5 Ways to Restore Trust After an Emotional Affair

5 Ways to Restore Trust After an Emotional Affair November 22, 2020

Recently, many experts have written about the hazards of an emotional affair and how it can erode trust in a marriage. It is a form of betrayal that can capsize a couple’s sense of safety and security in no time. The media tends to portray betrayals as physical affairs; whereas an emotional affair can have the same detrimental impact on a romantic relationship.

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 your partner. For instance, you spend a lot of time with him or her, you find yourself confiding in him/her, 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, 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, they 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.

The good news is that in contrast to infidelity that involves sexual betrayal, emotional affairs are usually less complicated and they can be ended more easily without severe breeches of trust in your partner. Following the guidelines below will help you rebuild love after an emotional affair.

5 tips for rebuilding love with your partner after an emotional affair:  

  1. The betrayer must end their 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 put 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 when you have one foot out the door.
  2. You must tell the person who you’re having an emotional affair with that it must 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.
  3. Be transparent with 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.
  4. Look to your partner to satisfy some of the emotional needs that you were seeking to fulfill in the emotional affair. Take an inventory of all of the things you like about him or her so that you can work on filling these needs elsewhere – either with a close friend or your significant other. These qualities might include good listener, fun loving, or understanding.
  5. Recommit to your marriage and be patient with the process: This means that marriage requires a lot of effort and an intention to pay attention to your partners needs. John Gottman recommends that couples practice “turning towards” one another rather than away when they’re having communication difficulties. Spending 30 minutes a day in stress-reducing conversations can help you do this.

Keep in mind that your relationship with your partner needs to be a priority or you might find yourself slipping back into the same trap of seeking comfort and intimacy with another person. Carve out time to spend with your partner on a daily or weekly basis. Try a variety of activities that can bring you both pleasure. 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 if you don’t try to keep things interesting. Don’t forget to cuddle on the couch and surprise your partner with a kiss.

Find 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 is available on her website. Her new book The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around was published by Sounds True on February 18, 2020.

I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriage, and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry 


Browse Our Archives