Emotional Affair Warning Signs
Most emotional affairs start innocently enough. For example, a woman in your husband’s workplace is having trouble in her marriage, and in the middle of their busy days, she begins to confide in your husband. She says her husband doesn’t understand her.
Before long, an emotional affair husband and his affair partner start spending more time together at work and then they start spending more time on the phone and then more time physically together outside of the workplace. By then, he is usually telling her that things are not so good in his marriage either.
At this point, he usually looks for, and finds or creates, flaws in you and feels an increasing dissatisfaction with your marriage.
My husband and I were striding along in our midlife marriage of 30 years. We were busy with four amazing, active, involved children. His work was demanding, and I had a small business I worked on from our home. Life was good, fun and full.
At one point, however, I had become vaguely concerned about our relationship and thought something wasn’t quite right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He seemed disconnected.
I asked him about it, and told him that I felt like something was coming between us. He seemed more critical and less engaged at home. He assured me that he was just extra busy at work, and there was nothing to worry about.
When I actually found out my husband was having an emotional affair, it had been going on for more than three months. One day I found him in our two-car garage. He was behind his van talking on his phone in a low voice. I asked him who he was talking to, and he said one of his partners, but when I asked what was he was talking about, he was vague and unconvincing.
Changes In Behavior
During the time of my husband’s emotional affair, I started noticing other things that were out of sync. I always had some simple breakfast ready for him to eat before he left early for work. All of a sudden, he was out of sorts if anything took a few minutes longer than expected. He said he didn’t really want anything to eat before he went to work. I had been doing that for 30 years and suddenly he didn’t want it.
I later found out he was meeting his co-worker, not only during work, but before work, after work, over lunch-time and whenever else that they could sneak away. They also talked constantly on their phones.
Distant Or Secretive
Most men having emotional affairs become increasingly secretive and distant. They often seem disengaged and distracted at home. They spend more time with the door closed in their home office, or they want to go outside to work in the yard, or they find excuses to run errands. They keep their phones with them at all times.
Different Habits or Patterns
A man who is having an emotional affair often changes his long-established patterns. Any extra-marital affair, emotional or sexual, includes deception, lying and secrets.
If the emotional affair is with someone at work, our partners tell us that there is extra work at the office or they were called out to another appointment or whatever. They also start working out, paying closer attention to their appearance and maybe even introducing new sex positions or techniques at home.
I also noticed when my husband was deep into the emotional affair, he increasingly wanted to take our youngest child on excursions that didn’t include me. I found out the affair partner had boys about the same age. Sometimes they would meet at the theater complex, send the boys to a certain theater and they would meet in another movie.
On another occasion, when there was a school snow day, they both took their boys to a small ski slope about an hour away from our home. The kids were busy skiing while my husband and his emotional affair partner were together in some other spot on the mountain.
With A Coworker
Many emotional affairs start at work. Our spouse often spends more time at work than he spends awake at home. The workplace provides a perfect cover for emotional affairs.
In many cases, the men hook up with women below them in the workplace hierarchy … for example, a doctor and his nurse. An attorney with his administrative assistant. Sometimes, however, two people in the same department or on the same economic level who work together every day or even travel together begin to develop an emotional affair as well.
Most businesses now have in place very strict rules about any man being able to use his power to influence a woman whose job depends on his approval. Office-place harassment has more controls than it used to, but it doesn’t always stop workplace affairs from happening.
In many cases, one of the partners in the affair has to leave and get another job. Usually, one of the people is let go or moved to a different office or department. In some cases, the person lowest on the totem pole is given a bonus to leave her job, and she is expected to sign an agreement not to press charges in the future.
Another perfect place for emotional affairs to get started is online. In fact, there are still sites dedicated to helping married people hook up. Often the partner who goes to these sites is dissatisfied in his or her marriage and is looking for excitement or fulfillment they don’t think they are finding at home.
Just look at the damage done years ago by the online hookup site Ashley Madison. The site was hacked and people were outed to the public. Marriages were ruined because of these emotional online affairs, and many led to sexual infidelity as well.
