely be strained.
Take the example of Brad and Racheal.
Brad and Racheal have problems in their relationship.
Brad’s devotion to his career meant long hours away from home.
Racheal did not know how to express her needs to Brad for greater closeness and more time together.
Brad failed to understand why his career-driven mindset didn’t illustrate how important Racheal was to him – since he was doing everything for their future.
Still, despite this, he failed to nurture an emotional connection with Racheal.
This missing piece in their marriage was later filled by an emotional affair.
So they had to fix that.
Brad and Racheal started revisited the places that kept them connected in the past.
Racheal enjoyed hiking, and Brad liked attending local theatre, so now they re-prioritise their time together.
They created a daily ritual of spending more time with each other in the yard, shared every evening what happened during the day and how everything went, and what they felt during the day.
Spending quality time with the significant other
Fortunately the couple, Brad and Rachael recovered from the impact of an emotional affair.
But, unfortunately, today in the age of the internet, many more couples go through extreme challenges of staying connected and aren’t that lucky.
If you want to make your relationship a priority, you need to adjust everything.
If you are too indulged in work and building a career, then you probably have less time for yourself and your family which can hurt you in the long run.
Staying up late for work, working at weekends, and attending calls all the time is most likely already invading your privacy and relationship.
You will not be able to give time to your partner if you give your work a priority 24/7.
It’s crucial to take a break and nurture your relationship, for the sake of long term happiness in your relationship.
Furthermore, if you’re a parent, the time you have for your children also affects your relationship.
If you are too busy to be a dad or mum for your children, your family will eventually disconnect and possibly drift apart.
You need to make sure that you are there when they need you, in their sad moments, in their success, and also fun times.
If you don’t take them to the park or play with them, attend their sports and school activities, they will feel alone and unimportant in time.
This is important because your relationship with your kids will also take a toll on your relationship in the long run.
Conversely, however, you may also make the mistake of giving all of your time to your kids.
If your kids are consuming all the hours you could spend with your wife, and she is not feeling cared for or feels alone, it may be a clear indicator that you should start spending more quality time together too.
Recovering from an emotional affair
Never underestimate the damage an emotional affair can cause.
An emotional affair can be equally or more destructive than a physical affair.
Partners who value an emotional connection in a relationship will not be able to recover sooner and on their own.
Some research suggests that women in particular are less forgiving of emotional affairs than men and struggle to recover from them.
Men, conversely, struggle to forgive and move on from physical affairs than women.
To heal yourself, you must not shut out your emotions.
Let yourself feel all the pain, anger, regret, and negative things that you had been shutting out for a long time.
The worst thing you can do to calm your partner is telling that it was not a big deal and they should not worry about it.
It shows that you don’t consider emotional affairs bad and may do something like that again.
Stop the emotional affair.
It is the toughest part, but if you really love your partner and still care about them, the affair spells nothing good for your relationship.
Continuing the emotional affair is like poking holes in the relationship while trying to sew it back together again.
Seek professional help.
Sign in for couple’s therapy online or join a coaching program.
Your partner may be feeling hurt and hollow inside.
You cannot erase what just happened, but you can surely try to make things better.
You love your partner, so you simply need to make the significant other feel loved.
This post was previously published on therelationshipguy.com.
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