Is My Partner Having An Emotional Affair?

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Innocent friendships may very well develop into emotional affairs, which, in their turn, may become gateways to infidelity. Experts define emotional affairs as when someone invests more emotional energy in a relationship outside their marriage, and receive companionship and support. The boundaries between a harmless friendship and an emotional affair are sometimes hard to spot. There are, however, red flags. Here we discuss some of the most important ones.

Secretive Attitude

Suddenly, you feel that your partner is not telling you the truth. He/she seems jumpy and hide their phone or close their computer when you enter the room. You discover a few unusual expenses, and when you ask them about it, they act defensively. You can start by visiting to run a quick report. With a first name, you get valuable data and a social media analysis. Several pictures and/or interactions (especially if they give out a sense of intimacy and complicity) with a new “friend” may indicate an important red flag. Also, a sudden uptick in their social media activity may indicate a desire for more attention and validation (that they may feel they are not getting in your relationship).

Withdrawal from Your Relationship

Suddenly, your partner is not into the activities that you enjoyed together. He has less time to spend with you and when you are together, he/she seems overly critical and withdrawn. When you are together, they are constantly answering text messages to the point in which they seem to be having a text conversation with someone else. Suddenly, someone else’s (new best friend, a friend with whom they just reconnected) opinions seem to be much more important, and your partner talk about them a lot.

Increased Conflicts and Increased Distance

You seem to be fighting a lot more than before. It seems that your opinions are met with more criticism, and your ideas with deeper scrutiny. Your partner seems to need someone else’s opinion before agreeing with you. You feel less intimately connected, and your sex life seems a lot quieter. The terms in which they talk about your relationship become less certain as if they were looking for a way out.

They Talk a Lot About Their Friend or Refuse to Talk About Them

Extreme reactions to someone are usually red flags that indicate that their relationship is not on clear “friendship” terms. As the affair is still emotional, your partner does not feel he/she is cheating, but they do feel uncomfortable when you bring up the relationship. Another red flag could be when they seem dazzled by how smart, or funny the other person is, or how much they have in common.

You Feel That You Need to Compete For Your Partner’s Time

It seems that lately, your partner is spending a lot of time with someone else. An emotional affair may be so unconscious that he/she might be including that someone else in what used to be your intimate time as a couple.

How to Adress an Emotional Affair

Honesty is always the best approach, especially in romantic relationships. In a long term relationship, the chances of one of you having a periodic emotional affair are very high, and being able to talk to your significant other about it may help you elaborate it faster. Crossing the line between an emotional affair and a full-blown affair depends on many factors, but one of the most important ones is a couple’s communication. It is important to understand that infidelity is not the same for everybody and that each couple has to set their own boundaries and define what works for them. If you feel very hurt by their emotional connection with someone else, you have the right to ask them to stop. When you are no longer on the same page, it might be better to end the relationship before it becomes hurtful for everyone involved.


Mia Johnson is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourn, she now lives in Sidney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.

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