I always thought a physical affair causes more damage than en emotional one. I only recently realised that I could not have been more wrong. Emotional infidelity is so much more, so much more intense and the hurt and betrayal goes so much deeper.
With a physical affair that is exactly what it is, it is mostly a physical thing and can very easily be classified as lust. To be honest I never even considered the fact that you can in fact have an affair without any physical contact, to me the word affair always meant physical contact……WRONG!
What is an emotional affair? An emotional affair is:
- when you start sharing intimate details with this person
- when you discuss details about yourself and your life with this person before you even discussed them with your spouse
- you feel closer to this person than to your spouse
- you feel this person understands you better, and you even start thinking that maybe this was the person you were meant to be with all along
- you start frequent conversations with them on other platforms when you are not together
- you start complimenting this person more, and start finding fault in everything your spouse does
- you hide conversations you have with this person from your spouse (this should be a tell tale sign that you are heading for trouble)
I am sure we can add a lot to the list, if you can identify with any of these 7 signs you are already in trouble. The good news is it is never to late, you can still fix it!
If you realise that you are emotionally cheating on your spouse you need to realise straight up that it is going to take hard work, dedication, many tears, many fights, a lot of guilt and a lot of understanding to mend your relationship with your spouse.
- first of all be honest, be completely honest. Dont leave out anything that might surface later and break down all the hard work that was done in between
- you need to tell this other person in very clear terms that it is over. Dont sugar coat it.
- break all contact with this person, if it is a co worker things might be a little tricky but it can still be done. Make sure you keep all communication work related and dont hide it from your spouse. Tell them if you are going to attend a meeting where this person will be there, or if you are going to a function that this person will attend.
- Break all ties you might have with this person on social media and make sure that your spouse knows about it
- Unfortunately the reality is you have broken your spouses trust, they might forgive you quickly but it is going to take a while to regain their trust.
- Give them access to your social media accounts. I know this might feel like a huge invasion of your privacy, but this is surely no time to be keeping secrets.
- Dont change your privacy settings, for example dont un-sync certain of your devices so that the activity on them is not recorded, this will just cause more confusion and questions – I say again this is no time for keeping secrets
- make sure your spouse knows you love them, and that you are sorry. You are going to have to listen to them, and not expect them to just get over it. Realise that this something that takes time, and patience.
Realise the effects
You need to realise what this specific betrayal has done to your spouse. Unfortunately this is something that does not magically go away over night!
- Your spouse feels unwanted, basically useless, like a big failure and that it is their fault
- your spouse is not only doubting you at this point, they are doubting them self even more
- they feel betrayed, and they are questioning a lot of things
- you need to understand that your spouse will constantly be comparing themselves to this other party. For example if it is another woman your spouse will be looking at herself in the mirror and try to ” spot the difference ” The sad part is normally (not always) in cases like this you usually find that the other party is normally somebody younger, skinnier or even prettier. Understand that your spouse also now has do deal with the reality that whatever they do they cannot be or look 21 again…ever, they cannot change certain parts on their bodies caused by for example children . This is sometimes the most difficult to overcome and affects your self esteem and confidence in ways you cannot believe.
- realise that your spouse will see this other person as the enemy, never ever take their side or try to make excuses for them or on their behalf
- your spouse might withdraw from you for a while, physically and emotionally, you need to understand this and just be there when they need you
- you broke your spouse, realise that.
- throughout life there will be certain triggers, things that will make your spouse suspicious, not necessarily because they dont trust you, but because they are scared of missing the warning signs they missed the first time. Understand this and try to minimize these triggers.
- understand that your spouse is hurting, sometimes they might look fine and ok but deep down they are also working very hard to repair a broken heart
A few tips
- Be more attentive
- be honest, work on fulfilling any emotional need with your spouse that was being satisfied by this other person
- become your partners friend again, talk to them about things that scare you and make them a part of your daily life
- now more than even you need to make sure they know you love them, you find them attractive and you still want to spend the rest of your life with them
- understand that they feel insecure, and there will be a fair amount of suspicion. Dont ever tell your spouse they are losing it, or they are going mad, rather try to put their mind at ease by being thoughtful, and by paying a little bit of attention to them
- Do something unexpected, something thoughtful. This does not have to be something big, a loving text message before you go to work, an unexpected compliment, use your imagination 🙂
- try to put down your phone, switch off your laptop and just pay attention to each other. The majority of emotional affairs are fueled by the fact that interaction has become so easy on social media and chat applications. Your spouse knows this, and you spending all your free time on your phone will just remind them of that and cause more suspicion.
- dont intentionally avoid situations or occasions where this other person is if you and your spouse are both invited (example fits perfectly if the other person is actually a work colleague) . Your spouse may see this in a few ways….either you dont want the other person to see the two of you together to ” spare their feelings “,you are still in contact with them and cant look like the happy couple as this might be contrary to what you have been telling them, or you have not been completely honest with your spouse about certain aspects and dont want them in the same room as the other person as you are afraid it might come out. You might be doing or avoiding these situations with the best of intentions,but chances are you spouse will not see it that way. Your spouse probably needs this more than you realise, for the other party to see the two of you together, happy. Give them that 🙂
If you are the spouse that has been emotionally cheated on:
- dont play the victim.
- decide if you want to salvage the relationship, if yes really work on forgiving, and trusting
- dont keep throwing your spouses mistake in front of them, realise that it could have happened to you
- appreciate the effort they put in
- realise that you also have shortcomings, and work on them
- realise that your spouse had an emotional need that you were not filling, this does not excuse what they did, but work on understanding what it was and correcting it
- understand that your partner is also hurting, if they loved you enough to tell you about it they are probably blaming themselves enough and you dont need to add to that, rather love each other and work through this as a team
- Try not to compare yourself to the other party. Understand that if you are 33 you will never be able to look 21 again, and you should not have to. Make the best of where you are in life now ###
- spend time on yourself, spend time on the way you look and make sure that you are the type of person your spouse will be happy coming home to.
Emotional infidelity can be repaired, as long as both parties take responsibility, and work really hard in regaining trust, and remembering why you fell in love in the first place. How long will it take? I dont know, but its worth the wait.
The good news is, once this is accomplished your marriage might actually be stronger than ever, as you both realised the reality of possibly losing each other.