More often an online emotional affair is carried on by two people who know each other or were friends in high school or college and who reconnect and become emotionally involved through the internet. Internet affairs are fantasies lived out online. Many people try to replace their real relationship with less demanding relationships online.
He Denies The Affair
After working in the Divorce Recovery area for more than ten years, I’d guess that 90-100% of men involved in emotional affairs, deny there is anything but platonic friendship going on. They almost always say, “She is just a friend.” or “She is having some trouble in her marriage. I’m just trying to be a listening ear.”
When my wasband told me one time that his “friend’s husband was angry and abusive,” I said, “I would probably be angry too, if I knew my wife was spending lots of time with, and confiding in, someone at work instead of confiding in me.” He said he was just “worried about her safety.”
Often women who suspect their husband of being involved in an emotional affair start becoming our own private detectives because our husbands are being evasive and often lying outright. For me, the lying to my face was as hurtful as the fact that he was becoming more attracted to his co-worker and more distant from me.
Often, the angrier and more suspicious we become, the more our husband seeks understanding and comfort with the affair partner. It becomes a downward spiral into an unhealthy relationship that destroys two marriages.
Don’t Blame Yourself
After our husbands have been caught in an emotional affair, they often start blaming us for their bad behavior. One of the worst parts about any kind of affair is the damage it does to the primary relationship of husband and wife. Instead of coming to us and saying, “This marriage isn’t working for me, we need to fix it, or I need to find something else,” our husband sneaks around, lies to us, tries to make us feel crazy for suspecting him and generally makes fixing our relationship more difficult.
Another huge problem is that during emotional affairs, the girlfriend usually knows everything about the wife, while the wife knows nothing about the girlfriend. Our husband starts sharing private, intimate information about us to the woman he is having the emotional affair with. They have secrets between them that we aren’t privy to. So, we become more isolated while they become closer.
The sense of betrayal is one of the hardest things to deal with if our husband is having an emotional affair. And, emotional affairs often lead to physical affairs.
An emotional affair can be just as hurtful as a physical affair. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to accept that our ex simply wanted more sexual variety than we understood. But an emotional affair means that they connect on a deeper, more complex level than just the sexual.
Neither emotional nor physical affairs are acceptable or easy, but sometimes I believe the emotional affair is even more destructive to a relationship than simply a sexual one.
Should I Get Divorced?
An ongoing emotional affair is dangerous to any relationship. If our husband wants to repair the relationship, he must do three things before any reconciliation can happen.
He must “get it.” He must understand how destructive his actions are to your primary relationship. He must understand the pain he has caused you by his emotional affair.
Sharing his most intimate emotions with a third party changes your relationship in ways that are hard to repair.
He must “own it.” He can’t blame you for his bad choices. It doesn’t work for him to say “If you had been different, I wouldn’t have had to do this.” If he didn’t like how your relationship was going, he should have honestly talked to you about that and figured out how to fix it or end it.
He must “fix it.” The person having the emotional affair must take responsibility to do whatever it is you need to start rebuilding trust. Change jobs. Give you the passwords to his electronic devices. Be accountable for where he is and making it possible for you to confirm that he is where he says he is.
If he is not willing to do those three things, a reconciliation usually doesn’t happen.
I encourage everyone to try to fix a marriage in trouble. Every effort should be made to make changes that will make your marriage stronger and better than ever.
The key is for the person who is having or has had the emotional affair to take full responsibility for it, stop it and make the changes necessary to start the healing and rebuilding. Without that, repairing your marriage is impossible.
If your husband had or is still having an emotional affair that is causing distress or even divorce, please let us help.
My husband of almost 6 years was having an emotional affair with a coworker for 3 months. My husband an I are in our 30’s and his EF is only 23 they are both nurses but she started after him. He was the one helping her out with literally everything. He started changing around the house and we have a 17 month old baby that he was not engaging with. He was always on the phone and not wanting to spend time with us. He started making negative comments about me and that is so not the person I married.
