Part 2 of 3
This cheating spouse exposes the warning signs of an emotional affair. Therapist Gail Saltz tells the story of this cheating spouse in the article Could You Be Having an Emotional Affair?, published in The Oprah Magazine.
Sharon's marriage had become bland. Then she met Todd at work. Read how easily it all began in the first part of this series, A Cheating Spouse - How an Emotional Affair Starts. Here are some signs of a cheating spouse:
Sharon came to depend on Todd for emotional highs. The flirting, the accolades, the sympathetic ear all made her feel special. She escaped into this new involvement in a scenario that's increasingly common. Though emotional affairs have always been around, I'm seeing more of them among my clients than ever before. We've all grown so used to watching, reading, and hearing sexually suggestive material that there's no longer an obvious verbal or physical line we think we're crossing. And the exponential growth of e-mail, instant messaging, and cell phones gives us a wealth of private ways to connect. It's a snap to Google an old flame: What would have been idle fantasy a decade ago can, with the click of a mouse, grow into emotional (or sexual) infidelity.
We all know men and women who really are "just friends," and there's usually some romantic frisson, even if neither party admits it. But a healthy male-female friendship isn't clandestine.
Once a man or a woman avoid telling their partners how much time they're spending on the friendship, make sure they look great anytime they're going to be together, or confide more in each other, including marital dissatisfactions, than in their spouses, they're involved in an emotional affair.
Often I'm told of a friendship that hasn't gone that far…yet. But if the possibilities are tempting, I believe that's the moment to look more closely at the marriage. What is each spouse missing that he or she needs? My prescription is for them to ask directly and answer frankly, because from everything I've seen, when a couple can't express their feelings, concerns, and dreams, they're both at risk for betrayal. I frequently talk to couples in this vulnerable state, not only about how to reclaim closeness but also how to protect their relationship from third parties. Even when a marriage can't be salvaged, I'd rather see it end amicably before either person starts up with someone new. Three habits strike me as playing with fire:
1.Flirting with others, which can become too intoxicating to give up.
2. "Innocently" spending time alone with old lovers, and
3. Hanging out with emotional cheaters who make what they're doing seem like no big deal.
Do any of these signs of a cheating spouse look familiar? If you suspect your spouse is cheating, get some guidance and support from a marriage counselor. Find out from an expert in emotional affairs what to do before you react. It's really easy to make things worse and drive your spouse further away by how you respond.
Read Part 1: A Cheating Spouse - How an Emotional Affair Starts
* This is the second of three posts examining the cheating spouse. Sign-up for our Blog at the bottom of this page and don't miss the last part of what to do about a cheating spouse.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
- Emotional Affair Starts Really Easily (Part 1)
- Cheating Wife Gets Caught (Part 3)
- Separated Days Ago - What Now?
- Get More Help with a Cheating Spouse