You send a text to him to congratulate him on something at work. Before you know it, you and your co-worker are texting or, better yet, messaging all the time. With each passing message the lines blur just a little bit more until you start meeting. You still think it’s just a “friendship”, but you know that some of the things you talk about you never even tell your husband. And that’s when it starts to get messy.
You can find no good way out of this without hurting potentially lots of people yet you keep telling yourself that he gets you and helps you get through rocky times in your marriage.
This one should be a no-brainer, but yet you justify it because you think he has women friends at work. Why can’t I have male friends? It isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that you started crossing the line a long time ago and the things you message are intimate details. A marriage that is going to thrive requires transparency. You should be able to hand him your phone and even if a message was up between you and your co-worker you should be able to say “Oh answer that for me will you? Tell him I’m busy.” And not think twice about whatever the other messages say.
2. You create opportunities to be alone with this person and omit that detail from your spouse.
This is a HUGE red flag. You are essentially trying to date someone else at this point…while you are married. If you are involving other people to cover up for you STOP now and put immediate distance between you and the person. Game over. No one wins in this situation.
3. Delete. You are deleting possible incriminating messages.
Your gut tells you this is wrong. Your head tells you this is wrong. Even your friends might tell you to see a marriage counselor and step away from talking to this person all night long, but you don’t listen. You just delete the messages and have crossed the line yet again.
4. You share good news with him first…instead of your spouse.
You’re thinking about him all the time anyway, so you might as well tell him about your good evaluation. You wore this special outfit to work just because he might come by anyway. You forgot to tell your husband about your news because let’s face it; you don’t really talk to him anymore.
5. You just had a really good dream…about him.
The bull horn is going off in your head at this point, but you find it slightly annoying. Why can’t you dream about this person…sexually? You didn’t actually do anything did you? I mean I’m sure it’s fine. WRONG. Affairs start in the head. You are already fantasizing about a weekend away.
6. You now start to wonder what would happen if you left your husband…for this person.
Obviously this is one of the biggest signs that you are having an emotional affair that will lead to the destruction of your marriage. Now would be a great time to seek a marriage counselor with your spouse. By now your husband probably realizes you have become emotionally unattached to him…it’s up to you to decide if you are ready to confess what has happened and work on how to move forward. If your marriage is at this point, but you don’t want to go to counseling together, get a therapist for you. It is not appropriate to use your guy friend as a therapist for your marriage.
Did you recognize any warning signs for yourself or perhaps even your spouse? Don’t be afraid to have that brave conversation. Marriage takes a lot of work, and honesty is foundational. If you stopped to read this article because you were curious about whether or not you are in fact having an emotional affair, then you are being honest with yourself and that’s a step in the right direction.