Affairs, including emotional affairs, are typicall unplanned events. Even when we are on that slippery slope, we convince ourselves everything in OK.

“But we’re just friends” are four of the most dangerous words for your relationship and marriage.

But over and over in my office and on the phone I hear it: “We are just friends, there is nothing going on.”

You need to trust me

There is no way that you can blindly trust. Trust gets rebuilt over time. It is based on being true to ones word, having actions match words, not having secretive phone messages or absences. Your task is to trust what you observe and comment behaviorally on that while staying away from interpretations and accusations.

The late Shirly Glass was a pioneer in the area of emotional affairs. In her 2003 book “NOT Just Friends: Protect your relationship from infidelity and heal the trauma of betrayal,” Glass identifies three red flags that indicate that you have progressed from a safe friendship to a romantic emotional affair.

1) You feel closer to your friend than you do your spouse.

You find yourself thinking of this person more and more often and looking forward to the next time you are together. When something happens during the day, the first person you think of telling is this friend, not your spouse.

2) Keeping secrets.

You no longer feel comfortable telling your spouse about this person. You begin to cover up so as not to be found out.

3) An increasing sexual tension.

You admit your attraction for each other, but promise (complain) that you can never act on it. You fantasize what it would be like to be with this person. This helps to create a pretend world where everything would be wonderful if the two of you could just be together.

One of the most overlooked and dangerous facts about emotional affairs is that we are all vulnerable. If you believe that this fact does not apply to you, then you are even more vulnerable than everyone else.

How to protect yourself and your relationship

Keep clear boundaries. A boundary is simply what kids mean when they say “don’t go there.”

Avoid being alone with and/or emotionally close to someone to whom you are attracted.

If they desire to stay together they will have to see if they can move from operating as married singles into a relationship where they feel emotionally connected. This will involve making a commitment to work towards that goal and being open to getting help with the process of regaining a loving relationship

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