While extremely damaging to a relationship, physical affairs are fleeting and often cause much less devastation than emotional affairs. An emotional affair means that your significant other is attached and has bonded with another person. The emotions are stronger, and it can be very difficult to break off. Most people cheat on their partners because they feel that something is lacking in their relationship. Perhaps he feels neglected, or that the relationship is stale and he is looking for something new. Once the newness of love wears off, some people become bored and pursue a new love interest to bring those feelings back. And other times, emotions become deeper with a platonic friend, and your significant other may be blindsided by them. She may not understand how serious and damaging her behaviour can be to the current relationship. Relationships are built upon communication and trust. Most people who are content in their relationships would be devastated to realise their significant other has had an emotional affair. Here is some advice that can help you deal with an emotional affair.
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Things you need
Process the emotions you are feeling. Buy a journal and write down how you feel. Writing can be therapeutic and can help you see the big picture. You can go through the pages and may discover insights about your relationship that you were not able to see before.
Give yourself time to grieve over the loss of how you viewed your relationship. You must accept that you will now view the relationship differently. It may feel as if your relationship, which previously felt sacred, has been tarnished by this mistake.
Realise that it is going to take time to get over such a serious betrayal, and build trust back up.
Make sure your partner acknowledges how you are feeling. One of the most important things that your partner can do for you is to validate your feelings. This means that you explain how you are feeling about her betrayal, and she really “listens” to you. The victim of an emotional affair wants to know that his partner fully understands the impact of the behaviour.
Talk to your partner about the hows and whys of the situation. This is when you discover why your partner went outside the relationship to get emotional needs fulfilled.
Seek outside help. There are many emotions that need to be unravelled in an emotional affair. Many qualified marriage counsellors can help you overcome this crisis. In marriage counselling, you will learn very useful coping strategies to deal with the stumbling blocks that life has a way of tossing into your path.
Ask your partner to confess all of his sins. At this point, he may be tempted to hide or omit some of his indiscretions rather than to fully come clean and risk hurting you even more. Explain to him that the damage is already done. If you find out at a later date that he covered up some of the truth, you may never trust him again. Talk to your partner about how important trust is in your relationship, and that the least he can do is to reveal to you the entire truth.
Understand that the other person involved with your significant other may seek ways to break you up. This person may lie about what really happened or about the intensity of the relationship. Just be aware that because another human being was involved, you will probably hear from this person in one way or other.
If your relationship is being threatened by an outside person, you and your significant other must unite at this pivotal moment. Assure your partner that your relationship is worth fighting for, and no one is going to break you up.
Tips and warnings
- Follow your heart. Ask yourself these important questions. Are you still in love with your partner? Do you want to repair the relationship? Does this relationship deserve a second chance, or is the damage irreversible? You and your significant other must be willing to do everything possible to heal your relationship.
- Don't expect the healing process to be easy. It will be hard to hear your significant other tell you that he loves you, when you've learnt that he has secretly been telling someone outside your relationship the same thing.