Do You Know What To Look For When Your Spouse Begins An Emotional Affair?
About 35 percent of wives and 45 percent of husbands report having emotional affairs, according to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, a statistic higher than those for physical affairs, which are committed by 15 percent of wives and 25 percent of husbands. Another statistic on American sexual behavior by the National Opinion Research Center cites that 22 percent of men and 13 percent of women have cheated in their lifetimes. Though infidelity statistics are notoriously unreliable, since people are reluctant to admit any kind of affair, it seems safe to say that emotional cheating is more common than a physical affair.
What Is An Emotional Affair?
Part of the problem with emotional infidelity is that it’s hard to pin down. The line between harmless flirtation with a member of the opposite sex and actual infidelity is blurry, especially for women, who are typically more open with their emotions. 4 Types Of Infidelity & How Affairs Help Marriage
An emotional affair differs from a flirtation in that the latter typically involves behavior—such as smiling, eyelash-batting and flattery—that carries no actual meaning. You veer into dangerous territory when you begin sharing serious issues in your life with someone who is not your partner, says Dr. Ron Potter-Efron who, with his wife Pat, wrote the book The Emotional Affair: How to Recognize Emotional Infidelity and What to Do About It. There is usually an “explicit understanding that this is stuff we’re going to talk about that I’m not going to share with my partner,” he says. The info-sharing may start out innocently enough. But many people who wind up in emotional affairs also simultaneously start distancing themselves from their significant others while fueling intimacy with this new person. That’s what leads to trouble.