Infidelity is one of today’s leading causes for marital breakdowns, separation and divorce. Of these betrayals, emotional affairs are found to be especially destructive to the foundation necessary to maintain a resilient marriage. This type of affair begins when one shares an intimate/emotive connection with someone other than their partner (many times this person is viewed as a friend).
It’s not unusual for couple’s to develop amicable friendships with others while networking, or even in the workplace. External friendships should have mutually founded boundaries that are reinforced and respected by each partner.
When boundaries are unsecured and crossed, seemingly friendly connections can become detrimental; often with no forethought or awareness that one is engaging in risky behavior. Emotional intimacy is likely to lead to sexual unfaithfulness, dishonesty and other acts of betrayal that may destroy a formerly solid marriage.
Below are a few signs that indicate that an external friendship may be at risk for progressing into an emotional affair:
If you find that any of your current friendships display these characteristics, you may be slipping into a risky zone that could result into a storm of infidelity and heartbreak. Hold yourself accountable while also recognizing that you are human. Interest and warmth from someone new feels thrilling - any person has potential to mistakenly slide into emotional intimacy outside of their marriage. With your gained insight, use your attraction to the newness as motivation to get closer to your partner and explore potential areas of improvement. Aim to identify ways to keep your marriage alive and affair-proof. Stay securely in love by creating and enforcing firm, healthy, and workable boundaries.
Most of all, breakaway from people who are not “just friends.”
Written by Brianna Colbert, MA, LLPC.