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Are You Vulnerable To An Emotional Affair?

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Are You Vulnerable To An Emotional Affair?

Are you or your partner having an emotional affair or are each of you vulnerable to emotional infidelity? Discover what creates this vulnerability and what you can do about it.

Emotional infidelity occurs when you or your partner become emotionally connected with someone outside your relationship, either in person or on the Internet. How dangerous to a marriage or committed relationship is emotional infidelity?

One way of looking at emotional infidelity is that it is very dangerous, because it not only takes away time and energy from the marriage, but it can lead to sexual infidelity and possibly to the end of marriage.

Another way of looking at it is that it is a symptom of problems that already exist within a marriage. My experience with the couples that I work with is that, when the primary relationship is not emotionally and physically intimate, each person may be vulnerable to a form infidelity – either emotional and/or physical. Rather than blaming the affair for the problems, why not address the real problem?

Emotional affairs are compelling because it is so easy to be close with someone with whom you have no shared responsibility – no money issues, no children, no chores. It is easy to share your deepest feelings with someone with whom you have no conflict. It is easy to get the good feelings that you get when someone who doesn’t live with you and doesn’t see all your issues thinks you are wonderful. But it is a cop-out – an easy way out of dealing with the real issues at hand. And if this affair does lead to a break up of your marriage and into a new permanent relationship, the chances are you will end up with the same problems! So why waste your time? Why not deal with the problems now?

The primary problem that leads to emotional infidelity is emotional distance between partners. While emotional infidelity is a symptom of emotional distance within the primary relationship, the emotional distance is also a symptom of the deeper issues within the relationship. These deeper issues might be:

  • One or both partners trying to have control through anger, blame, and criticism – which are overt forms of control.
  • One or both partners trying to have control through care-taking, i.e. giving themselves up and taking responsibility for the other person’s feelings – which is a covert form of control.
  • One of both partners withdrawing and resisting being controlled by the other partner.
  • Neither partner taking emotional responsibility for his or her own feelings of pain and joy. Each partner abandoning themselves – with self-judgment and ignoring their feelings through addictions, and/or making the other responsible for their feelings.
  • Power struggles that result from the control and resistance dynamic and an inability to resolve conflict.

The relationship system that develops, when neither partner takes responsibility for his or her own feelings, and when each partner tries to have control in overt or covert ways, grinds down the love until each person feels disconnected from their partner and lonely in the relationship. This is when they are susceptible to emotional infidelity.

However, these patterns do not disappear just because you move into another relationship. You take your overt and covert forms of control with you into any relationship, as well as your underlying fears of rejection and fears of engulfment that underlie these forms of control. These patterns don’t generally show up early in a relationship or in an emotional or physical affair, but that doesn’t mean they are gone. If your new relationship were to become your committed primary relationship, these patterns would again surface.

Why waste what might turn out to be a wonderful relationship by not dealing with your fears, controlling patterns, and self-abandonment now, in your current relationship? Instead of addictively looking to someone else to fill up your emptiness and take away your aloneness and loneliness, why not learn to do this for yourself so that you can break your dysfunctional patterns and become the loving human being that you are capable of being? Imagine the wonderful relationship you and your partner might have if both of you were to learn how to take responsibility for your own feelings and your own ability to love!

[Margaret Paul Relationship Toolbox]

 

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CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.

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