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Are you having an emotional affair?

During a women’s conference some months ago, one of the speakers/facilitators, who is a born again Christian woman, admitted to once having an emotional affair.…

During a women’s conference some months ago, one of the speakers/facilitators, who is a born again Christian woman, admitted to once having an emotional affair.

What began as an innocuous relationship with a male colleague in the office, she said, graduated to a point where she was always eager to see him, anxious to hear from him and felt sad if a day passes without getting in touch with him. He was also a Christian and married.

It all started with both of them simply discussing things on the Christian faith.  They gradually discovered that they shared the same values, loved reading, and had a similar taste for a lot of things.

Before they knew it, they began sharing deep personal issues, especially marital problems, and they found each other’s company and advice very soothing.

“Having an emotional affair does not always involve sex. It happens when you are courting, engaged, or married but very fond of somebody else who is not your spouse. And if care is not taken, and brake applied, it could lead to a full-blown sexual affair.”

“It can happen to deeply spiritual and religious people, morally upright people, people who are seen as perfect role models, and those who are highly respected or revered in society. It even happens to couples who are in happy marriages. So, don’t see it as something that happens as a result of one being unhappy in a marriage,” she had said.

Emotional affair usually starts as platonic friendship with the opposite sex, whom you find admirable and can easily talk with or share ideas. This friend can be a next-door neighbour, a course mate, a colleague at work, a service provider, a church member, someone you met at the gym or someone who belongs to a certain group with you. When you find them attractive and enjoy being with them or relate with them better than you would an ordinary friend, then there is a big problem.

It’s worse when you subtly flirt with them and hide your conversations and messages with them from your spouse or significant other. When you don’t see anything wrong with hugging them, chatting secretly, entertaining flirty compliments, calling them endearing names and looking forward to seeing and hearing from them always.

You keep your conversations with them a secret from your spouse and are always quick to defend them if the situation arises. Know that when you spend more time physically or on social media with such friends more than you do with your spouse, then you are having an emotional affair.

The danger of an emotional affair is that you see nothing wrong in what you are doing since you are not having sex. But you secretly venerate them and compare them with your partner. Sometimes, without knowing it, you may start having this chemistry with them and may eventually give in to sexual advances from them.

Most people, especially good people, do not plan cheating or adultery, it just happens when all red flags are ignored.

It is important to have a full understanding of what constitutes an emotional affair and protect yourself and your relationship. The first thing is to set boundaries. Do not entertain unhealthy and ungodly relationships.

Understand that you are human and prone to fall into temptation, so try as much as possible to sever relationships with the opposite sex (that can lead to the emotional affair) when you are in a relationship/married.

Understand why you fell into an emotional affair and take precautions lest you fall into another one.

Stop all forms of communications, especially secret ones. If you have to take extreme measures, unfriend/unfollow them on social media.

Be very polite with their calls or ignore their calls altogether if you get tempted to go back.

Be bold and honest by explaining to them why your friendship with them cannot continue if you truly love your spouse. If your relationship with anyone threatens or hurts your marriage, then it’s not worth it.

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