What do we do when we fall in love? We certainly live as if everything is rigged in our favor. All of a sudden the one thing you want in the world is this one person and they are everything you want. And as you draw closer to them and they to you, it is as if your dreams are morphing into reality. Then why does a feeling so strong and imperceptible sometimes get to fade over time?
The drive is always there but that is not why you fall head over heels for someone, it is always the emotional bond you share. Rushing through the day to meet the person you are in love with to tell them all about your day and know everything about theirs.
There is nothing sweeter in life other than finding a person whose thoughts and perceptions resonate with you. And this applies to anyone, a spouse, a partner, or even a friend. Here is how the distance gets created between a couple and stages every emotional affair goes through.
Stage 1: The Meetup
Emotional affairs happen once there is a frequency in contact, familiarity breeds attraction. Reaching a pedestal where you can lay out your worries to someone makes you vulnerable and you never do that with someone you don’t trust or know.
If you’re thinking about a workplace then bingo! It is the place where most of the emotional affairs begin. Something starts with an attractive colleague occasionally complementing how you look a certain day or swinging by your cabin to ask if you need to grab a coffee too.
And a person who feels appreciated always ends up doing more than what is expected of him. But a workplace is not where every emotional relationship starts.
It can very likely be with a high school friend you met recently at a reunion who reminds you of how different you used to be. Nostalgia is a catalyst to draw one closer to another, and to place the cherry on top, feeling nostalgic with a person you liked back in days.
Stage 2: The Growing Distance With Your Partner
Every human being requires their due appreciation, be it in the smallest of efforts. It is only natural for a relationship to slow down once you move in with your partner or vice versa, the excitement of meeting them on the clock is no more.
Yes, people do grow used to things in the daily routine like getting used to that orange juice and French toast breakfast every morning, or a date night every once in a while. But letting the efforts of your loved one go unappreciated kills the charm and crumbles their willingness to do so.
If your partner is putting all the energy into making you happy just the way it was before then a few friendly words are probably the least you can do, if not return the favor in some other way. Once this unappreciated routine continues for a while, a person inclines towards seeking help from the nearest acquaintance they have.
And it is that acquaintance most of the time that starts building their emotional importance exactly at where you left off. As has been said, the three pillars of a healthy relationship are trust, love, and a whole lot of sex.
Thinking of sex as a natural bodily requirement makes understanding it easier but getting all scientific will definitely take the fun away. Emotional comfort as being a listening ear and understanding the troubles of your partner is as important as wanting them in bed.
A few days off here and there barely makes a difference but once a person starts feeling unwanted, the way back is not easy. When a relationship reaches a point when either partner feels unwanted, whether intentionally or not, their contact with the emotional affair becomes even more intense.
As the emotional affair too is drooling at this point, he/she will try making the affair sexual at the first chance they get. Not that they are madly in love with you but because they too desire for control over your thoughts and body, the control that has always been with your partner.
Once an emotional affair turns sexual, the cheating partner starts looking for excuses to stay out late because of “work” or go on shady “business tours”.
The cheating partner looks for all sorts of ways to increase contact with the emotional affair and loses heart in the relationship so much that even having intimate moments with their partner makes them long for the company of the emotional affair.
Stage 3: Turmoil In Your Relationship
There is truth in saying that no one is ever too busy if you’re important enough. Moving in either before or after marriage introduces both partners to different responsibilities, especially once you have kids. The husband often gets preoccupied with work from the office and the wife gets the lion’s share of work by looking after the kids and doing house chores.
This is a realization that does not come to us that often but starting to sleep on your side of the bed instead of spooning, leaving off for office after a cup of coffee instead of having breakfast with your wife, and attacking the other’s point of view in every argument builds gaps that are hard to fill in.
This provokes a person again to seek out the adventure that had once been in the relationship. The thrill of secrecy coupled with the high self-esteem you get from your flirt game with the emotional affair seems to be just the stop for it.
Stage 4: Spilling The Beans
Everyone has different standards of morality but in the cases of most emotional affairs, there’s always guilt in the heart of a cheating partner. Deep down they know it’s not the right thing to do, regardless of their desires, but everyone finds a way of coping with the guilt.
Not confronting the truth is the very basic human instinct. It all begins with the harmless lies about how you suddenly had an unplanned night out with friends or what caught you after work. A cheating partner does his best in avoiding the details that would confront them with the reality that stands.
Small lies pave the way for big ones until they start avoiding the mention of the affair in any story at all. They avoid talking about scenarios where there had been a confrontation with the affair to cut off the chances of talking about them at all with the partner.
To get rid of the stinging guilt one always has to find something other than themself to blame. As a famous saying goes, he who smiles in a hard time has found someone to blame. The very same thing happens in the justification of an affair as one looks to find others who are cheating.
