Just Friends? Are you having an emotional affair?
Steven Likes Debra, and wants to ask her out. Only one problem. They’re married. And not to each other. Read his story.
For the last six months, Steven has been making an extra effort to get into the office early. But it’s not work that makes him rush in every morning.
He drops off his laptop at his desk and swings by the pantry to grab a morning cuppa. On his way back, he stops by Debra's cubicle. "Morning," he pipes. "How was your night?"
She looks up from her Mac, and smiles at him. "Hey you," she chirpily replies. Subconsciously her hands start to smooth down her skirt. "The night was alright. Didn't get much sleep though. So what's your day looking like today," she asks.
He slides in the chair next to her, and starts to tell her about his upcoming projects and deadlines. He notices her twirling her hair around her finger. She is so gorgeous, he thinks to himself. How could any guy resist her?
She in turn feels her heart racing, having Steven sit so close to her. She knows that he is attracted to her, and she's equally attracted to him. But more than the attraction, she loves how intelligent and funny he is. And amazingly enough, he seems to really "get" her.
Looks like it’s about time for Steven to ask Debra out. Only one problem. They’re married. And not to each other.
Steven and Debra are having what psychologists call an 'emotional affair'. To them, it seems harmless, especially since neither of them has acknowledged their feelings for each other. But it's not. Unzipping your heart can be as destructive as unzipping your jeans.
Emotional affairs are REAL and can have a devastating effect on those involved. Trust is broken and the pain can be just as deep, or deeper than that of an actual physical affair.
Emotional affairs also often lead to a full blown sexual affair. Once two people begin to fantasize about one another, it does not take much to cross over that line from emotional intimacy into physical intimacy.
7 Red Flags of emotional affairs
Think you might be involved in an emotional affair? Well, you might be if you:
1) Have a special friend whom who you can discuss fears, fantasies, anxieties and intimate problems with, that you cannot discuss with your spouse.
2) Have caught yourself thinking or saying, "but we're just friends". These words are usually said to rationalize something you know is wrong. Rationalize might also be spelled "rational lies."
3) Find yourself staying awake at night thinking of your friend.
4) Keep secret password protected email accounts, just in case.
5) Feel excitement, anticipation, or a quickening of your pulse as you get ready to see the person.
6) Keep the juciest piece of news for them first.
7) Are giving and recieving intimate gifts. Ask yourself if you are giving each other gifts you would not normally give to a friend?
What to Do if you are having an emotional affair
If you nodded your heads to any of the above red flags, it is important to hit the pause button on this new relationship before it's too late. The allure of an emotional affair can create the illusion that perfect love exists and is right around the corner—that the only obstacle to real happiness is your current marriage.
Before you end up risking everything, take a few deep breaths. Then start to take stock of yourself and your marriage to see what is missing—becoming emotionally involved with someone else is often just another hurdle to the effort and work that committed relationships require.