Did your spouse have an emotional affair and leave you hurt, and not knowing what to do? When most people think of an affair, they think of a physical affair. However, affairs don’t need to be physical in nature at all. It’s possible to have an emotional affair that can be just as damaging to your marriage as a physical affair. Here’s how it can start, what you can do to prevent it, and how you know if your spouse (or you are) is being unfaithful.

Ways People Become Emotionally Unfaithful

People don’t usually set out to become emotionally unfaithful. Instead, it usually just happens slowly over time. Friendships or relationships with co-workers may slowly turn into emotional infidelity over time.

At other times, people may begin developing friendships with strangers over the internet. Over time, those people may become confidantes that can greatly damage a marriage.

Behaviors that Constitute an emotional affair:

  • Complaining about your husband or wife to a co-worker or friend
  • Confiding in someone outside of your marriage about your relationship problems that is not your therapist
  • Building a strong emotional connection with someone outside of your relationship and hiding it from your spouse
  • Communicating with someone online over a long period of time and misleading them about your relationship status
  • Secret text messages that are inappropriate with someone that is not your wife or husband

If you are engaging in conversations with people that you wouldn’t feel comfortable having your spouse overhear, it’s likely that you’re having an emotional affair. For example, secret text messages, emails, or phone calls with an opposite sex friend that you wouldn’t want your spouse to overhear are likely warning signs that you’re being emotionally unfaithful.

Developing an emotionally intimate relationship with someone other than your spouse will hurt your marriage. Keeping secrets with an opposite sex friend or getting your emotional needs met by others interfere with the intimacy in marriage.

Often, people who feel lonely in their marriage are most susceptible to having an emotional affair. A wife who feels her husband is emotionally unavailable or a husband who feels neglected by his wife may turn to others outside the marriage to meet their emotional needs.

Preventing the Temptation to Become Emotionally Unfaithful

Become proactive in preventing an affair. Avoid becoming emotionally intimate with others of the opposite sex. If you find conversations becoming frequent or overly personal, take immediate steps to rectify the situation.

Work on remaining emotionally connected to your spouse. Focus your efforts and energy on your communication and your connection. Become aware of any outside relationships that may be a threat to your marriage.

Keep your marriage a top priority. If you are feeling distant from your spouse or you are feeling lonely, resist the temptation to get your needs met elsewhere. Work on fixing your marriage instead.

More inspiration about  what to do if your spouse had an emotional affair:

<liHow Effective is Imago Therapy for Couples Experiencing Infidelity in their Relationship?

If you think you’re being emotionally unfaithful, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. Emotional affairs get messy and are a slippery slope. They can lead you to do things that you would never imagine. That being said, they are very common and we talk about them in our free marriage book. Pull yourself out of the emotional affair by starting with Chapter Two called “Seal your Exits”, and do just that. Seal your Exits and walk away from being emotionally unfaithful.

There’s no excuse for infidelity. But often, the Maximizer/Minimizer dynamic explains a lot. Take the relationship quiz to see if it’s affecting your relationship!

Individuals in a relationship whose spouse had an emotional affair have successfully repaired their marriages after working with us at a 2 day private couples retreat featuring immersive Imago Relationship Therapy. We have seen couples successfully repair their marriages by truly understanding what led to the affair and becoming conscious of all the past relationship baggage that you both brought with you into the relationship. Contact us today to see how we can help you deal with the rupture that was created. You owe it to your family!

Contact Us

Use the form below to request more information about our Imago therapy retreats for couples, book online here, or schedule a free 30 minute clarity call with Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin to learn what’s been going on in your marriage and see how we can help you.

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Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact info@themarriagerestorationproject.com or