Since everyone else is doing it (which they’re not), it is acceptable for them to do so as well. The desire and comfort are tempting enough to cloud their vision by making the faithful ones invisible, leaving only the ones that cheat clearly in sight.
This is the most dangerous cognitive dissonance that comes into play, it is when one starts to blame their partner to have compelled them to do so. This has a snowball effect, it builds up rage to replace the guilt and whenever asked about why they did so, they always have a fury to throw at their partner.
A cheating partner may blame the other for the reasons mentioned above in why emotional affairs happen. Instead of taking the responsibility for their own shortcomings and mischiefs, they blame everything on the cheated partner for making way for it to happen in the first place.
Stage 5: Affair Turning Sexual
An emotional affair has everything there is in a relationship except for the sexual contact, which too follows soon enough. Many people do not consider an emotional affair to be cheating as there is no desire involved, in which case they might be lying to themselves.
Once you’re in the flow of things, it is not easy to realize when things have gotten too far, and the urge to resist it going any further dies away with the passion it ignites. An emotional affair has all the probabilities of drawing you away from your vowed partner, which qualifies it for cheating.
The once innocent and purely platonic friendship is now a connection building up. An emotional affair often leads to painful confrontations either by the suspicion of the cheated partner or the eagerness to win you over by your emotional affair.
Either way, it is a hard and aggravating time for your relationship to go through. Even though some relationships come out of these hard times even stronger, most are likely to fail and fall apart.
Stage 6: Ending The Affair
Ending an emotional affair holds all the pain and drought of ending a relationship, but it is yet a step higher as you have to bear with the rants and difficulties of your relationship with your partner.
Leaving your partner for an emotional affair may not have all that promising future that you expect it to be. Statistically, the percentage of cheating and divorce is even higher in relationships that started as emotional affairs because they’re generally a type of a rebound and not someone you would have actually admired.
Facing the truth head-on with full transparency to your partner is a bold first move. There are never any promises of it getting you back on track right away as that would depend on your partner for they have been hurt the most.
It is, however, certainly not a dead end as most people face reality and come out of it in due time. An even better thing would be to call your emotional affair in the presence of your partner when you are calling it off because you are going to need a lot of assurances.
Avoiding all sorts of situations that would get you in contact with your emotional affair, and instead of putting more time and effort into your relationship will help heal things faster. The cheated partner has an undying thirst for knowledge about the minor details of your affair.
Why you did that? How it all started? How did you felt when with them?
And will even ask about the sexual encounters, but it is never a wise move to spill all the beans out at once. Hold on to the thoughts that are going to hurt the cheated partner even more and suggest to discuss them later, that too if they want to know at all then.
As much hurt a cheated partner is in this situation and has every right to act any way they want, their trust has been betrayed, it is always best to let it all out at once and acknowledge the fact that the cheating partner realized the mistake and are back to them now.
Finding a good therapist will speed up the recovery process, and willingness to resolve the issue from both sides is getting ten steps ahead at a time.
Does An Emotional Affair Count As Infidelity?
Although an emotional affair does not qualify as infidelity as it is, it does, however, in most cases, leads to infidelity.
An emotional affair is a relationship of intimacy with someone that is not your partner. It is not always bad to have an emotional bond with someone outside of your relationship, even with someone of the opposite gender.
But keeping that emotional bond as it is and preventing it from crossing the blurred line towards an affair is not as easy. Most people in relationships have their go-to friends to whom they can rant about their partners, which is totally normal.
But soon these deep conversations about the non-harmonic relationship can arouse feelings in the friend that always has their shoulder out for you to cry on, and it is not long before you start drawing closer to them emotionally as well.
Once you cross the line of intimacy with someone, you start discovering new things about them and it is that exposure that drives your curiosity. The more you know, the more you want to know, just like how it had been with your partner once.
You start spending more time with them and unwind about the things that should’ve been for your partner’s ears to hear, then comes the secrecy. Once you start blanketing your friendship with secrecy from your partner, it is usually a telltale sign of the beginning of an emotional affair.
An emotional affair does not have to be sexual, but it does get to that stage quicker than you can imagine. Holding on to your morality becomes harder and it is only a matter of time that you slip and let go to your desires.
An emotional affair is very damaging to your relationship and is a significant factor leading to divorces.
Emotional affairs often burn through your relationship like wildfire if you let it. Resisting the thought and temptation to be wanted is never going to be easy, but it is always necessary to tally what you already have against what you want to have.
In the hope of the above guidelines to have helped you out, I still hereby state that the internet may be a good place to know what you’re up against but never a good one to treat your problems.
If your burden is too heavy to bear and everyone has a different reason for doing what they do, it is highly recommended that seek help from a therapist. You can also turn to your trusted friends who understand your reality much clearly and get to the bottom of the problem before it starts eating you up.