Infidelity, as we have discussed, is not just about having a physical relationship outside of your marriage. It's a slippery slope of inappropriate behaviors that look benign at first, but can add up to a form of betrayal that is just as damaging (if not more-so) to your marriage. This week we have covered many of the warning signs that you could be having an emotional affair... Here are several more: 10. Fantasizing about a love or sexual relationship with the person.
Eventually, if you have been communicating with a member of the opposite sex about things that need to be contained to your marriage, you will begin to develop curiosity about them in a romantic or sexual way. Even a relationship that started without any feelings of chemistry, if shrouded in secrecy and with inappropriate sharing (that needs to be only with your spouse), will most likely end up with fantasies of being in a loving or sexual relationship with the other person. The two may even begin to hint at or discuss the possibility of this happening, which only fuels the intensity, intrigue and mystery (read: addictive properties) of the relationship, all the while creating further distance from your spouse.
11. Giving or receiving personal gifts from the person.
An additional warning sign or red flag is when your obsession starts to impact your buying behaviors. You might start to think about this individual when you are shopping, wondering if they might "like" certain items, or imagining how they might respond if you gave them a gift. When you get someone gifts that are conveying something that you "know" about a person, or communicate some type of intimacy, it sends a clear message that the relationship is "special". Usually, the gift choices are not something you would give someone who is "just a friend".
12. Planning to spend time alone together or letting it happen.
This is the most important warning sign, that when not heeded, will end up resulting in the emotional affair crossing over from emotional to physical. When you combine secrecy with time spent alone, along with chemistry and attraction, no matter how good your intentions might be, you are setting the relationship up to become physical. Even if you have promised each other that you would not allow this to happen!
Have you recognized any warning signs that could indicate you are having an emotional affair? We highly recommend finding a marriage counselor that can help you navigate this delicate situation. Remember... secrets come out of the woodwork eventually. Don't let your marriage become damaged by inappropriate relationships in your life, or relationships that you may later regret.
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.