Individuals are “hooking up” at the workplace, on social media and along the sidelines of their kids sporting events. We tend to have an insatiable desire for understanding and a listening ear and when we receive that from someone other than our spouse, we are walking on shaky ground.
Dr. Gail Saltz psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital said this concerning affairs, “Many people convince themselves so long as there is not sex it is not an affair, but it is. It has to do with secrecy, deception and betrayal and the emotional energy you are putting into the other person vs. your partner. The most difficult thing to recover from is not sex, but the breaking of trust. Those involved in an emotional affair are often in denial. They do not think they’re having an affair at all. The denial keeps them guilt free and they tell themselves, ‘It’s just a friendship.’”
So, how do you know you’re in an emotional affair? Dr Saltz shares ten warning signs:
- When your meetings are kept secret from your spouse.
- When you say and do things with someone you would never do in front of your spouse or you would feel guilty if your spouse happened to show up.
- When you make it a point to arrange private talk time with this person.
- When you share things with them that you do not share with your partner.
- When you avoid telling your partner how much time you may be spending with this person.
- When you are stating things about your marriage that you should not be telling another, opening a window to your heart and unmet emotional needs.
- When you begin discussing your marital dissatisfaction.
- When you tell this person more about your day than you do your partner.
- When you “ready your appearance” in anticipation of seeing this person.
- When there is sexual attraction spoken or unspoken between you.
What to do:
- Pray, confess to God, ask for forgiveness and repent.
- Treat an emotional affair like any other affair – cut it off fully and completely (stop calling, stop email, stop texting, etc.). If you do not end it, you will not rebuild trust with your mate.
- Stop flirting; stop daydreaming about it.
- Realize that you cannot even remain “friends” with this person.
- Turn your heart away from it and toward your marriage relationship.
- Put your emotional energy into healing yourself and your marriage relationship.
- You must take responsibility. You got yourself into this mess, you need to own it.
- Become trustworthy in order to work at rebuilding trust. Be accountable with your whereabouts, come home immediately. Do not allow questioning or wondering on your mates part with thoughts of “where is she?” or “how long could it possibly take for him to go to the hardware store?”
- Be open with your internet use and cell phone use, hide nothing.
- Look long and hard at why you did it, how you found yourself in this position.
You cannot redo anything, you simply must move forward. You must walk in honest confession and humility. Humility keeps you from becoming defensive and blaming another.
You must forgive one another and yourself. There is no greater answer than the forgiveness of God through the love of His Son. You must remain accountable. Accountability is a huge ingredient because marriage infractions always take place in an environment of deception.
Get outside counsel and direction as soon as possible. Do not try to do it all yourself. Re-attach yourself to your mate. Most likely you have moved away from one another in some areas of your relationship. Pray with and pray for your life mate. Finally, you must learn to rest in the redemption of your Savior.