A common plea: But, we’re “just friends.” However, the “emotional connection” is quite obvious by the amount of time spent in communication and the “vibes” that are set off.
These emotional connections often arise at work or in a social context in which working intensively towards a common goal consumes energy.
Here are a few observations of the “just friends” emotional affair:
1. This person often struggles knowing where to draw the line. S / he often throws him/herself into something 100%. Other aspects of his / her life may suffer or be ignored. There often is a lack of personal balance between family, work, self-care.
2. He/she struggles with intimacy. (I want to be close to someone, but do not like intimacy.) The “just friends” emotional affair means either spouse nor OP (another person) ever get “intimate.” Either relationship is fully consummated or has a potential for growth.
3. Of course, the “just friends” comment means either “stay away” or I’m, underneath all this, really confused about where I fit in relationships, what I mean from them, or what they mean to me. There is an “emotional connection” to the OP that defies description. A sad kind of “stuckness or loss.”
The lover or “falling in love” emotional affair has a different twist.
The common complaint to the partner is: “I feel bad about this, and I do not want to hurt you, but, I’m not in love” with you anymore. “I love you but I’m not in love. “This often indicates:
1. This person usually has a need for drama and excitement. Life easily becomes a soap opera. Emotional juice from the fall-out of emotionally intense relationships reigns rather than living life from the core of who one is.
2. The person “looking for love” is actually looking for the ideal, someone out there, who will project back to him/her that he/she is OK. No, more than OK, close to perfect.
3. This person needs to be adored, or think another adores him/her because there is a lack of inner strength and the solid identity. The other becomes my world because I lack the world. Being “in love” is the panacea for my emptiness.
4. This type of affair often occurs when there is a “lull” in the marriage relationship. The responsibility of raising children, starting and maintaining a career, paying bills, etc. Become the focal point for the couple. Romance becomes a foreign word.
There are many many minor differences in affairs. Emotional affairs are only one kind. Once you begin to see and understand the differences, a new sense of empowerment overtakes you embark on a more confident path of resolution.