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Emotional Infidelity Or Friendship? - Relations
Emotional Infidelity Or Friendship? - Relations

Video: Emotional Infidelity Or Friendship? - Relations

Video: Emotional Infidelity Or Friendship? - Relations
Video: Emotional Affair or Just a Friend? How to Tell the Difference (Take the Quiz) 2023, December

Over the past decades, a new type of “infidelity” has become more common - emotional attachment, which is increasingly becoming a threat to marriage. One of the most common places to develop these relationships is through work. In terms of popularity and accessibility, it is surpassed, perhaps, only by the Internet

Relationships without sex can be just as, and sometimes even more intense, than those in which there is a place of intimacy. Unsurprisingly, in most cases, according to Dr. Shirley Glass, author of Not Just Friends, the dynamics of platonic relationships sooner or later lead a couple to have sex.

This is really a problem

To better understand how intense the experience of emotional infidelity can be, an analogy can be drawn with the development of any addiction. Working through and letting go of a toxic pattern is easier by depersonalizing the experience.

It's not about how special a person is or how they make you feel. It's about neurochemicals that are activated when you think and behave in a certain way, and they are what keep you in a destructive pattern. It is no coincidence that people with alcohol and other addictions tend to enter into toxic relationships more often. Seeing the problem as addiction will help you turn to proven methods for identifying and breaking free of toxic patterns.


An addiction to an activity, person or substance, puts the person's brain and body into an intoxicating trance. On the one hand, it does not allow you to think clearly and make informed choices, and on the other hand, it “rewards” toxic behavior by releasing certain chemicals that provide quick pleasure. It may be temporary, but the pleasure of reducing or dulling pain, shame or guilt. This allows you to distance yourself from taking responsibility for solving real difficulties in life and in a problem marriage.

Craig Nacken, author of The Addictive Personality, defines addiction as: "A pathological relationship of love and trust with an object (person) or event … an uncontrolled and aimless search for wholeness, happiness and peace through a relationship with an object or event."

It is not surprising that so many people who are depressed or addicted find themselves in toxic relationships.

Warning signs

12 warning signs that tell you it's time to take action to protect yourself and your relationship from "emotional infidelity."

1. You think and say that you are “just friends” with the opposite sex

You thought and more than once said about someone: "we are just friends." Think again if it's of the opposite sex. You are entering a dangerous path, and such words can be a threat to your marriage.

This rationale allows you to justify something or, more simply, lie (to yourself and others). Something that you suspect is actually not very correct. No matter how popular the idea of friendship with the opposite sex is on TV and on the Internet.

The risk is that friendship is not only encouraged, but implied unconditional trust. So why, being married, do you find the idea of emotional intimacy with a member of the opposite sex so interesting and attractive?

2. You trust this friend very much and share very personal issues with him

Sharing thoughts and deepest anxieties, hopes and fears, desires and problems, is what deepens intimacy. This creates an emotional bond between two people that is more appropriate between spouses. Sharing it with another person, whatever you call it, is infidelity and betrayal of trust. This is all the more true when you consider that emotional intimacy is the strongest bond in human relationships, much stronger than sexual one.

3. You discuss your marriage problems and complain about your partner

Talking to a person of the opposite sex about what is wrong with your marriage, partner, or what you lack for complete happiness, makes it clear that you are available to love and care for your needs. And this is also a betrayal.

Such revelations, like gossip, create a false sense of shared connection and the illusion that you, your happiness, your comfort, and your needs can only be fully appreciated by “just a friend”. Despite the fact that, frankly, there is no evidence of this.

4. You are comparing mentally or aloud your partner and friend

Another danger sign is thinking, which increasingly leads to conclusions about how “positive” and “right” your friend is. And they reveal only the "negative" and "unsatisfactory" in the partner. More and more in your thoughts you are "for" a friend and "against" a spouse. You literally with your own hands form a “bad” image of a partner, undermine your connection, develop unwanted painful reactions to a loved one, transferring all the “good” to a friend.

5. You think or dream a lot about “just a friend”

If you are looking forward to meeting this person, you cannot wait to share the news, when you are apart you think about what you want to tell him, imagine how happy he will be, you are in trouble. This feeling of anticipation, excitement, anticipation releases dopamine at the reward center in your brain, reinforcing toxic patterns.

Obsessive thoughts about a person are an obvious signal that something is going wrong. After all, that doesn't happen to the rest of your friends, right?

6. You believe that he understands you like no one else

It's okay to start any romantic relationship. And this is an illusion, and in the case of emotional infidelity in marriage, it is especially dangerous, because the feeling of mutual "understanding" forms a bond that strengthens and deepens emotional intimacy.

At this moment, pleasant neurochemicals are released, such as the love and safety hormone oxytocin. In doing so, you take the position of the “receiving party”, focusing on what you get or don’t get from the relationship. And in your marriage, too, focus on what you have, not what you put in.

7. You change habits in marriage, at work

You strive to spend more and more time with "just a friend", talk to him, share experiences and joys. And your unwillingness to spend a lot of time on daily chores, household and work chores is quite natural. As a result, you begin to distance yourself, refuse, or make excuses for avoiding normal worries in front of your partner and family. And it will not go away from the attention of your loved ones that you are withdrawn, irritable and unhappy.

8. You have secrets. You hide what you are doing and cover your tracks

Secrecy itself is a warning sign. A shared secret creates a special closeness between two people and at the same time alienates them from others. Secrets create a bond, often an unhealthy one. For example, there may be a false sense of emotional security and trust in a person, as well as unfounded mistrust and suspicion of a partner or those who are trying to interfere with "friendship."

9. More and more excuses

This includes an addictive mindset that focuses your attention on how unhappy you are, why you are unhappy, and blames your partner and marriage for all aspects of your unhappiness.

You are sure that you are absolutely in your right because of the countless number of offenses caused by your spouse. You justify your behavior towards your partner by his "badness" and consider it fair to strive for your happiness at all costs.

10. Fantasize about love or sexual relations with a person

At some point, one or both of the “just friends” begin to fantasize about love or intimate relationships. They may begin to discuss this, which increases the tension, intrigue, and intoxication from the release of addictive neurochemicals that make the pattern more ingrained.

11. Giving or receiving personal gifts

Another warning sign is if obsessive thoughts about the person interfere with your usual shopping behavior. You think of a “friend” when you shop, wondering if he would like it or not, how he would rate such a gift. Your choice becomes something intimate, special. And then the gifts turn into a message that you two are “close us”, separated from others.

12. You plan on spending time alone or allow it to happen

This is a warning sign that, when ignored, most often pushes “friends” to cross the line from platonic to sexual relations. Despite good intentions and promises to each other that they will not allow themselves "nothing like that", this is a trap. It is only a matter of time before friends of the opposite sex will play around, spending time alone.

  • Author: Atena Steak, Ph. D.
  • Translation by Yana Tsyplakova