This is a sequel to “Before I got married”. If you haven’t read it, please do so first so you can better understand what I share in this post.
Today, I will be talking about emotional affairs, and the decisions you can make to safeguard yourself from having one, so as to build the godly relationship that you desire.
Yes, emotional affairs are a thing and they happen more frequently than we can imagine. While it may not be as debilitating as a sexual affair, it is not less harmful for your relationship and or less humiliating for your partner. You should avoid it just as much as you would a sexual affair.
What is an emotional affair?
An emotional affair happens when you allow feelings of attraction to go unchecked with someone who is not your significant other.
Giving your heart to someone else is just as humiliating to your partner, as giving your body. Truth be told, where your heart goes, your body may soon follow.
This other person becomes your confidant instead of your partner, you enjoy and long for their company more than that of your partner and in actual fact, you desire that they become your partner.
The main cause of the emotional affair I had, was the distance between my boyfriend and I (and my lack of wisdom at the time).
We had a long distance courtship for the most part and sometimes when we had arranged to meet, he cancelled due to other circumstances.
I was lonely and a budding friendship with someone with whom I had so much in common became my respite.
Of course emotional affairs can occur even when people are married and under the same roof. All it takes is for you to stop connecting emotionally with your spouse and begin to make that connection with someone else.
How do you avoid emotional affairs?
1) Keep pouring into your relationship emotionally.
Remain available to connect with your spouse in ways that matter to you and to them even when they are not physically present.
Whatever interesting thing happens in your day, let your spouse be the first to hear about it. Whatever sad thing happens, let them be your solace.
Be intentional about ensuring that your partner is the one you connect with the most throughout the day, everyday.
Of course, this is easy to do at the beginning of a courtship/marriage, because that is how you became friends in the first place.
However, you have to be intentional to maintain this emotional connection even when life gets busy and demanding or when you have issues.
Remember, at the end of the day, you should control your feelings, not the other way round. So even if you don’t feel like connecting emotionally with your spouse due to unresolved issues, decide to do so nonetheless.
Decide to do the things that will bring you together, instead of simply allowing disagreements to fester or escalate. Do not make room for any emotional disconnection or malice between you and your spouse.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV
Let forgiveness and connection with your spouse be a choice of your will not a dictate of your feelings.
2) Be disciplined in your interactions with the opposite sex
(this article and blog is for Christians who believe that God ordained marriages to be between male and female).
Yes, you can have friends of the opposite sex, but if there is one that you spend an unchecked amount of time with everyday or very frequently, either online or in person, that’s the first sign of trouble. It is not wise!
You shouldn’t have any friendship that you invest more in emotionally, by talking, listening, socializing etc, than the one with your partner. It is inappropriate and frankly disrespectful to your partner.
You already know the kind of people you are likely to be attracted to, and even if you say you don’t, you will know when those first set of sparks fly between you and someone, that is the time to shut it down in your thoughts, and avoid close, alone interactions with such a person.
I repeat, shut it down immediately, don’t let it linger under the guise that we’re just friends or colleagues.
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV
Whether at your job or school, be very disciplined and formal with members of the opposite sex you work with.
Let it be clear that you are not available for “office romance” or any of such frivolities. Do not entertain private meet ups outside of work, with any member of the opposite sex unless your spouse/partner will be present.
Treat the opposite sex friends & colleagues that you have in the same way you would want your partner to treat opposite sex friends&colleagues.
3) Be open with your partner about all your interactions with the opposite sex.
This is the best way to keep yourself accountable and build your partner’s trust in you. Tell everything, share every detail, leave nothing unsaid.
This way, your partner can begin to alert you if there is an association that can be threatening to the security of your relationship.
Trust begins to fade away when suddenly your partner finds out about “friendships” you didn’t tell them about, or finds out about outings you had with the opposite sex after it has occurred etc.
If you’re thinking “but I can’t tell everything”, then let me ask you this “Can you truly become one, in the real sense of oneness without sharing everything personal to you?”
If you really value your relationship, you will be intentional about sharing information.
As much as you can, leave no room for your partner to be “surprised” by your relationships with the opposite sex.
Are you preparing to get married? Download a free copy of “Prayer Guide for Intending Couples” to enjoy peace, provisions, protection etc on your wedding day and in your marriage. Click here to get a free copy.
Back to our story…
How did Mr O handle it?
He was hurt, very deeply. He told me about one time when he couldn’t focus at his job and went in between cars at the parking lot to cry. The picture of him being in such despair over something I could have avoided breaks my heart. How did I cause someone I love so much pain?
Nevertheless, he did pray for God to bring me back (which God sort of did as all my toasters just disappeared 😂). He chose to remain my friend even when I was unsure about us ever getting back together.
He was invited to and he attended two of my brother’s weddings during this break up. He was just there whenever I needed to talk even though he didn’t call as much as he used to while we were dating but he was there to answer my calls.
Also, he kept the break up as private as he could, only told his brother, and we were at a point where most of his relatives knew me. He said he didn’t want me to have any issues if we were ever to get back together.😍
8 months after our break up, he asked me out again, he said to me recently that he had decided that was going to be his final attempt, thankfully I had gotten my act together and I said yes😁.
Yes, He really, truly, deeply, loves me! There was never any raised voices or insults or drama. Just a lot of tears on both sides and a lot of patience on his side. He said “Love is patient, so it was a test of love”.
How did I handle it?
I was honest with him. I promised him from the very beginning of our courtship that my honesty is something he can count on. “I will always tell you the truth no matter how bad it is” and I kept my word. I still do.
I told him the whole truth (there was really nothing to hide, lol, there was not even a kiss or any hint of sexuality between I and the other guy because we are committed Christians, so basically it was just feelings that I shouldn’t have made room for).
I was honest with myself. I needed that break up to purge. I needed to just be on my own and get myself back together. I didn’t want to string him along or hang on to him out of the selfishness of just wanting someone. He and I deserved more than that.
And truly during that break up, I discovered purpose! I found myself! Stepped out of my comfort zone (joined two worthwhile organizations and founded two of my own). And I learnt my lessons!
By the time we got back together, I was a more matured partner and the rest of our courtship plus these first five years in marriage has been nothing short of graceful.
To earn his trust, I limited interactions with said guy and though I have one or two male friends, I do not keep up with them, we only play catch up once in a looooong while. That’s simply wisdom.
My marriage is a priority to me, and that has to be obvious in my associations.
I am blessed to have found true love in my best friend and I pray the same for you.
But what if you are single and want to learn how to control your emotions so that they don’t lead you blindly into a wrong relationship?
I will be sharing on that in my next post.
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Until next week😎
With all my love❤️
PS: In the previous post, a few people wanted to know my husband’s perspective and/or how he handled it during that period. I do not share our personal story to serve as a guide for how to handle your situation, (pls focus more on the advice with scriptures), because though this issue is common, individuals are unique. Please seek counseling if you need it.
PPS: if you were blessed by this post, don’t hesitate to share it using the social media buttons below. Let other people be blessed by it.💕