All long-term relationships go through a hard time. Even if you are happily married, you might have someone else in your life, and you are more than just friends. Just because you haven’t committed sexual infidelity doesn’t mean that you aren’t an unfaithful spouse. Extramarital affairs can be in the form of a physical affair, but it can also be emotional infidelity and I am going to tell you all about the stages of emotional affairs.
Is there a co-worker in your life who you have a strong emotional bond with? Or do you have a gut feeling that your husband has a co-worker with whom he has emotional intimacy? Don’t think of an emotional affair as something completely harmless because infatuation can create sexual tension and that will turn emotional intimacy into sexual intimacy.
Married people often avoid getting into a new relationship and having a physical affair but they tend to have an emotional affair when they experience emotional distance. And whether you are the betrayed spouse or the unfaithful spouse, there is a relationship secret that you two need to talk about.
Your husband is a married man, and there is no need for him to keep texting someone who he says he’s just friends with, but you have a gut feeling that it is more than that. You think that your man has an affair partner or even know for sure that he is having an emotional affair.
You have to fight to preserve your mental health and care about your well-being while you work on rebuilding the trust in your relationship. The emotional affair can stay your relationship secret and you have to work on creating a stronger emotional bond between you two, so that this won’t happen again.
We are going to talk some more about how emotional affairs start, how to overcome an affair, and how affairs usually end. We are also going to mention all the signs of emotional affairs. But first, let’s focus on the stages of emotional affairs.
7 stages of emotional affairs
Emotional affairs happen when two people have a strong emotional connection but they decide to keep it a secret because both or one of them is married. They feel like they have betrayed their partner even when they haven’t committed sexual infidelity. Extramarital affairs don’t have to involve sexual intimacy; the betrayed spouse will still get hurt by emotional infidelity because sharing a strong emotional connection is like sharing a bed.
An emotional affair is something intimate and emotionally provocative. It might hurt the betrayed spouse even more than a sexual one. So if you are one of those married couples who has experienced emotional infidelity, and you think that your husband and you have an emotional distance between you… it’s time for you to read about the stages of emotional affairs.
If you think that your husband has forgotten that he is a married man and is having an emotional affair, read on to discover all about the stages of emotional affairs. I will tell you how emotional affairs start, how to overcome an affair, and how affairs usually end. Do you think that they are just friends, or that she is his affair partner? In either case, even though they might not have had a sexual affair, they have undeniable sexual tension between them.
Here are the seven stages of emotional affairs:
1. He felt unappreciated and inadequate
He has been feeling unappreciated and inadequate, which leads to resentment toward you. The emotional affair validates him and reassures him that he is adequate and good. His affair partner comforts him by complimenting him and by listening.
That woman will provide suggestions on how to work on his marriage, such as gifts and flowers, and guide him on what not to say and what to say to help his marriage. Because of that, he feels calmer, heard, and understood, so he associates these feelings with the emotional affair and this causes infatuation, which results in emotional betrayal.
Your relationship is actually lacking identification and the verbalization of the positive aspects in it; you weren’t able to attentively listen and didn’t validate your husband. It’s a good idea to identify the difference between the two intimacies, emotional and sexual and find out how they are important and connected in a relationship.
2. He felt sexually deprived
The second of the stages of emotional affairs is that he doesn’t feel desired and feels rejected by you. His emotional affair is making him feel sexier because of the flirting and he is left wanting more attention out of it in order to feel sexy and attractive.
That is why he focuses on his appearance. When he is with you, he becomes confused because he is fantasizing about having a sexual affair with the person he is having an emotional affair with. He wants to have more contact with her by texting and calling her, as well as stalking her on social media. And you will feel like a betrayed partner because of all this.
She will enjoy his attention and will want more so she will encourage him to give it her by continuing to flirt. She loves being in control over how much he wants her and she will tempt him by touching his arm, wearing perfume, or bringing him coffee.
Married couples need to realize the difference between sexual desire and intimacy and you should work on these aspects of your relationship. Intimacy is what we say when two people have chemistry between them and sexual acts are the primary physical functions of our bodies, since we are only human beings. In long-term relationships, the ideal case is when the two are combined.
