Can An Emotional Affair Lead To Divorce?
At Whitmarsh Family Law, PC, our Los Angeles, California divorce attorney has spent over a decade representing both male and female spouses who have suffered marital hardships because of emotional affairs. While some couples are able to discuss their personal setbacks together or with the help of counseling, some are truly victimized by the affair itself and are ultimately unable to recover, which is when divorce becomes the active alternative.
What Is An Emotional Affair?
Emotional affairs are often categorized as relationships that involve a high level of intimacy, where the two people are not sexually involved. Unlike a physical affair, where the focus is sexually motivated, emotional affairs involve an inappropriate closeness between two people who are not married.
It is absolutely possible for a spouse to have a relationship with a coworker or old friend that is not intimate or emotionally involved. Not all conversations and personal relationships are cause for concern. After all, most people are capable of engaging in non-emotional affairs with those who are in close proximity to them throughout the day. Working with people of the opposite sex or of the same sexual persuasion happens every day, and usually is not cause for alarm.
How Do I Know If My Spouse Is Having An Emotional Affair?
Emotional affairs can exist between coworkers, friends, gym companions, hobby enthusiasts, co-volunteers, and even people who have not physically met but have an online relationship.
The popularity of social media has increased emotional affairs between old friends, former classmates, and even exes, which can be detrimental to any marriage. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide an all-too-easy platform for two people to connect under the guise of “catching up” which can lead to secrecy, flirting, sexually-charged conversations, and emotionally involved connections that take away from the marriage.
Keep in mind that marriage is extremely personal, and what one married couple may find acceptable another could find completely over the line.
With that said, some signs associated with an emotional affair can include:
- Secrecy: Your spouse is attending functions, making calls, or communicating with someone other than you in secret
- Distance: You are no longer having conversations about your day, your lives, or your life together
- Technology: Your spouse is suddenly unwilling to leave their cellphone unattended, or feels bothered by your interest in their expanded computer or tablet use
- Time: Your spouse is spending more time at work, school, or other activities that they are at home or with you
Married people know each other well, and when small things heighten your senses that something is wrong, it can seem like a seismic shift is occurring in the other person’s behavior and your internal alarm may sound before you are consciously aware of any marital improprieties. Listen to your gut.
Why Is An Emotional Affair So Hurtful?
First, emotional affairs can be incredibly hurtful because the person you love and trust most in this world is sharing secrets with another person through private discussions, which is inherently intimate.
Next, one or both people are often making inappropriate remarks about their (or the other’s) spouse during emotional affairs, and the personal information that is being shared can be devastating. What’s more is that sexually-charged and suggestive comments often follow, which can make things exciting, since the two are not technically having sex. Sometimes, the sexual tension is exhilarating and the need to feed it can become overwhelming.
Finally, when the other spouse confronts the existence of an emotional affair, they are often met with opposition. Their responses can respond with allegations of jealous or controlling behavior or can discount the confrontation as insecurity or petty behavior. This type of defensiveness means the spouse isn’t listening to your concerns, and that your opinion doesn’t matter — which can lengthen the disconnect and cause irreparable harm.
No one deserves to be the victim of an affair — physically, emotionally, or financially. If you believe your spouse is having an affair of any type, and you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options, contact our Los Angeles County divorce attorney at Whitmarsh Family Law, PC at (310) 919-5986 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.