An emotional affair may appear as a safe and harmless alternative to cheating on your spouse. It may begin as an innocent friendship at the workplace, or as a random conversation on the internet. You may think that this person understands you better than your spouse, and takes you to an emotional high that you no longer experience with your partner. You may also find excuses for your behavior, like you are entitled to a little excitement in your life, and that you are being unfair to yourself if you don’t share your thoughts with someone who appreciates them.
The truth is, such romances can have a potentially devastating effect on your marriage, even though they may not lead to physical involvement initially. Emotional infidelity is deeply demoralizing, and many spouses who have been victims of unfaithfulness have commented emotional infidelity is far more painful than sexual infidelity.
You are in an emotional affair when you share deep secrets, longings, and intimate thoughts with someone who is not your spouse. It may consume your every waking thought and action, and it usually begins when you feel you are not connecting with your spouse and you decide to look for alternatives to fill in the role you feel is missing in your partner.
As easy it is to initiate an emotional affair, it is as hard to get out of one. Following are some tips through which breaking the pattern and reestablishing the trust your partner has in you can be achieved. It is only the first step in restoring your marriage, as the process takes time depending upon the situation of the couple.
Come to terms with reality
Perhaps you already know that deep down there is a hint of deceitfulness and betrayal involved with the other person. It may be challenging to face it squarely, but this is the first step of you realizing that your marriage is skating on thin ice and if you don’t take appropriate and timely action, it might as well be the end of it. Your commitment to your spouse is undermined by the fact that someone else is intricately knowledgeable about your intimate life, and this is a major breach of trust.
Determine why it happened
Rooting the cause of infidelity may help you to work on the weak areas of your marriage and remain careful the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. Understanding the ‘why’ will help you move past it. In most cases, the answer results in lack of communication or lack of connection among spouses that leads to finding comfort outside home. Pin point the problem, and seek counseling to look for solutions. The solution will not come as quickly as you expect, and it requires considerable amount of patience and steadfastness.
Consider your commitment to your spouse
Breaking off an emotional affair is much easier if you realize that it is unfair to all parties involved, especially your spouse. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and ask yourself questions like how would you feel if you were in a similar situation, or how would you value your marriage after knowing your partner had been unfaithful. Understand the fact that marriages don’t just happen, and they require efforts that span a lifetime to be successful. The sooner you comprehend this fact, the better for your emotional wellbeing. You need to realize what truly matters: a temporary thrill or an actual marriage. And then it is likely that your immediate intention would be of ending an emotional affair.
Emotional affairs can be detrimental to you as an individual because your consciousness is being split in two directions that are related to each other by your existence. Realize that it is going to be difficult, as emotional affairs tend to last longer than sexual affairs. A connection that has been developed over time is harder to break, and with social media apps, the temptation of staying in touch is higher than ever. But if you have made your decision that you are going to fight for your marriage, and that the love for your spouse is worth terminating any secret relationships, then it is the price that you need to be prepared to pay.
Dealing with the consequences
You may feel an emotive withdrawal when you terminate your emotional romance. You may find it hard to connect with your spouse and you may not get similar response or appreciation that you got from your fling. These are all normal side effects, which will diminish with time. You can also accelerate the healing process by seeking marriage counseling and psychological help.
Restore your relationship with your spouse
It is healthy to have a discussion with your partner that addresses the reasons that led you to seek emotional solace somewhere else. Also, be prepared for a backlash from your spouse, because infidelity is deeply hurting whether it is emotional or sexual. Give your partner ample time to digest the news and come at terms with it. Your partner may want to take a break, or suggest something harsher. Your job during this period is to facilitate your spouse’s feelings and let them take their time.
Afterwards, you can come up with the solutions of effective communication and open minded understanding in your marriage to let it come back on track steadily.
There is a thin line between romance and love. Committed love requires effort, and it is not without accountability. It may get unexciting due to added responsibility of children or increasing work load, but this doesn’t validate falling for temptations. You can say that it is like making your everyday morning coffee, which is mundane, but it symbolizes a willingness to share an ordinary human life with someone and finding relatedness and importance in unpretentious and conventional things. You don’t need interstellar drama, or extraordinary passion in everything, these things don’t last long anyways.
Call us today for help. We’ve been there – and can guide you through it.