Infidelity Does Not Require 2 People to Have Sex

emotional affair

The spouse in the working relationship isn’t hiding any part of that relationship from his/her spouse. S/he is not sending furtive texts to their “work buddy” in the middle of the night. S/he is not sharing personal secrets and long-held dreams with their co-worker instead of with their spouse.

A truly platonic relationship also lacks the sexual tension that characterizes an affair. Neither person in the relationship is flirting with the other. Neither is making inappropriate remarks or sexually-charged suggestions to the other.

Finally, in a truly platonic relationship, the emotional connection that the people in that relationship share is typically minimal. Sure, they care about each other. But they care like you about a parent or a sibling. They don’t care like lovers care.

Why Does an Emotional Affair Hurt so Much?

At its core, an affair — any kind of affair — is a betrayal of trust. When you discover that your spouse has been calling, texting, or spending time with someone else without your knowing about it, you feel violated. You feel like someone just hacked into your body with an ice pick and pulled your heart, and your guts, out right through your skin.

It feels that bad.

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What makes that feeling even worse in emotional affairs is that the offending party might not even think they did anything wrong.

“I didn’t touch him/her! Why are you so mad? We’re just friends!”

Or, worse yet, the offending party may get mad at his/her spouse for being “controlling,” “petty,” and “insecure.”

So, on top of dealing with their own emotional devastation, the non-cheating spouse also has to deal with the cheating spouse’s anger, denial, and defensiveness as well. That makes recovering from an emotional affair pretty much impossible.

After all, if your spouse can’t even acknowledge your pain, s/he certainly can’t help you work through it. What’s more, if your spouse cares more about staying connected with someone else than s/he does about staying connected with you, your marriage isn’t likely to last very long.

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8 Signs Your Spouse is Having an Emotional Affair

Because emotional affairs can so easily masquerade as “just friendships” it’s often harder to figure out when your spouse is involved in a relationship that may have crossed the line.

Even still, the warning signs of an emotional affair are strikingly similar to those of a sexual affair. Here are eight of the most common signs that can tip you off to the fact that your spouse’s “friendship” may really be more.

  1. Your gut is screaming that something is wrong.

It’s easy to dismiss the queasy feeling you have in your gut that something in your marriage is not quite right. But often our bodies are better at knowing the truth than our minds. If you’re not a suspicious person by nature, yet you just can’t help feeling that something is going on with your spouse — pay attention!

  1. Your relationship with your spouse starts to get more distant.

 While every relationship has its ups and downs, if you feel like your relationship with your spouse is starting to grow cold, it may be time to dig into what’s going on. If your spouse is suddenly “too busy” or “too tired” to spend time with you, that may be a sign that s/he’s getting his/her needs met elsewhere.

  1. Your spouse starts being secretive about his/her cell phone.

Any significant change in your spouse’s cell phone behavior can be a huge sign that your spouse is having an affair. Maybe your spouse suddenly starts locking his/her cell phone when s/he’s never done that before. Or you may notice that your spouse suddenly stops answering his/her cell phone when you’re around.

Karen Covy
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Karen Covy is a divorce advisor, attorney, consultant and coach who is committed to helping couples resolve their disputes as amicably and efficiently as possible. She is the author of When Happily Ever After Ends: How to Survive Your Divorce Emotionally, Financially, and Legally. Karen has been featured on the Channel 7 News, WCIU You and Me This Morning, WGN Radio, MarketWatch and on numerous radio shows and podcasts. You can find more of Karen’s articles on relationships and divorce at