What is an "emotional affair"?
Often an emotional affair is called “Chase Infidelity”, because what's happening is that you are starting a lovely emotional relationship with a person with the opposite sex where you're sharing your dreams and you're telling each other those secrets about your relationship. Maybe you're complaining to each other, maybe you are discovering new things about each other and with each other, and suddenly you're starting to think of this person a lot. Even maybe when you're at home with your partner, you're kind of bored with your partner and the other person seems so fantastic, and what's happening is that you're creating a romantic liaison without sex with another person. The problem is, you're taking all that energy that could make your relationship grow if only you gave it to your partner in the same intensity. Instead you're giving it to someone else and in a way contributing to the sinking of your relationship.
Is having an emotional affair really cheating?
Does it involve deception, intimacy and chemistry? Those are the three signs that you are having an affair. So, deception; this interaction that you are having with this person, are you going home and telling your partner about it? Are you sharing what you've shared? Is your partner invited along? If not; if the opposite is happening, if you're meeting and you're not telling your partner, and you're spending more and more time together and you're saying you're somewhere else, then you're engaging in deception. Okay, what about intimacy? Are you telling each other more and more and more about yourselves and finding out about each other? Are you like these little secret friends? If so, and you're building this intimacy, this emotional intimacy, the problem is that I doubt that you are repeating this at home. What you're giving to your new friend, chances are you're not giving back to your home partner. That's another sign that you are having an affair. The third part of it is chemistry. Whether you are having sex or not, there's often this chemistry that's happening. This, perhaps, desire to have sex that you then push down. You may be even making love to your partner thinking about this person. There's this desire there, whether you act on it or not. If you can say yes to these three things, or even two of these things, you are having an affair.
How is an emotional affair different from a platonic friendship?
There is a big difference between a platonic friendship with someone of the opposite sex and having an emotional affair. Basically, a platonic friendship is something of which your partner can be a part. They're not excluded. There are no secrets. You are very open about when you see the person, what you talk about, and actually your partner can join any time. In fact, "Let's bring this friend into our relationship." An emotional affair has a lot more exclusion, a lot more secretiveness; a lot more just between you and that person, with your spouse not being a part of it. That's a major difference. A platonic friendship is that; it's an open friendship that everyone's open to knowing about. An emotional affair is the opposite. There is secretiveness, there's a bonding that's happening, and there's exclusion.
How can I turn my emotional affair into a platonic friendship?
Let's say you've met somebody. You're married, you're both married, and you're developing a friendship that you realise is going deeper and deeper and deeper into an emotional affair or maybe even in a sexual one. How do you nip it in the bud and turn it into a friendship? One, you've got to take it out of the secret and bring it into the light. You've got to have your partner be part of it. Both of you also. You and your new friend, or you and your friend, also have to agree that this is what you both want and be really clean about it. You've also got to bring your new friend home because it's about taking it out of the dark and out of the secret, and into the light where it is accepted in your life. Most importantly, you've got to be clean. Can you be a friend with this person?