Emotional affairs occur when you share a deep closeness and connection (in other words, intimacy) with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. 


Unlike sexual infidelity, emotional affairs occur when you turn to another man or woman to meet your emotional needs. There is no physical or sexual touch, yet you are giving yourself to someone other than your spouse in an intimate way. 

It is never okay to step outside your marriage for intimacy, whether emotional or sexual. In fact, emotional affairs are equally damaging for your marriage as any other affair.

For that reason, learning how to safeguard your relationship and prevent emotional affairs is the best place to start. 

Why Emotional Affairs Happen

Emotional affairs can begin for a variety of reasons. Knowing what prompts this kind of relationship to develop is important so the two of you can actively prevent it. 

First, understand that emotional affairs thrive in the gray area. While emotional affairs may never lead to sex, it’s dangerous to share an emotional connection with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. 

Emotional affairs might start innocently enough. You share personal thoughts and feelings with someone of the opposite sex, such as a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or someone else. These conversations might include details about your relationship with your spouse. 

Eventually, the person you most want to talk to is no longer your spouse but this person. You talk in person or on the phone, texting, sending messages via social media, and so on. 

Despite not having any physical or sexual connection, you have formed an emotional bond that you should only have with your spouse. 

One reason emotional affairs happen is because of cracks in your Emotional Intimacy Pillar. Perhaps you no longer feel heard or valued by your spouse, yet someone else gives you the attention and appreciation you desire. As a result, you crave time with this person. 

Let’s be clear: it is never okay to step outside your marriage because of disconnection or cracks in The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®

Instead, speak with a marriage coach, counselor, pastor, or trusted third party about the challenges you’re facing. Don’t turn to an opposite-sex friend, co-worker, or neighbor to discuss your spouse or marriage. The things between you and your spouse should stay between you and your spouse. 

How to Safeguard Your Marriage Against Emotional Affairs

Emotional affairs involve developing an intimate connection with someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse. The nature of these relationships includes a level of emotional closeness and secrecy that breaks the trust between you and your spouse.

These affairs can erode the foundations of your marriage, weakening all 6 Pillars of Intimacy®. However, there are practical ways to protect your marriage from emotional affairs in each of these pillars. 

1. Nurture Your Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is the workhorse of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®. How you communicate with your spouse affects every area of your marriage, and emotional intimacy underlies all the other five pillars. 

You can nurture emotional intimacy in your marriage by investing time and effort into communicating with your partner. Schedule time for walk-and-talks, get away for the weekend to reconnect, or take advantage of conversation cards to get yourselves talking. 

To strengthen emotional intimacy, you both have to share your thoughts, feelings, and desires. It’s also important to express your love and appreciation for each other and support each other’s goals and dreams. 

When your emotional intimacy is strong, the two of you will actively protect your relationship by not seeking intimate, emotional fulfillment from anyone else.

2. Strengthen Your Physical Intimacy 

The 6 Pillars of Intimacy® are interconnected, so cracks in one area can have a significant effect in another. For that reason, don’t discount the importance of physical intimacy. 

Physical intimacy is the loving, non-sexual touches you share between the two of you, from hand-holding and kissing to back rubs and cuddling

Humans were designed for touch. Even if one of you isn’t super touchy-feely, physical touch is still a vital component of intimacy. If you desire physical touch in a certain way, communicate this to your spouse, and be open to pursuing physical intimacy in ways that work for both of you. 

3. Boost Your Financial Intimacy

Finances are one of the biggest issues couples face, and it can quickly cause a divide between spouses, especially if the two of you are not communicating about this topic. 

Suppose you turn to an opposite-sex friend to share deeply personal financial goals or to complain about how your spouse handles money. Their acceptance and validation might prompt you to continue sharing your emotions with them (and only them), and before you know it, you’ve entered an emotional affair. 

Safeguard your marriage from this danger by staying open and honest with your spouse about finances. Set up daily, weekly, or monthly meetings to review your spending and income. Be transparent about anything money related, including debts, investments, and financial goals. 

By sharing your fears and hopes and listening to your spouse’s, you promote trust and reduce the potential for emotional affairs.

4. Maintain Your Spiritual Intimacy 

Spiritual intimacy can be more intimate than sex. Talking about your beliefs, praying together, or attending church services can help you and your spouse feel close and connected. 

These shared experiences increase the sense of unity, trust, and purpose in your marriage. In other words, sharing spiritual intimacy can make your relationship more resilient to external temptations. 

Unfortunately, emotional affairs can occur even in religious settings. For example, you might attend church or a small group with someone you feel comfortable sharing deep feelings with. But this can quickly lead to an unhealthy bond with someone who is not your spouse. 

To prevent this, be involved consistently as a couple and be sure to develop spiritual intimacy with your spouse.

5. Engage Your Recreational Intimacy 

Recreational intimacy comes from spending time with your spouse and having fun together. It can be simple activities or elaborate hobbies. What matters most is that the two of you are trying new things, having fun, and making memories. 

If you pursue hobbies or activities with people of the opposite sex, never hide the fact that you are married. Wear your wedding band or a silicon ring, and talk with your spouse about the boundaries you each follow when it comes to friendships with people of the opposite sex. 

6. Prioritize Your Sexual Intimacy 

The bookends of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy® are emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy. That’s because the strength of two pillars dictate a lot in your marriage. 

Although an emotional affair is one without sexual interaction, maintaining a healthy sex life with your spouse is vital for a strong and healthy marriage. 

Communicate your expectations and desires openly with each other. Honest conversations about sexual intimacy reinforce the strength of your emotional intimacy, too. And ensure you have boundaries in place for talking about sex with friends

Rebuild Broken Trust After Emotional Affairs

Emotional affairs break the trust between spouses and weaken the foundation of a marriage. While it is a deeply painful situation, it is possible to recover and move forward if you and your spouse are willing to put in the effort. 

If an emotional affair has occurred in your marriage and you need help getting through the hurt and broken trust caused by an emotional affair, apply for marriage coaching today. 

Watch the video below to rekindle the spark and restore the connection in your marriage today!

In the 6 Pillars of Intimacy®, you will discover secrets that have transformed countless marriages. Its ideas are simple, practical, and powerful. You’ll be inspired to look at your marriage through a new lens and be encouraged by its commonsense approach.

Alisa and Tony DiLorenzo's proven approach to building intimacy in marriage will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your spouse – starting today. Click HERE to get your copy today!

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