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Emotional Affairs: The Impact of Emotional Affairs in Psychological Well Being

September 28, 2023

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
Emotional Affairs: The Impact of Emotional Affairs in Psychological Well Being


A hidden close connection with sharing of strong emotional bonds, a clear mutual interest, or attraction outside of a committed relationship is known as an emotional affair.

An emotional affair is an affair or connection that involves strong emotional bonds, mutual interest, and attraction outside of a committed relationship. It involves sharing personal thoughts and feelings, creating sexual tension without physical involvement. It often leads to feeling closer to the other person than to one’s partner, causing harm to the spousal relationship without engaging in sexual acts.

What is an Emotional Affair?

An emotional affair is a deep, nonsexual bond between 2 individuals that resembles the intimacy and emotional connection found in a committed relationship.

This type of emotional connection involving intimacy with someone other than their partner becomes an act of betrayal[1].

When one person develops a profound and intimate connection with someone outside their committed relationship, this affair is maintained in secrecy and assumed to be a violation of trust.

As a result of an emotional affair, sometimes the stability and intimacy of the spousal relationship may be jeopardized, causing pain and turmoil for the involved personnel[1].

My partner is having an extra marital affair 

What Are Some Warning Signs That Someone Engages in an Emotional Affair?

Some warning signs that someone engages in an emotional affair are[2][3][4]:

  1. Emotional Distance: Emotional affairs may be a reason why individuals can become emotionally distant or withdrawn from their partners. Often the person going through an emotional affair displays a lack of interest in sharing their thoughts and feelings with the other.
  2. Secrecy: Individuals generally become secretive when going through an emotional affair and often avoid discussing their behavior with their partner.
  3. Increased Communication: When in an emotional affair, generally, the use of different modes of communication to communicate with the other person increases, such as frequent texting calls or social media messaging.
  4. Intimate Details: Sharing personal or intimate information about their life with someone other than their partner.
  5. Emotional Reliance: When going through an emotional affair, it is seen instead of their partners, they usually turn towards the other person for comfort and emotional support.
  6. Prioritizing the Other Person: In an emotional affair, they prioritize spending time with the other person over their partner.
  7. Feeling Guilty: The feeling of guilt and conflict about their feelings for the other person arises.
  8. Withdrawal from Society: Withdraw from their social circles to avoid exposing their emotional affair.

These signs alone may not indicate an emotional affair, as there could be other reasons for such changes in behavior.

Read more about I am having an extramarital affair, should I be feeling guilty about it

How Can Emotional Affairs Impact a Committed Relationship?

Emotional affairs can impact a committed relationship in the following ways[5][6]:

  1. Violation of Trust: The emotional attachment with someone other than their partner involves a breach of trust between the partners.
  2. Emotional Detachment: Emotional attachment with someone other than their partner can result in emotional detachment from their partners.
  3. Neglect of the Partner: While in an emotional affair with someone other than their partner, it can result in neglecting their partner.
  4. Comparison and Dissatisfaction: Comparison will be there, leading to dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.
  5. Decreased Intimacy: Emotional affairs can result in decreased emotional and physical intimacy between the partners.
  6. Impact on Family: Emotional affairs impact not only the partners but also the family’s relationship.
  7. Impact on Relationship: Emotional affairs can have a serious effect on the relationship between the partners and, in some cases, can cause the committed relationship’s dissolution.

5 Steps to Address and Heal from Emotional Affairs?

Here are five steps to consider to heal from an emotional affair[7]:

Address and Heal from Emotional Affairs

  1. Acknowledge and Take Responsibility: It’s important to acknowledge the action of the emotional affair and take responsibility for the betrayal.
  2. Open and Honest Communication: Both partners need to engage in open, honest, and non-judgmental communication about how one feels about the betrayal and, for others, the motivation and emotions involved in the affair.
  3. Set boundaries to Rebuild Trust: It is better to communicate with each other and establish clear boundaries to prevent further affairs. It is very crucial to be transparent and set accountability between the partners.
  4. Seek Professional Help: Professional help from certified professionals can help facilitate communication between partners.
  5. Focus on the Relationship: Engage in activities to promote emotional connection and strengthen the bond by spending quality time together and practicing active listening.

Healing from an emotional affair is a time-consuming process and requires a lot of effort and patience from both partners. Open communication, willingness to change, and shared commitment toward the committed relationship can help build trust, intimacy, and a foundation for a healthier relationship.


Emotional affairs can be devastating and can cause pain to all the parties involved in the situation. It is essential to confront emotional infidelity with honesty and with the help of professional guidance in any case, whether the goal is to stay together or part ways. Despite the impact of such affairs, healing and recovery are possible.

United We Care, a mental wellness platform, offers a compassionate and comprehensive approach to support individuals in their journey towards emotional well-being.


[1] S. Stritof, “The dangers of emotional affairs,” Verywell Mind, 03-Jan-2006. [Online]. Available: https://www.verywellmind.com/emotional-affairs-and-infidelity-2303091. [Accessed: 25-Jul-2023].

[2] C. Stinchcombe, “8 signs your partner is having an emotional affair & what to do about it,” Woman’s Day, 13-Feb-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.womansday.com/relationships/a30873880/emotional-affair-signs/. [Accessed: 25-Jul-2023].

[3] R. Olsson, “Emotional cheating: What it is and 10 signs to spot,” Bannerhealth.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.bannerhealth.com/healthcareblog/teach-me/emotional-cheating-what-it-is-and-10-signs-to-spot. [Accessed: 25-Jul-2023].

[4] What counts as emotional cheating? A therapist explains,” mindbodygreen, 30-May-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/emotional-cheating-meaning-and-signs. [Accessed: 25-Jul-2023].

[5]  Masterclass.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/emotional-cheating. [Accessed: 25-Jul-2023].

[6] Nathan, “Why emotional cheating can be just as harmful as physical affairs,” Thriving Center of Psychology, 19-Apr-2022. .

[7] S. Smith, “15 tips for emotional affair recovery,” Marriage Advice – Expert Marriage Tips & Advice, 18-May-2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.marriage.com/advice/infidelity/10-tips-for-emotional-infidelity-recovery/. [Accessed: 25-Jul-2023].

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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