3. Inappropriate Correspondence
In emotional affairs, our words and hearts are where we see lines being crossed. For warnings, pay attention to your language with another potential romantic or relationship interest.
For emotional affairs, I would challenge the following types of correspondence.
2. Talking about missing someone on an intimate level
3. Romanticizing ideas of what a relationship could look like
4. Sharing information about your current relationship your partner would not want you to share (example talking about sexual frustrations)
5. Constantly tearing down your partner to another
In situations of romantic affairs, it can certainly extend past these basic lines of communication, but these are a first of the few big dangerous conversations you would want to avoid having. As with many other aspects, it comes down to the idea of what type of interactions are you having with someone and would you be willing to have these interactions in front of your current partner?
4. Rekindling Old Romantic Relationship
Rekindling past relationships is a huge no, and one that extends across a few of the other taboos. I do not believe it is bad to have a friendship with an ex. But you should be careful what this friendship resembles. If you start to cross the lines of relying on your ex for emotional intimacy, or if you start treating them like a partner again, these behaviors are not fair to your current partner. When you rely on someone you used to be intimate with—whether physically or emotionally—for support, it is a sign you are cheating on an emotional level.
5. Having Feelings for Someone
If you find yourself admitting you have feelings for someone, chances are you’re in serious danger of crossing the line into an emotional affair. And if you are pursuing a chance at those feelings, you’ve crossed it. We cannot help that sometimes we find other people attractive. In life, we feel draws to many people aside from our partners. This is normal. The question is: how do we act on those feelings.
There is a difference between feeling you are connected to someone on a deeper level and letting this connection develop. Think of it this way: in the world of romance we are like ships at sea. You are going to see many lighthouses, but in monogamy, you only rely on one to guide you. If you start relying on multiple lighthouses, you are going to find yourself torn. It isn’t noticing someone else might be emotionally compatible. It is starting to make yourself open to this person. It is okay to see the spark, but don’t chase that flame.
“You didn’t just cheat on me; you cheated on us. You didn’t just break my heart; you broke our future.” — Steve Maraboli
In all of these situations, there is a degree of reciprocation. You cannot control what another person is doing. If someone is constantly flirting with you or attempting to bring up a relationship with you, this is one thing. The real danger arises when you reciprocate.
If someone were to kiss you without your permission, that is a form of assault. If someone is going to make emotional advances on you, let’s say an ex who is pining away or a person you were friendly with but with whom you don’t feel a connection, that’s is not an affair. An affair features both reciprocation and repetition. It is when you start to show these feelings of attention back when you start to encourage and welcome them, and most of all when you initiate them, that the emotional affair erupts into full bloom.
The Litmus Test
Here is my litmus test for whether or not you are engaging in an emotional affair. For me, it is a simple way of how I determine what my interactions should look like when I am in a romantic relationship, and I am building interpersonal relationships with others.