emotional affair

Signs of an Emotional Affair

It normally starts with a rough patch in the marriage. One spouse feels rejected. She doesn’t feel like he pays attention to her or he feels like she is never interested in sex. Someone gets hurt, maybe even repeatedly. The feelings and voices replay over and over again, “He doesn’t appreciate me.” “She never shows me affection.” “He takes me for granted.” “She doesn’t love me.”

Then it happens. While at work or a party, there is an interaction with someone of the opposite sex. The person feels good and excited, two emotions that haven’t been felt in a while. These are all of the things they used to feel with their spouse. They can’t wait for the next time they see or talk to that person. After a while, they look forward to interacting with that person more than their spouse.

Emotional affairs are a real and painful form of infidelity. However, at what point has the line been crossed? Answering yes to the following questions are signs you are having an emotional affair or headed that way.

Are you hiding things from your spouse?

This is the biggest and most telling signal. The moment you keep secrets from your spouse about relationships with others, the betrayal begins. [Tweet This] Deleting texts and emails, putting passwords in place to restrict access or starting a new email account your spouse doesn’t know about crosses the line.

Do you feel a greater connection to this person over your spouse?

Do you feel like this person understands you more than your spouse? Are you having more deeply personal talks with this person more than your wife? Do you talk to her about your marital problems? If you find yourself leaning on this person for emotional support, your connection with them is going to grow as will your disconnection with your spouse.

Do the two of you flirt with one another?

Giving someone a compliment is fine, however flirting is a violation. Flirting is being overly or strategically complimentary. It is sending someone signals that you are attracted to them and open to their reciprocated affection. It is gazing eye contact and suggestive touching with a spirit of attraction. It’s important to be honest about your intentions because the other person will pick up on your feelings and so will your spouse.

Do you daydream about this person?

When you are with your spouse are you preoccupied with thinking about the other person? Do you think about her more than your wife? Do you get excited when you think about your interactions, replaying the old ones and looking forward to the next time? At this point, your heart is entangled. The more time you spend thinking about the other person the more cracks appear in your marriage. Your spouse will sense the problem and feel the neglect.

Do they fill a “missing piece” in your life or marriage?

Whether it is lack of attention, hurt feelings or just boredom, something is missing in your marriage. Are you trying to fill that hole with this “friend”? Do they give you things your marriage no longer does? If you are finding the attention you lack or are experiencing the thrill you used to feel for your spouse, you are there. As long as you are finding those things from a person other than your spouse, your marriage will continue to lose more life and be in danger.


Sound Off

What are some other signs of an emotional affair?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • Irishlitherican

    Seems to me that most affairs and break ups in marriages start with this seemingly innocent stuff. Great post. Let’s all pray to stay vigilant against falling into these traps. And pray for our spouses too.

    • Paul_Sp

      I concur…..with all of it.

  • JediKnight

    Last year, I discovered that my wife had been having an emotional affair for about a year. As you might imagine, I was devastated. While she admitted to the affair and professed that she had ended it before it ever became more, she justified her actions because of issues in our marriage that I had failed to properly address. That made me feel very guilty at first, but over time and with the help of our therapist, I have come to realize that while I may have pushed her towards that line that she crossed it on her own.

    Since that dreadful day, I have worked as hard as I possibly can to fix the issues that led us to this point. Because of the nature of these issues, it’s been very difficult to work with my wife who has spent the bulk of our marriage very angry with me over not dealing with it sooner. We’re still trying and I remain hopeful that we can work things out but am also mentally prepared in the event that it doesn’t.

    Having said all of this, I still hold a great deal of anger towards my wife over her emotional infidelity. I feel like I didn’t give her enough crap about it when I found out because she turned it around on me and made me feel guilty. I haven’t really addressed it with her in the months since. Of course, she never brings it up, either. I don’t know if I should let it go at this point or bring it up again.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Sean

      I’ve been on her side and I can say that it’s not being yelled at or constant reminders about the affair that she needs. You need to make sure you have both talked everything through. I know how hard it is to work through it all. I’d recommend that you each go to counselling on your own. Made a huge difference for my wife and I. This will help you get through your anger and how to talk with your wife and not let the anger build. Hope this helps. Message me if you’d like to talk about the other side.

