When it comes to marriage and relationships, emotional affairs often fly under the radar. While they may not involve direct physical contact, they can still cause serious harm both to individuals and marriages. In fact, in some cases, emotional affairs can lead to divorce. But what exactly constitutes an emotional affair? And is it really as damaging as an actual physical affair? In this blog post, we will discuss the realities of these kinds of relationships, including exploring their definition and potential impact on a marriage.
Overview of Emotional Affairs and Their Nature
Understanding what an emotional affair is can be the first step in healing the broken trust and shattered emotions that come with infidelity. An emotional affair is when a person has an intimate relationship or bond with someone outside of their primary relationship.
Emotional affairs are different from physical affairs because there can be a strong bond without any physical contact (such as in online relationships). It is important to note that even without sex, emotional involvements can still threaten the very foundation of a relationship. For example, it may lead to feelings of betrayal between partners, as well as feelings of insecurity and doubt. Learning more about the nature of an emotional affair can provide those going through the pain with support and guidance on the road to recovery.
Common Causes of Emotional Affairs
Emotional affairs can be devastating to a relationship, but it’s important to remember why these affairs occur in the first place. Oftentimes, people have an emotional affair due to some kind of dissatisfaction in their current relationship, such as boredom, loneliness, frustration with their partner’s behavior, or feeling misunderstood and unappreciated.
This is why communication and counseling are important steps towards overcoming the aftermath of an emotional affair. They help couples identify what drove them apart and work on rebuilding trust and a strong bond with each other.
Warning Signs That an Emotional Affair Is Taking Place
Knowing the warning signs of an emotional affair is important for couples to be aware of. An emotional affair often starts out innocuously, usually as a simple friendship outside of one's own relationship. Common warning signs that someone is engaging in an emotional affair include:
- Increased secrecy
- Spending more time away from the family
- Limiting access to phones and social media accounts
How to Confront a Loved One About an Emotional Affair
Coming face to face with a loved one who has had an emotional affair can be a daunting prospect, but it is essential that the conversation happens for genuine healing to begin. It may be helpful to create an atmosphere of safety and understanding by discussing boundaries both before and during the conversation.
Many people find that practicing active listening can also help to ensure that everyone feels heard and respected as the conversation takes place. With practice and preparation, addressing this difficult subject can be done in a way that strengthens relationships rather than breaks them.
The Impact of an Emotional Affair on Marriage and Divorce
An emotional affair can have a dramatic effect on a marriage. Trust between spouses is often significantly impacted, leaving feelings of hurt, confusion, and betrayal. It’s not uncommon that couples seek counseling to address the underlying issues within their relationship before making any decisions about the future of their marriage. Unfortunately, in some cases, emotional affairs can break marriages apart and lead to divorce.
Strategies for Moving Forward After an Emotional Affair
Moving forward in a healthy and meaningful way after an emotional affair is a process that may pose challenges. It can be difficult to confront the hurt, confusion, and loss of trust that often accompany such an event.
If you are willing to face these obstacles, it is possible to save your marriage. Accepting responsibility for your actions and taking the time needed to heal can provide the foundation for restoring trust within your marriage. Seek out resources, such as counseling or support groups, to increase your understanding and insight into what led to the affair and what you and your spouse can do to repair your marriage.
To discuss legal options for moving forward in the aftermath of an emotional affair, give Letterio & Haug, LLP a call at (845) 203-0997 or reach out to us online today for a confidential consultation with our experienced family law attorneys.