An emotional affair, even without sex, can be just as detrimental to your relationship’s safety and future.

The foundation of a successful partnership is trust—and a betrayal of that trust can derail even the closest relationship. While such betrayals often come in the form of physical affairs, an emotional affair, even without sex, can be just as detrimental to your relationship’s safety and future.

An emotional affair is an intimate connection with someone other than your partner. Warning signs include:

  • The person is becoming central in your life and has taken on the important functions of your partner.
  • You spend a lot of time with them, confide in them, and support each other emotionally (whether it’s over the phone or in person).
  • You find yourself growing distant from your partner and are becoming less interested in them.
  • You’re beginning to compare the other person more favorably to your partner, and you’re become increasingly annoyed or frustrated with them as a result.

If your emotional investment in the other person is drawing energy and dedication away from your relationship, you may be at risk. Physical intimacy often follows a deepened connection, and as your emotional closeness grows, you may find yourself sliding towards a sexual affair without even noticing.

What can you do about an emotional affair?

If you suspect that you’re having an emotional affair, it’s time to reevaluate your partnership and make changes right away. Here are five ways to begin:

[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]1[/dropcaps]Ask yourself whether there are issues in your relationship with your partner that you’re not addressing. Perhaps this other person is making up for what you’re missing with your partner. If this is the case, commit to talking to your partner about your feelings and resolve your issues directly.[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]2[/dropcaps]Healthy boundaries are crucial. If you’ve been overstepping them, try to rebuild them so that you don’t share information with others that your partner wouldn’t be comfortable with.[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]3[/dropcaps]If you find you have a very close connection with another person, introduce them to your partner and spend some time with them both together. Make sure that they get along. If the thought of this makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s a clear indication that you should step away from the relationship.[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]4[/dropcaps]Make sure you’re not hiding anything from your partner. Talk to your partner about the relationship you have with this person and how often you see them. If you find that you can’t tell your partner everything, then that’s another indication that the relationship may be inappropriate.[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]5[/dropcaps]Last, don’t wait until things are really difficult. If you’re feeling like the affair is too complicated and you’re struggling to either distance yourself from the other person or talk to your partner, come to couples counseling to work through these issues.

While at the moment of discovery it’s hard to imagine, many couples not only recover from an affair but actually improve their relationship as a result. Our couples therapists in San Francisco, the East Bay, and the South Bay specialize in helping couples like you navigate these challenges and rebuild your relationship.

Need support putting these ideas into practice? Join Gal and Liron in July or September 2015 for Love Made Simple: A Weekend Workshop for Couples Who Want MORE. You won’t want to miss this chance to connect with like-minded couples and gain skills to build a love that lasts!