It starts out innocently enough. You share a connection with someone — be it a work spouse, best friend, or online pal — and you spark a friendship, carefully towing the line of just friends and something more. But sometimes, the lines get blurred and it becomes easier to cross then. Although it’s entirely possible to cultivate friendships and relationships outside of your romantic one, it’s also entirely possible to slip into an emotional affair. But how do you tell? Are there specific signs that you’re having an emotional affair? There certainly are.
You may not think that having an emotional affair is as risky or damaging as having a physical affair, but it absolutely can be. I spoke with couple's counselor Greg Fuller, who said an emotional affair can sometimes be more painful than a physical one. “In today’s society, people in committed relationships are presented with a world of opportunity to cheat on their spouses and partners, be it emotionally or physically,” Fuller says. “Sometimes, emotional affairs can be even more damaging to a relationship than affairs of a physical nature.” As a couples counselor, Fuller has seen all spectrums of relationships, and says that often times partners can be surprised they’ve been having an emotional affair without even realizing it. To prevent yourself from falling into an emotional affair, look for the warning signs Fuller talks about below, before your friendship goes too far.