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Emotional affairs: myths or truly harmful events? The question might seem ridiculous to some, but many people don’t really believe in the concept of an emotional affair. Some folks only believe the word “affair” can be attached to something physical, whether that’s sex, kissing, or something else. On some level, there must be plenty of people who don’t believe in emotional affairs, which is exactly how they find themselves in one. When you don’t think you need to be on the lookout for something, you’re bound to run right into it. Your bond with your partner relies on a certain set of boundaries with other people. There’s no denying that getting emotionally close in certain ways with certain people violates those boundaries. Here is how emotional affairs damage relationships.

Your partner can feel like the enemy

The person with whom you’re having the emotional affair has no control over you. He can’t possibly attempt to tell you how to behave or really have any expectations of you. By contrast, this starts to make your partner (who does have some input in your life) feel like an enemy or authority figure to you. The person you’re emotionally cheating with provides this la-la land escapism world where you have no responsibility to anyone, but still derive some pleasure.

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You stop sharing with your partner

You stop telling your partner about your hopes, dreams, and experiences because you already told your emotional affair partner all of that. This, over time, creates distance between you and your partner.

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You welcome criticism of your relationship

You naturally tell the person you’re cheating with about your relationship. And, since he has feelings for you, he finds reasons to criticize your relationship and those reasons get in your head.

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You welcome advances

Emotional affairs almost always lead to some physical advances. When a man feels that you’re emotionally opening up to him and carrying on a secret type of relationship with him, he naturally feels comfortable eventually making physical advances. All physical affairs begin with emotional ones.

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They take up your time

Emotional affairs take up a lot of time. Between the texting, emailing, phone calls, and secret meet-ups, you’re just naturally spending less time with your actual partner.

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They make you compare

The more time you spend with this faux partner, the more you have someone to compare your partner to. That isn’t fair to your partner—he has no idea his actions are being held up to someone else’s.

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You stop caring about your relationship fights

You have a false sense of having somewhere to go if you’re not 100 percent happy in your relationship. So you stop really engaging in your relationship arguments or participating in disputes.

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You always have one foot out the door

You analyze everything your partner does through the lens of, “If he isn’t perfect, I can just go elsewhere.” Your partner doesn’t have a fighting chance to do the right thing.

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They make you paranoid

When you’re cheating, in any capacity, you start to believe anyone could be cheating. Your own affair makes you paranoid that your partner could be having one, too.

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They make your partner paranoid

Your behavior makes your partner paranoid (as it should). But the more paranoid he becomes (again, by your own doing) the tighter he grabs onto you and the more you want to pull away.

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You don’t grow with your partner

You don’t grow with your partner—you grow with the person you’re cheating with. You go to museums, shows, parties, etc. with the cheater. You talk about your thoughts and revelations with the cheater. You naturally feel closer to the person with whom you’re cheating.

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You don’t seek your partner’s advice

You stop looking to your partner for advice, so he has less and less involvement in your life. You make him feel left out when he tries to offer advice, but you say you already got a handle on it—and perhaps even say you’re going with someone else’s advice.

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You put the other person before your relationship

If the person you’re cheating with wants your attention while you’re having date night or on a trip with your partner, you’ll give it to him.

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You don’t see it as cheating

Because people so rarely acknowledge emotional affairs as a type of affair, they’re one of the most dangerous affairs. You let this type of affair get out of hand very quickly—to the point of no return.

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It’s a cop-out

If you’re turning to an emotional affair, it’s likely because you and your partner don’t feel connected. But when you turn to the cop-out behavior of an emotional affair, you feel no drive to restore the connection in your own relationship.

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