An emotional affair happens when two people develop powerful feelings for each other and develop an intimate relationship. However, the relationship isn’t consummated sexually. It is considered an “affair” because one or both parties are married or otherwise committed.

What to do if you are having or considering having an emotional affair … 

  1. Think carefully about this. What might seem like a fun and harmless “adventure” could turn into something that ends up hurting you and the people you love. If you are an impulsive person, this is particularly important.
  2. Realize that you may be falling for fantasy. It is easy to fall for someone when you don’t actually live with that person and deal with his or her dark sides. Long-term relationships can be hard. There are bills to pay, decisions to negotiate, moods to navigate. Know you may be caught up in a fantasy of what you think the other person is like.
  3. Use these feelings toward another person as a motivator to look at your “stuff.” Find out what is going on in your marriage or your life that is leading you into this situation. If it were okay to have a physical relationship, you probably already would have. What do you need to address in your life that isn’t being addressed?
  4. Get support if you are in an emotional affair and there are others involved who may get hurt. Talking to a therapist could be very useful.
  5. If you are spiritual or religious, this is a time to go to your Higher Power for direction, guidance and support. These situations can be quite painful and overwhelming.
  6. Know going into one of these affairs that they can be just as painful as a physical affair.

Sometimes, emotional affairs happen on trains during commuting time. Or, even at work where there can be repeated interactions. Research shows that the internet is increasingly becoming a way for affairs to start.

Usually, both parties have some powerful lack of fulfillment in their lives that allows these feelings to take root. Perhaps it is an unhappy marriage, a miserable life stage, severe stress, or something that is propelling them forward into what seems to be a scintillating and exciting distraction.

In addition, I believe a person can meet someone and be powerfully attracted to them. Monogamy has been questioned many times, even in science, as to whether or not it is a “natural” state of being. After all, we are given powerful sexual feelings and a deep need to connect intimately with others. Do you think it is possible to meet others that fit our personal needs more perfectly than someone we are with?