EMOTIONAL AFFAIRS

POTENTIALLY MORE DAMAGING THAN SEXUAL AFFAIRS AND HARDER TO EXPOSE WITH A LIE DETECTOR, BUT POSSIBLE!

There is obviously such a thing as an emotional affair, an affair without sexual contact but one where you are emotionally attached. Does this mean you are being unfaithful though.

You like each other, you feel good when you’re together, you like talking to them and exchanging intimate, funny or even sexy e-mails. They get you! You joke, you flirt, you dress nicer when you meet them for lunch or drinks, you write long e-mails or tap out furtive text messages. The problem your partner doesn’t know about it whether they are your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend from school, your Facebook friend or a work colleague. Here are some answers to common questions about nonsexual affairs.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF EMOTIONAL INFIDELITY?

It’s an emotional connection with someone of the opposite sex that you keep a secret from your partner, says Peggy Vaughan, author of The Monogamy Myth: A Personal Handbook for Recovering from Affairs. Basically, emotional affairs occur when one partner is channeling physical or emotional energy, time and attention into someone other than the person they are in a committed relationship with to the point that their partner feels neglected.

WHAT MAKES IT SUCH A BIG DEAL, IF THERE’S NO SEX?

The damaging factor of affairs, it turns out, is far less about sex than it is about the total package of deception. “Most people, I’ve found, can recover from sexual infidelity more readily than from the fact that they were lied to,” says Vaughan. Finding out your partner’s been emotionally canoodling with someone else makes you think, “What can I believe about our life together? The big red flag is the secrecy. Emotional cheating is about breaking trust with your partner, not having sex with someone else,” she adds.

HOW CAN I TELL IF THE “FRIENDSHIP” I HAVE IS VEERING INTO EMOTIONAL-AFFAIR TERRITORY?

Ask yourself: Am I doing things or talking about things with this person that I don’t do or talk about with my partner? Am I going to complicated lengths to arrange time with this person? Am I either downplaying the relationship to friends or family members, or keeping it a secret altogether?

IS IT MORE COMMON THESE DAYS?

Oh yes. Not only do we have the option to connect with someone at work, online “affairs” are rife, says Jessica LeRoy, founder and clinical director of the Center for the Psychology of Women. “Now, if you’re thinking about your old partner, you can probably find them on Facebook.” Plus, online communication makes connection both easier and more intense, more quickly.

WHY DO PEOPLE IN EMOTIONAL AFFAIRS DENY THEY’RE DOING ANYTHING WRONG?

Quite simply? Because there’s no sex. Many people have a hard time seeing what’s so wrong about this type of friendship. Culturally, we tend to believe that cheating is having sex with someone other than your partner, period. But Vaughan says, “emotional affairs tend to escalate in increments,” from e-mails to lunch to drinks. Even as it gets more serious, it’s still easy to think of it as innocent because it’s “only” lunch. And before you know it, you’ve got a stack of secrets you’re keeping, and an emotional entanglement with someone else.

THIS IS WHERE THE LIE DETECTOR CAN COME IN

Whilst a Lie Detector can not test for Love as its a subjective emotion, it can be used to uncover the lies that all so often occur when someone gets embroiled in an emotional affair. So you do have to play detective a little in catching out your partner, but they will at some point and potentially often lie to you in order to protect the new relationship. So it may be just that they were not where they said they were but they will lie!

DOES IT MEAN THE END OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

Thats down to you, although it can be devastating if your partner finds out, says Vaughan. “The person may suddenly feel as though she doesn’t know her partner.” If you’ve made a strong emotional connection with someone else, with or without sex, it can be very painful for your partner. Although if you have had a lie uncovered with a lie detector test it can prove to be the line in the sand before the affair leads to physical infidelity, which only makes the deception worse and the disentanglement harder.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

If you think you can shift the extramarital relationship back to something more innocent, you’re probably wrong. This is a time when cold turkey is best, or confront it head on with exposure of a Lie with a Lie Detector Test.