      • JediKnight

        Thanks, Sean! I have been going to counseling on my own since the discovery of the affair…mostly to fix my issues which brought us to this point in the first place. My wife has accompanied me a few times but does not want to discuss her feelings, only my issues. She tells me that her family “doesn’t do therapy” and that she doesn’t believe in it for herself. I really think that she needs to go on her own and have told her so many times…it’s not healthy to keep this anger inside. I’ve even told her to, as an alternative, to confide in a close friend…even if it means disclosing certain details that might cause me some embarrassment. She won’t do it.

        She did finally go see our therapist on her own recently…mostly to discuss how she can deal with what I’m going through. The therapist said that towards the end, my wife did start to open up a bit. The therapist hopes that maybe she’ll come back again soon because she thinks she might be able her to open up some more. I remain hopeful.

        In the meantime, I’ve just started some new treatments that show some promise. I’m going to give it a few months to see if things get better. If not, then it may be time to call it.

        • Paul_Sp

          Fools “don’t do therapy” when it obviously can help, even if just with one thing, not a “cure-all”.

          Your surely trying, man. I hope the Good Lord gives you the patience you need for all that she needs to change too.

          IF this marriage survives and eventually becomes wonderful, it will all be worth it, and hopefully you two will be able to help others dealing with similar “secret sins”.

    • Paul_Sp

      This is tough.

      You’re understandably hurt and angry, but not quite enough so to call it quits from the get-go. She is understandably ashamed (to some degree) and probably ticked that you weren’t “something” that the other guy was that met a felt need in her.
      Yet she knows she crossed a line, but feels needs were met, more circular reasoning.
      So you’re both in this odd funk-ish place in your relationship with some embarrassment, lost trust, anger, rejection, insult, etc.

      Don’t feel bad if it feels huge to recover from. It won’t make it onto Dr. Phil, but I know it’s a tough thing to recover from, tougher than most would acknowledge.

      I agree counseling is a must, along with honesty (when each is ready to handle it), acknowledgment to each other, and deciding what you both want now.

      I mean it. At some point, especially before a divorce is chosen, you have to honestly sit down together and acknowledge what happened and why, accept what the other’s perspective as to why it happened is for them, admit wrong and apologize (but only if sincere), and finally ask each other, “Now going forward, what do you want?”
      Then ask yourselves, “What am I willing to do to get what I want?”
      (I don’t mean the “I’s” to mean take care of yourself before the other. More like “How am I willing to change to make things better, for good?”)

      Has to be some change, as you don’t approve of it and look at how your relationship feels now.

      And if you pray, pray for God to guide, bring wisdom, build love and affection, basically do a wonderful healing work in your marriage, etc.

    • Jeremy

      I know this is a very difficult situation to be going through. This post might help you sort through your feelings: http://www.allprodad.com/i-caught-my-wife-cheating-what-now/ I’ll be praying for you.

    • BJ_Foster

      Jedi – I would love to hear an update. How are things going? Any progress? Has she entered into counseling? I think you have been approaching it well. Prayed for you and your wife today.

      • JediKnight

        Thanks for the thoughts and prayers, BJ…it’s very much appreciated!

        Things are moving forward, but not as fast as I would like. I am continuing to work with my therapist to fix our intimacy issues as well as being treated for the medical issues that my failure to address started this whole thing. Because it took me so long to address, she was (and still is, to some respect) emotionally shut down when it comes to intimacy. While she understands intellectually that it takes two to resolve this, she’s still carrying a lot of anger and resentment towards me and it creates issues when we’re in the moment. There is progress being made, but the slow pace is frustrating me.

        She did finally come to my last therapy session (at my insistence) and I think we are going to add a regular couples session in additional to the sessions I am doing on my own. I see that as a good sign, so we’ll see how it goes.

