“She entered the hotel lobby and tuck a deep breath, as she approached the hotel reception, he had said that she was to check in under Mrs Smith. The receptionist was very polite handed her the key and told her to enjoy her day. As she approached the lift, she reflected on how she had gotten here, if her husband had not been away all the time with work, if he had paid more attention to her, if he had complimented her, she would not be arriving at a hotel in the middle of the day meeting someone that was not her husband and having an affair.”
This is exactly what we think about when were refer to someone in a relationship having an affair and yes this is the physical aspect of an affair. However nowadays there is also what we as therapists call an emotional affairs and sometimes this can be more detrimental to the relationship.
Communication is a massive part of a relationship. In order to communicate the good, the bad and the indifferent in a relationship you must turn towards each other both emotionally and physically in order to be vulnerable and create that emotional connection. However, there are times in a relationship that you can stop turning towards each other and communicating with each other. This can happen because one partner feels they cannot tell their partner something as they fear rejection or fear hurting them and unfortunately when this happens distance occurs between them.
We as human beings crave connection and if we are not getting it with our partner, we can turn towards someone else for it. With such easy access to technology and smart phones it can be extremely easy to make a connection nowadays for example contacting a friend that you knew from school by a friend request on Facebook. It can start of quite easy and harmless but if people start to cross boundaries of emotional intimacy, by sharing information which should only be discussed with your spouse that’s when trouble begins. When these boundaries are crossed this can lead to more and more intimate communication and strong feeling can start to develop for this other person.
People sometimes feel emotional affairs are nothing, as I have often heard while sitting in the counselling room, “but I did not have sex with her so how could I be having an affair”. An affair can be without the physical act of sex.
The reassuring thing is affairs either emotional affairs or physical affairs can be recovered from with good support from a couple counsellor and hard work from both parties your relationship can survive an affair.
The article is written by Emma, newly qualified and pre-accredited Counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment. For more information on couples counselling please visit our Couples Counselling and Psychotherapy Page >>>