7 Signs Your Partner Might Be Having an Emotional Affair | Men's Health Magazine Australia

7 Signs Your Partner Might Be Having an Emotional Affair

When your partner shuts down, it can be hard to tell if what you’re dealing with is just a rough patch in your relationship – or if they’re hiding something from you. Maybe they’re being faithful physically, but what about emotionally?


Emotional affairs are much less defined than physical ones, which is why they’re so challenging to pinpoint, says Dr Jane Greer, author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. With developments as subtle as lingering glances, it’s not always easy to see when a friendship has blossomed into something more. If your gut is telling you that something’s off, here are seven signs to look out for that might indicate your S.O. is having an emotional affair. If several apply, consider having a discussion to clear the air.

1. Your Sex Life Has Drastically Improved—or Dropped Off

When a person is having an emotional affair that hasn’t yet turned physical, the frequency of sex with his or her partner can actually increase. “The passion for the one he desires is played out in the relationship he’s already in,” says psychotherapist Ginnie Love, Ph.D. Of course, everyone is different – for some, when there’s an uptick in emotional intimacy with someone new, the level of sexual interest in their current partner takes a nose dive.



2. They Seem Distant or Detached

If they are scoring attention and emotional support from someone else, he might stop discussing the intricacies of his life with you. We only have so much emotional energy to go around, says Love, and our attention tends to go where we are most drawn. Over time, this can also lead to physical detachment. “If your partner is spending the time they previously spent with you on someone else, that is an immediate warning sign that needs to be addressed,” adds Love. 


3. Their Attitude Toward You Has Changed

In addition to pulling away, they may start praising their new obsession and criticizing you – say, throwing shade about your cooking skills or taste in movies, even though these aspects of your personality never seemed to bother them before. “This is especially dangerous territory because they may be unconsciously sizing you up,” says Love, comparing you to a fantasy version of the other person and idealizing what it might be like to be with them.

4. His Tech Habits Have Changed

If they don’t text very often and then is suddenly glued to their phone or spends more time browsing on social media than they used to, this is a behavioural change that might signify something’s up, says Love. And if they start dodging details about who they’re keeping in touch with, this could be a subtle admission of guilt. “On some level, they know what they’re doing isn’t quite right and that you’d understandably feel jealous, so they avoid and evade, thinking that what you don’t know won’t hurt you,” says Dr Gail Saltz, psychiatrist and author of The Power of Different.


5. They Drop Their Name Constantly

“We mention friends from time to time, but a constant name drop is disrespectful and inappropriate,” says Love. It’s basically an invitation for you to call them on it. And when you do, take note of their reaction. If they’re super-defensive about their friendship, reiterates that there’s nothing going on between them multiple times, or is super-forceful about wanting you to believe them, it might be time to take stock of their loyalty, says Saltz.

6. They Argue With You Differently

If you’re hearing new and surprising comments from them in response to disagreements you’ve been having for a long time, it could be a sign that they’ve been spilling on your relationship issues with them, and then absorbing their commentary on them. “Chances are these are their responses when he tells them about fights the two of you have, and he’s taking them in and using them in your arguments,” says Saltz.

7. You’re Starting to Feel Like the Third Wheel in Your Own Relationship

Say you’re at a party with your mate and their friend shows up. If your partner immediately leaves you alone to tend to their needs, that’s the big red flag. “If you start to feel like you’re not number one and that everything significant isn’t being shared with you first, you may not be on solid ground in your relationship,” says Greer.


If several of these signs do apply to your S.O. and you can’t shake the feeling that something’s up, it’s better to be upfront about your concerns sooner rather than later. “Bring it up by saying you feel your partner’s been distant, and that it has something to do with the closeness they’ve developed with another person,” says Saltz. “Be honest about wanting them to stop and reinvest in your relationship, discuss any problems, and rebuild your bond – but the emotional affair has to end first.” Expressing your hurt and concern doesn’t mean you’re pointing fingers – it just means you care about what happens to your relationship and you’re willing to do the work.


This article was originally published on WomensHealthMag.com

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