A quite innocent friendship of sharing and opening up to one another quickly grew stronger than you have ever imagined. It can start with a friendly text message, a flirty comment, and WHAMO! The chemistry simply takes over and emotions began to grow. Emotional affairs aren't intentional. They often happen when the "love tank" has been depleted and the reserve tank is empty as well. Once chemistry hits with a new person, our body releases Dopamine and Epinephrin (a natural chemical high).
If you are not sure if you are having an emotional affair, here are some clues that the answer is “Yes.”
1. You’re Hiding the Relationship: If you no longer want to share this relationship, and it becomes secretive, it’s a problem. You might find ways to meet alone, without others, and your text messaging, phone calls, and interactions become hidden from your partner. When you have a secretive relationship, it might be an emotional affair.
2. Obsession With Your Phone: Another sign of an emotional affair is when you’re constantly checking your phone, anxiously waiting for your special someone to call, text message, or make contact through a social network. Not only do you get obsessed with it, but also you might get disappointed if they haven’t made contact for a while.
3. They Become Your Go-To-Person: A few years back you may have gone to your partner for emotional support or to share your daily stories. Now you no longer turn to your partner first when you have something important to share. Your special friend gets to hear the news first and gets to hear more details than you share with your spouse.
4. Your Grooming Changes: When you’re having an emotional affair outside of your marriage, you may put more energy into your physical appearance. This includes how you do your hair, apply your make-up, and generally take care of yourself. You might be more inclined to work out so that you look good for your special friend.
5. Shopping for New Underwear: A very common element is when we purchase new underwear, lingerie, and/or bras. There is some part in your brain that sees the possibility that a relationship may become physical, even if it’s just emotional right now. You might think about your friend while shopping, considering what he would like, instead of thinking about your spouse.
6. New Clothing: Just like buying new underwear, you can find yourself at the mall shopping for new clothes and nicer outfits. Again, if you are thinking of your friend and not your spouse when you buy new clothing, this is a sign that you are leading down the path to a physical affair.
7. Sexting: In an emotional affair, your friendly and flirty text messages turn into teasing and arousing sext-messages and photos. This inappropriate behavior is not something that you would share with your spouse, and it leads you one step further to entering into a physical affair. It’s also something that would be very emotionally traumatic for your partner if he found out about it.
8. Your Feelings Get Stronger: When in an emotional affair, you will feel more and more connected to your friend, so much so that you start bringing them up in conversation. When you start to think of them as more than just a platonic friend, it will come out by you talking about him more often.
9. Crossing the Line: Another sign of having an emotional affair is when you cross the line by sharing appropriate information. Crossing the line with information is opening up and sharing intimate things with this person, when your partner used to be the only one you do this with.
10. Dreams: During an emotional affair, you dream more of this person and the dreams have crossed into more intimate dreams where you are getting closer either emotionally, physically…or both.
If you need to figure out which path you should take, give me a call to set up an individual counseling session. We can work as a team confidentially, discuss your situation, and get to the root of what will make you fully happy. 619-471-7104
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653