emotional affairs

What is an Emotional Affair? Recovery and Building Trust

What is an Emotional Affair? Recovery and Building Trust

Once you have identified that you are in an emotional affair or you have been caught in an emotional affair, there is a specific reconstruction process to follow to heal your relationship.

These are the first 5 things to do once the initial disclosure has come out…..

What is an Emotional Affair? Signs and Symptoms

What is an Emotional Affair? Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs of emotional affairs, if you know what to look for.  While these signs can also be related to other life issues, as well as physical or sexual infidelity, there are some common themes to look for when dealing with an emotional affair…..

Emotional Infidelity Warning Signs 10-12

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.

Emotional Infidelity Warning Signs 7-9

Getting too close with someone of the opposite sex is definitely a slippery slope in your marriage. We see this happening more and more with the boom of social media. It's so important to protect your marriage. That is why we felt it was important to talk about the warning signs of emotional infidelity. Hopefully by now you are getting a feel for what they look like. Here are a few more. 7. Not engaging in normal family activities with your spouse, kids, or even work

If you are experiencing the "natural high" from an emotional affair that we have discussed this week, it makes sense why you would continue to go after that. As you do, the things that once gave you joy will pale in comparison. What is the natural thing to do when something isn't as exciting as a "high"? Disengage.

If you find yourself not wanting to do the things you used to or even dreading when your partner does try to do the things you used to beg them to do, you are probably disengaging. Or if you find yourself in another world when you are with your kids, you may be disengaging as well.

8. Keeping secret activities and covering it up

I always tell my clients, "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to hide." It's always difficult to understand why someone will look at you point blank and justify an "innocent" friendship yet they didn't tell their spouse about hanging out with them or calling/texting them. If there was nothing wrong, why is there a secret?

If you find yourself hiding where you've been from a spouse, you again, are on a slippery slope. Even if you are 10 minutes late because you stopped in the grocery store parking lot to have a text conversation and you lie about being late. Technically you weren't with anyone but you were engaging in an activity that you don't want your spouse to know about.

I always tell people to not say anything to the opposite sex that you wouldn't say with your spouse standing next to you and don't go anywhere that you wouldn't feel comfortable if your spouse showed up.

9. Making sure you have a list of all the reasons that say what your doing is okay

The most deadly combination of feelings a person can feed to open the door to an emotional affair is ~Resentment ~Entitlement ~Justification

When a person is unhappy in a marriage and they continue to focus and re-focus on those circumstances that make them unhappy, they form a breeding ground for these feelings. When they feel resentment for their unhappiness they start feeling entitled to something that will make them happy. This only gives them justification to move forward with talking to this person, meeting this person, or even fantasizing about this person.

The fact is, if you are unhappy in your marriage you are responsible to talk to your spouse about it. I understand that you may have done that and there has been little to no change. This still does not justify an affair. It's important at that point to gain the help of a third party- a Therapist, not a co-worker or friend, to support you and devise a plan for you to cope with what's happening in your marriage. Even if that person won't change, they deserve the right to know that you are no longer interested in working on it and have decided to move forward with another relationship (We do not recommend this by any means. I am just saying they have the right to know).

If you find yourself in any of these situations or even close to any of these situations, please seek help. It is so important to talk about it before anything happens rather than after the devastation of an affair.

Tomorrow Joleen will share 3 more warning signs. See you then.

*Source: Warning Signs That It’s Emotional Infidelity- And Not Just Friendship by Athena Staik Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville

Emotional Infidelity Warning Signs 1-3

This topic, unfortunately, is one that affects many marriages today. The effects are damaging and life-changing. However, this blog can help us see the behavior ahead of time in order to stop before it becomes too threatening. Here's what to watch out for: 1. Saying we're "just friends" with someone of the opposite sex.

When we find ourselves saying this over and over to ourselves, it's time to face reality. This statement is very dangerous. The fact we are even saying it means we're trying to convince ourselves of it.

This way of thinking allows us to stay in denial about what we know deep down to be wrong. Unfortunately our society has twisted reality and confused what appropriate male and female friendships actually look like. Hollywood glamorizes casual sexual relationships, convincing us this is the "norm" when it's actually dysfunctional.

2. Sharing intimate issues with someone of the opposite-sex.

Remember when you began getting to know your spouse? You both had deep conversation & shared things about one another that you very rarely shared with others. This is what connected you to each other, right?

The same goes for someone of the opposite-sex. If we're going to share intimate details with them too, we're going to create intimacy with them and create a connection to them. A bond will be created with them, and this can be even stronger than having a sexual relationship with them!

If your spouse is denying you that conversational outlet, we suggest talking with someone of the same-sex, a therapist, or pastor.

3. Telling someone of the opposite-sex the troubles of your marriage or relationship.

This is VERY dangerous. When we share what we're not getting in our marriage, how our partner is letting us down, or how unhappy we are, we're giving the clear message that we're open to someone else to take care of us.

We're also betraying the trust of our spouse by sharing intimate details of the marriage that they've not given us permission to share.

If any of the above 3 things sound familiar, please search within and address the deeper reasons for why this behavior may be happening. We have several more Warning Signs to share this week. Please check back in as they are all great preventative tools for marriage.

*Source: "12 Warning Signs That It's Emotional Infidelity - And Not Just Friendship" by Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

Summer Book Recommendations- Joleen

Not "Just Friends":  Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, by Shirley P. Glass Don't let the title of this book deceive you-- while it's an amazing book for those who are healing, it's not just a book for those recovering from infidelity... It's a book that I recommend almost ALL couples in my practice (and personal life) read.  Why?  Shirley Glass talks about the 'slippery slope' of how infidelity occurs, and that is a surprising thing for most people.  Most individuals believe that your marriage has to be in total shambles for it to be suseptible to an affair, which couldn't be further from the truth.  Glass talks about how we make ourselves vulnerable to infidelity by having poor boundaries with members of the opposite sex.  She also guides the reader in what to do about that, and, in essence, how to affair-proof your marriage.

One of the points she makes in her book is that an affair doesn't have to be sexual for it to be an affair.  People often times feel like they are crazy for being uncomfortable with their spouse's opposite sex friendships (often because their spouse is telling them it's not a big deal, since it's not a physical relationship).  People with seemingly benign friendships are also susceptible to emotional affairs-- and emotional affairs are just that... they are affairs!  Glass talks about how it isn't the sexual or nonsexual contact between affair partners, but the aspect of betrayal and secrecy that is so devastating.

One of the most common questions that I get asked by couples healing from infidelity is:  Why did this happen?  Shirley Glass comes closer to any other author I have read in explaining how an affair takes place.  She talks about how affairs don't typically start off intended to be affairs, but rather how the "slippery slope" of infidelity takes place.

Another plus-- her book is grounded in research, which is a great thing!  If you are recovering from an emotional (or sexual) affair in your marriage, or if you simply want to better understand how important it is to have clear boundaries in your marriage to help affair-proof your marriage, PLEASE read this book!  You won't regret it!

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.