I already know I'm gonna get some "push back" on this. That's fine. As a marriage life coach — and someone who has dodged a bullet myself in this area — I've seen emotional affairs happen enough to stand firm on my opinion, which is this: I think having your spouse be your best friend is one of the best ways to affair-proof your marriage.
By no means am I saying that when you get married, your husband or wife should be your everything, that's too much pressure for any human being to endure. I'm not even saying that you shouldn't have friends of the opposite sex. What I am saying is, if you esteem your spouse as being the closest and highest quality friend that you've got (and they see you the same way), you'll probably be more prone to respect, trust, and emotionally rely on them above all of your other relationships. And that? That is what can keep what I'm about to share from creeping up on you.
'Cause here's the deal. Emotional affairs are an epidemic these days. Reportedly, 45 percent of men and 35 percent of women (although I personally believe it's A LOT more than that) have had one; 60 percent of them being work-related.
And if you're someone who happens to think they're "not as bad" as a sexual affair, think again. People in emotional affairs tend to share intimate details about themselves, and sometimes stuff their own significant other doesn't know. People in emotional affairs tend to constantly compare their spouse to the other person. People in emotional affairs tend to have the kind of connection where both individuals really understand and enjoy each other — sometimes above their own husband or wife. What's "innocent" or "not so bad" about that?!
The reason why a lot of emotional affairs go undetected is because while it's clear when something has gone too far physically, sometimes people don't (initially) know when they've crossed the line on an emotional level.
In order to keep you from being an emotional affair statistic, here are some signs that I've noticed can have you caught up in someone who isn't your spouse — whether you realize it or not:
They Give You Butterflies.
Think back to the people who've given you those butterfly feelings, down deep in your stomach before. When you were a child, they were probably a teacher or one of your older siblings' friends. As you got older, it was probably someone you ended up dating, or at least kickin' it with. My point? Either it was someone you had a crush on, or someone who became more than a friend.
If there is someone in your life who has you feeling the way those people in your past did and that person happens to be married or in a relationship with someone else? Spin it however you want to, but you are attracted to them and on a slippery slope.
Attraction is the open door (or gateway drug) to taking relationships to the next level. If someone is spoken for, there should be no "level" on the menus other than a platonic connection and involvement.
If you can't honestly say that your friends establish and have boundaries, well…not only are you (probably) in an emotional affair that you need to get out of but a "friendship" that needs to come to an end too. Real talk.
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