How Emotional infidelity Begins

Photo by Deon Black

People tend to fall in love, become starry eyed at the prospect, ignore the warning signs of incompatibility at the beginning of the friendship, then slowly repent their choice when things begin to go pear-shaped later on. Emotional infidelity often becomes a substitute for what is missing in a partnership but, given the right opportunity and circumstances, it can be physically realised.

Emotional infidelity begins with neglect, which itself stems from a lack of appreciation and value. In short, it arises from a deep emotional need when our feelings are unfulfilled and when our emotional health is low, especially from a lack of ATTENTION.

In any relationship, everyone wants to be treated with love and respect, to be valued and desired. When that does not happen, a feeling of isolation and rejection takes its place. For some reason, perhaps because of the need for security, once people become settled with each other, they tend to take each other for granted. The little things they used to do for one another, the loving acts they delighted in during dating, the obvious value they placed on each other, tend to take a back seat while partners become weighed down with domestic and career responsibilities. It is not too long before one or both parties begin to feel lonely, left out or unappreciated. In such a case, affection and sex are usually the main things that gradually disappear. If not addressed, it eventually turns into neglect and acute loneliness – and the worst form of loneliness is one which is shared with a partner.

Warm Feelings and Attention

When someone feels neglected it leads to unfulfilled yearnings, particularly around what is absent from their lives. It isn’t long before the person begins to yearn for what is possible. It might start from admiring a celebrity in an appreciative way, then switches to more realistic targets like a neighbour, a work colleague, someone online, a friend or a complete stranger. For people closer to home, it might begin with just talking, bantering, making jokes or sharing life circumstance. It is not long before they will also be sharing the problems in their lives and offering emotional support to each other.

Sooner or later, there is likely to be either quiet or expressed desires around that person, wishing to be with them, to be loved by them and to be close to them. The main difference with emotional infidelity and physical infidelity is that most times the party doesn’t want to leave their spouse, to cause any hurt to them or to break up their family for the object of their affections. They just love the warm feelings, the attention, in particular, and the feeling of appreciation and value they get from that friend or stranger.

One might never physically meet the object of that desire, but the mere thought of dreaming about what is possible with them, affectionately and sexually, and imagining warm thoughts of value around them begin the emotional infidelity process. This can often lead to the real thing if what is lacking in that person’s life is not admitted, discussed or addressed at all.

There is a mistaken belief that emotional infidelity is ‘harmless’ and doesn’t really matter in the life of a couple; that it is mainly fantasy and only occurs in one’s head. It’s nothing like the real thing. However, that is not true. Emotional infidelity is usually the beginning of the physical reality, the precursor to it. It simply needs the feelings to get worse, the object of desire to be accessible, and the opportunity to bring it to life. The rest is often inevitable.



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