As I’ve mentioned previously, when I found out about Doug’s emotional affair, I became a research maniac.
One of the surprising things that I found out is that there are many different types of affairs. In fact, Dr. Robert Huizenga has defined 7 different types of affairs. Dr. Huizenga terms an emotional affair as the “I Fell out of Love…and just love being in love” type of affair.
Looking back on many of our own conversations, it became evident by what Doug said that he was having this issue.
After more research into the book “Break Free From the Affair,” I discovered the underlying motives and patterns of someone who is going through this type of affair. Perhaps these will shed some light on your own situation and uncover the motives that can lead to an emotional affair:
1. Movies, songs, romance novels, soap operas, and romance comedies teach us that this is how it’s supposed to be. “Falling in love” is the norm and the implication is that if it doesn’t happen, or if it goes away, something is wrong with you, your spouse or the marriage. A good relationship must attempt to rid itself of this cultural brainwashing.
2. The person who needs to find “that loving feeling” usually experiences a high degree of guilt and inner conflict. He/she is often married to a “good” person and the desire to “find that loving feeling” seems selfish (which it is) and immature (which it is). Inside themselves, they know that they are not doing the right thing.
3. This person usually has a need for drama and excitement. They thrive on the emotional adrenaline rather than living their true life.
4. There is little understanding of the changes required as a relationship matures. For example, “falling out of love” usually happens when the attractors become the distracters. For instance, he may have been fun and exciting when you first met, but now that comes off as irresponsibility or childlike behavior.
5. The person in the emotional affair is actually looking for that perfect person, who in turn, makes him/her feel almost perfect as well.
6. This person needs to be adored because there is a lack of inner strength and solid identity.
7. Sexual intercourse does not need to be a part of these relationships. In fact, sexual activity may indeed END the relationship or at least move it to the point where the attractors become, again, the distracters.
8. This type of affair often occurs when there is a lull or rut in the marriage. The responsibility of raising children, work, finances and everyday life become the focal point for the couple. Romance and intimacy becomes a thing of the past.
After digesting these eight patterns, I could certainly see many of the same traits and feelings in Doug, as well as within our marriage during the time leading up to his emotional affair. By knowing and being aware of these traits, one can more easily prevent an emotional affair from happening in the first place.
If you would like to learn more about this type of affair or the other 6 types of affairs, check out “Break Free From the Affair”
Below is a brief video that gives a pretty good job of describing an emotional affair.