How to End an Emotional Affair
By Kajay Williams
Emotional affairs can actually be more difficult to deal with than physical affairs, as although there may not have been any physical contact, the feelings involved in an emotional affair can actually run far deeper than imagined. Emotional affairs can also be difficult to define – because no actual physical boundary has been broken, it can be tough to define what constitutes an emotional affair and what constitutes a friendship.
What starts out as an innocent friendship can blossom into something much more, which has the potential to devastate one or both primary relationships. If you come to realize that you are involved in an emotional affair and you want to break it off, these steps should make it a little easier.
Go Cold Turkey
First things first, to move away from your emotional affair and back into your primary relationship, you need to break off your affair. If you are emailing and texting all the time, that contact needs to stop. The more time spent talking with your friend, the less time spent with your spouse and your family. An emotional affair can become all-consuming, because you feel as though you cannot talk to anyone other than your friend. You might feel like your friend is the only person who “gets” you.
But in reality, if you keep talking to your friend, even if you limit that contact to occasionally rather than every day, you’ll still have those feelings towards them. For the sake of your relationship, it’s best for you to go cold turkey on contact with your friend. Break it off, explaining to them why you are breaking it off, and if you can, stop contacting them. This will be hard, but in the long term, it will be the best thing for your relationship.
Nurture Your Relationship
You will have had an emotional affair for a reason. Perhaps you felt an emotional disconnect from your partner, or perhaps you have your own emotional problems. If you couldn’t talk to your spouse in the same way as your friend, there is something seriously wrong in your relationship. The one good thing about an emotional affair is that it can make you realize that you have been neglecting your primary relationship, so use it as an opportunity to nurture it.
Steven Stosny, co-author of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About it, says that you need to adopt a new attitude toward your spouse. “Emotional connection is a mental state. You choose to feel connected to your spouse. You decide to be loving and compassionate toward them.” Changing your attitude towards your spouse and remembering why you fell in love with them in the first place will go a long way in helping you to end your emotional affair and revitalize your relationship.
If you choose to tell your partner about the affair, make sure that you are responsible about it. Own what you did. Don’t try to put the blame onto your partner. It was you that decided to embark on an emotional affair instead of trying to fix the problems within your relationship. Your partner didn’t cheat, you did, so take responsibility for it – but also acknowledge that you are going to try your hardest to fix those problems within your relationship so that you can become a stronger couple.
Whether or not you tell your spouse about the emotional affair depends entirely on your circumstances. If you think it is appropriate, or you feel like you can only really heal if you tell your spouse about the affair, by all means, tell them. However, if you have truly ended your emotional affair and are working as hard as possible to heal your relationship, it may only hurt your partner if you tell them.
It’s best to think about the effect that your confession would have on your partner before you tell them – if they would be devastated and unable to move on, and you have truly ended all contact with the other person, it may be more sensible to keep it to yourself.
It’s worth remembering after an emotional affair that while you shouldn’t be sharing more of yourself with a friend than your spouse, you also cannot rely on your spouse to meet all of your emotional needs. To have a strong relationship, you need to be a strong person. You need to be independent enough to recognize yourself as an individual in your own right, but you also need a network around you of friends and family. Nurture yourself and take a little me-time – perhaps by taking up a hobby that you’ve always wanted to try, or even just by scheduling in a regular trip to a salon or spa.
You should also nurture your friendships and relationships within your family – remember that you need to have someone other than your spouse that you can talk to and share your thoughts and feelings with. The more independent you are, and the more you see that you can have meaningful friendships outside of your relationship that don’t overtake your feelings for your spouse, the stronger your relationship will be in the future.
If you find yourself reminiscing about the time spent talking and communicating with your friend, and wishing that you could still talk to them, remind yourself that the relationship you had with them was an idealistic one. That means that although you may have imagined yourself together or you may have imagined that you were the best of friends, there is a very good reason for why you’re not together.
If you were actually together as a couple, chances are that the relationship would be very different to what you may have been imagining. The spouse you chose to be with is probably very different to your friend – and that’s because your spouse is the person that understands you most. Your friend is just that – a friend – because you chose someone like your spouse, not your friend.
What To Do If Your Partner Is Having An Affair?
Time To Act: There is hope.
An affair may be the best thing to happen to a marriage or relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, experts say that many couples survive infidelity and are able to rebuild a stronger, better and more fulfilling marriage after the betrayal.
Whether you suspect your partner or spouse is cheating on you or whether you have just discovered your spouse’s affair or whether you are wondering if you want to save your marriage or opt for separation after an affair or whether you want to redefine the boundaries of your relationship or marriage to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, I can help you.
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