Most people wouldn’t dream of cheating. But often there are other little infidelities that can enchant us, leaving us oblivious to what’s occurring and lead us into big trouble. These romantic faux pas can cause a rift in our relationship, or even a blow up fight. For some these seemingly mild missteps can lead down the slippery slope of an actual affair. Little infidelities don’t occur in a vacuum. They are indicators that something is amiss in your marriage or relationship. Take a look and see if you are taking part in any of these. Do you flirt? Most of us do over the course of the day. But there is the kind of flirting that is polite, the kind that is just playful and fun—that makes you feel good, and the kind that feels like cheating, so wrong yet you can hardly stop. That’s the kind that could actually lead somewhere. If there is a deep, sexual tension that you don’t want to let go of, if you seek out this person just to feel this with them and lament that your primary relationship no longer gives you the same feeling, it is time to talk it over with your partner, and investigate ways in which you can reignite the spark. If you continue to follow this path, making little excuses for yourself along the way, you may end up in the arms of another and in one short embrace lose your primary relationship for good.
Are you confiding in someone of the opposite sex? When it is something light, a small problem perhaps, this isn’t a big deal. But if you are sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with someone other than your significant other, this is a surefire sign of emotional cheating. The reason is opening up in such a way is an act of emotional intimacy. In a long-term committed relationship, we expect our significant other to share such intimacies with us, and vice versa. If this is a close friend of the opposite sex that you are using as a shoulder to cry on, you could soon see the molten fires of jealousy in your partner’s eyes. Studies have shown that women find emotional intimacy more hurtful than physical intimacy. Men operate the other way around. Yet, no matter what form the infidelity takes, it can wreak havoc on the relationship. Why not give your significant other a call when you want to talk about something, rather than latching on to this other person? Of course in extreme cases, a death in the family for instance, immediate grief and the need to be consoled urgently is quite understandable.
Some people spend so much time at the office they often end up with an office-husband or wife. They may dish about everything to this person, feeling a strong bond with them from spending so much time together. Watch out. This situation can instill deep jealousy in your partner, even if you don’t see it on the surface. They may appear stoic on the outside, but are foaming over with hurt and grief within. It’s okay to have someone you are close to at work, but know where the boundaries are and where to draw the line. What makes this more complicated is, that line is different for different people. Have a conversation about it, and what they think is crossing boundaries in terms of interactions with a colleague of the opposite sex. With your office mate, don’t share intimate details of your love life with them, even if they share with you. There is a difference between dishing to your friends, or venting to them and doing so with someone of the opposite sex, especially if you are attracted to them. If you two have been hitting it off and feeling chemistry, they might even see this as an invitation. Finally, are you dressing more attractive than usual to impress someone at the office, PTA, social club or volunteer project? If you are wearing cologne or perfume when you don’t normally, and really turning up the pizzazz in your outfits when a certain someone is around, think about why you want to impress this person. What is going on in your primary relationship? How can it be changed to bring those feelings back in that space? Perhaps a date night, exploring fantasies together, or tackling your problems in a new way. Use this phenomenon as motivation to hone and rework your primary relationship to make sure the needs that are expressing themselves here are met where they are supposed to be satisfied. If it is too late, and you need to bring yourself back from the brink after your infidelity, or your partners pick up a copy of, Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley P. Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli.