Maintaining strong friendships and connections with others, whether you're in a relationship or single, can have a tremendous impact on your mental well-being. After all, humans are pretty social creatures by nature. Sometimes, however, a friendship can creep into romance territory when you're least expecting it. The signs your friendship is actually an emotional affair may be difficult to hear, but they're important for everyone in a relationship to know.
What constitutes an emotional affair can be tricky to define. According to The Huffington Post, an emotional affair is an affair of the heart. In other words, you and this friend may never get physical, but your intense, flirty bond drains energy from your current relationship.
What happens if you do find yourself in an emotional affair? It isn't the end of the world. Crushes happen, even in long-term relationships, and having one does not make you a horrible monster person. The feelings themselves are not the issue; how you address them is what matters. In some cases, that might involve tapping the breaks on the friendship and devoting your time to the relationship. In other instances, however, it may signify that your current relationship leaves a lot to be desired, and it's better to end things so you can try your luck with this intriguing friend (or perhaps someone else entirely).
Not sure if your friendship crosses that line? Here are a few signs that you're leaving the friend zone and entering emotional affair territory.
1. You Get Questioned By Others
If your attraction is obvious enough to warrant speculation, then you may want to dial things back to a more obviously platonic level. And, if you find yourself protesting too much about this flirtation, that may mean something as well. (On the other hand, if you're being questioned by the person who tries to ship random people together all the time, then it may be a legitimately platonic friendship. Busybodies can interfere with the chillest of friendships.)
2. You Question Yourself
Wait, are we just friends? If you have to ask yourself whether the friendship is getting too deep, then you probably already know the answer (even if you don't like it). Examining your own feelings can be telling.
3. You Only Think About This Friend
Do you find yourself daydreaming about your friend on the regular? According to Good Therapy, if you think about this person all the time, then there's likely some underlying romantic feelings at play. Chances are, a regular friendship would not inspire such obsessive thoughts.
4. You're Secretive
Regular friendships tend to be pretty open, and having your SO stumble across a text thread from your BFF is unlikely to arouse any suspicions. With this in mind, if you have an impulse to hide your friendship from your SO, then you likely feel a bit guilty, according to the website for Redbook. At any rate, something's up.
5. You Try To Impress Them
Sure, you probably want to make a good impression on most people around you. But if you're especially concerned by the way your friend responds to your jokes, clothes, or some other aspect of your person, then this may point toward more romantic feelings, as noted by The Huffington Post. Does your desire to impress this person feel totally platonic?
6. You Can't Wait For Contact
Does the arrival of a new text message make your heart skip a beat? Mmmm. As noted on Your Tango, eagerly looking forward to these moments of communication shows some deeper level of attachment. Waiting on pins and needles for the next text, and responding eagerly, means some serious emotions are likely in play.
7. You Vent To Them About Your SO
OK, so this is entering the realm of crappy behavior. As noted in Psych Central, sharing your frustrations about your SO with your friend may mean you're crossing some boundaries. It places the friend above your SO in terms of your closest confidant, and it undermines the current relationship. Bringing your relationship frustrations to the attention of your partner is much more effective and considerate.
8. You Wouldn't Like The Tables Turned
Here's an easy test. Pretend your current partner was behaving the same way around a friend. Would it bother you? If so, then you probably have some serious decisions to make.
9. You Get Butterflies Over Them
OK, so this means you're basically having a crush on this friend. Do you encourage the feelings further, or chill and refocus on your relationship? Only you can make that decision.