Val Baldwin, CPC
Live Your Ultimate Life

"But we're just friends" are four of the most dangerous words for your marriage.  The majority of extramarital affairs begin as "just friends."  While it is certainly true that there are affairs that begin with impulsive one-night stands with a stranger, the most common ones begin as "just friends."  We all have a clear choice between going further down the path to an affair or stopping the process.  In other words, these things typically don't "just happen".    An affair can become a betrayal to your partner long before the physical act.  In fact emotional affairs can be stronger and more difficult to get out of than physical affairs.  Heads up:  if you find yourself thinking or saying "but we're just friends" you may already be taking a step towards trouble.

The cold reality is:  75% of marriages between affair partners result in divorce.  If you want to affair-proof your marriage, remember that we are ALL vulnerable, watch for the warning signs and TAKE ACTION to protect yourself and your marriage.

The 3 Red Flags:

Answering yes to these questions indicate that you are on your way 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.  No one is immune to temptation.  If you believe this fact does not apply to you, and that you could never be tempted, then you are even more vulnerable than everyone else. 

If you are in an unhappy relationship, you are going to be even more vulnerable to an affair than others. People who want to feel heard and cherished in their marriages and who aren’t getting this will easily find themselves attracted to someone who listens to them, who has laughs with them, who seems to care about what they think.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Relationship:

1. Keep clear boundaries.  A boundary is simply what kids mean when they say "don't go there."

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

3. Talk often about your spouse.  "Spouse bashing" doesn't count.  Talk about what you have done lately and what you are looking forward to with your spouse.

4. If you are going to talk about emotional issues in your marriage, make sure you only talk about these issues with your spouse, a trusted friend or a professional who is on the side of you and your marriage.

5. Be especially careful at work.  More and more emotional affairs are occurring in the workplace.  You spend time together, you go through crises together, you solve problems together.  Don't make a habit of taking private lunches or breaks with the same person over and over.

6. Ask yourself the TRUTH question:  "Would my husband, my dad, my husband's dad, or my brother approve of what I am doing right now?"  Or for you males, ask yourself "Would my wife, my mom, my sister.....etc".  If the answer is no, then Run Like Heck!

Close This Window