The Emotional Affair
You Don’t Know You’re Having

What is an Emotional Affair?

“An emotional affair happens when you put the bulk of your emotions into the hands of somebody outside your marriage,” according to M. Gary Neuman, author of Emotional Infidelity. You may be talking with your spouse - about kids, car pool arrangements, bills, etc. – but you’re not sharing with him. Your innermost thoughts and interesting personal experiences are being shared with someone else.

The more you share with someone other than your spouse, the more your marriage suffers. According to noted infidelity researcher Shirley Glass, 82% of emotional affairs happen with someone who was at first “Just a friend.”

Signs of an Emotional Affair

You’ve probably crossed the line if you…

  • Talk to him/her more about the details of your day than you do your partner.
  • No longer feel comfortable talking to your spouse about this person and begin to cover up the relationship.
  • Take extra care to look your best before seeing him/her.
  • Touch your friend in “legal” ways, like picking lint off his/her coat.
  • Have crush–like thoughts like, ‘He’d love this song!’
  • Experience increasing sexual tension; you admit your attraction to the other person but also insist you’d never act on it.
  • When you find yourself feeling vulnerable, you turn to this person for support rather than to your husband, trusted relative, or friend.
  • Quicken the level of intimacy though sexual or suggestive talk over e-mail or on the phone.
  • Put yourself in a situation where you can be alone.

What can I do to lessen the likelihood of having or continuing an affair?

  • Be honest with your spouse. Share all your hopes, triumphs, and failures, as well as your temptations and attractions with him/her. This will help you from acting on them.

  • Regularly carve out alone-time with your spouse, without kids, friends, or family.

  • Surround yourself with married friends who don’t believe in fooling around. Positive, emotionally connected role models will help you keep on course.

  • Get individual and/or marital therapy to help sort out what has happened, what you want, and how to proceed in a better direction.
  • If you find yourself in this situation and live in the Greater Phila. area,
    give therapist

    Jennifer McCarron a call at


    Here are some great resources:

    "Not Just Friends” by Shirley P. Glass
    "Emotional Infidelity" by M. Gary Neuman
    "How to Improve Your Marriage without Talking About It" by Dr. Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

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