3. He feels as though you two are like roommates
He is feeling bored in a committed relationship with you and feels alive in the emotional affair. It actually creates stories that enhance his visual experiences of fun, play, and fantasy. She is trying to get control over the connection between his body and mind.
She may even coordinate events so she could meet you; all three of you may find yourselves at the same place, and you will question his behavior but he will say that the two of them are nothing more than friends.
Later on, when the two of them are alone together, they will talk about how much fun it would be if you weren’t there and this only supports their fantasy of being together, so the sexual and emotional tension between them increase. That is the third of the stages of emotional affairs, and it’s just how affairs work.
As married people in a committed relationship, you should work on rebuilding trust and care about the other person’s mental health and well-being. But you should also work on having fun together. Finding activities that you could do together won’t give you a hard time, and it will really help your marriage. Set aside time for a date night every once in a while and you will see how the old spark will come back again.
4. He thinks that you aren’t available
Stage four is about the fact that you are usually unavailable to talk. When he calls you, you are either at work, with the children, or have some other commitments which mean you can’t talk to him. Maybe you don’t even want to talk to him because you feel resentful about having to do everything without him but the other woman is available and she provides him with the company he is searching for.
In stage four, she is always there for him, whether it’s face-to-face or on the phone. She doesn’t make any demands from him because she feels in control and desired already.
You have to notice when you are disconnecting and drifting apart but you have to know the difference between emotional distancing and healthy autonomy. Healthy autonomy is a sense of self-identity that can only make the relationship stronger.
Emotional distancing means living separate lives and being emotionally disconnected from your partner. Don’t let yourself become a betrayed partner. Preserve your mental health by working on your relationship before he starts a new relationship with that woman.
5. You are making too many demands
In the fifth of the stages of emotional affairs, he feels like you don’t trust him and are controlling him. This is because of your questioning and checking on him by taking his phone or looking at his search history, so he will become secretive about his affair during this stage of emotional affairs.
That’s how affairs work, they have to involve secretive behavior and once it comes to that, you are already a betrayed partner. He will want to be closer to her and away from you so he will come up with lies and excuses to maintain contact with her.
He will suddenly feel alive with adrenaline because of the fear and the secrecy will excite him. Now he doesn’t feel inadequate, bored, or undesired anymore. Now he will want to have sex with her. And if she agrees to that, she will start conditioning him to leave you.
Being committed to saving your marriage might involve some therapy so you should seek a therapist to find out why he wants to have this affair and how to stop it before it’s too late.
In many cases, the reason lies in the family history of divorce, affairs, and addictions. Maybe you won’t solve your problems right away… but just the fact that you are willing to try will have a positive effect on your relationship.
6. He doesn’t want to hurt you
He now feels conflicted because of his emotional betrayal, and he doesn’t want to hurt you. Your husband thinks that he shouldn’t be doing it… and she is suddenly in competition with you. She will try to maintain control of him but she realizes that she can’t make big demands because he will return to you.
She will suggest that they stop talking, and he will agree because it relieves him of his guilt and he can now redirect his energy toward you and your marriage. But she will feel angry and will contact him again in about two to three weeks and it will start their communication again.
But now she will see that she has to resort to some means that are more aggressive, means such as sleeping with him, getting him excited by sexting, becoming friends with you, or telling him she loves him. He will soon become sloppy and won’t be able to keep it a secret anymore. Maybe he will even get caught and tell you directly what has been going on or he will turn to a family member or good friend for advice on how to proceed.
You should go to therapy together because counseling can help you explore morality, feelings, and values that are important to you two. But sometimes, divorce is the only option. So try to do your best to make your relationship better, but consider divorce if necessary.
7. He leaves you for her
Maybe you will request it yourself, or her encouragement will be enough… but either way, he is going to leave you for her. And once he does, she will be more assertive now that she has greater access to him. But he would rather stay with a friend or a relative than with her. He is still not divorced from you, after all, only estranged.
She will work on recreating the fantasy of them being together like she did in the beginning but there will be tension since he has intensified feelings of guilt and it makes him more emotionally connected to you. That will make her work even harder on convincing him to divorce you. He will try to find a way for you to leave him first so he won’t feel so guilty. Eventually, the tension between you two becomes unbearable, and you get a divorce.
