Many people believe that emotional infidelity is harmless. However, most marriage experts consider emotional infidelity to be destructive but without sexual intercourse. In fact, emotional infidelity is the gateway to complete sexual infidelity. Almost half of these emotional conflicts eventually turn into complete infidelity and sex with someone outside of marriage. In this article, we want to know exactly what emotional infidelity is and whether it can harm cohabitation.
For some people, the most damaging and painful consequences of emotional infidelity are feelings of cheating, betrayal, and lying to a partner. Any part of a person’s life that is kept secret from a partner destroys trust between spouses.
What does emotional betrayal mean?
Emotional infidelity is formed when a person not only spends most of his or her emotional energy outside of his or her marital relationship with a third party, but also receives emotional support and companionship from the new relationship. In emotional infidelity, a person feels closer to the person outside of their marriage and may also experience an increase in sexual desire for that person.
Although unfaithful people usually do not feel guilty about this emotional infidelity (because there is usually no sexual intercourse in this infidelity), their spouses are usually hurt as much as sexual infidelity. Most of the pain and anxiety caused by emotional infidelity is due to the feeling of being deceived, lying, and feeling betrayed.
Comparing Emotional Infidelity with Platonic Friendship
Platonic love is a friendly relationship in which the two parties love, admire, and are intimate because of common tastes and similar worldviews. In Platonic love, there is no sex. Platonic friendships can turn into emotional infidelity when intimate relationships cross the boundaries set by the couple. In fact, this kind of betrayal opens doors that need to be closed.
One of the differences between Platonic friendship and emotional infidelity is that emotional infidelity is usually hidden. Another key difference between the two concepts is that in emotional infidelity, people have sexual desire for each other. This sexual attraction between two people is sometimes acknowledged by them and sometimes hidden.
1. Signs that you may be involved in emotional infidelity
The following signs are warnings that if you have experienced them, you may be involved in betrayal:
- Hiding your friendship;
- Indifference to intimacy with your spouse;
- Giving personal gifts to a friend;
- Abandon and distance yourself from your spouse;
- Reduce the amount of time you spend with your spouse;
- Satisfy yourself with the phrase “we are just friends”;
- Infatuation or daydreaming about your friend;
- Believing that your friend understands you better than your spouse;
- Spending a lot of time alone or communicating with a friend;
- Share thoughts, feelings and problems with your friend instead of your spouse.
Emotional betrayal self-examination
If your answer to more than 3 of the following questions is yes, you are emotionally betraying and ruining your life together:
- Are you emotionally distant from your spouse?
- Do you have a sexual desire for your friend?
- Is it difficult for you to talk to your spouse?
- Do you think your friend understands you better than your spouse?
- Is your friendship a secret and your spouse is unaware of it?
- Do you experience frequent hostilities and conflicts in your life together?
- Is the phrase “we are just friends” the reason for your shaving for this close friendship?
- Do you spend more time with your friend than with your spouse?
- Do you partner and talk to your friend more than you do with your spouse?
- Do you not mention your relationship and interaction with your friend when you talk to your spouse about your daily chores?
۲. Signs that your spouse may be involved in emotional infidelity
The following signs are warning signs that your spouse is emotionally unfaithful:
- Your spouse starts to withdraw from you or criticize you;
- Your spouse seems to have an unexpected interest in technology or certain hobbies;
- Your spouse always seems to spend a lot of time on the “projects” he or she likes;
- When you want to discuss any of these with your partner, your spouse is defensive;
- Your spouse behaves secretly (for example, he or she hides his or her phone or suddenly turns off the computer screen while you are around him or her);
- Emotions tell you there is something wrong with a job. You normally trust him and do not get jealous easily, but you have not felt the same for a while;
- Your spouse’s friend is very much in his interest. You hear a lot about this person’s opinions (and your opinions seem to matter less and less to him).
Is SMS communication also an emotional betrayal?
Yes. Of course, this depends on the circumstances. Sending text messages to the opposite sex may increase emotional infidelity; Because it can start out very simple and seem harmless, but can easily lead to deeper relationships; Especially if you talk to someone constantly and throughout the day.
Ease of messaging makes it easy to spend a lot of time with the person, much more than the time you spend with your spouse. If you no longer want to talk to your spouse but try to respond quickly to your friend during the day, it’s time to hold hands and re-examine both relationships.
Just like text messaging, relationships on social media can easily lead to infidelity. A relationship that begins as a Platonic friendship may grow and change in nature over time; Especially since these relationships usually do not have the limitations of a committed relationship (child rearing, economic issues, work, relationship with the spouse’s family, etc.).
Could emotional infidelity lead to sex?
This type of relationship usually starts simple and the two parties to the relationship think they are just friends; But over time, when the boundaries for friendships outside the marital relationship are not considered, the relationship becomes closer and closer. Over time, you will have stronger feelings for the other person and sexual desire will increase. As a result, it can soon lead to sexual infidelity.
How do we maintain our marriage?
There are different opinions on how to protect or save the marital relationship from emotional infidelity. Your marital relationship will be safe from emotional infidelity when you both work hard to maintain it and build the foundation of your relationship on friendship and trust.
Writer M. Gary Neuman offers controversial advice in his book Emotional Infidelity: How to Get Married Without Infidelity and 10 More Secrets to a Great Relationship. Newman advises readers to avoid friendships with the opposite sex to protect their marital relationship from emotional infidelity. He believes that limiting such friendships is the most important thing you can do to maintain your marital relationship.
Newman’s other tips for connecting with your partner and avoiding emotional infidelity include:
- Having weekly appointments;
- Touching each other at least 5 times a day;
- Have a long conversation with each other at least 4 times a week;
- At least once a month, having romantic appointments and nights.
How to repair a damaged marital relationship?
Emotional infidelity does not necessarily mean the death of a marital relationship. However, for a while, it may cause severe damage in married life. Marital relationship can be saved; But you need to rebuild trust between the two. To repair your marital relationship, take these steps:
1. Answer your spouse’s questions
Be honest with your spouse about what happened in your emotional infidelity and answer him or her clearly and precisely.
۲. Specify your actions to solve this problem
What steps are you going to take to restore trust? How do you show your partner that you are accountable for your actions?
3. Plan for future reviews
As you recover and your relationship with your partner, take time in the coming weeks and months to examine the feelings of both parties.
How to have a marital relationship without infidelity?
In order for your relationship to be safe from any kind of infidelity, you should work together to build a friendly and trusting relationship. Following these tips can strengthen the foundation of your relationship and protect your marital relationship from infidelity:
- Respect each other;
- Be supportive of each other;
- Learn how to have a healthy argument;
- Plan for a balanced life together;
- Repair and treat injuries and discomforts intelligently and quickly;
- Enjoy appointments and find ways to have fun;
- Talk daily and talk about your personal goals, plans, events, and feelings.
The last word
Emotional infidelity is one of the problems of marital relations. Despite the many ways of communication and the many relationships we have in life, the likelihood of getting caught up in it has increased. But emotional infidelity does not mean the end of cohabitation. Again, you can build trust and friendship in your marital relationship and save your life together.