This article first appeared on GurdeepPandher.com
Everyone knows what a regular love affair is. As trust is the basis of any healthy relationship, a betrayal of any magnitude usually ends in heartbreak or some unnoticed deep pains. In this day and age, when connectivity is literally a click away, 'affair' is almost a click away too, or a possibility that is always present. However, physical affection is not the only type; an emotional affair can be equally challenging for a relationship. Although it lacks the salacious quality, but attachment can be powerful and "super-emotional", involving the confiding of feelings and the exchange of intimate conversations rather than physical affection, it is still difficult and needs to be understood appropriately.
The first step is to identify the signs of an emotional affair. This is usually the most difficult part due to the subtle nature of the unsuspected relationship, but it typically involves confiding in another person while emotionally withdrawing from your spouse or actual partner. Keep in mind that this does not include inside jokes or secrets that are applicable only to the other person; this refers to events as basic as having a mishap at work or a funny moment during the day that would somehow be better kept from your significant other. As this develops, it is common to believe the other person is more understanding, and to feel closer to them. You start feeling that your spouse or actual partner is less friendly or charming. You start withdrawing from your real partner or spouse in an endless quest to be closer to your emotional lover. In this whole process, your mind and heart also go through varying degrees of conflicts and confusions as the smoke of unclear thoughts grows.
After asserting the presence of an emotional affair, it is then necessary to determine the underlying causes of this phenomenon. Most likely, the other person validates you in a way your real partner does not, such as through compliments, witty anecdotes, flirtations, and even sensual messages. Although it may not seem problematic at first, the symptoms manifesting as in a regular close friendship, the rate of acceleration in intimacy and the resulting gratification may take you to totally a different path. To end an emotional affair, consider what exactly makes the other person more attractive than your significant other. This could be a bubble or this could be real, you just do not know. This could be as simple as a more compatible sense of humor, or as complex as a possible escape from abuse.
Once the cause is ascertained, it is your decision as to whether or not to end the relationship with your significant other. Continuing with both people is hurtful and unfair to all parties involved. If breaking up is warranted, do so kindly. Please keep in mind that your "soon-to-be" ex-partner once upon a time was the best person to you in the world, he/she filled your life with a lot of joys, so please do not hurt his/her feelings. Please be compassionate, considerate, and wise in whatever path you choose. Otherwise, firmly contact the person with whom you are having the affair and state that you can no longer continue your relationship without guilt. Following that, admit your experience to your partner, and plan to become more emotionally intimate with them either on your own, or with the help of a counselor. At this stage, a healthy conversation with a close friend can be a great option too. Otherwise, independent counselors can be great resources to create peace in lives of the both affairs and yours.
Ultimately, ethical considerations should be the first and foremost priority. It is truly up to you to be honest with yourself, and anyone with whom you are having a relationship, in this situation. An emotional affair may seem like a daunting obstacle to overcome, but it is important to face mistakes and accept consequences. No matter what the end result is, you should be proud for having the courage to even attempt to remedy the circumstances.