"But we are just friends"...have you ever heard someone say that and find out that their "friendship" has a lot of secrets that are hidden from their partner? I came across this quote the other day, "Cheating doesn’t mean you have to kiss, meet or have sex with someone else… Once you find yourself deleting messages so your partner will not see them, then you already are there." ~Unknown
That puts a lot in perspective, huh?
When you notice that secrets are kept and/ or you feel a strong emotional reaction (positive or negative) when there is contact or a lack of contact...you might be part of an emotional affair.
Have you ever considered it to be an addiction? Well, there are studies that talk about how the brain chemistry changes for someone "under the influence of an affair" and the similarities that occur with someone's brain using an addictive substance. Someone engaging in an affair is like being "drunk in love".
Staik talks about it being like an intoxicating trance that numbs pain (usually of some struggle in life and/ or a person's relationship). The pain killer of the affair helps distract a person from real issues and "escape" to feel better, similar to how people use substances and other addictions to feel better and cope when life is hard. That is part of the reason it is so hard to stop an affair, because the brain tells them it is a positive thing to feel better- just like someone thinks one more drink won't matter and will help take the edge off.
Affairs of any kind are painful and leave a damaging ripple affect into each parties life. Check back tomorrow as we spend the rest of the week looking at the warning signs of emotional infidelity.
Source: Warning Signs That It's Emotional Infidelity- And Not Just Friendship by Athena Staik
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.