Emotional affairs, those nonphysical and nonsexual liaisons that so often blossom in the office, are on the rise because people have more opportunities to connect with more people outside of their marriage. Of course, the Internet makes constant connection a reality for many workers. Many people successfully convince themselves that “as long as there is no sex, it’s not an affair.” But it is.
An affair really has to do with secrecy, deception of the partner, and therefore betrayal.
The energy invested in the new person is energy that might have been gone into a husband or wife. Actually, most people are more disturbed by the breaking of trust than by sex in an affair. For the victim partner, the betrayal of trust is the most difficult thing to recover from.
Many people have an emotional affair, yet due to their own denial don’t believe they are cheating. The denial keeps them guilt-free and they don’t have to give it up.
An emotional affair depends on a measure of secrecy. The perpetrator keeps meetings and conversations secret from his or her partner, saying and doing things with the other person that would not be done with the spouse.
Most people are actually not looking for an affair. They find themselves interested in a new person and move down the slippery slope. At some point, if the relationship continues it often does lead to sex. The person may start to depend on them for the emotional highs and good feelings they give throughout the day.
So often people don’t appreciate a marriage until they are about to lose it. A person who has an affair must accept responsibility for it. And ending it requires the sharp knife of a surgeon. The initiator must take responsibility and end it. No halfway, no “kind of,” no being friends.