Is that guy in the office starting to look cuter, and are you starting to spend more time with each other outside of work? Are your feelings for him starting to turn into something more than just friendly?
Is that colleague turning into your “work boyfriend/husband”?
Are you on the brink of committing emotional adultery?
According to Aileen Santos, a certified relationship coach with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, women are just as prone to having affairs as men, with one important differentiator: “Women mostly have an emotional affair rather than a physical one. It usually starts when the lines and boundaries between a close friendship and an actual relationship become blurred.”
The check box that makes it an emotional affair is intimacy - and it’s not of the physical kind. If you start feeling secure enough to share secrets and deep thoughts with another person, you should ask yourself why.
“When you start sharing things with another person rather than your partner, then you alarm bells should start going off because by doing so, you are depriving your partner of getting to know and share in the details of your life,” explains Santos.
Santos, along with Michele Alignay, a registered Guidance Counselor with the LOVE Institute at the Ateneo, lists down the things that make you vulnerable to having an affair and what you can do to avoid lapsing into emotional adultery.
Vulnerability #1: We’re not clear about our boundaries. “Close relationships with the opposite sex enrich our lives, but we need to know which relationships are for what and the boundaries of each kind,” starts Santos.
“It’s all self-awareness and knowing what you want. When you are self-aware, you are more conscious about the choices you make and your boundaries. This puts you in control, rather than just reacting to things as they come into your life.”
Vulnerability #2: We have unrealistic expectations about what a relationship is. “It is common for people to expect a lot more than they are willing to give,” says Santos who says that she sees a lot of those she has counseled expecting miracles and fairytales from their partner.
The problem starts when partners fall short of these unrealistic expectations. “Then we become resentful and start thinking that life owes us happiness. Life doesn’t owe us anything,” Santos states.
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Vulnerability #3: Being complacent about the needs of a relationship. “Relationships are dynamic. They need to grow. They’re always a work in progress. When we become complacent about having to take care of a relationship, it stagnates.” According to Santos, sometimes couples think that getting married and having children is the highest point there is. Where does the relationship go after - how else can you top getting married and having kids?
Everyone wants to be that old couple, still very much in love with one another. That is love that is backed not just by physical love, but by having a history together. It is in fact those things that you grow through together as a couple that bind you and deepen a relationship.
“What we forget is that getting to the point where we grow old with someone is a lifetime of daily choices. The path on the road of growing old together is made up by decisions we make every day,” Santos concludes.