Self-care, counseling, and setting aside time to explore feelings and reflect are very important. You need to delay the decision on what you are going to do with your relationship. And don’t get divorced urgently. Slow down and explore feelings. Find meaning and what you have learned from this situation.
Maybe this experience will even bring you closer together, and you will recover from it. If you are determined to save your marriage, you can. But some couples do get a divorce because of this, leaving them both feeling angry and guilty. The other woman actually feels the same way and those feelings are the reason why she got involved with a married man in the first place.
Signs of emotional affairs
Emotional betrayal happens, but you can always see the signs of emotional affairs if you look closely. So maybe your husband isn’t cheating on you… but is there someone else in your life with whom you feel a strong connection on a deep emotional level?
It’s a good idea to check out the signs of emotional affairs to make sure that you aren’t the one who is going to be unfaithful in your marriage. In every marriage, one of the spouses will sometimes develop a crush on someone else but that can stay that and you can work through it because your marriage is much more important than a silly crush that could risk your happiness.
So read on to discover the signs of emotional affairs.
1. Avoiding intimacy
Are you avoiding intimacy in your marriage? Intimacy is one of the key elements of a successful marriage and when you don’t have it in your relationship, you will search for it elsewhere.
People need to feel intimate with someone and if they can’t have that with their partner, they will develop intimacy with their friend. And that friend will soon become more than just a friend because intimacy is a powerful thing which is, after all, often what causes us to fall in love. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be intimate with anyone outside of your marriage but keep the intimacy alive in your marriage if you want to stay in it.
2. Seeking approval
Are you seeking approval from others? Maybe you have found someone who listens to you and is fascinated with what you say. And it will make you pursue opportunities to get their validation… which will fuel the flame even more.
Your new friend will always tell you that he is fascinated with you and that you look amazing. And you aren’t really cheating, so what’s wrong with that? What is wrong with it is that you could create a strong bond with your new friend which will tempt you to take things to the next level. Sure, these kinds of affairs can be harmless, but sometimes they become the reason for divorce.
The obvious sign that there is a problem is when you start lying to your partner to be with someone else. Once you start behaving like you are having an actual affair, you are already having one. Lying to your partner and keeping secrets are also signs that you don’t respect him.
Is this new thing you got going on really worth losing your husband and giving up on your marriage? If you think that it is, you should probably get a divorce and be with that person. But if it’s not, you should slow down and realize where things are headed before it’s too late to turn back.
All of us sometimes fantasize… and every married person sometimes fantasizes about being with someone else. But when those fantasies become frequent and always about the same person, you have a problem on your hands, especially if what you are fantasizing about is your life with that man.
It’s one thing to chat to someone from time to time, but constant texting is a whole other thing. If you find yourself talking more to your friend than to your husband, you should think about what you are doing. And do you really want to have a stronger connection with some other man instead of with your partner?
There is a thing called harmless flirting and everyone does it. We all know how a random smile and a wink from a stranger can boost our self-esteem but when the flirting is no longer casual and you are always flirting intensely with the same person, it might not be as harmless as you think.
Is it clear to your friend that your flirting is just casual fun or do they think that it will eventually lead to more than just flirting? It’s not fair, neither to him, nor to your husband, if it’s not clear what it means and where it will lead.
Do you tell your new friend all your deepest, darkest secrets that you have never told your husband? Maybe you are finding it easier to share your secrets with someone who you aren’t living with but this kind of sharing deepens the connection between you two. That is why the relationship you have with your friend might become more important to you than your marriage.
Try opening up to your husband and sharing those secrets with him. Maybe he will understand you even better than your friend if you just give him a chance.
Whether you are the one having an affair or your husband is, I hope that this article has helped you get things in perspective. Even though emotional affairs aren’t as big of a problem as sexual ones, they are still a problem.
So before you lose your husband… be sure to read all about it and notice the signs that one of you might be having too much intimacy and a connection with a certain ‘friend’.
However, there is no need to panic; these kinds of things happen to everyone from time to time and if you really love your husband and want to save your marriage, there is a chance that things will work out for the best.