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He/she Is 'just A Friend'.12 Signs Of An Emotional Infidelity

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A new sort of infidelity has been on the rise for decades, and it’s one of the
biggest threats to marriage and courtship: ‘emotional affairs.’ Today’s
workplace has become the new danger zone of opportunities for ‘emotional
affairs,’ surpassed only by the Internet.
A relationship without sex can be just as intense, or more so than the intimate
one. Why the crisis?
To understand the intensity of emotional infidelity, it helps to see the dynamics
as an addiction, a form of addictive love. That’s because it’s easier to let go of a
toxic pattern when you depersonalize the experience.
It’s not about ‘how’ special the person is or makes you feel, it’s about the
neurochemicals that get activated when you think and behave a certain way that
keeps you stuck in the damaging pattern! It isn’t a coincidence, for example, that
persons with alcohol and other addictions are more likely to get into toxic
relationships. Seeing the problem as an addiction also gives you access to
proven steps to identify and break free of the toxic patterns.
Why addictive?
An addiction to an activity, person or substance puts a person’s brain and body
in an intoxicating trance that, on the one hand, does not allow them to think
clearly and make informed choices, and on the other hand, ‘rewards’ them for
the toxic behavior with the release of certain chemicals that provide quick-fixes
of pleasure in the body. Albeit temporary, there is also pleasure from lowering
or numbing pain, shame or guilt, as it provides distance from taking
responsibility to resolve the real issues of life and marriage (which risk failure).
What are the warning signs?
There are at least 12 warning signs to alert you to take action to protect
yourself and your relationship from ‘emotional infidelity.’
1. Thinking and saying you’re ‘just friends’ with opposite-sex.
If you’ve been thinking or saying, “we’re just friends,” think again. If it’s a
member of the opposite sex, you may be swimming in treacherous waters. The
very words are dangerous to your marriage.
This rationale allows you to make excuses, or more plainly, to tell lies (to
yourself and others) about something you know in your gut is wrong.
Regardless how strongly TV and entertainment promote the idea of opposite-
sex friendships (and this is part of the problem!) as not only ‘okay,’ but also
‘right’ to demand unconditional trust, in most cases, an intimate friendship with
a member of the opposite-sex that you find interesting and attractive poses
2. Treating them as a confidant, sharing intimate issues.
Sharing thoughts and deepest concerns, hopes and fears, passions and
problems is what deepens intimacy; it builds an emotional bond between two
people, time better used in marriage relationship. Giving this away to another
person, regardless of the justification, is infidelity, a betrayal of trust. This is
especially true when you consider that emotional intimacy is the most powerful
bond in human relationships, much stronger than a intimate one.
3. Discussing troubling aspects of your marriage and partner.
Talking or venting to a person of the opposite sex about what your marriage
lacks, what your partner lacks, or what you’re not getting to make you happy
sends a loud message that you’re available for someone else to ‘love and care’
for your needs. It’s also a breach of trust. And, like gossip, it creates a false
sense of shared connection, and an illusion that you, your happiness, your
comfort and needs are totally valued by this person (when, in truth, this has not
been put to the test!).
4. Comparing them verbally and mentally to your partner.
Another danger sign is a thinking pattern that increasingly finds what is ‘positive’
and ‘just right’ about the friend and ‘negative’ and ‘unfulfilling’ about the partner.
This builds a case ‘for’ the friend and ‘against’ the partner. Another mental
breach of trust, this unfairly builds a physiologically felt case ‘for’ the friend and
‘against’ the partner, forming mental images in the brain that associate
pleasurable and painful sensations accordingly.
5. Obsessively thinking or daydreaming about the person.
If you find yourself looking forward to seeing the person, cannot wait to share
news, think about what you’re going to tell them when you’re apart, and imagine
their excitement, you’re in trouble. This sense of expectation, excitement,
anticipation releases dopamine in reward centers of your brain, reinforcing
toxic patterns. Obsessively thinking about the person is an obvious signal that
something is wrong. After all, you don’t do this with your friends, right?
6. Believing this person ‘gets’ you like no other.
It always appears this way in affairs and romantic encounters at the start. It’s an
illusion, and in the case of emotional infidelity, one that is dangerous to a
marriage because the sense of mutual ‘understanding’ forms a bond that
strengthens and deepens emotional intimacy, with the release of pleasurable
neurochemicals, such as the love and safety hormone oxytocin. This focus also
puts you in a ‘getting’ frame of mind. It means you are approaching your
marriage in terms of what you’re getting or not getting, rather than what you’re
7. Pulling out of regular activities with your partner, family, work.
Being absorbed with desire to spend more and more time talking, sharing,
being with the person, it’s only natural to begin to resent time you spend on
responsibilities and activities at home (and work?). As a result, you begin to pull
away, turn down, or make excuses for not joining regular activities with your
partner and family. Family members notice you are withdrawn, irritable and
8. Keeping what you do secret and covering up your trail.
Secrecy itself is a warning sign. It creates a distinct closeness between two
people, and at the same time grows the distance between them and others.
Secrets create a special bond, most often an unhealthy one. For example, there
may be a false sense of emotional safety and trust with the person, and an
unwarranted mistrust and suspicion of the partner, or those who try to
interfere with the ‘friendship.’
9. Keeping a growing list of reasons that justify your behaviors.
This involves an addictive pattern of thinking that focuses your attention on
how unhappy you are, why you’re unhappy, and blames your partner and
marriage for all aspects of your unhappiness. It builds a dangerous sense of
entitlement and forms a pool of resentment from which you feel justified to
mistreat your partner or do what you need to increase your happiness without
considering the consequences.
10. Fantasizing about a love or intimate relationship with the person.
At some point, one or both persons begin to fantasize about having a love or
intimate relationship with the other. They may begin to have discussions about
this, which adds to the intensity, the intrigue and the intoxicating addictive
releases of neurochemicals that make the pattern more entrenched.
11. Giving or receiving personal gifts from the person.
Another flag is when the obsession affects your buying behaviors, so that you
begin to think about this person when you are shopping, wondering what they
like or would show your appreciation. The gift choices are something intimate
items that you would not give ‘just’ a friend. Gifts send clear messages that the
two of you are a ‘close we’ set apart from others, and that the relationship is
12. Planing to spend time alone together ot letting it happen.
This is the warning sign that, when not heeded, most often pushes partners to
cross the line from a platonic to a intimate relationship. Despite good
intentions and promises to one another that they would not let ‘anything’
happen, it’s a set up, a matter of time, when opposite-sex friends flirt with the
availability of time alone.

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