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8 Signs You May Be Having An Emotional Affair

Infidelity is not as taboo as it used to be and it’s definitely become easier to hide.  From workplace relationships to internet encounters, it is not a surprise that emotional affairs seem to be on the rise.  Many people spend more hours in the workplace than at home, and as a result, working relationships are more likely to turn into friendships.  The internet and social media provide us with the ability to be more social, with less attention.  Social media can often hide our best kept secrets.

Most emotional affairs start as simple friendships.  Many never intend for those friendships to become anything more than just that.  However, there is a thin line between friendships and emotional affairs; and emotional affairs often lead to sexual encounters.

Even when these affairs do not cross the line sexually, the effects can be just as damaging, if not more.  The intimacy involved in emotional affairs can often have a level of intensity deeper than a sexual affair because we are more emotionally invested.  If you think you may be having an emotional affair or are not quite sure, here are eight signs that indicate you may be crossing the line.

  • Contact outside of “friendly” hours.  If you find yourself communicating at questionable hours, this may be a sign.  Most friends don’t text at 2am.
  • You talk about the difficulties in your current relationship.  You may have a close friend or two that you share your frustrations about your partner with.  However, if you find yourself sharing all of your problems and concerns with this “special person”, you may be crossing the line.
  • He/she dominates your thoughts.  You think about him/her when you wake up, when you fall asleep, and mostly anytime in between.  It’s important to remember that most affairs don’t start off in the bedroom, they start in the mind.
  • He/she becomes the first person you call.  You get some exciting news or you’ve had an awful day.  Who do you call first, him/her or your partner?
  • He/she “gets” you.  You’re treading on thin ice when you start to feel like he/she understands better than your partner.  This usually leads to increased communication with him/her and less communication with your partner.  We are more likely to communicate with someone who we feel “gets” us than someone who does not.
  • Spending more time with him/her.  If you find yourself finding excuses or creating more reasons to spend time with him/her, this may be a sign.  However, spending more time does not just mean physical time.  If you are spending more time texting, emailing, or video chatting, this may be a sign as well.
  • You start comparing your partner to him/her.  Do you ever find yourself talking to your partner and you think to yourself, “he/she wouldn’t respond like this” or “he/she would be more attentive?”  Are you often out with your partner and think, “if I were with him/her, I’d be having more fun?”  This type of thinking is dangerous because it aut0matically makes him/her the good one and your partner the bad one.
  • You lie.  Yes, lying by omission counts.  So whether you leave out meeting him/her for lunch, deleting messages from your phone, or you just deny communicating with him/her at all – a lie is a lie.  If you have to lie, chances are you have something to hide; and if you have something to hide, chances are you know it’s not okay.

If you think are having an emotional affair, it may be time to evaluate your relationships.

8 Signs You May Be Having An Emotional Affair

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on August 12, 2015.

Donna M. White, LPC/I, CACI

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APA Reference
White, D. (2019). 8 Signs You May Be Having An Emotional Affair. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 May 2019
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