If you are questioning whether you are enmeshed in an emotional affair, it’s important to define what they are. First and foremost, an emotional affair is characterized by an intimate connection with someone who isn’t your partner but the person takes on many of the functions of a partner. For instance, you spend a lot of time with him or her, you confide in them, and you look to them for solace and support.
It’s key to acknowledge that in order for a relationship to qualify as an emotional affair, it usually involves a deep connection that is more than a friendship. Most emotional affairs involve secrecy from your partner. For instance, if you find yourself not being completely honest about how much time you spend with this person, and the closeness of your bond, you are probably entangled in an emotional affair.
Many people embroiled in emotional affairs attest to the obsessive quality about them. For instance, you might find themselves having frequent sexual fantasies about them or waking up in the morning thinking about the person. Another red flag of an emotional affair is frequent text messaging or sharing private details about your intimate life with your partner.
I used to believe that a breach of trust was something that couples could bounce back from quickly but I’ve gained insight about the ways this isn’t the case. For instance, most marriages don’t survive big betrayals or even a series of smaller ones. My current view is that finding healthy ways to be vulnerable, express your thoughts and feelings, and be honest with your partner, is the best way to build a trusting relationship. Vulnerability is the glue that holds a relationship together over the long run.
Not all intimate relationships or marriages can be salvaged after an emotional affair. It takes two people to tango. But if you decide to work on your relationship and rebuild love after an emotional affair, you must be patient, make a commitment, and follow the guidelines below.
4 ways to rebuild love with your partner after an emotional affair:
- You must put an end to your emotional affair. Stop spending time with the person who you’re having an emotional affair with. This may be a challenge if you work together or travel in the same circles but it’s a crucial step. In order to rebuild love with your partner you need to focus on restoring love, trust, and intimacy with them. This is impossible with you have one foot out the door.
- You must tell the person who you’re having an emotional affair with that it has to end. If you need do so in person that’s okay as long as you keep it short, don’t offer excuses, and don’t reassure them or give false hope about the possibility of you resuming your connection.
- You must tell your partner about this relationship and your intention to stop seeing the person who you’re having an emotional affair with. Now is not the time to be coy – it’s best to be completely vulnerable and tell the whole truth, including any reasons why you pursued the emotional affair such as loneliness or unmet emotional needs.
- Strive to have a strong friendship with your partner. There is recent evidence that happy, lasting relationships rely on a lot more than a marriage certificate and that the secret ingredient is friendship. Look for qualities you admire in your partner and remind yourself of these admirable qualities regularly.
At some point, your actual partner may seem dull or compare unfavorably to the other man or women and you run the risk of seeing your partner in a negative light, or becoming easily frustrated with them. In order to avoid this pattern, remind yourself what attracted yourself to your partner each and every day!
Your relationship with your partner needs to be a priority or you might find yourself slipping back into the same trap of seeking solace and intimacy with another person. Carve out time to spend with your partner on a daily basis. Try a variety of activities that can bring you both pleasure. Have fun courting your partner and practice flirting with him or her. Don’t forget to show affection and to express loving feelings to each other often so that you can reconnect as a couple.
Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s award winning book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy A Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship was published in January of 2016 by Sourcebooks.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry