When Flirting Becomes an Emotional Affair

September 29, 2011 by

An emotional affair can sometimes start out innocently. You’re just bantering with a co-worker. It’s harmless flirting, right? It can be, but sometimes those boundaries get blurred.

As a Portland marriage counselor, I can tell you that the definition of an emotional affair isn’t set in stone. What would be considered cheating in one relationship would be perfectly acceptable in another. Even within a marriage, there can be differing views on what constitutes cheating. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and even the end of a relationship.

Signs You’re Having an Emotional Affair

So how can you tell if your flirting is becoming an emotional affair? One telltale sign is if it’s a secret. Are you hiding emails from your spouse? Or lying about who you went to lunch with that day? If you would feel uncomfortable if your partner found out about the way you interact with this other person, that’s not a good thing.

Another warning sign is if you find that your relationship with this other person has a sexual overtone, even if it’s subtle. If your banter feels more like foreplay than joking between friends, this can be a sign that this is a sexual fantasy, which can sometimes lead to a sexual affair.

Also, how often are you talking to this other person? If you find that you spend more time talking to this friend than your spouse, that’s not a good sign, even if your conversations are totally innocuous. Sometimes people even share details about their relationship or spouse with this friend. You may be seeking a connection with this other person that you feel you are lacking at home. This should be a red flag. You need to start giving your marriage more attention.

You may find that friends or even your spouse pick up on things before you’re willing to see it yourself, so if someone expresses concern that your interactions aren’t entirely appropriate, don’t ignore it.

If you suspect you’re in an emotional affair, it’s likely that you are, or at the very least, that your relationship is in need of help. If you want to start working on re-connecting with your spouse, give our offices a call to talk to an experienced Portland marriage counselor.