Therapists indicate that while 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have confessed to having had sexual affairs, an additional 20 percent of married couples have admitted to having emotional infidelity.
About emotional infidelity
Often, emotional affairs start innocently as friendship. It could be former lovers who reconnect and start updating each other about what has transpired in the intervening years.
They may then go on to compare the partners they ended up with and their shortcomings. They will talk about their marriages, and the marital issues they could be facing.
Other times, people may start out as colleagues or acquaintances. They are spending some time together, and in the course of their busy days, they begin to confide in each other.
The conversations may then become more personal, more intimate. They might, for instance, discuss what is missing in each other’s marriage: which desires have gone unmet, and the hopes that have not been fulfilled.
As conversations evolve and become more and more intimate, the two people feel seen and heard. They create their own virtual relationship that is devoid of the messiness of day to day life.
The relationship eventually becomes a unique and private treat, one that must be kept hidden. And yet, the two people do not feel like they are doing anything wrong. After all, there is no physical contact; and they are not having sex.
Still, an emotional affair is a big deal
According to a renowned marriage therapist, Esther Perel, infidelity contains one or more of these three elements:
- Sexual tension
- Emotional involvement
Further, she indicates that affairs hurt more because of the secrets and the violation of trust.
The most damaging factor of emotional infidelity is the deception, the lies and the feelings of betrayal. It hurts knowing that a partner is sharing things with someone else that should be reserved for the special relationship between the two of you.
How to deal with a husband’s emotional infidelity
Dealing with an emotional affair can be really difficult.
He may not see this is a big deal since they view the relationship as harmless. They are guilt free because they are not having sex. The following tips will help you deal with your husband’s emotional affair.
Don’t take it personally
Having discovered your husband’s infidelity, you are probably obsessing about what you could have done differently.
Blaming yourself and saying, “if only you had of:”
- Listened more to the challenges he is facing at work;
- Just had more sex
- Accompanied him to the games
- Dressed better and put on more makeup …
… Maybe your husband would not have gone out to find someone else.
Of course, emotional affairs do not happen in a void. There is often space created in the relationship for a third person to enter.
Your husband’s affair is not your fault. It was his decision.
When you discover your husband’s infidelity, your emotions will run wild: anger, sadness, and even guilt.
It is therefore essential that you remove yourself from your husband so that you can process the situation. Taking time off will help you find some clarity. Whatever steps you take need to be well thought out.
Decide the next steps
As you process your husband’s betrayal, it is essential that you start thinking of the next steps. This is obviously not something that you have to do right away. Having worked through your feelings, it is time to consider how you want the rest of your life to look like.
- Have the strength to work through what happened?
- See yourself staying with your husband and being happy again?
- Think you need to move on?
- Want to see a counsellor?
Decide if the marriage can be saved
This is the time to take stock of your marriage. How important is this marriage to you? Is it worth saving? Also, assess what other things are important to you.
- What are you the priorities in your life?
- What values do you hold most essential in a relationship?
- Are you capable of forgiving and reconciling with your husband?
Answering these questions will help you decide how to move forward.
If you commit to saving your marriage:
Determine what drove your husband to the emotional affair
There is really no justifiable reason for your husband to have had an emotional affair, but certain weaknesses in your relationship could have made it easy for your husband to start confiding in another woman.
It is, therefore, only prudent that you examine the possible reasons for the affair, especially if you want to save your marriage. Going over the possible reasons for the emotional involvement will inform you which areas of your relationship you need to nurture and strengthen.
Admit your own faults
While it was purely your husband’s decision to deal with his issues by having an emotional affair, it is crucial for you to identify possible things about you that might have allowed this to happen.
Have you probably been too busy lately that you have not been able to spend time with him? Are you judgmental? Are you emotionally distant? You might just identify things that you can do to reduce the chances of infidelity in the future.
Demand total openness
If you are to save your marriage, do not allow your husband to continue his emotional affair no matter how harmless he feels it is. It is essential to ensure that your husband understands that he cannot continue with the affair and still stay married to you.
Assure him that your marriage can be worked out but that it will need equal effort from both of you. Let him know that his time, effort and energy cannot be diverted elsewhere if the marriage is to work.
Make it clear to your husband that he must stop all communication with the other woman. Ask him to make a decision and stick to it, if he wants to save his marriage.
Take care of your self
While you should allow yourself to grieve, do not get too caught up in your despair. It is imperative that you take care of yourself:
- Keep yourself busy. Investing time in a new project will help you find a healthy balance between acknowledging your pain and taking care of yourself. Enroll in a cooking class or join a new book club: Do not allow your mind to dwell on the betrayal 24/7
- Ensure you get enough sleep each night. Without enough sleep, you will find dealing with the situation even more difficult. Try melatonin or request your doctor to prescribe something stronger.
- Get your heart rate up every day. Dance, take a walk or go for aerobics. Getting your heart rate going is an excellent way to deal with the stress. The dopamine that your body will produce will help even out your emotions, and you will feel much better
If you take care of yourself will help you survive the infidelity much more easily.
You will survive
The pain that you feel right now is intense, and it may feel like things will never get better.
But, think back to your life. Do you have things that have previously happened to you that you probably thought were too much for you to handle? But didn’t you survive them? Didn’t you learn something from them? Aren’t you glad that you went through some of them since they probably changed the direction of your life?
This situation is the same. It is just another curveball in the story that is your life. You can survive it. Look to the future and start creating the kind of future you want. The emotional affair does not have to destroy your marriage.
With forgiveness and patience, you can save your marriage. Continue to nurture your marriage with the exclusivity it deserves, and you just might enjoy your marriage like never before.
Thanks for reading this guide on How to Deal with Emotional Affairs. You can get through this and become stronger, it will take some time.
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