        Neither one of us has brought up the infidelity in months. It still bothers me…mostly because our intimacy issues are not fully resolved. I keep hoping that once that happens, I will be able to let go of the past. Every time I see a story in the media about some celebrity getting caught cheating (or see someone who resembles the man she was texting with), it brings all of those emotions up again. She has never seen it as as big a deal as I have. I suppose because she never intended it to be anything serious. In her mind, it was a little playful thing that got a little out of hand one night and that she ended soon after because she realized that it had gone too far. She doesn’t see it as cheating. So, I don’t know if I should address it again or just leave it alone.

        I’m hanging in there. Some days are better than others. Our lives are chaotic right now due to other issues (jobs, finances, flood in our home, etc.), so we are both taking it one day at a time. There are days where I contemplate separating to see if that would shake things up enough to bring her closer to meeting me halfway, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on that. Unless something dramatic happens, I’ll probably wait through the holidays and reevaluate at that point. I’m trying to be patient and work through the process but at the same time, it’s been over a year since the bomb dropped, so I wonder how much longer I should give this.

        Thanks again and hope that all is well with you and yours!

        God bless!

  • Joe Jack

    I personally don’t think there is such thing as an “emotional affair.” The Bible clearly defines what constitutes an affair, and “daydreaming” is NOT an affair. You can’t control having a feeling or EMOTION any more than you can control your dreams or your bowel movements. This article condones jealousy and possessive spouses! My wife can talk to anyone she wants, all I know is at the end of the day she comes home to me. And as long as I am the only one inside of her, she is NOT having an affair and everything is fine.

    • JediKnight

      I think what constitutes an emotional affair is subjective. There’s a large gray area there. It took me a while to come to the conclusion that my wife was having one. In the end, having intimate conversations via text, sexting and sharing (nonsexual, so far as I know) photos constituted an emotional affair in my book. Of course, you have to decide what boundaries are acceptable for you and your spouse.

    • Paul_Sp

      Kind of see your points and agree, but not entirely.
      The Bible doesn’t address every specific thought, feeling, or attitude that can lead to problems and/or “sin”.

      My main point to you would be that if one’s wife is more interested and excited emotionally about being around a guy other than her husband, for perhaps very understandable reasons, it’s a problem that will tear at the marriage fabric, whether it’s rises to the level of being called an “affair” of some sort or not.
      Not saying it will lead to more than that or a sexual relationship at all. But how does it end? It won’t feel good to the parties involved.
      And it will end in one way or another, at some point.

      So, at least let it serve as a “red flag” that some things need attention, and be willing to change some, even if you think you shouldn’t have to.
      In the long run, you’ll be glad you did, if you care about the relationship, that is.

    • theophilus

      In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus said, “I say to you that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The Greek word for lust is epithumeesai which means to set the heart upon, to long for, or to have a desire for. According to Jesus, an affair is far more than simply having intercourse with someone other than your spouse. To Jesus, our thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and motivations are just as important as our actions. Therefore, “daydreaming” about anyone other than your spouse is not according to God’s design, thus is sin. Paul tells us in 2 Cor 10:5 that “we take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” The Greek word for thought is noeema which means mental perception, purpose, thought, or disposition; as well as the mind as that which thinks and feels. Ultimately, if someone or something is fulfilling the role of what God designed your spouse to fulfill, it is sinful. Is not God, a Jealous and Possessive God in relation to His people and their relationship with other “gods”? I am not advocating a spouse to be controlling and unGodly in their jealousy and possessiveness of their spouse, yet there are lines, even emotional and mental lines, that are not to be crossed if the marriage is to be as God intends. Simply talking to someone and enjoying their company does not equate to an affair, yet when relationships outside of the marriage begin to become more “desired,” “fulfilling,” and “enjoyable” than the marriage relationship, there is great danger and is not according to God’s plan for the marriage relationship.

