Sheri Meyers calls it an “affair of the heart,” or “emotional sex.”
You’re hardly renting a hotel room together — at least not yet — but you’re going out to lunch every weekday and trading intimacies, and when you get home at night, you can’t stop thinking about them. Or, maybe you haven’t met in person, but you chat online for hours at a time.
Emotional affairs are hard to define exactly. But as Kristin Salaky at INSIDER reports, they’re becoming increasingly common — more so even than physical affairs.
Business Insider spoke to Meyers, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the author of “Chatting or Cheating,” and Michele Weiner-Davis, who is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and the author of “Healing From Infidelity,” about some key signs that you could be guilty of emotional infidelity.
Interestingly, Weiner-Davis said that many people in this situation insist they weren’t looking to cheat — it just happened. But in reality, the road to infidelity is a “slippery slope,” she said. “Every daily decision is bringing them closer and closer to moving from emotional infidelity to perhaps even a physical affair.”
You find that it’s easier to open up to the other person than it is to open up to your partner
In short, Weiner-Davis said, “that’s not a good sign.”
Even if you do have better communication with the other person, she added, there’s probably a good reason why: You don’t have to talk to that person about kids, or finances, or all the other un-sexy topics you talk to your partner about.
So instead of pursuing that freer relationship with the other person, “what needs to happen is rather than using [the other person] as the outlet, you need to get help so that you have better communication at home.”
You’re sexually attracted to the other person
“You are drawn to this person,” Meyers said, “whether you act on it or not.”
It’s really a combination of sexual chemistry and emotional comfort: “There’s this underlying sexual energy and chemistry and you begin to believe that your friend understands you and gets you more than your partner does.”
You wouldn’t behave the same way toward the other person in front of your partner
When Weiner-Davis talks to couples about emotional infidelity, she tells them:
“You have to ask yourself when you’re having interactions with someone meaningful to you: If your spouse [or partner] were standing right beside you, would you be doing what you’re doing? Would you be saying what you’re saying?
“And if the answer’s no, then there’s something not right about that relationship.”