What constitutes an affair? Most people would answer that cheating is a physical (sexual) act with another person.
Did you know that there are emotional infidelities, too? These might not have the sexual component involved, but can be even worse because they include feelings.
That is why we are focusing on investigating different stages of emotional affairs. If you think that you or your partner may be in one, here is some insightful information that might help.
1. Everything Starts With Feeling Neglected
We have two words for you – emotional unfulfillment. The reason why a married person looks for someone else is the lack of satisfaction in the current relationship.
Some women tend to make the man feel inadequate. Instead of validating their partner, they often criticize him, which is why he feels unappreciated. That feeling can be one of the triggers of an emotional affair.
When it comes to men, it usually happens that they neglect their wife. Instead of talking to her, and appreciating her looks and feelings, they ignore her and fail to show affection.
If you suspect that your spouse is having an emotional affair, sit down, and analyze your relationship. Do you think they have the reason to feel neglected? Have you been ignoring them?
Related reading: 4 Stages Of Healing After Infidelity
It might seem that you are not trying enough, especially if you forget a couple of special dates in a row. Perhaps they feel that you are distant because you are not talking about your problems.
Everything comes down to poor communication, and lack of emotions involved. If a partner feels unappreciated and neglected, that may inspire them to look for emotional fulfillment elsewhere.
2. The Other Person Starts Filling the Emotional Gap
You haven’t thought about it at first, but it is obvious that you’ve had long and fun conversations with your coworker lately.
That is one of the first stages of emotional affairs. Some people look to fill the emotional gap with other persons, but it can also happen spontaneously.
It soon becomes evident that you enjoy talking with that other person more than chatting with your partner.
3. You Begin Confiding in the Other Person
It all seems fun and innocent enough at first, but the next step in an emotional affair may happen without you even noticing it.
For example, you may fight with your spouse, and immediately call your “friend” to complain. It is only logical because they will support and understand you. Furthermore, they may even share juicy details from their personal life, too.
Related reading: 9 Signs a Marriage Cannot Be Saved
All that means you have taken the communication to the next level. You believe you can talk about anything now, and that brings plenty of emotions to the table.
4. You Start Having Sexual And Other Fantasies About Them
You may have had sexual fantasies from the start, but they have now become frequent.
Things have even gone to the next level because you are fantasizing about spending a romantic night together or running away to a secret location to spend some alone time.
The communication might have taken a turn, too. While you are still confiding, you also started flirting.
Depending on the level of your relationship, you may begin sexting, send provocative photos to each other, and even think about including the physical component into the affair.
5. Feeling Guilty And Trying to Repair The Current Relationship
It is around this point when things become serious. Whether things have become physical, or they are about to be, you feel guilty about your current spouse. It is why you may start putting in an additional effort to improve your current relationship.
Related reading: 8 Signs He Found Someone Else
You may consider implementing the elements present in your affair. That includes suggesting your partner that you should have more fun together, proposing a romantic getaway, and try to start texting.
You may be feeling guilty, or you got a confidence boost you needed to get that old spark going again.
Depending on how those efforts go by, you may refocus on your partner, and forget about the affair. However, that doesn’t happen frequently, and that is why it might be time for the big confrontation.
6. Discovering The Affair
However, affairs usually do not remain a secret, and there are two ways to reveal them:
- The person who was cheating admitted what they have done.
- The cheated spouse discovered the affair.
What If You Admit The Affair?
The first potential scenario is that you admit you have been in an emotional affair. People who decide to confess usually feel guilty, and don’t want to keep secrets anymore.
It takes courage to admit that you did a wrong thing, but being honest is the right thing to do/
Confessing is a better way of discovering the affair than having the cheated spouse finding out about it. Partners who are victims of cheating might read signs of an affair, or discover it accidentally.
Related reading: My Wife Is Having An Online Affair
Either way, once everything is out in the open, it is time to have an honest heart-to-heart conversation. The cheated spouse should learn as many details about the affair as possible.
Remember, it is always better to know than to guess, which is why you shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions. You also need to discuss your relationship, and where it can go from that point.
7. The Big Decision
Both partners have a big decision in front of them, and it involves deciding whether it is worth continuing the relationship.
If you were the one who committed an affair, you should consider why you did that. The chances are something is off in your relationship, and that’s why you needed a “substitute.”
The same applies to the cheated spouse. If your partner committed infidelity, it is a sign that your marriage hasn’t been perfect.
You may want to analyze the stages of emotional affairs that your spouse had, but don’t forget to analyze your relationship, too.
The best move is to sit down and decide together. If you think that it makes sense to continue the relationship, it will take a lot of effort on both sides to repair the bond you had.
On the other hand, if you think that things are beyond repair, it is better to walk away than continue leading a life that can’t make you truly happy.