3 signs your spouse is having an emotional affair

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | Divorce

Emotional affairs can be just as damaging to a marriage as physical affairs. Emotional affairs may not involve physical intimacy, but having your spouse form a deep emotional connection outside of your marriage can be equally devastating. 

Emotional affairs differ from ordinary friendships in that there is usually a secretive aspect to the relationship, along with an undercurrent of sexual or romantic attraction. There’s also a deep personal intimacy between partners in an emotional affair. Ultimately, an emotional affair can lead to a physical affair, as well. 

That’s why it can help to spot the signs of an emotional affair early. They include:

1. Your spouse devotes more to the friendship than they do to your marriage

Spouses should be able to spend time with their friends, and all relationships take some energy and commitment. It’s even perfectly acceptable for spouses to buy their friends small gifts or the occasional meal. However, if your spouse is putting more of their time, energy and money into their friendship than they do your relationship, that’s an issue.

2. You’re always second (or even third) to find out what’s going on with your spouse

If your spouse rushes to tell their friend their big news before they even tell you, that’s a strong sign that you’ve been replaced, emotionally speaking. Your spouse is looking to their friend for the support and encouragement they need when something is wrong, and they want to celebrate their victories with them – not you. Your spouse may even admit that their friend “understands them better.”

3. They’re secretive about how much contact they really have and are defensive

If your spouse hides their cell phone, lies about seeing their friend or suddenly “forgets” to tell you that they’re working on a big project together (and doesn’t come clean until they’re caught), you have reason to be concerned. If they’re defensive when called out on their behavior, rather than willing to look at how the situation appears from your side of things, that’s also a worrisome sign.

Sometimes it’s possible to come back from an emotional betrayal. A couple who can approach the situation with honesty may be able to rebuild through marriage counseling and a lot of effort. Other times, there’s simply too much to overcome. If your spouse’s emotional cheating has destroyed your relationship, it may be time to explore the options for divorce.


At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.

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Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner