This is a topic that has been covered a whole lot in many marriage seminars and by different authors. I dwell on it so many times and the impact and dangers it has on our marriages. Like everything I write about, I do not believe myself to be an expert on this but I would still humbly share my opinion on this killer seed.
You look at your partner and wonder why he/she is lacking what that your 'special' friend has; Your partner dresses up and you compare with how that person in your office dresses; You begin to see another person's face and imagine another person's body next to yours during sex with your spouse; You no longer want to discuss your hurts, pains and fears with your partner, it is so much more easier to talk to that your 'friend'; Once a phone beeps for a new message, you are so excited because you believe it is a message from him/her; You want to go to work or wherever the person is earlier that usual and leave later than normal just so you can stand close to the person; You're more excited going out than being home with your family; Suddenly, you can see your partner's flaws in 3D and you wonder why you never noticed them; You begin to feel the thrill or rush like you felt when you were single and it's definitely not inspired by your spouse; You begin to question if what you felt for your partner was love in the first place; You begin to wonder if one can be in love with 2 people at the same time...
I could go on and on and fill pages on end but if while reading that first paragraph, you can identify with one or two of those scenarios or similar ones, you are having an emotional affair. Please, do not even begin to go the route of, I have never kissed or slept with anyone apart from my partner. If only your partner could see your heart and read your thoughts and desire for that other person, would your marriage still be standing? Emotional affairs are more dangerous that physical affairs. The reason is because most people brood on them, relish them, water and nurture them and they grow so fast and so deep. Yet you silently deny those feelings and justify your thoughts. By the time you realize, you have gone too deep. You begin to confuse your thoughts and can no longer differentiate between love, lust and attraction. What started as one harmless look, one flirtatious thought quickly escalates and you just do not know how to trace your way back. You cannot look your partner in the eye anymore or some of us have become so at home with the lies that you can. The question you then ask yourself is, how did you get here and how do I get out?
As to the question of how you got there, I cannot exactly say but comparing with other past experiences in my life and choices of wrong relationships before I got married, we often times get drawn to such things in our lowest moment. When things seem not to be going smoothly in our home. When our spouse suddenly seems like a stranger. When we have already begin to question some little things in our marriage.Suddenly, we see one person that seems to have it all together on the surface. We see our 'ideal' partner in another person. We meet a so called perfect person whom our mind suddenly tells us would have been a better partner. Wake up my dearest friend, every body can look like a saint. We all can seem so perfect when we are all dressed up and sitting at our desk. How is it that often times a perfect friendship is broken when you decide to become flatmates? Simply because, you do not truly know a person until you live with them. When people tell me they do not love their partners anymore or they meet a man/woman who they believe is the right man/woman for them but they do not feel the butterflies in their belly, I always tell them what an aunt of mine told me years ago before I got married; Love is a decision. My point is, before you decide to return that flirtatious smile or give one of your own, before you begin to tell your friend of the opposite sex about your partner's flaws and ill treatment, before you take that first step which you definitely know in your mind is dangerous because you cannot do it in front of your spouse, count the cost! In the long run, Is this momentary good feeling worth much more than my home, my partner or my children? You just might never be able to come back from that step once you take it.
For me, how to get out is simple. It seems difficult but it is simple. Sit your partner down and tell it all. Explain the feelings, the crush, the thoughts and your challenges. Explain you are about to take the step into a physical affair. Trust me when I say it is not a battle you can fight alone. We have to learn to be accountable to our partners. Once that dirty little secret is out in the open, it has got nothing on you then. The question is what if my partner never forgives me? My question is what if he does? What if he/she does not trust me again? my answer is you have to earn that trust as an arduous task. Once you are truly unified with your partner, you can fight any battle and climb any mountain. Let your partner help you to help yourself. It is never okay to indulge whether you are the husband or the wife. What ever communication you are having with another person that you surely cannot have in the presence of your spouse is a bright red flag!
I could truly go on and on but I will stop here because I know you understand my point already.
Let us live, love and learn for the journey is still far and it is not for the fainthearted!