Know the Warning Signs of Emotional Infidelity

It’s not always easy to recognize when a friendship starts down the road to emotional infidelity. Strong friendships outside of your romantic relationship can be a good thing for you and for your relationship, but every now and then a friendship reaches a point of emotional intimacy and dependence that can threaten the bond between you and your romantic partner.

Some people insist on believing the adage that men and women can never be “just friends” without sex getting in the way. There is plenty of evidence that this is not the case, even without recognizing the existence of gay and lesbian people (not to mention bisexuals, who, if we believe the essence of this adage, can never have any friends).

Nevertheless, it is important to be fully aware when it comes to our friendships with people we have the potential to find attractive. If you recognize too many of the following warning signs in a friendship outside of your relationship, you may need to reconsider your closeness with this person.

Your Friend Becomes Your Primary Confidant

It’s tough to have friends without sharing a certain amount of intimate information about yourself. Discussing dreams, fears, passions, relationships and more is part of strengthening the foundation of friendship. However, a problem arises when a certain friend becomes your primary confidant and that person hears all of the intimate details of your life rather than your partner. When this happens, you begin to trade the emotional bond between you and your partner for an emotional bond with another person.

You Keep Telling Yourself and Others That You’re “Just Friends”

You find yourself frequently assuring people—including yourself—that you and the person in question are just friends, and you pretty much believe it. However, if you and other people need to be reminded so often, it may be time to reevaluate the way you behave with this person and the way you talk about this person in order to figure out why the true nature of your relationship keeps coming into question. You may begin to realize that the amount of time and energy that you devote to this person has gotten out of control.

You Discuss Problems in Your Romantic Relationship

Depending on the boundaries that have been established in your romantic relationship, your partner may feel that any discussion of relationship problems with another person is a breach of trust. Furthermore, discussing relationship problems may send the message to the other person that you are not fully satisfied in your relationship and are looking for love and support elsewhere.

You Compare Your Friend to Your Partner

You claim that you do not think of your friend and your partner in the same way, but you are starting to compare them more frequently. Furthermore, it’s becoming harder for your partner to live up to all of the positive things about your friend that you admire and that make you want to spend more and more time with that person. Even if you have no plans to replace your partner with your friend, these constant unfavorable comparisons are almost certainly going to harm your relationship.

You Cancel on Your Partner to Be With Your Friend

First you begin to share confidences with your friend that you would once have shared with your partner, and now you begin to give time to your friend that would previously have been time spent as a couple. This is particularly dangerous. Eventually, you may also find yourself prioritizing time with your friend above time spent with family or even time devoted to work.

Posted on September 14th, 2015

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