Sarah recently noticed that her husband Victor has become distant, indifferent and cold towards her. He would never have patience for her, interest in how her day went or show eagerness to share the details of his day with her.
At the same time, he was glued to his phone and always excited to talk about his coworker Aleah. How Aleah genially solved a problem at work, how Aleah helped to finish a project on time, how Aleah had a great sense of humor and how smart she was. He never said ‘pretty’, though. But Sarah suspected her husband deliberately skipped that detail. She assumed Victor is having an emotional affair at work.
What is an Emotional Affair?
Emotional affair is a bond between two people with an emotional intimacy of a romantic relationship, but without being physical involvement. Although it doesn’t include sex, an emotional affair can be just as destructive to a relationship as physical infidelity.
It is deeply disturbing to learn that your partner is emotionally attached to someone else. And even if he is not having sex with this other person, his infidelity hurts.
Possible red flags that suggest your partner is having an emotional affair?
He / She Seems Distant and Cold
You noticed that your partner isn’t affectionate anymore. He seems lost in his thought and rarely shows initiative to communicate with you. He doesn’t feel comfortable being alone with you. He stopped saying things like “I love you”, “I miss you” and similar. Also, he rarely shows signs of affection like holding hands, giving you a hug or kissing you.
According to psychologist Dr. Jennifer Oikle, this is a certain sign of infidelity, since it can be very hard to emotionally engage with two people at the same time. In addition, for most people it’s very hard to handle the guilt of being emotionally unfaithful, so they create the distance to their partner.
He is Always Secretive
If your partner has become mysterious about his whereabouts, there is a chance he is being emotionally unfaithful. Any change in your partner’s behavior may be a sign that he is hiding something from you.
He Works Long Hours
Your partner often stays late at work, has to travel for work more often or has sudden work lunches or dinners that you’re not invited to. Or he spends weekends on his phone and laptop exchanging calls and emails. This can be an important warning signal of your partner’s emotional affair at work.
He Uses his Devices and Social Media Excessively
One of the signs that your partner may be involved in an emotional affair is the amount of tie he spends glued to hos phone, laptop or other device. If you notice that your partner spends excessive amount of time on social media, texts or chats online and tries to hide it from you, you may suspect that he is having an emotional affair. You may also notice that he is keeping the details on who’s he keeping in touch with from you, so this can be another red flag.
He Often Argues with You
Pay attention to your partner’s communication style. Is he overly aggressive towards you or very defensive if you try asking him about his whereabouts? If your partner losses his temper with you easily and becomes unusually aggressive in your interactions, you may think with the reason that he is having an emotional affair with a friend or a coworker.
He Speaks about Her all the Time
Your partner keeps talking about his female friend or fellow coworker all the time. He even compares you to her sometimes. For example, he might say “She always laughs at my jokes” or “She is in such a good shape”. Your partner might be thinking of this other woman so much, so he cannot help talking about her in front of you.
Your Sex Life Has Changed
You have noticed changes in your sexual life. Although your partner isn’t having a physical affair, the feelings involved can cause a change in your sexual life. According to Dr. Oikle, both more and less interest in sex can be a signal of your partner’s emotional infidelity. It is normal for couples to experience changes in sexual life over time.
However, if your partner is never interested in having sex anymore, you should consider the possibility that he is having an emotional affair. Also, emotional infidelity can lead to your partner’s increased sexual interest. This may be due to guilt he feels, so he initiates sex more often or showers you with attention. In addition, your partner’s emotional affair may be responsible for his sudden interest in experimenting sexually.
Also read: How to Survive Marriage without Intimacy
He Doesn’t Share with You
Your partner doesn’t talk to you about neither trivial nor important things. Maybe he doesn’t share with you because he is sharing the details of his day or life with someone else. He might be telling his most important thoughts to this other person and therefore doesn’t feel the need to share them with you.
He Changed His Appearance
If your partner starts making a small or more significant changes to his appearance, it may be more than a need for a change just for the sake of it. You may suspect that your partner is having an emotional affair if he dramatically and suddenly changes his hairstyle, his clothing style or starts excessive everyday workouts.
His Tone Changes when He is Talking to Her
According to a study by Albright University, people change the tone of their voice when they speak to a person they are emotionally involved with. So, if you notice a change in your partner’s tone while he is talking to his friend or a coworker, it can be an important signal of his emotional affair with that person.
Your partner is taking on new hobbies that don’t involve you. He suddenly starts going hiking or snowboarding with his coworkers every weekend. If you express your eagerness to go, he comes up with some excuse not to take you with him. Hm?…
How to Deal with Your Partner’s Emotional Affair?
An emotional affair is usually gloomier than a physical infidelity. Although some or all of these signs may be present, it still doesn’t mean your partner is cheating on you. Nevertheless, if you believe that something is going on, there are some steps you can take in dealing with your partner’s emotional affair.
Talk to Your Partner
If you think your partner is being emotionally unfaithful, ask him. Try not to accuse your partner of anything, though. Talk calmly, but openly. Tel him what you observe and how you feel about it, and watch for his reaction. Pay attention to his body language and whether he gets upset, defensive or aggressive.
Remain calm while you are having this conversation. Try to avoid crying, yelling and accusing your partner. Getting upset won’t get you anywhere. Take a deep breath and stay composed before you decide to talk to your partner about his potential emotional affair.
Look at Your Feelings and Talk about Them
Reflect your feelings about the whole situation. Have you been jealous before? Are you insecure? Are you often suspicious for no reason? Talk to your partner about your feelings of loneliness, rejection, sadness and insecurity.
Understand Your Partner’s Feelings
Ask your partner about his feelings. Try to understand why he feels the need to find a romantic connection somewhere else. Does he feel neglected? Has your relationship changed over time? Are you too busy or too tired for long talks or dinners out with your partner? Have you neglected your sex life or your appearance? Try to figure out what can you do to improve your relationship.
Seek Professional Support
If you feel that you can’t cope with your partner’s emotional affair on your own, look out for professional couple counseling. You may suggest online marriage counseling to your partner as a great and confident way to solve challenges in your relationship. You can chat online with an experienced relationship expert who will give you a valuable advice and provide support.
Discovering that your partner is having an emotional affair is nothing easier that finding out that he is cheating on you physically. No matter how hurt you may feel, try to stay calm and act constructively. Talk to your partner openly about your feelings and be straightforward when asking him about his emotional infidelity. Seek professional help in coping with your partner’s emotional affair if you think that you can’t cope with it on your own.