Ways To End An Emotional Affair | Infidelity Signs

Updated March 20, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

It can feel good to have a connection with someone outside of your relationship on an emotional level. People need to be able to have friends to talk to and it's also nice to just be able to go out with other adults while in a marriage. There's a difference between having a friendship with someone and having an emotional affair partner, though. 

An emotional affair partner often rides a fine line between being a friendship and an affair or cheating on a committed relationship. Culture mostly focuses on sexual affairs, but when you have a primary relationship, such as a loyal spouse or another long-term relationship, you can jeopardize your emotional relationship through emotional damage outside of a sexual affair. 

If you have been going through an emotional affair or cheating of sorts with someone whom you know, then you might be wondering how you can end it. It isn't always easy to stop seeing someone, but you likely do not want to jeopardize a happy marriage, either.

Emotional Affairs May Result From Relationship Dissatisfaction

You can learn how to end infidelity when your partner is having emotional affair so that you can finally move on with your life. This situation has likely thrown your life into a chaotic state. You might be confused about what is going to be the right thing to do in this situation. Read on to get more information about how to end emotional affairs at work, improve your well-being, and work on building a deep connection with your partner and/or a healthier marriage. 

It should give you something to think about, and hopefully, it will help you to move on with your life. At the end of the day, emotional affairs tend to have an end date. In large part, it is up to you if the affair ends in a destructive way or in a positive manner, resulting in healthy boundaries for you, your partner, and your friend.

What Constitutes An Emotional Affair?

An emotional affair is a friendship that has developed into something beyond platonic love. Married individuals likely have many friends that they turn to for companionship. Sometimes married people also have friends of the opposite sex and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. You can have a friendship with someone without it being inappropriate in any way. The problem is that it is also possible to become emotionally attached to someone on a level that isn't appropriate when you're married, wherein someone else fulfills too many emotional needs that ought to be worked through with a significant other.

For example, you could look at the amount of time spent with the friend, and maybe it is more time that you spend with your partner. If this is coupled with you sharing intimate details or fulfilling an emotional need through this person, then it might be an emotional affair. 

These types of emotional affairs involve having an intimate relationship with someone that does not have to turn physical. You might go to this person for love and emotional support. Normally, you might turn to your spouse for this type of emotional support. Having someone like this in your life can diminish the significance of your spouse in some ways. You may say that you are “just friends,” and in some cases, this is true. In other situations, however, there are underlying issues where the relationship with the emotional affair partner goes beyond that.

Signs Of Emotional Infidelity

Being able to recognize when things have gone too far emotionally is not always easy. You might think that your connection with someone is purely platonic; however, a normal friendship can turn into an emotional affair over time. You might discover that you have more of an emotional connection with this person than you initially realized. It could lead you to want to be around them more often and you might even feel like you're in a type of relationship with this person, which can turn into a full-blown affair.

If your spouse is worried about your friendship with someone else, then there is a chance that the relationship might be inappropriate. You need to ensure that you are keeping things purely platonic and normal between you and your friends. Some people cross that line innocently at first, but they then start to explore the relationship more.

If you feel the need to keep your interactions with a friend secret from your spouse, then it's likely that you're having an emotional affair. This is different from a spouse having wandering eyes without acting on it due to the emotional connection that is involved.

When Emotional Affairs Turn Into Cheating

Emotional infidelity can potentially lead to cheating. Sometimes people who are having an emotional affair will have a sexual attraction to one another.

You might recognize the attraction and you could even discuss it with this individual. Some people just experience sexual tension with another person without talking about it. Either way, this dynamic has the potential to lead to physical cheating down the line. If you keep bonding with this person and spending time together, then you might be tempted to act on your impulses at some point.

Some people may feel that emotional infidelity is the same thing as cheating —it is fair to say that this question is up for interpretation. Some spouses might feel that emotional infidelity is a betrayal of their trust that is on par with traditional infidelity.

Others might see it as a troubling situation, but they might not consider it to be cheating. Your partner will have to decide how they feel about things. You should admit that you have been spending too much time with this person and then tell your spouse that it is going to stop.

Emotional affairs can certainly cause similar problems when compared to cheating. It can harm your relationship and it can make your spouse feel as if they have been betrayed. You might feel the need to apologize and to try to make things up to your spouse.

