Some relationship problems aren’t taken as seriously as others. Emotional affairs are one such issue. Because you are not cheating on your partner sexually, you may think it’s not a problem, but the truth is an emotional affair can be just as damaging as a physical one, and you may need couples therapy to work through it with your spouse.

Consider this: many couples survive one of their partners losing their ability to function sexually. Why? Because it’s just one aspect of our relationships. Sex and other forms of physical affection are a way to express our emotional connection to our partner. When you go outside of your marriage for physical affection, it is sometimes because you are missing emotional connection. So if you are going outside your relationship for an emotional connection, it is a really a symptom of the same problem, and it may even eventually lead to a sexual affair.

What Is an Emotional Affair Exactly?

This is one of those relationship problems that’s not as easy to define. There’s little question that having sex with someone other than your partner is cheating, but what about a secret lunch date? An emotional affair involves becoming emotionally intimate with another person. You may share things with them that you don’t share with your partner. You may keep your meetings and conversations with them a secret. You may feel a sexual attraction for the other person, whether or not you have actually acted on it.

Are you not sure? Ask yourself this: would you feel guilty if your partner found out about this other person? If so, then it’s likely you are having an emotional affair, and it’s important that you end it. Then you should ask yourself why you were looking for an emotional connection outside of your relationship. Be honest with your partner and work to rebuild any trust you may have lost. If you need help taking the next step, you may want to seek couples counseling to help you save your marriage and to discover the root of your relationship problems.