It can be extremely distressing to find out that the spouse whom you love is emotionally unfaithful to you. Knowing that they are more attached to someone else in spite of you always being there for them, can be very hurtful. Some couples even state that sexual infidelity is more tolerable than emotional infidelity. But what of you discover your spouse’s emotional affair? How to deal with your spouse’s emotional affair? Here is an attempt to help you deal with this situation.
What Is An Emotional Affair?
To explain an emotional affair better, it is a bond shared by a partner with another person outside of the relationship, where they have a closeness similar to romantic intimacy. The infidel shares their vulnerabilities with someone else and goes to them for personal advice. A physical relationship may or may not exist between them, but they feel the deep emotions that they once felt for their partner.
Lack of interest in the family, excuses of working late, hiding of phone, being absent-minded, defensiveness and anger, taking care to dress up every single day, indulging in activities that do not involve you, or being overtly nice to you for no specific reason are certain signs and indications that your spouse is having an emotional affair with someone else.
8 Steps To Deal With Your Spouse’s Emotional Affair
It may seem like the end of the world and that your spouse’s emotional affair could bring an end to your marriage, it may not necessarily be the case. You can take some steps to deal with your spouse’s emotional affair and find the emotional connect again. Here are 8 steps that you can take to deal with your partner’s emotional affair.
1. Check the facts
Before delving into the ordeal of confrontation, arguments and sleepless nights, be absolutely sure that your spouse has been indulging in an emotional affair. Ask yourself questions like: Why is your partner cheating on you? Are they investing less in your marriage? Are you investing enough in your marriage? Have you observed certain noticeable changes in your spouse?
Intuitions can be really strong, but they are not always right. You need to have some definitive clues to back up your intuitions. Contemplate on your emotions before you talk to your spouse about it. Observe if you are being irrational, overly jealous, or very possessive of them. Also check if you have been arguing a lot lately and if it is just the anger or resentment that is making you doubt your spouse. Once these facts are checked, you can then go ahead and calmly confront your partner about their emotional affair.
Related Reading: Effects of an extramarital affair on the partner
2. Balance anger and need for answers
Infidelity, whether emotional or sexual, can take a toll on one’s health and marriage. We understand that you’re hurting and you cannot contain your rage.
However, at this point, you need full disclosure from your spouse. You need to know everything they’ve done behind your back and you need to maintain your composure for that.
Your partner is going to be more willing to answer and address all your issues if you practice mindful listening and a little bit of compassion. Once you lash out, your husband/wife will assume your unwillingness to listen and hide facts about their emotional infidelity from you. This will hinder the possibility of surviving through the emotional affair.
3. Do not blame yourself
As the sufferer, you might blame yourself for being in the wrong. You would question your actions and your behaviour. You might think you were the inattentive one, or you didn’t care enough, or you didn’t provide the safe platform your partner desired. Ball all of these thoughts up and throw them away. There is no reason good enough to cheat on someone. You can certainly work on your weak aspects in a marriage, but do not indulge in the blame game. Don’t let your partner get away with emotional cheating by declaring you as the reason for it and don’t blame yourself for your partner’s wrong actions.
Blaming yourself only gives your spouse an upper hand in getting away with their wrong doings. You are at no fault here. Your partner’s infidelity is their responsibility. Realising this is a very important step in dealing with their emotional affair.
Related Reading: Watch out for these 10 signs of cheaters guilt
4. Talk to a therapist
Clamming up is a common response on discovering a partner’s infidelity. You would retreat to your own cocoon, overthinking about the future of your marriage. You might question yourself and everything around you, but you would not be willing to share it with anyone in fear of judgement. It is very normal to not be able to discuss the issue directly with your partner, but you do need some help addressing the problem.
Avoid waiting in silence, hoping that things will eventually change for the better. Seek the help of a therapist instead of obsessing with the situation and its outcomes. Talking to a therapist will calm all your doubts and give you the right direction while you’re grappling with too many emotions like fear, guilt, doubt, anger, etc., all at once.
A therapist with an expertise in marital infidelity can assist you to get through the troublesome stage faster.
5. Back off for a while
It is emotionally cathartic to shout, cry, throw things, and blame your partner for ruining everything. But a better chance to save your marriage is by backing off. This gives your spouse some time to clear their head and think sensibly about their actions. Try to maintain your calm and practice confidence. Providing your partner with a breathing space will give them a chance to phase their emotional affair out.
Backing off is an important step to deal with an emotional affair. It hastens the healing process. Behaving in a needy manner will confirm your partner’s apprehensions towards your relationship. To sober down their emotional infidelity, you need to give them the time to ponder on their behaviour so that they realise their actions and its effects.
Related Reading: 6 people on what they learnt about themselves after they cheated
6. Do not beg or plead
You are in love with your spouse and you do not want him/her to leave you. To avoid that, you’re ready to do anything that you can. Well, don’t. There are some healthy steps that you can take to save your relationship, but there are several unhealthy ones too. No matter how badly you want your marriage to survive, do not go down on your knees and beg your partner to stay.
If your spouse is done with your relationship, there is nothing you can do to change their decision. Alternatively, if your partner is guilty about their emotional affair, he/she will take active steps to make things right. Here, you need to handle the matter with dignity. Always remember, nothing comes above your self-respect. Joining hands, weeping, pleading your husband/wife to stay is not going to make them stay, but it is going to question your self-respect.
Express your feelings, but never beg your partner to stay.
7. Make a decision
The worst has happened. Your spouse had an emotional affair, and there is nothing you can do to change that. However, what you need to do is make a decision. If you think your relationship can recover from the damage, consider giving it another chance. It does not have to be the end of your marriage.
Try and observe the response of your partner. If they seem really guilty about it, chances are that they really want to make things right again. On the other hand, if your spouse is blaming you for their emotional infidelity and does not feel guilty or think that they did anything wrong, maybe it is time to call it quits. However, take your time to make the decision. Do not rush into anything.
Related Reading: 8 steps to completely forgive someone who cheated on you
8. Take your time to forgive
They say, “Forgive and forget”, but that is not easy. Only you know how much your spouse’s emotional affair has affected you. Take your time to struggle with the pain and then begin to rebuild the trust. Any form of infidelity is hard to forget. Once you’re ready to let go of all the inhibitions and negative feelings inside you, only then can you begin to really forgive your partner and build a successful relationship thereon.
Give your spouse a chance to be completely honest with you. Let them understand the pain they have caused you and let them make it up to you for it. Reconcile with your husband/wife gradually as the bad memories fade over time and you feel you are ready to trust them again.
If you see you and your spouse working through this problem, then give them another chance by all means. You will need to cope with your feelings after discovering spouse’s emotional affair. However, if you feel that there is no way you can recover from the pain and it is just better to move on with your respective lives, that’s okay too. You deserve to be happy and you need to understand what is going to make you happier in the long run.
You need to avoid being obsessed about the relationship. You also need to stop worrying about what people will say. Once it starts interfering with your peace of mind, you will not be able to find joy in anything that you do. Make the right decision and stick to it and we promise, you will be a happier person in the long run.