      • Paul_Sp

        Pretty much concur and appreciate your perspective.
        Only thing that gave me pause if your assertion that “daydreaming” about anyone other than your spouse is a “sin”.
        I would call it temptation, and possibly sin, depending on what we do with and about it.

        • Paul_Sp

          Let me suck your dik.

  • Paul_Sp

    Excellent questions to ask yourself, spot-on!

    • Paul_Sp

      I’m a spot-on F A G G O T.

  • LivingForMyKids

    I am the wife and just trying to find some healing and insight into my husbands feelings and actions. My spouse still will not admit any wrong doing and that I wasn’t meeting his emotional needs. Then when bringing it up and I did try to be more mindful of doing the little things, he wasn’t open to them at all and would get angry mad. Claiming he had been doing without and couldn’t think of one happy thought in the last 20 yrs of our 25 year marriage; me forcing him into things such as kids, property, etc. Realized about a month after he said he wasn’t “in”love with me by looking at our cell phone bill that his friend/employee was more than just that. Texting pretty much everyday and anywhere from 5 am to 11pm. Found some papers she gave to him in March of last year (prior to me looking at phone records) and her name included a red heart in front of it. When the rumor of them having an affair came out it was all my & her husbands fault, nothing to do with the fact that they had been giving each other little gifts, being fitness partners in diet, meeting up and driving around together to talk. He continually added that if the opportunity came up he would be interested in seeing if there was anything between them, he didn’t want to be a hypocrite…Told me he offered to help her financially with what she would need to leave her spouse (which even from her relative was said to be the most laid back guy she knows, but not meeting her financial needs). I found a letter he had written, claimed it was a journal entry, but more of a suicide letter on his new great friend. Was very worried about him, but anyone who would say their friendship was not OK, wasn’t his friend and didn’t understand. I tried giving him time and space, only to allow him plenty of time to make plans and put things in his name only. Just some more things he did without thinking.

    I finally threw in the towel when he didn’t spend Thanksgiving with us and then upon returning, decided he needed to sleep out in camper. Found out she left her spouse, (funny how some cash withdrawals he made just slipped his mind) and she then showed up at activities. He came home one night at 1am with lights off, took on additional duties at work and was even going to work on Sundays, staying late or leaving before 5am to get things done.
    I didn’t bring things about her and wanted it to be his choice to put our marriage and family first. But he wasn’t able to do that. His reason
    for leaving was he “needed to be happy”. Which I wasn’t getting everything I wanted either, figured it was compromise. I offered several
    times for him to leave, but he stayed to “take care of me.” On day 16 of driving away, he informed me he would be going out to dinners with his friend(s), because that is what he needed. Then even wanted a thank you and some appreciation after a month of him leaving. He has a list of things from our first year or two of marriage that he continually brings up against me, which I more than apologized and I felt justified in my actions or reactions as well. Only having $100 and he spent $60 on a bouquet of flowers when we had bills to pay…He obviously has no ability to forgive, based on his bringing things up. Another example is a text message I supposedly sent 9 years ago about going back to our regular house since our temporary one had frozen pipes and no water. Probably true because we had an 18 mo old along with 2 older ones and I also had a job to go to work to as well.

    In my opinion, which isn’t worth much, if it is going to work, both of you need to participate and be willing to not only forgive, but forget. So once your connection is in place maybe talk about it to clear the air and truly forgive if you want to have a healthy relationship.

    Both families are in the middle of divorce and there is no chance of reconciliation for either us. Any thoughts from a guys view would be appreciated.

    • Paul_Sp

      It’s unclear to me exactly what you are looking for regarding “thoughts” from others.

      Sounds like a sad demise, much (of course) left out, you say no chance of reconciliation.
      Does sound like a classic emotional affair on your husband’s part.

