Your emotional affair likely began rather innocently. Perhaps, you began talking to your colleague about your marital discord as the two of you worked on a project together. You began exchanging phone calls, texts and emails with him, and he seems to understand you like no one else. Lately, you've come to realize that you are shutting your husband out and the risk of becoming physical with your colleague is now a real threat. While you don't deny the intensity of your feelings towards your colleague, you're aware that you need to find a way to cut it off before you destroy your marriage.
If you feel this co-worker is a trusted friend, try talking to him about the boundaries of your relationship. Set limits, whether spoken or unspoken, regarding what you will discuss with your colleague, and stick to it. Leave your marital problems, your family and intense emotions out of it. Chances are, as he feels you backing off, he likely will too. Take note about who you talk to at work regarding the affair. You don't want to embarrass yourself, your colleague or your spouse unintentionally.
Do some intense soul-searching to find the reasons for your emotional affair. Think about what is missing in your relationship with your spouse that you feel is fulfilled by your colleague. Knowing the reasons behind your infatuation can help you to channel the feelings appropriately and assist you in ending the emotional affair, according to Therese J. Borchard, associate editor at Psych Central. Whether you decide to tell your spouse about your emotional affair is a personal choice, however choosing to redirect the energy you are spending on your colleague onto your spouse will likely improve your marriage. Begin to communicate the issues that led to your emotional affair to lessen the likelihood of it happening again.
Intense emotions can make it difficult to continue a relationship of any kind with your colleague, especially if you were close to becoming physically intimate. In this case, your only option may be to cut your colleague completely off. Only answer texts, emails or phone calls that are work related. Refuse to have any contact with him outside of work hours. Politely decline any invitations for lunch or happy hour and let him know you will get your own coffee in the morning. As difficult as it might be, you may have to consider a new job or a transfer to save your marriage.
Strengthening Your Marriage
Continue to communicate openly and honestly with each other regarding what you want and need from your spouse. Confide in a trusted friend or your spouse, if you feel comfortable, regarding any attraction you feel towards someone of the opposite sex. This will assist you in avoiding future temptation. Share alone time with your spouse to help increase intimacy, and spend time with couples in content and committed marriages, says Redbook. This will help to affair-proof your own marriage.
Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.