Moving forward together is only going to be possible if your spouse is willing to forgive you. Your spouse will likely want assurances that you won't see the person that you were cheating with ever again, too.

That said, not all emotional affairs lead to cheating, though. Some people simply enjoy the thought of it, and they would never be able to bring themselves to act on their baser desires. Whatever the situation is, it’s often plain to see that these types of emotionally intimate relationships feel inappropriate. If you're in a committed and monogamous marriage, then you should try not to engage in emotional affairs with others. They can lead to hurt feelings or much worse.

How To End An Emotional Affair

Ending an emotional affair might feel difficult. It may feel like losing an important friend whom you have come to cherish. In all likelihood, you will not even be able to remain friends with this individual. How you move forward will take plenty of self-reflection.

Moving forward with your life is possible once you decide to end it. You need to be honest with the person with whom you have been developing this bond. Tell them that you feel that this relationship has become inappropriate. Admit your feelings and tell them that you very much love your spouse. Use that as your reason for not being able to see them any longer.

Your friend might object to your ending of the friendship. You might have a hard time not talking to this person any longer. It could cause emotional heartache that is not too dissimilar from breaking up with a lover. This just shows how inappropriate and serious this connection between you two was. The best way to get over an affair is to be honest and to stop seeing the other person entirely.

You might also consider whether you want to remain in your marriage. There are situations where people seek out emotionally charged relationships due to things that they feel they are missing within their marriages. Your marriage might not be satisfying, or you might feel as if your spouse doesn't truly love you. No one is bound to stay in a loveless marriage. Divorce is an option, but you can also work on fixing your marriage if you do love your spouse. 

Marriage counseling is an option too. You may need to rebuild trust, work on improved communication, or build other facets of a healthy relationship. If your partner refuses to go with you, you might consider individual therapy, or even other places to talk like a support group or therapy clinic.

Emotional Affairs May Result From Relationship Dissatisfaction

Moving Forward After Ending An Emotional Affair

Moving forward as a married couple is not easy when you are just coming out of an emotional affair. You might even feel emotionally vulnerable due to exposing your connection with this friend.

Your spouse might be distrustful of you for a while, and you will need to work on fixing things. There are likely problems in your relationship that need to be addressed. Your desire to seek out love and support from a friend shows you that your marriage is less than perfect.

Talk to your spouse about what has happened and try to commit to moving toward the future together. If you love each other, then you will hopefully be able to overcome this situation. You just need to be prepared to confront difficult subjects without attacking each other. It might be best for you to get some help from professionals who know how to guide troubled partners through the process of repair and reconciliation.

How Online Couples Therapists Can Help

Your need for a connection with someone else might stem from problems that exist in your marriage. You should never blame your husband or wife for what has occurred, especially if you have not communicated your marital concerns or grievances with your partner.

It's crucial to acknowledge what has happened and to move on. After you have ended your affair, you will need to work on strengthening your marriage. This might not be easy to accomplish by yourself, and it is highly recommended that you seek out the help of online couples' counselors.

Online couples counseling is a great way for you to resolve issues that are harming your marriage. These professionals can help you to work on your communication while also addressing problems that are keeping you from connecting properly. Online therapy platforms like ReGain enable users to reach out directly through text and schedule appointments at convenient times. You can attend a session with your online therapist from any location with a secure wireless connection. Online counseling can be discreet in that it can allow you to get help without advertising your issues to the world. Whether you attend sessions with or without a partner is up to you, and ReGain enables both options.

Various studies have been conducted on the efficacy of couples counseling via online settings. One study utilized a qualitative methodology to examine how therapeutic videoconferencing supported couples in resolving various issues within their relationships. Many participants noted that the online medium created a sense of distance from the therapist that enabled them to feel a greater sense of control and comfort. Overall, the majority of couples found the videoconferencing experience to be beneficial and positive.


Whatever barriers exist between you and your desire to seek support for an extramarital affair – such as guilt, shame, or hesitancy to move on – know that the online therapists at ReGain will work with you in a compassionate and nonjudgmental manner in order to help you achieve your relationship goals, whatever they may be. Whether you wish to end the affair, end your marriage, or move forward with a separate solution, your therapist will support you in holding yourself accountable. Take the first step by reaching out today.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do emotional affairs end well?
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