      • LivingForMyKids

        There was no fighting, alcohol or drug abuse..just worked alot and didn’t make time to do things together or s a family, other than additional work projects.My husbands dream was always to have a ranch like his grandfather, which ours is only about half and we borrowed money from my parents for a down payment. Even my siblings felt my parents loved him more than their own kids. His parents had a chance to support us to buy his grandfathers and they wouldn’t. I felt really sorry for him, because he never has been the special kid
        to his parents, thinking he fell into a midlife crisis, but then again
        is spot on with what cheaters say and do.
        So as a guy or person, can you have three children, buy property, create retirement and be miserable for 20 years before saying something about your unhappiness?

        • Paul_Sp

          Hmm, yes I think it’s possible, is the answer to your question.
          Some people, esp men, don’t even ask themselves those kinds of questions, nor explore how they feel about things, ever! So many could def go years without asking or examining things of this nature.

          Men can get so busy and focused with each phase of building something, that that is all you are focused on when it comes to reflecting on life stuff. Doesn’t mean he actually felt “miserable” for 20 yrs, even if he says so now. Perhaps unfulfilled or the like.

          From what you’ve said, sounds like this other gal “gets” him, in his thinking.
          Without counseling and willingness to reframe your marriage, allowing you to replace what she has been to him (or so he thinks), I don’t see a successful future for you two.

          There can be an exhausting amount of details to be addressed ultimately. No one can likely answer every “little” question that may crop up, and not all have to be answered.

          To me, only with God’s help can you save and turn this marriage into what it should be, and it takes both of you.

          • LivingForMyKids

            He refused any counseling (ind or couple) and still believes they’ve done nothing wrong. So yes we’re in middle of divorcing. Has been meeting up with her before and even more now. She left her husband too. I feel I let him stay around to long hoping for something but he had threatened suicide and I didn’t want to chance that. I did feel sorry he was going through all this and claimed he had no choice. But I do believe you nurture the relationships you want to. He has always been seen as one with high morals & character which made it hard on him knowing others were talking and letters sent to his bosses. Even though nothing illegal, they more than cross the employee/employer line. But not sexual harassment since neither one had issues with it. He is claiming he is just “trying to be the man he knows he can be.” I struggle with that, one who isn’t faithful or committed to his vows, wife, putting our children and hers thru this. He commented that if he left she would too. Taking money, buying her gifts. ..
            just looking for something to help me with closure. He did claim he lied about questions with minister. Thought I should have known… I’m not a mind reader

          • Paul_Sp

            Ok, the plot thickens….

            This sound like a real affair, sex or no sex, so much entanglement and activity between the two of them. And when your final solution is to rip both families apart instead of saying, “what a mess, this is wrong”.

            Having been through a very unwelcome divorce myself after 20 yrs of marriage, closure can be quite elusive and difficult to achieve. And can take much time.

            Not sure if you can find this in your area, but if you can find a DivorceCare class, I found it wonderfully helpful and supportive.

            Unless you’re Wonder Woman, and maybe even she could use help, I would suggest some kind of ind counseling. But more than that, paying that God would be near and send the people into your life that you need for support and help.

            This could be the hardest thing you ever have to face, idk.

          • LivingForMyKids

            It has been very hard on me. I find that now I’ve been trying till do for my Kids what he thought he was missing. Like being more open with my feelings of saying “I love you”. They feel and I’m smothering them. Just don’t want them to say I wasn’t a good mom.
            Thanks for responding. I’ve turned focus from “us” to trying to get myself in a position to better take care of our kids. He claims he’ll always wasn’t to take care of me and be friends and that won’t change. But our commitment and vows weren’t suppose to either and that has which I figured it would. Im using this as a lesson to bee kinder to others, you never know the pain someone may be hiding.

          • Paul_Sp

            I think I know how hard it has been, and my wife leaving me was brutal.
            Love those kids of your, you don’t have to be “perfect” to be a great mom. But I imagine they want things to be as “normal” for themselves as possible.

            Don’t be too hard on yourself, you weren’t meant to raise kids without their father in the home too, yet you must now.
            Don’t be surprised if feelings of loneliness or rejection try to creep in at times.
            Understandable, but don’t believe what “they” tell you.
            You need prayer and support, don’t shy away from asking for it.

