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How to Tell Whether a Partner is Having an Emotional Affair

  • February 23, 2007
  • by PInow Staff

Look out for the signs of an emotional affair. Emotional cheating can lead to a traditional affair, so keeping an eye out for the classic signs can help partners outwit pain down the road.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a friendship. However, friendships do not involve the deception and the type of inappropriate emotional closeness that an emotional affair entails. Despite its name, an emotional affair can involve physical intimacy, although it does not always. What this type of infidelity always dishes out, though is pain: pain caused by a partner who invests more emotionally into another relationship.

Emotional affairs involve someone who builds an inappropriately intimate relationship with someone outside their partnership. This may mean that a husband suddenly starts confiding all his personal and work-related problems to a female co-worker rather than his wife. It could also mean a wife suddenly confiding all her successes and desires to a new male friend rather than her husband. An emotional affair is usually also marked by secrecy – a partner may downplay or outright lie about the amount of time spent with a new partner. Sexual attraction is almost always part of the equation, too, although it is not always acted upon.

How to tell?

There are several signs that a partner is having an emotional affair:

1) Sudden, intense interest with someone of the opposite sex. Whether it is a new co-worker or a new friend met through a hobby, a partner may suddenly start spending lots of time with this new person. They may show an unusual amount of interest in this person.

2) A partner starts talking about – or not talking about – someone. An emotional affair can be confusing. A partner may start talking about a new friend excessively or may start complaining about them, just in order to speak about a new object of their affection. In other cases, guilt about confusing feelings may make a partner clam up. A partner may spend inordinate amounts of time with someone, but may simply never mention them.

3) A partner suddenly seems moody or withdrawn. Guilt and the pressure of deception may mean a sudden withdrawal from the existing relationship. A partner may also start to act very affectionate in order to “make up” for their feelings, only to start acting cranky again when confusion sets in.

4) Sudden extended hours online or out at work. A partner will generally spend considerable amounts of time conversing and communicating with the new object of their affection. In many cases, these communications will not be explicitly sexual, but will be very intimate, covering fears, desires, goals, and problems that the individual is not even sharing with their current partner.

5) Sudden interest in appearance. Emotional affairs almost always have an undercurrent of sexual attraction, even when no physical infidelity takes place. A partner may start fussing with their appearance more or altering their appearance (to suit the new partner’s tastes).

How to find out the truth?

Emotional affairs are tricky to prove. In some cases, they cross boundaries of friendship in very subtle – but very important – ways. Proving that deception takes place is often a job for a professional. Since some emotional cheating does progress into traditional affairs, it is crucial to take steps to find out the truth early on, to have the knowledge to make the right decisions for the relationship. Finding a private investigator who can get to the bottom of a partner’s strange behaviour is as easy as browsing the Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators. The Worldwide Directory of Private Investigators has free infidelity resources as well as a free, searchable database that lets anyone find local, qualified investigators fast.

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