Linda Price, Ph.D., LMFT View Entire Blog

Emotional or Physical -- It's Still An Affair

My private practice specializes in helping marriages and relationships rebuild and thrive after suffering an affair. However, there seems to be a misconception out there that an emotional affair is "not really an affair because no sex occurred". This is not true and is actually a cruel attitude to comprehend for the person who must endure an emotional affair. Phrases like "you're too jealous", "you're overreacting", "your imagining things", "you need to work on yourself and get over this", and a host of other insensitive comments make the person witnessing this happening begin to question their own self-worth. They try harder only to find it doesn't stop the emotional ties between their partner and the other person.

What is an emotional affair? The term "friend" is used often. But this type of "friend" crosses over the emotional line between you and your partner and the "friend" becomes the sounding board and confidant for sharing intimate, personal information. Hopes, dreams, insecurities, joy, expectations become the talk of the day with the "friend" and there is an excitement to see the other person and share information with that individual. The "friend" now takes on a very personal, intimate role in the person's life, and a drastic shift in the relationship emerges. The energy and excitement once shared with your partner now becomes reserved for the "friend" and your relationship at that very moment becomes stagnant. It no longer thrives and grows and is relegated to casual, forced conversations about superficial and routine daily matters. How was your day, what do the kids need, what's for dinner, what's on TV. . . .there becomes less and less intimate, personal talk and a silent cancer begins to grow in the relationship.

There is a simple piece of advice I give to my clients -- No matter what you are doing or saying, imagine if your partner were standing right beside you -- if what you are doing or saying would offend, disrespect or in any way cause your partner to feel uncomfortable, then you're doing something that is harmful to your partner and to the relationship.

This situation can be turned around by consistently making a conscious decision to "turn toward" your partner for support, inspiration and sharing. Creating a ritual at the end of the day by reconnecting is essential and my couples find when they begin doing this, their relationship becomes more meaningful. There is an expectation of sharing "alone" time together and it becomes their own "precious moments". This can be done even if you have children....but it takes a commitment from both partners to invest time in the relationship for the future benefit of its survival.

I am here to help couples when emotional or physical affairs occur in their marriage or relationship. If you need help sorting this out and finding a new way to rebuild and reconnect, call or text me anytime at . I would welcome the opportunity to share in your journey to healing and recovery.

Look for my next blog which will concern emotional connections between girlfriends and guys with close friends and how these friendships can sometimes interfere with the emotional connection in their own relationship.

Take care and may God bless you all.
Linda M. Price, Ph.D., LMFT