My friend contacted me recently and opened up about an affair she’s been having with her high school sweetheart from twenty years ago. They live on opposite ends of the country, found each other through social media, and are both married – to other people. When her high school flame reached out to her, it was purely innocent. Their affair grew as their communication became more frequent, and it felt like they picked up where they left off in high school. An emotional affair may not be physical, but it’s just as painful and detrimental to any relationship.
The ripple effects can erode trust, create insecurities that weren’t there before, and start unhealthy patterns. As my friend opened up about her affair, the conversation drifted to her husband. She mentioned that he still didn’t know about her affair, but her lover’s wife found their texts. She was naturally devastated by her husband’s betrayal, and thus strained their relationship.
An emotional affair might not feel like a big deal to some, because after all there is no sex in the traditional cheating sense, but it can become extremely painful. Although it might be harder to recognize the signs if your partner is engaged in an emotional affair – here are four signs to look out for if your spouse is having an affair
There is something off with them
You notice they start to drift away from you. They may be there with you, physically in the same room, but they might as well be a million miles away. It feels like they are emotionally withdrawing from you.
They are always on their phones or laptops
Screen addiction is a very real thing, and it affects couples worldwide – but look for more screen time use than usual in your partner. Have they become obsessed with their phones? Are they exhibiting strange behavior surrounding their phones? Are they secretive? Does it feel like they are hiding from you?
They have physically withdrawn from you
Your sex life has diminished. Your partner might pick more fights with you than usual. Along with emotionally withdrawing, they have physically withdrawn too.
While my friend and her lover never consummated their affair, it still had devastating consequences. After her lover’s wife found their messages, he starts withdrawing from their affair. Eventually, he told her that he didn’t want to sacrifice his marriage and stopped their communication. Of course, my friend took this news hard. They had such a strong and intense connection. And while she felt foolish for having such a powerful attraction to someone other than her husband, she also was grieving for the loss of someone so precious to her.
As a result of their emotional affair, her lover had to block her on social media, as well as other communication channels. Her husband still doesn’t know about the affair, but the guilt eats at her daily. Like a physical affair, an emotional one has the ability to destroy more than just the two involved.