I found out because he wanted to go to a work event by herself and usually we go together. He started acting really weird about it after he got a text from a women asking him if he was going to be at the party.
My problem now is that even though he is changing jobs and we are going to therapy I can’t trust him anymore and my heart is broken. I know deep inside myself that I’ll never forget what he did to me. I constantly think about divorce but I’m at stay at home mom with a baby and still doesn’t feel ready to move on.
My husband and I have been together for 16 years married 12. I recently had my fourth boy two weeks ago. I found out he was having an emotional affair after I saw a text where says he was thinking about someone the whole weekend (that weekend we were on a mini getaway at the beach with out children and I pregnant with our 4th child, which he begged me for). When I confronted him and asked who that text was for he confessed and said it was his coworker, both are teachers. At first he was downplaying the text, I questioned why her number was not registered in his phone and he said he had recently erased her contact which I thought was odd, I have numbers from my male coworkers, then he spilled the beans. He said he started liking this teacher three years ago he was really attracted to her sexually, when I had just had our third son and my mom was fighting terminal cancer. This made me feel extremely betrayed, because when I needed him the most he was busy having these sexual fantasies with this girl, which I had met as well so she also knew who I was. He tells me it was one sided, but it’s hard to believe since he said he would text her and email about her weekend and work stuff, which this started 3 years ago. He said he would always try to sit next to her in meetings etc. I also pull up phone records and saw they were both texting during work hours, a little too much for my taste. They went to a conference the beginning of May, which he said that’s when he realized what he was doing was wrong because he said it… Read more »
I recently found text messages on my husbands phone between him and a co-worker. They go back 2 years…lots of “I love you’s, and lots of pet names. No reference to sex or physical intimacy. They don’t live in the same town, but travel together frequently. I confronted him about the messages, and he is sticking with the “we are just friends, this is how she communicates, and I just got caught up in that style of communication.” I do not believe him, and will not be able to repair our marriage until I get the full story. So right now I feel like I’m in complete limbo.
The same thing happened to me also. We have been married 45 years. He was into porn and dating sites about 6 years ago. We talked and seemed to be working together to try to help our relationship. We were doing better having great intimacy and really talking. Then he had a motorcycle accident and almost lost his foot. I of course I stayed at the hospital with him and played nurse for about 3 years, he had blood clots, infections and plastic surgery to save his foot. I swear I can’t remember him ever thanking me for all the work I did to save his foot. The accident was in 2014, fast forward to Dec 10th this year. I had a couple of emails from a bank we didn’t use in MY email, I thought my email was compromised so told hubby about them. I can still remember him looking at me and saying he wanted to wait till after holidays but guess that wasn’t an option any longer, he wanted a divorce. I think I went into shock and said something like that is fine. I had felt him retreating for at least a couple of months and then I knew why. I asked him if he was seeing anyone and he said no of course. Now let’s go to Christmas evening, he was tired, I usually use headphones to listen to the tv, I got up to go to the restroom and heard him talking. I thought he might be on the phone with one of his friends. He was on phone with friend, I heard him talking about things that had happened when he was younger (teenager). I listened a little longer and heard some sexual comments and figured he wasn’t on phone with one of… Read more »
We have been married 31 years, 3 daughters, the youngest in college, 1 lives with us with our granddaughter and my oldest married and in her own home. I caught my husband texting and sexting a friend of ours. Our daughters have been best friends since 1st grade, thats 17 years. We have gone on vacations with that family, and I helped her thru her breast cancer diagnosis and treatments, bringing dinners, goody baskets and emotional support thru her treatments. Our daughters were ALWAYS together, they were and still are more like sisters. I saw the texts and I went completely into shock, not believing it, actually heard a ringing in my ears. Then anger a hit pretty much right away. He was drunk when he sent these message to her that night, he called her his love, wanted her to go away with him and he would pay for everything and spoil her and make her fall in love with him. He said if she said yes, he would leave me and start over with her. Ouch!! That hurt!! The woman (my friend), did say “lol, no,” but she also said he was so cute for wanting to meet up with her. told him to go to therapy, that he’d been drinking. But, she never said to stop texting her any more, and if he didn’t she would tell me(her friend). When he told her she was sooooooo hot and what he wanted to do to her, she said “stop, lol”, why add the lol? When he was trying to get her to go away with him she said “You are cute”, when he said “I truely think ur my soul mate, don’t you ever wonder?” she said “how crazy you are, yes”. I confronted her that morning on… Read more »
