Emotional Infidelity in Marriages

by T. Edwards on January 27, 2011

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Emotional Infidelity is a term that is becoming increasingly common, because of the increasing instances of it.  What is emotional infidelity?  In short, it’s a form of infidelity that excludes sexual relations.  It’s important that this term is clarified, because many people feel that if they aren’t having a sexual relationship with someone, it really isn’t an affair.

The fact is that affairs can take place on both a physical level and an emotional level. Most relationships and marriages involve both of these aspects.  However, if a spouse or a partner is in a marriage, they can decide to connect with someone else on simply an emotional level.  Sometimes, an emotional relationship happens, because the opportunity for a physical relationship hasn’t presented itself yet.

So what does emotional infidelity entail, and how does it happen?  When taking a look at how it happens, it happens because a partner or a spouse is feeling disconnected, or discontented in some way.  It would be the right thing to do to correct these feelings, but sometimes the partner won’t.  Or, the partner might feel like they have done all that they can do to express their displeasure, but their concerns aren’t being heard. When a frustrated partner feels this way, they will take less than honorable, or healthy means to get their needs met, or to forget their pain and displeasure.

The unhappy partner will seek out attention and friendship from places such as the office, online websites, or social groups.  They will usually seek out someone who is vulnerable in some way, or who is open to their attention.  They want the attention of someone who will be very sympathetic to them, and their predicament.  This other person will usually be a single person, but they can also be another married or partnered person who is unhappy but doesn’t have the courage to leave their relationship.

In any case, both parties are vulnerable, and their new friendship makes them feel many of the same feelings that they did when they first fell in love with other people.  They will feel understood, needed, alive, and desirable.

These emotions are very powerful, and this is why people can fall prey to emotional infidelity so easily.  The two people involved will feel that they’ve met their other half, the person who really understands them, and who really accepts them.

They will communicate on the phone, online, and have secret meetings and dates together.  For many people, part of the thrill of an emotional relationship is the tension that is created from not consummating the relationship physically.  They will feel that it’s really not cheating, that this is just a very special friend.  However, when a person is dating another person, and when they are being intimate emotionally and spiritually, they are in fact committing emotional infidelity.

Emotional Infidelity in a marriage is sometimes more salvageable than physical affairs, because of the lack of sex.  However, the couple will still need to seek out lots of help to heal the marriage, to work through the painful issues that led to the affair, and to learn healthy communication skills.

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