Sharing emotional intimacy with someone other than your partner can be considered a form of infidelity. This is because emotional intimacy involves the sharing of deep, personal feelings and thoughts with another person, and can create a strong emotional bond that is similar to a romantic relationship.
When you share emotional intimacy with someone other than your partner, you are essentially creating a "secondary emotional attachment" that can rival or even surpass your primary relationship. This can be damaging to your primary relationship, as it can lead to feelings of neglect, jealousy, and betrayal. It also steals away the energy that should be going to your primary relationship, ultimately stopping your relational growth with your partner.
Sharing emotional intimacy can lead to a blurred line between platonic and romantic feelings. This can be especially dangerous if the person you are sharing emotional intimacy with is someone who you are attracted to, as it can lead to physical infidelity.
For many of the couples that I have treated in clinical practice, emotional intimacy was a slippery slope that led to sexual infidelity. When emotional intimacy is created with someone who you are attracted to, it can create a situation where you are more likely to act on those feelings.
Deep emotional relationships with someone other than your partner can also create a sense of emotional distance and disconnection with your partner. This is because your partner may feel like they are no longer the person you confide in and share your deepest thoughts and feelings with. They sense that priority has shifted away from their relationship with you, and this can lead to a breakdown of trust and communication within the relationship.
Maintaining appropriate emotional boundaries with people outside of your primary relationship is essential in order to protect the trust, intimacy and connection with your partner. This means being mindful of the amount and type of emotional intimacy that you share with others, and making sure that it does not rival or surpass the emotional intimacy that you share with your partner. It also means being aware of the potential for blurred lines between platonic and romantic feelings, and taking steps to prevent those feelings from leading to emotional or physical infidelity.
Be open and honest with your partner about your interactions and relationships with others, and be willing to listen to and address any concerns your partner may have about the relationships you have with others. By maintaining appropriate emotional boundaries with others, you can keep the energy and priority directed toward the growth and vitality of your primary relationship.
Dr. Butch Losey provides couples therapy focused on recovery of infidelity, helping couples create healthy and healing communication, and teaching couples how to create a trusting, intimate relationship. He is the owner and CEO of Waybridge Counseling Services, which currently serves clients in Ohio, Kentucky and Arizona.