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Different Stages of Emotional Affairs
These emotional connections don’t form overnight. They usually take some time to develop and cross the line into infidelity.
Here are the typical stages that a relationship like this goes through.
Innocent Friendship Stage
It starts as a pretty normal friendship. It could be someone you work with or a friend of a friend, but you certainly don’t meet this person and walk away thinking you’re about to get wrapped up in anything.
As a friend, you talk about mutual interests and maybe grab a coffee together.
But this may turn into a few extra texts and before you know it, you’re spending your time constantly thinking about this new friend.
You enjoy talking to this person about everything. His or her ability to understand your thoughts and feelings makes you feel happy and important.
Perhaps he or she pays more attention to you than your spouse does or gives you more validation, compliments, or empathy.
You begin to enjoy the subtle flirtation, the attention you’re getting from this person, and you start feeling an attraction.
You tell yourself it is just a good friendship, but it is probably just to reduce your feelings of guilt.
Need for Secrecy Stage
Deception begins when you meet up with this person alone without your partner’s knowledge.
Your conversations with this person become secret, and you are constantly worried that your partner will find out about this relationship.
You talk around any mention of this person from your partner or anyone else in your social circle. You know your partner would be hurt and angry about the relationship,
Emotionally Dependent Stage
You are now emotionally involved and bonded with this person.
Between talking about your ups and downs at work, to tensions at home, and more personal problems, to the obvious underlying sexual tension between you, you’ve started to depend on this person to fill your emotional void.
At this point, you are having a full-on emotionally-charged affair, which quite often leads to a physical affair. The longer the emotional affair goes on before sex is involved, the stronger the bond is you develop with this new person — and the weaker the bond with your spouse.
Now that you better understand why and how emotional affairs begin, let’s review some of the specific signs and examples of emotional affair behaviors.