Jeff Herring, a marriage and family therapist, and an internationally syndicated relationship columnist (Knight-Ridder/Tribune Media Services) identifies ten warning signs of an impending emotional affair:
1) Thinking or saying, “We’re just friends.”
If you have caught yourself thinking or saying, “but we’re just friends,” you are probably already in trouble. “But we’re just friends” are four of the most dangerous words for a relationship. These words are usually said to rationalize something you know is wrong. Rationalize is also spelled “rational lies.”
2) Thinking and daydreaming about the person more and more often
This should be a loud, screaming clue. Do you think and day dream about your regular friends in this way?
3) Looking forward to the next time you can see and/or talk to the person
If you feel excitement and anticipation, a quickening of your pulse, as you get ready to see this person, watch out.
4) Wanting to tell them first when something happens in your day
This means that this person has become your primary emotional confidant.
5) Sharing intimate emotions
This flows naturally from this person being your primary emotional confidant. Because emotional affairs can be harder to break than purely physical ones, you can get trapped right here.
6) Sharing intimate problems
Especially dangerous if you are sharing problems in your marriage or relationship with this other person.
7) You believe that this person understands you much more than your spouse
Of course it looks like they do. That is part of the illusion of the affair. This belief draws you away from your partner and toward the other person.
8) Keeping secrets and covering up
Secrets bond two people together against a third person.
9) Giving gifts you would not normally give to a friend
Things to wear, jewelry, and other intimate gifts come with a message: we are very close.
10) Spending more and more time alone
I’ve heard so many people tell me that this was the one that pushed them over the edge. They had promised themselves that nothing would happen, but the temptation and availability of time alone was too much to resist.