Emotional affairs begin with friendships that may seem perfectly innocent in the beginning. However, over a period of time, this “friendship” can grow into something that was completely unintended. Whether it’s a coworker, a friend that you knew prior to your current relationship or an ex that maybe you have stayed in touch with over the years, emotional attachments can form resulting in nothing but regret. If you find yourself doing or thinking about any of the following, you could be headed towards a very slippery slope:
- Flirting with or spending a lot of time with a coworker at, or outside of, work (ie. lunch or coffee breaks; work over dinner). Having inappropriate conversations about your current relationships or lack thereof. It’s hard enough to work with someone that you may be semi attracted to and have things in common with; don’t make it harder by forming a closer bond with this person and becoming even more sexually attracted to them because this could quite possibly lead into an office romance.
- Thinking of calling an ex that you left on good terms with? Well, keep those terms exactly where they belong; in the past. Maybe they dial you out of the blue. Obviously there was once an attraction there. Do you really think it’s wise to talk to them and “catch up on old times?” Are you familiar with the song by Hinder, Lips of an Angel? Didn’t it really tick you off once you learned more than the lyrics in the chorus? A song about a man secretively talking to an ex girlfriend on the phone about how much he misses her, how great she was, and how good it is to hear her voice while the new girlfriend is sitting in the next room. Keep that in mind the next time you think of dialing their number, or accepting a call, from the old flame that fizzled out for a reason.
- What about the platonic single friend that was there before your relationship when you, of course, were single also? Does your partner think this is no longer appropriate? Have they explained to you their concerns and yet you still keep in touch with your friend without their knowledge? Once you’re in a relationship, these friendships are no longer pliable and if you try to keep them, it could constitute an emotional affair. Although ending this friendship may seem like a betrayal at first, and they are sure to make you feel like a tool, but it will be much healthier for your relationship in the long run.
Of course these are only a few examples that could constitute an emotional affair. The basic thing to remember is if your doing something (no matter how innocent it may seem at first) that you feel you must keep secret from your partner; that is going to hurt your partner or make them angry with you; or something you really wouldn’t want your partner doing, then you need to back off of the situation; quickly. If you feel guilty even considering a particular action or having a certain thought, then you know you shouldn’t be doing it.
But what if the other party is the one making the advances? It’s simple, let them down easy. Don’t risk your relationship by playing along, or flirting back, or traveling a road that was blocked off and shut down a long time ago. And as to the whole “We’re just friends”, it’s so true that three is a crowd. Your partner is now the one who should be your best friend. Ask yourself which one is more important to you.