Emotional Strange Fire (affair) Part 2
A few weeks ago we submitted the first instalment on this topic (you can find it on our face book page www.facebook.com/livingpower) this week we have the second and final instalment.
Just to recap, we said that emotional affair is the kind of intimacy developed with someone other than the spouse. This intimacy is hidden from the spouse. The person involved may confide the inner feelings and secrets to the other person, not his or her spouse. Generally emotional affairs do not involve physical sexual relations. But emotional affairs are often gateways leading to full blown sexual infidelity. The most hurtful and painful consequences of an emotional affair (to the cheated partner) is the sense of being deceived, betrayed, and lied to.
Regardless of the rationalization behind it, emotional infidelity is an expression of either the need or the desire to absent oneself (at least emotional) from the marriage relationship without actually leaving the marriage. The fact of the matter is when you absent yourself from your primary relationship you are taking something away from that relationship in a way that interferes with it. Someone put this way “when you are involved in an emotional affair you’re stealing from yourself”.
The danger of emotional affair is that it creates the illusion that perfect love exists and it is very close (in your friend, colleague or fellow church member) and that the only obstacle to real happiness is your current marriage.
What perpetuate emotional affairs are our thoughts, when we fantasize about inappropriate thoughts, rehearsing what we think about the conversation we had (or would have) with a particular person, wondering if the person will take a special note of us, etc, we weaken our resistance before any encounter takes place. Inappropriate thoughts are bound to come creeping into our brains occasionally, but we can choose not to entertain them. We don’t have to rehearse them like an actor. We can immediately dismiss impure thoughts and we can refuse to commit emotional infidelity. When we have thoughts that are inappropriate, we need to take them captive (2 Cor 10:5) the Bible tells us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
How to avoid emotional affairs
The emotional affairs can only be avoided or resolved by addressing the root cause, removing the clogs that are in the marriage relationship (particularly around communications).
Here are some suggestions:
- Plan on living a balanced life with one another.
- Have dates with each other and create ways to have fun together.
- Don’t let irritations build up, resolve conflicts as they happen
- Communicate on a daily basis with each other. Talk about practical issues, plans, events, and personal feelings, the little things to talk about are as important as the bigger issues.
- Be supportive of one another.
- Show respect for each other
Rules for Avoiding Emotional Infidelity
- Keep It all business at the office – don’t mix family/personal issues with business conversations.
- Avoid meetings with members of the opposite sex outside of the workplace – where possible always have meetings in the office, if you meet outside the office let it be in the public area.
- Meet in Groups – People hold back from intimacy when they are in a group
- Find polite ways of ending personal conversations – Learn to bow out gracefully from conversations that you feel are too intimate for comfort and avoid sexual oriented jokes.
- Don’t share your personal feelings – When you do find yourself engaged in conversation with a member of the opposite sex, share little of your personal experience or feelings.
- Be honest with yourself – If you think your flirtation is so innocent? Test yourself: Would you tell your spouse? Ask yourself if your spouse would be comfortable if he/she knew all about your relationship.
- Show your commitment to your spouse daily – Do something thoughtful for your spouse every single day. This could be a lovely note, a phone call, a text message, a little gift, words of affirmation, etc.
How to get out of an emotional affair?
Many have confessed of the difficulties of trying to get out of an emotional affair. Some have experience deep depression as a result of ending an emotional affair. Some have tried for few days or weeks only to fall back into the same temptation again. The fact of the matter is that it is not easy to end an emotional affair. It is very difficult or almost impossible to end and emotional affair if there is no revival or resurrection of the primary relationship (marriage). In fact the inverse is also true; the primary relationship (marriage) will never be revived (or grow) as long as the emotional affair exists.
Having said that, it is important to know that the emotional affair (enjoyable as it might be) is dangerous, destructive and deadly, therefore it needs to be brought to an end as soon as one finds out that he/she might be caught up in it.
- Firstly you need to have victory in your thoughts; if you can conquer the battle in your heart /mind, if you can remove the person in your thoughts, then you are on your way to victory.
- If possible communicate with the person that you think you might be involved with and tell them that you think your relationship has crossed the like of friendship, and therefore you would like to bring it to an end. If the other party agrees then that’s a good start, not necessarily the end.
- If the other personal does not seem to be interested in bring the relationship to an end, then you need to do a “Joseph” – Run for your life!
- Burn bridges – delete the phone numbers / remove email address / cut them out of friends list in social networking site like face book.
- Avoid, ignore, disregard the person
- Request to be reassigned to another office department /find a new job/ find a new church congregation / etc
- Caution: all of the above needs to be done gently to avoid (emotional) blackmail by your (former) emotional partner (what Potiphar’s wife did to Joseph)
- Talk to your spiritual mentor about your struggles.
- Pray, fast, commit your heart and life to the Lord.
- Each day make a conscious decision to uphold your marriage and to invest all your energies, emotions and resources to its success.