It normally starts with a rough patch in the marriage. One spouse feels rejected. She doesn’t feel like he pays attention to her or he feels like she is never interested in sex. Someone gets hurt, maybe even repeatedly. The feelings and voices replay over and over again, “He doesn’t appreciate me.” “She never shows me affection.” “He takes me for granted.” “She doesn’t love me.”
Then it happens. While at work or a party, there is an interaction with someone of the opposite sex. The person feels good and excited, two emotions that haven’t been felt in a while. These are all of the things they used to feel with their spouse. They can’t wait for the next time they see or talk to that person. After a while, they look forward to interacting with that person more than their spouse.
Emotional affairs are a real and painful form of infidelity. However, at what point has the line been crossed? Answering yes to the following questions are signs you are having an emotional affair or headed that way.
Are you hiding things from your spouse?
This is the biggest and most telling signal. The moment you keep secrets from your spouse about relationships with others, the betrayal begins. Deleting texts and emails, putting passwords in place to restrict access or starting a new email account your spouse doesn’t know about crosses the line.
Do you feel a greater connection to this person over your spouse?
Do you feel like this person understands you more than your spouse? Are you having more deeply personal talks with this person more than your wife? Do you talk to her about your marital problems? If you find yourself leaning on this person for emotional support, your connection with them is going to grow as will your disconnection with your spouse.
Do you to flirt with one another?
Giving someone a compliment is fine, however flirting is a violation. Flirting is being overly or strategically complimentary. It is sending someone signals that you are attracted to them and open to their reciprocated affection. It is gazing eye contact and suggestive touching with a spirit of attraction. It’s important to be honest about your intentions because the other person will pick up on your feelings and so will your spouse.
Do you daydream about this person?
When you are with your spouse are you preoccupied with thinking about the other person? Do you think about her more than your wife? Do you get excited when you think about your interactions, replaying the old ones and looking forward to the next time? At this point, your heart is entangled. The more time you spend thinking about the other person the more cracks appear in your marriage. Your spouse will sense the problem and feel the neglect.
Do they fill a “missing piece” in your life or marriage?
Whether it is lack of attention, hurt feelings or just boredom, something is missing in your marriage. Are you trying to fill that hole with this “friend”? Do they give you things your marriage no longer does? If you are finding the attention you lack or are experiencing the thrill you used to feel for your spouse, you are there. As long as you are finding those things from a person other than your spouse, your marriage will continue to lose more life and be in danger.
Sound Off: What are some other signs of an emotional affair?