My partner of nearly 20 years (spouse of nearly 11) opened a Facebook page for the first time in 10 years, ostensibly to “reconnect” with old friends. Suddenly there was secrecy, moodiness, obsession with his phone, and hours long conversations after he had “gone to bed early.” Once, I casually asked him who was blowing up his phone all day and night, and he replied it was just old friends happy to hear from him. I confronted him about lying naked in our bed talking to anyone for 3 hours and he became defensive and accused me of making him feel like he “couldn’t do anything right.” At the end of my emotional rope I did the thing I swore I would never do: I guessed his pass code and read his text messages. I gambled on this colossal invasion of privacy, hoping I was wrong and vowing to immediately tell him what I had done and apologize if all I found was benign, innocuous conversation. What I found was 2 weeks’ worth of his sharing intimate information about me to a long-ago ex-girlfriend out of state, stating he expected to “be single soon,” and asking if she would consider “getting back together” if he were to move to her state. This was the same woman who tried to break up our marriage just before our wedding, and he accepted her social media contact anyway instead of ignoring her. He claimed he had no intention of the contact spiraling like it did and was unsure if he meant it when he expressed his intentions of leaving me. I gave him two choices: we remain married and immediately engage in couples’ therapy so we can learn to cope with the trauma and rebuild trust – which would naturally include severing all… Read more »
my husband is having and affair he thinks i don’t know. i don’t know how to approach the situation. i want a divorce
I discovered my husband had an emotional affair with an ex girlfriend through Messenger. I knew his pin and openly told him that I knew it. I suspected something one day so I checked his iPad. There were erotic inuendoes, suggestive, sexual discussions and a few 1/2 naked photos shared with each other. I asked him about it and he said he did and he had been in contact with her on 2 occasions, when I caught him and another time 6 months prior. They were discussing meeting up. He said he would no longer contact her. However, I went away for the weekend, checked his iwatch and a message appeared from her, but then disappeared immediately before I could open it. It’s no longer there! What do I do now?
I have been married 46 years. My husband has secretly met his first love throughout our marriage. Unfortunately she never married, she is attractive, intelligent and extremely wealthy. Every few years, I discover his contact. I become extremely upset with the deceit and betrayal. He always promises to stop seeing her but is never able to. He says he loves me and her!
During lockdown I found messages from him expressing his love to her. I rang her to discover he had visited again. His reason for going was because she has told him to leave me to live with her!
I have tried everything to stop the relationship, even starting divorce actions. My husband thinks his relationship is normal!
He have asked him to attend a psychological therapist. I know he loves me but is not acting as a loving husband.
Next contact with her and I will leave. It has destroyed our marriage over the years and effected my trust in him.
I have been married for only 1Yr 4months but have been dating for almost 10yrs. My husband recently admitted that he has feelings for a coworker, it reached to kissing and sexting. He blamed me at first saying I wasn’t paying enough attention to him, no good conversations or sex. But the reason I was like that in the first place was that he was always busy with work and helping in a family small business and was not making enough time for us. Being married I thought he would put me first before other unnecessary things, I did talk to him about it on many occasions but he never took me seriously, everything else was always more important than me. So I distanced myself because I felt neglected. So instead of talking to me about that problem he started confiding in her and obviously she would take his side and make him feel like I was a bad wife. His feelings for her is strong he is in love with her. He says he realise what he has done and wants to fix it but actions speak louder than words. I don’t trust him, how can he be in love with her and want to fix his marriage, what if he does it again in future they are still working together. Getting a new job is not easy in this pandemic. I feel so betrayed I was the one in a position to cheat when he neglected me but I didn’t even think about doing that and this is what I get in return.