Young "professional," Providence College grad, above average procrastinator, reality tv…
What is an emotional relationship? For those of you who don’t already know, one of the more hurtful types of cheating is emotional. It is difficult to detect or accuse your partner of this type of relationship because of the fine line between friendships and emotional “affairs.” An emotional relationship is a bond between two people on an intimate level that has not escalated to a physical one, however it does mimic the intimacy of a relationship.
So the question becomes, are you cheating on your partner if you are having an emotional affair with someone else? I think that sentence really answered it’s own question because if it wasn’t cheating it wouldn’t be called an “affair.” Boom, what other world problems and questions can I solve? Why don’t cheaters just break up with the person you ask? Now that is something that I will never understand. So, what is an emotional relationship and how do handle one if you feel your partner is engaging in this type of affair?
When you are in a relationship, there are certain things that you only share with your partner. It’s a simple fact that people are more vulnerable on an emotional level with people that they decide to be in a relationship with. When you are sharing these same things with a third party, you are taking that bond away from your relationship. Additionally, since you aren’t in a relationship with this person you only see the good aspects of the relationship, not the parts of a relationship that take work. You start to see them in a fun, exciting light and your partner as nagging and boring.
A lot of times, emotional relationships are all based on fantasy and not reality, and you don’t want a partner who is more interested in living in a fantasy. You deserve someone who would be there through the good and not so good times. Ask yourself, what is an emotional relationship? Are these signs of one?
Airing Your Dirty Laundry
If you run to tell the third party everything that’s wrong with your relationship, you are violating the trust of your partner and looking for affection and validation in another. Intimate details of fights or your family dynamic that you do not share with your platonic friends should not be shared with someone else. If you wouldn’t hook up with a friend, and you wouldn’t share intimate details that include your own vulnerabilities, but would share them with a specific man/woman that is not your problem then it is a red flag of an emotional affair.
Texting in a flirty manner, using terms like “babe” or “cutie,” and even body language can be good indicators of an emotional affair. If you call someone else babe then you are again diminishing the bond that you share with your significant other. When your significant other seems to be too close to one of their friends in this manner, there is a conversation that needs to be had. If your significant other gets defensive, acts like your crazy, and doesn’t see that there is an issue that means that something is going on. Regardless of whether something is or not, your partner should never make you feel uncomfortable, and if something does make you feel uncomfortable you need to address it.
Unlike a platonic relationship, there is a level of sexual chemistry between the two. I’m sure that we have all met someone and either friend zoned them or we have been friend zoned. However, one of you feels an attraction to the other. The only thing stopping it from happening, in this case, is that it is unrequited. However, when one party is in a relationship, the only thing stopping something from happening is the commitment that one of them made to another person. So, they don’t act on the physical nature of the relationship, and rather bond emotionally.
For example, let’s say your boyfriend suddenly got really close to Courtney* but SWORE nothing was going on, even when he answered her texts at 1 am on a Friday night when she asks him to come over. He calls you crazy for thinking something is going on. Once you break up, he either hooks up with or starts dating Courtney. He is a scumbag. Good riddance. If you think this example was oddly specific it’s because it is. I’m not bitter I swear. Anyway, I’m not saying you’re sexually dead when you’re in a relationship, but it is the strong desire to act on it or constantly fantasizing about it is the difference.
*name has been changed to protect the emotional homewrecker.
What To Do
Unfortunately, if you engage in an emotional relationship then what happens is that your actual partner cannot compete with the way you have built up your friend in your mind. If your significant other is engaging in this type of behavior then the relationship is not working. Either way, it is probably best to take some time apart.
What is an emotional relationship to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Young "professional," Providence College grad, above average procrastinator, reality tv enthusiast, high profile contributing member of society.