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Telltale Signs of an Emotional Affair

Telltale Signs of an Emotional Affair

Is Emotional Infidelity Cheating?

I recently authored a guest post on Emotional Infidelity for hitched.com, and it’s such an important topic I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject here on the Love, Happiness and Success blog, too.

Emotional infidelity, jealousy, and trust are common issues for couples we see in couples therapy or marriage counseling. I know from many years of experience as a “relationship expert” that the first step in healing for many couples is having good information to help you understand what’s going on, and what needs to change.

It is incredibly anxiety provoking when your partner has connected with someone new. It’s especially difficult when you are not feeling confident about your own relationship. And if that “someone new” happens to be attractive it can trigger massive amounts of insecurity and jealousy.

But the hardest part about emotional affairs is that they often feel very innocent to the people engaging in them. So, for example, if you share your anxious feelings with their partner they are likely to get defensive, tell you “they’re just friends” and make you feel like you’re being unreasonable. (Which of course only adds to your anxiety).

If your partner maintains their relationship with the attractive person you’re worried about, and are continuously unresponsive to your escalating anxiety, it can create huge problems in your relationship. Namely, that you start looking like the crazy irrational person…. and their new “special friend” is seeming ever more attractive in comparison.

As I’m sure you know if you’ve lived this, that “anxiety > defensiveness > more anxiety > more defensiveness” loop starts to create a very yucky dynamic that can be difficult to unwind.

Because first of all, stopping it requires acknowledgement from your partner that they currently have an inappropriate attachment to another person. Why is it inappropriate? Why is it not okay for “them to have friends?” Because their primary commitment is to you, and you feel uncomfortable with it.

Furthermore, unless they started in response to some gross Craigslist sex-ad or ashleymadison.com profile ALL AFFAIRS begin as platonic emotional entanglements. Hardly anyone sets about to have an affair, destroy their marriage, blow their family apart, and live in the aftermath of the financial and emotional destruction that causes. [Listen to my podcast about affairs, if you want to learn more about the sad reality.] Instead, they begin… appreciating their time with a new person. And attraction grows until it’s a wildfire that only the cold shock of discovery and divorce can drown.

Understanding Emotional Infidelity

Emotional infidelity is a problem because when your partner is getting their emotional needs met by another person they are, by definition, not sharing them with you. Even if it is on Facebook. Check out my article, “Telltale Signs of an Emotional Affair” for an in-depth description of how emotional affairs start, and why they become so dangerous.

Signs of an Emotional Affair

There are very specific signs of an emotional affair that I share in my hitched.com article. Signs that can help you flush out the presence of an emotional affair. For example (and this one may surprise you) if you have been having conflict and disagreement in your relationship, and that tension suddenly fades – without other resolution – it may indicate the presence of a new emotional outlet in your partner’s life.

If your spouse suddenly seems more cheerful, more secretive about their phone, or stops telling you about their day-to-day life it may also point to a new, increasingly important, relationship.

The reason why these new attachments are so problematic for your relationship is that when your partner is going to someone else with their thoughts, hopes, fears, concerns, and emotional needs they are not giving you the opportunity to share them, or meet them.

Believe it or not, the biggest “danger signal” for a relationship is not fighting. People fight when they still care about a relationship and want to change things. A relationship is in real trouble when fighting stops, because people lose hope. People break up because they lose hope that change is possible. And if your partner is sharing all their important stuff with someone else, it’s a sign that they are withdrawing their emotional trust in you. Over time, they may stop believing that your relationship is worth fighting for.

Healing From Emotional Infidelity

There are many things that you and your partner can do together to ease your anxiety and strengthen your trust and security in them. (If your trust has already been broken, you might listen to my podcast: “Sorry’s Not Good Enough: Repairing Trust in Your Relationship”).

For example, if your partner wants to maintain their new friendship, they need to help you feel safe with it. That might mean planning activities where you are included, cc’ing you on correspondence, and having boundaries around the other relationship. If they are not willing to do that, it’s a sign that their attachment to that person may be as important to them as their attachment to you.

For my full advice on recovering from an emotional affair, read the full article on www.hitched.com. If you’re struggling with emotional infidelity, jealousy, and trust issues in your relationship I sincerely hope that the advice I shared in this article, and others, helps you both find your way back together.

All the best,
Lisa Marie Bobby

Recovering From Infidelity

Recovering From Infidelity

Healing From Infidelity, Emotional Affairs, and Betrayal

As a Denver marriage counselor for over a decade, I’ve had an up close, front-row seat to all aspects of the tragedy of infidelity. I know with certainty that being involved in an affair is one of the most traumatic and damaging things that someone can live through.

When feelings of lust and romantic infatuation overwhelm someone’s core values, commitment and good judgment, families can be shattered, and lives are often ruined. In the aftermath of infidelity, everyone involved is left feeling emotionally bankrupt and broken, and with unanswered questions blaring in their heads.

This podcast is my attempt to answer some of them:

  • Why do affairs happen?
  • Why does infidelity happen in even happy marriages?
  • Why is everyone in a love triangle profoundly damaged by the experience?
  • What are the early signs that an affair is simmering?
  • Most importantly: How do you even begin to recover, not just your relationship, but yourself in the aftermath of an affair?

Protecting Your Marriage From an Affair

Affairs, like any other type of cancer or addiction, throw off lots of red flags and warning signs in the early stages. If you know what to look for you can check yourself, and / or protect your marriage. Early intervention is key, and I’ll show you what to watch out for to prevent the nightmare of an affair from unfolding in your life.

Rebuilding a Marriage After the Affair

If you are in a marriage that has been shattered by an affair, I want you to know that hope, healing and forgiveness are possible. An affair does not necessarily mean that divorce is around the corner. While it is hard work to rebuild trust in the aftermath of an affair under the guidance of a competent marriage counselor many couples are able to not just heal from infidelity, but create a stronger and more satisfying relationship than ever before. I’ll share the key ingredient to help you start growing back together again.

Healing After Betrayal

Being cheated on, lied to, and betrayed by your number-one person cuts deeply into soft places that are hard to heal. Recovery involves repairing your self esteem, working through grief and anger, and learning how to trust again — both other people, and often yourself. I’ll give you some tips for how to understand what happened, and protect yourself from future betrayals.

Forgiving the Unforgivable

Furthermore, hope and recovery is also possible for The Other and The Occupied — the people who did terrible things over the course of an affair that they now feel ashamed about. No one gets out of a love triangle unscathed. When betrayals happen in the context of a toxic relationship, everyone involved is emotionally wounded in the process. Abandoning your values, and feeling that you’ve allowed yourself to be degraded by an affair can leave your self-respect mangled, and damage your trust in yourself — not to mention your trust in others. The silver lining: We’ll be talking about how such unique pain brings with it an equally unique opportunity to learn, grow, and become a better, healthier, more powerful person because of it.

Recovering From Infidelity

On this episode of The Love, Happiness and Success Podcast we are descending into the darkness of infidelity together, so that you can understand how and why affairs start, how to prevent affairs from happening, and how to rebuild your life if you have been through any aspect of this experience.

I sincerely hope it helps you on your journey of growth and healing.

With love,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

Music Credits of this episode: PJ Harvey: Dry and To Bring You My Love (Albums)

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