Now today’s question is all about mental cheating. So let’s define what an emotional affair is because I think a lot of you would be surprised an emotional affair is when we engage in a very emotionally intimate relationship with someone other than our partner or spouse. This isn’t a sexual or physical affair. This is an affair of the heart. Now let’s answer the question why these affairs even happen. That’s the first thing that really came to my mind and just like any relationship issue, they can happen for many, many reasons. But the most common reasons for emotional affairs are number one. We really struggle with healthy boundaries and I’ve talked about this before. Boundaries can be physical, meaning like don’t touch me and emotional like I don’t want to share that with you or I don’t want you to share that with me, but regardless of whether they’re physical or emotional, they’re handled in very much the same way. And if we can’t set them and uphold them, we can find ourselves being emotionally unfaithful. We can struggle to not overshare and therefore we get into really personal conversations with people without even realizing it and it can be hard for us to say no or to tell people that we aren’t comfortable talking about that with.
How to know that you are emotionally cheated on?
So just to be extra aware, if you already know that boundaries are something you struggle with, you know maybe notice if you’re oversharing or if you’re allowing someone else to overshare with you and you find yourself in kind of these really intense emotional conversations with someone that isn’t your spouse or your. And the second reason these occur is that we don’t respect our partner or spouse anymore. Maybe they aren’t the same as they used to be. Maybe they’re going through a really hard time. Maybe they work really long hours, so we don’t feel like we see them or maybe even know them anymore. Or it’s possible that they have cheated on us or done something that was hurtful and upsetting, but whatever the cause, we can see that as a reason to get close to someone else, I’ve even had many patients and even friends of mine talk about this and almost like try to justify what they’ve done by saying that what they’re doing isn’t as bad as having sex with someone else that aren’t really cheating. But I honestly think it’s very much the same on to the next possible reason. Number three is that we may need a lot of outside validation. Maybe we have some narcissistic tendencies or feel a bit neglected by our partner. So we are going out and looking for that attention and connection from someone or anyone else.
The main reason of emotional affairs?
And the fourth and final reason I’m going to address here, like I said, there are many, many reasons this could happen, but the fourth reason is kind of all of the other reasons rolled into one that you don’t know how to let your partner or spouse know how you’re feeling or what you need. If we don’t know how to express all that, we may be thinking, feeling, or needing how can they know how can they give that to us or support us? Like we need them to they can’t read our minds or simply guess correctly and not being able to share that and get those needs met can lead us to finding someone else. We for some reason feel free enough to do that with. And in all honesty, if we don’t feel safe enough to share with our partner yet, we do with someone else. That’s really something that we should talk out and figure out why see if it’s our own issue or something that our partner or spouse is doing or something else going on in our. Okay, so let’s say that we think we may be engaging in this type of ah an affair. How do we know for sure what are the red flags we should look out for. Well, the first red flag is if we are constantly contacting this person and remember. This isn’t a friend of ours or someone you’ve known for years. This is someone we sort of have a romantic relationship with just without the sexual stuff. So if we are texting or calling them all the time. Maybe even feeling a bit secretive about the fact that we’re texting or calling them and that’s a sign. If we miss them terribly when we don’t get to see them or be in contact with him, that’s not good either. We shouldn’t feel that attached to someone else unless it’s our family or our partner. Now the second red flag is if we find ourselves confiding in them anything that’s very personal or a big thing happening in our lives, we want to share it with them. We tell them all of our secrets and they share theirs and if something happens. They’re the first person that we want to reach out to and share the good news or or bad news or whatever kind of news this person that we reach out to when something happens should be our partner or spouse or even a parent or a best friend. But if it’s someone else entirely that may be worth looking into the third red flag is if you start to lie or keep secrets from your spouse or partner about this relationship. Now I know that this should be a red flag in general, but sometimes we just have to hear someone say it out loud to us to realize that it’s not a good thing. We really shouldn’t feel the need to keep anything from our partners or spouses and sure, I mean, we all have our own lives and things that we don’t tell them, you know, they don’t need every painful detail or play by play of our day, but we shouldn’t purposely be keeping them in the dark about things we are doing and people we are engaging with period. And fourth and finally, do you find yourself comparing this person to your partner or spouse. Thinking that your spouse would never understand or that they don’t get you like this person does. This is a really bad sign and should prompt you to take a deeper look at your marriage or relationship and what’s going on. We don’t have to always believe that our partner is the best thing ever, but you shouldn’t mentally put them down or compare them to someone else that we’re engaging. We are all human and in a healthy relationship, we usually feel that our partner is wonderful and we love them and we know they try their best. Not that they aren’t as good as someone else because that means we probably don’t want to be with our spouse or partner anymore.
How to work through divorce?
So let’s say this is happening to us and we just found out, but we don’t want to break up or get a divorce. So we want to work through it. What can we do. Well, I talked about this a bit in my video about cheating and I’ll link that in the description and although I know that this type of infidelity seems less hurtful or destructive, but like I said at the beginning of this video. It’s really very much the same. So whatever type of affair we are having, it can erode the very foundation of our relationship. We have to grieve the loss of the relationship. Because that relationship even if it’s just your belief or your dream of what it’s going to be. It’s died. It’s different now and we have to start a new one. That’s really the only way we can heal. And even if this new one like I’m talking about is with the same person. We have to grieve that old relationship and let it go. We have to do this in order to let go of our past and move forward. So give yourself the time you need to fully grieve that loss. And number two. Communicate openly and honestly about what happened. Your partner has to be open to answering questions you have about their affair and you have to be ok with considering what your role was in letting the relationship get off track. This part is really, really hard, but we have to stick through it. So all the information is out there in the open and you are both free to talk about it. This is honestly something you may want to do while in couples therapy together just to ensure that it doesn’t start a fight or make things worse. You know cause you to say something you can’t take back. For instance, and number three, complete transparency for a period of time. This means that if we were the one who had this emotional affair, we have to be open to letting our partner look at everything of ours for a while. We have to give them unfettered access to our emails, text, whatsapp, however we’re communicating, we have to give them access to it. And then check in on how this is going every couple of weeks and at a certain point you will both have to agree that enough is enough. And privacy will begin to exist again. And yes, I know this is the hardest part. But you can’t expect complete transparency and no privacy forever. That’s really not healthy either. Trust is important in a relationship, but we have to give it time to come back and they have to build it and we have to have examples that they are trustworthy again.