How to Deal with Emotional Infidelity in a Marriage
How to Deal with Emotional Infidelity.
One of the most hurtful things a spouse can discover is that his or her spouse is being emotionally unfaithful. In this post, I’ll share one of the most important tactics you will find to confront emotional infidelity.
It is deeply demoralizing to learn that your spouse is emotionally attached to someone else. And although he or she might not have been physically unfaithful, emotional infidelity hurts.
Many spouses who have been victims of adultery have said to me that sexual infidelity is tolerable to some extent, but that emotional infidelity is much more painful.
Here are some possible signs that your spouse might be wandering into emotional infidelity:
- Lack of interest in family events
- Working longer hours
- Excessive use of Internet and email leaving no history
- Carries his/her phone everywhere and talks in a low tone
- They begin taking better care of themselves
- Changes their wardrobe
- Always seems to be deep in thought, forgetful and absent minded
- Increased spending without an explanation
- Looking bored with life in general
- Taking up new hobbies that do not involve you
- When caught lying, he or she gets defensive and angry
- Starts to treat you extremely nicely (for no “good” reason)
What are some ways to deal with emotional infidelity?
Well, let’s first talk about some ways that aren’t effective when dealing with emotional infidelity: Emotional outbursts, or setting out to “win back” the emotionally unfaithful partner.
Other things that won’t help you in dealing with emotional infidelity are: begging, flattering, making promises, sending flowers or gifts, and trying to be more social and outgoing. Surprisingly, these tend to fuel emotional infidelity even more because they usually push the cheating husband or wife away.
When it comes to emotional infidelity, cheating spouses react in various ways when caught. So here are a couple of reactions that you can expect:
The initial reaction might be panic and confusion because he or she didn’t expect to be caught. Later on they might either feel embarrassed or ashamed of their actions, or act indignant and defensive.
They might also shift blame and say “I did this because of you” or “to get back at you.”
With time, it’s likely that he or she will feel remorseful when it becomes obvious to them how much pain they’ve caused you.
So what is an effective way to deal with emotional infidelity? Simply this:
“Backing off” is the tactic that will get you out of this predicament.
It will give you a better chance of saving your marriage because it allows time for your spouse to clear their head while giving an opportunity for the healing process to begin.
Although being the “victim” of emotional infidelity hurts like crazy, try to remain as calm as possible. And although you will probably be curious about the “other” person, refrain from asking questions.
Instead of being needy, practice being confident in yourself. Don’t demand a loyalty pledge or anything of the sort. Just do all you can to avoid being a pain in the neck no matter how much they deserve it! (I know that sounds harsh but trust me on this one).
Believe it or not, the emotional euphoria that your partner might be experiencing will soon fade. So control yourself and let it complete its course. Remember, your partner needs breathing room and quiet moments to think back and reflect on his or her behavior.
This has a sobering effect. It gives him or her the opportunity to realize that the love “euphoria” that they’re feeling is only temporary. It will also give them a chance to truly decide whether this is what he or she really wants (after the “emotional rush” wears off, most people decide that it isn’t what they want after all).
It will finally dawn upon the emotionally unfaithful spouse, that this current way of life is not sustainable. What usually happens is that he or she begins experiencing feelings of emptiness, and will have a renewed desire to live in the “real” world.
This is the pathway through emotional infidelity.
Though it is not easy, it is extremely important for you to practice patience and self control. You may use a certain skill referred to as “charging neutral” to back off. Do not expect for it to happen naturally for you though; it will definitely take time, practice and patience.
So use this time to develop better self knowledge, self confidence and to strengthen the foundation of your life so you are better able to endure the storms of emotional infidelity and other relationship challenges.
Shift your mindset and choose to look at emotional infidelity as a golden opportunity for you to grow and mature; you never know, you might even impress your spouse in the process.
However, backing off doesn’t mean giving up and having nothing to do with your spouse.
Maintain quality interaction, and confront your partner with the reality of his or her decisions – share the potential consequences that their emotional infidelity might have on your relationship. Don’t just be an idle spectator. But realize that the only person in the relationship you really have “control” over is yourself – and not them.
Learning how to say the right thing and do the right thing, at the right place and at the right time, will help you deal with emotional infidelity.
And remember, although it might sound counter-intuitive, backing off will enhance your chances of not only surviving emotional infidelity but of also saving your marriage.