Author and psychotherapist M. Gary Neuman shares his 10 rules for avoiding emotional infidelity.

emotional infidelityBy Doug

Emotional infidelity  can sneak up and tear apart the trust and closeness you’ve built with your partner. It often starts with what seems like harmless chatting, however, it can grow into something that hurts just as much as a physical affair – if not more.

Setting clear boundaries is key to keeping your marriage safe from the sneaky threat of emotional cheating. It’s all about keeping that special connection with your partner strong and making sure nothing gets in the way of that.

M. Gary Neuman, the author of “Emotional Infidelity:  How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship” believes that it is very important to keep members of the opposite sex “out of your intimate way” for you to maintain a happy marriage.  His ideas subscribe to the theory that the best way to protect your marriage from emotional or sexual infidelity is to create limitations for yourself and your spouse with respect to outside relationships with members of the opposite sex. 

He is not suggesting that you become a speechless hermit.  Instead, he proposes that we all must honestly assess ourselves to recognize when an interaction or conversation makes us feel closer to a person of the opposite sex than is advisable.

Featured Download: “The 24 Most Common Mistakes Made by the Unfaithful Spouse After Infidelity”

If you’re the unfaithful, get it, read it and carefully consider the advice. If you’re the betrayed, give it to your unfaithful spouse.

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Consider His 10 Rules for Avoiding Emotional Infidelity

1.  Keep it All Business at the Office. Be sensitive to one’s feelings.  However, you want to avoid becoming the main person from whom a co-worker seeks  emotional support.

2. Avoid Meetings With Members of the Opposite Sex Away From Work. If you have to work together through lunch or dinner, Neuman suggests simply order food into the office instead of going out.  You are much more likely to discuss issues outside of work if you are in a restaurant.  If you absolutely must meet outside the office, make sure to meet in a public place that isn’t conducive to intimacy.

3.  Meet in Groups. Try not to meet with members of the opposite sex alone.  The addition of just one extra person minimizes the chances of intimacy.  Besides, people are less likely to share intimate issues while in a group setting.

4.  Find Polite Ways Of Ending Personal Conversations. Learn to gracefully walk away from uncomfortable intimate conversations.  Again, be sensitive, but suggest that they speak to someone else who could be of more help.  Don’t become the shoulder to lean on.

5.  Avoid Consistency in the Relationship. Avoid “regular, ongoing personal conversations in which you’re developing themes, favorite topics, or a continuing dialogue.”

6.  Don’t Share Your Personal Feelings. By not sharing personal feelings or experiences it curtails their ability to relate to you.  Again, it’s OK to have conversations with folks, but just don’t share your feelings.  Granted, this can be a hard habit to break because it is so natural to do so.

See also  Stop! Just Stop! You ARE Having an Emotional Affair!

7.  Be Unflinchingly Honest with Yourself. Be aware if you are feeling even slightly attracted to someone else.  Honestly consider why you are looking forward to the next time you see that person.  It’s about how much you want to have a happy marriage versus how much you enjoy sharing your feelings and having conversations with members of the opposite sex.  Consider what it is that has caused the attraction with this person in the first place.  Perhaps you might be feeling that this person offers something that you are missing.  Identify it and work at finding it with your spouse.

8.  Avoid Cordial Kisses and Hugs, or Dancing with Members of the Opposite Sex. Indeed, this may seem a bit extreme; however, even a simple hug can significantly alter the relationship and potentially “confuse the perception of both parties.”

9.  Don’t Drink Around the Opposite Sex. Drinking makes us lose our inhibitions.  Enough said.

10.  Show Your Commitment to Your Spouse Daily. Doing something special for your spouse reminds you of what they mean to you.  Leave a note, call them or plan a date night or getaway.  Focus on the great things that your spouse has done for you and remember that relationships take time and effort to grow.

After I read this part of Neuman’s book (shoutout to Linda for the recommendation), I realized I broke quite a few of these rules before my emotional affair with Tanya. Maybe it was naivety or just not being honest with myself, but knowing and sticking to these rules from the start could have helped me avoid a lot of the pain and damage in our marriage.

    6 replies to "10 Rules for Avoiding Emotional Infidelity"

    • Sonja D

      I agree 100% on the 10 rules. I think many people fall into emotional infidelity before they know it because they are not aware of these 10 points that you brought up.

    • Broken

      I have to agree with Dr. Neuman 100% also. If my husband had followed these rules we would not be where we are today.

    • Realistic

      This article more like a primer of how to cut yourself off from people and be cold to them. It’s ridiculous. If you really have to put this much energy into preventing yourself with having a relationship outside your marriage to keep you from straying, there’s a real problem in your relationship that needs to be addressed. Get to the root of the problem. Suggestions like these just make me shake my head in disbelief.


        This is merely some suggestions of ways to AVOID getting involved in affair. All seems common sense to me. These are good rules to live by. I have pretty much lived by these rules. So why is it so hard for others? Why can’t one not see that they have crossed boundaries before it is too late? I can’t help but feel ego has something to do with it.

      • Notoverit

        Are you married? Have you ever been cheated on? These rules are necessary to install boundaries that make sense. The pain suffered when those boundaries are crossed and then becomes something more is very intense. Have you ever suffered from being betrayed and hurt? I shake my head at people who do not understand that.

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