How is an Emotional Affair Different from a Friendship?

Published on November 16, 2013


An emotional affair is when a person not only invests more of their emotional energy outside their marriage, but also receives emotional support and companionship from the new relationship. In an emotional affair, a person feels closer to the other party and may experience increasing sexual tension.


If you believe that a person's emotional energy is limited, then if your spouse is sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with someone else, an emotional affair has developed. Although cheaters are often guilt-free in an emotional affair because there is no sex involved, their spouses often view an emotional affair as damaging as a sexual affair. Much of the pain and hurt from an emotional affair is due to the deception, lies, and feelings of being betrayed.


A platonic friendship can evolve into an emotional affair when the investment of intimate information crosses the boundaries set by the married couple. An emotional affair is opening a door that should remain closed. One of the differences between a platonic friendship and an emotional affair is that an emotional affair is kept secret. A third difference is that people involved in an emotional affair often feel a sexual attraction for one another. Sometimes the sexual attraction is acknowledged and sometimes it isn't.


There are several warning signs of an emotional affair.

•You are withdrawing from your spouse.

•You are preoccupied and daydream about your friend more and more.

•You are not interested in being intimate with your spouse, either emotionally or sexually.

•The amount of time you and your spouse spend together is less.

•When confronted about the apparent emotional affair, you respond, "We're just friends."

•You find yourself anticipating when you can communicate or be with your friend again. Alone time together is important to you.

•You are sharing your thoughts, feelings, and problems with your friend instead of your spouse.

•You find reasons to give your friend personal gifts.

•Your friend seems to understand you better than your spouse does.

•You are keeping your friendship a secret from your spouse.


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Category(s):Couple Counseling, Divorce / Divorce Adjustment, Ending a relationship issues, Family Problems, Infidelity, Marital Counseling, Pre-Marital Counseling, Relationships & Marriage