Why Emotional Affairs Kill Marriages

Earlier in our blog we discussed two other common affairs in the blog series on "2 Different Types of Limerent Affairs." It is worth reading to get a well rounded view of the different types of affairs. 

The Emotional Affair

Although some would not consider an emotional entanglement an affair, this type of relationship can be just as devastating and destructive as a sexual affair. Emotional affairs are not commonly discussed, and frequently, their lack of sexual involvement is used as a rationalization as to why it’s not an affair. But technicalities in no way absolve the reality of the situation. 

The notion that a lack of sexual involvement somehow prevents this type of relational intimacy from being an affair is baffling. Anytime someone other than our mate is permitted to enter the most intimate areas of our life, we are giving something that we have no right to give; we have already given and committed our heart and being to another. 

Questions to ask to determine if it is an emotional affair:

  • Am I keeping details about my relationship secret from my spouse?
  • Am I saying and doing things with this person that I wouldn't do with my spouse watching?
  • Am I sharing things with the other person that I don't share with my spouse?
  • Am I making an effort to arrange time to spend with this other person?


Characteristics of An Emotional Affair:

  • Boundary issues are a factor.
  • The betrayer is better friends with that individual than with his or her spouse.
  • The betrayer keeps secrets with this friend instead of with his or her spouse.
  • The betrayer does not want to choose between the friend and the spouse.
  • The betrayer wants to stay married.