Before we answer the question, are emotional affairs acceptable? Let’s make sure we know what an emotional affair is.
My definition is simply a relationship with someone, outside the marriage, that is emotionally intimate (in an inappropriate way) but excludes the physical act of intercourse. Sexual feelings frequently being suppressed in order to explain away the infidelity as some sort of ‘special’ friendship.
It is also fairly common that the husband or wife having the emotional affair is fooling themselves, possibly to the extent of being completely convinced, that a friendship is all that it is. That relieves them of any feelings of guilt.
So, is this emotional cheating harmless?
Well, normally they start off as being harmless because a lot of emotional affairs begin as a simple friendship. But, at some point (perhaps even from the outset) there appears a feeling of real connection.
From that point on it is common for your spouse’s emotional intimacy with you to diminish as it increases with the other person. It’s almost like it is transferred from you to them.
When your spouse or partner has an emotionally intimate relationship with another person, that level of personal attachment WILL erode the connection in your marriage.
In many ways, an emotional affair is worse than a purely physical affair (one with little, or no, emotional involvement) where the boundaries are clear and confined, but emotional affairs often have no boundaries (other than sexual) as to what can be shared and discussed, it is not confined to discussing their innermost thoughts and desires, but can include details of their partner, their family and friends, their work, in fact every aspect of their lives.
It is this degree of intimacy that is so harmful, and not just because it is a very real betrayal, but because it eats into the very foundations of the marriage. Loyalty has gone, even though your spouse will reason that they’ve remained faithful because sex did not take place.
Most often, if nurtured, an emotional affair will, at some point, become sexual in nature. Once this happens, the marriage will be under severe stress if not a complete marriage breakup and divorce.
I hope this post goes some way to answering your question: Are Emotional Affairs Acceptable?
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