        • Joe

          As a guy I hate and detest confrontation. I would do everything I could to avoid it. If I addressed something, my wife would give what I thought was a curt, rough response and I would withdraw. I’d not seen how to disagree agreeably growing up, and I had no idea how to do it in my marriage. I started never saying anything because I thought I’d be yelled at or, I started never saying anything because I thought I must be wrong. I got help from a guy who taught me that my voice mattered, and I was right to address things and needed to address things. I’m not there yet where I can say I’ve mastered this, but I’m at least trying again. I voice my concerns and address issues and then she decides whether to respond. I’ve got a lot of bad choices to try to fix. I guess to make a long story short, absolutely guys can be married have kids and not say something in a way that their spouse can hear/relate/understand. Guys can give up. I did. But I’m trying to get back in the game.

          We’re in the middle of rearing our kids now, so we’ve made them our priority and that’s hurt our relationship deeply. We’ve not confronted financial differences and that’s hurt our relationship deeply. We’ve not learned to take time to communicate and interact as just ourselves without time constraints of needing to push conversations along or getting back to the kids/work/chores. We’ve avoid easy disagreements and made hard ones, and we have work to do.

  • Dan

    Trying this for the first time. Never really one to discuss my feelings with complete strangers, but I am in a real battle right now as I am the one who has caused the pai of betrayal. There is no trust, although I’ve repented and sought forgiveness. It’s all about the kids…staying until they are out of the house, which is not very long off. We don’t know each other; too incompatible.

    • Paul_Sp

      Dan, sounds bad, and it prob is. What do you want? Not, what are you supposed to want, but what do you want? To save it? Not to? Something else?
      You have to be honest here.

  • Ola odion

    Hi Guys,

    Dude, that you so much. I just discovered my wife was having an emotional affair this past week. I caught it early (2 months into it, not counting the tension and build up). I noticed some long and ill timed phone calls on our bill. I checked her phone and the text messages confirmed it. It’s a coworker, a supervisor/mentor. At first she said she was trying to figure out what she wanted, and that she had to talk to him more to know if what she felt was something significant or fleeting. I caught her in a lie few weeks back when I check her calendar to schedule couples counseling. She said she had to work a 24 hour shift, 8am-8pm. I was relieved when I looked at the schedule and it said 8-8. But I did a double take: 8pm-8am. She had even got up and put on her work uniform that morning to sell the lie. She spent the whole day with him.

    I kicked her out as soon as she got home. I was scared she will pick him. But, my situation sounds like everyone else’s to the T. She said she felt something for him she never has felt in her life, she felt alive for the first time–but she seems a little scant on the details as to swhat exactly she is feeling and why its special. She says she was never in love with me and she only married me because she thought it would make her feel something. But I know it’s bullshit and i know something evil was at work. We have old letters from when we dated long distance early on. She and I were crazy about each other–she thought about me all the time and said shed never felt the way she felt for me about anyone ever. I had no idea how long it will take her to realize this fact, 40 year old, bald dousche is nothing. I had to be patient and wait, I guess. But i couldn’t just stand and do nothing so i talked with my friend and he introduced me to akim, and i talked with Akim and he did his prayers and my wife came back to me yesterday saying she was under an evil force placed by her coworker. I’m so happy i have her back. I recommend you to talk with akim for any marriage/relationship crisis and he is sure to help.

    Anyway, I’m realy happy and akim’s contact info is :[email protected] Thanks

  • Becky Carter

    Hi friends.
    It is not so typical of me to refer professionals online but I feel like I owe a lot to hackerethique who helped me track my cheating fiance when he was having an affair, I got to find out that he has been lying to me for the past 5 months and seeing two other women. I was able to get direct access to his text messages, phone conversations and all social networks on his phone: what was most amazing was that his recently deleted messages were retrieved by Bruno. If you are getting less than you deserve in your relationship and want to be sure
    Contact : hackerethique-at-gmail-dot-com
    Text: (+1) 470-270-0531

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