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Hidden text messages, a phone that is always locked, a password changed – are these signs of an affair? If you are the one surreptitiously communicating with an attractive friend, does your partner have any grounds to object?

In a monogamous relationship, a romantic or emotionally intimate bond with someone other than the partner, without the knowledge or consent of the partner, is considered an emotional affair. 

Affair partners often protest to others (and sometimes themselves) that they are “just friends,” and in fact, these relationships usually start off as friendships. But shared confidences, playful flirting or a sense of meaningful connection can all move a relationship into dangerous territory.

Consider these tell-tale signs that a relationship has left the “friend zone.”

Is there an attempt to hide the relationship?

Does the “friend” know more about the partner than the partner knows about the friend?

When meeting the “friend,” is there special care or attention paid to appearance?

Have feelings about the friend become intense, romantic or sexual?

Even without physical contact, emotional affairs create distance and amplify minor dissatisfactions in the primary relationship. The bottom line is, if you are giving something to someone else that you promised to reserve only for your partner, that’s infidelity. And that is cheating!

Elaine Wilco is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years of experience. She maintains a private practice in Alpharetta focused on helping those with intimacy issues. Follow her at facebook.com/IntimacyAtlanta.

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