Are You Concerned that Your Significant Other May Be Having an Emotional Affair?

Are You Concerned that Your Significant Other May Be Having an Emotional Affair?

Emotional infidelity is an area of relationships where it is important to trust your instincts (unless you are excessively possessive).

The clearest sign of emotional infidelity is a sense of discomfort with a particular person in your partner’s life. Maybe you notice flirtatiousness in the email that was left open on the computer or overly familiar postings on your partner’s Facebook page. Maybe you notice the way this person is excessively affectionate with your partner in social situations, or that something about their eye contact with each other looks intimate.

Most infidelity that lasts longer than a one-night stand begins as a flirtation that blossoms first into an “emotional affair” and only then progresses and becomes sexual. It is surprising, in the aftermath, how often the betrayed partner will acknowledge long-standing concerns about this “friendship.” Sometimes the betrayed partner identifies poor boundaries in their partner’s relationship before the straying partner is even aware of, let alone ready to acknowledge, the chemistry developing.

Of course, if your significant other suddenly develops a pattern of leaving the room while on his or her phone, this may be a more concrete behavior that could be questioned.

If your instincts tell you that your partner is involved emotionally with another, say something like:

“I know you and Sam are friends, and I want to support your friendships. But there is a flirtatiousness in your rapport that gives me the sense that he is not a friend of our relationship. It also reminds me of how you and I used to be when we first met, and I miss that. Do you think we might be able to get back to that way of relating?”

The answer may be yes, and you may be able to extinguish the flame before it becomes a fire. If the answer is no, time and honest discussions will make that clear. In your partner insists on an intimate friendship with someone who is not a friend of your relationship, and you are not able to get back to a place of feeling secure and connected, you are better off on your own.

Elisabeth LaMotte

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