Woman leaning her head on a window at work wondering how to get over her emotional affair.

How To Get Over An Emotional Affair At Work

Emotional affairs are relationships you have with people who aren’t your partner. What sets an emotional affair apart from a friendship is the relationship that forms becomes more important than your marriage. Frequently, you invest more time and energy into the emotional affair.  Emotional affairs at work can be as simple as flirting with someone or being friends with someone you’re attracted to. But they can get much more complicated—and destructive.

Emotional affairs typically start because one person wants something the other person has. This can be love, attention, or sex. This can happen because they don’t feel like their partner is giving them what they need in the relationship. They want something more fulfilling than what they’re getting from their spouse or significant other.

Emotional affairs are challenging to detect because they don’t have many hallmarks of traditional cheating. Emotional affairs usually aren’t secretive or deceptive. The person having an emotional affair is honest and open about the relationship. 

It’s also possible for emotional affairs to start when one person is unhappy in their relationship.  They don’t know how to fix it, so instead of working on the issues within their primary relationship, they look for fulfillment elsewhere. In many cases, this leads to people having multiple simultaneous relationships with different people at once: one romantic relationship and one emotional affair (or several).

When an emotional affair develops into a physical affair, it can become tough to stop. Both people feel like they’re getting something from each other that neither is getting from their primary partners—which makes sense.

How Common Are Emotional Affairs At Work?

Emotional affairs at work are more common than you might think. While the most common affair is still physical, emotional affairs can be just as devastating and more difficult to detect.

According to hrf, nearly half of all Americans have had an emotional affair at some point in their lives. And while many people think that these affairs are always about sex, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, research has shown that 70% of people who had an emotional affair didn’t even realize it until after it was over.

These reasons vary: sometimes, they’re motivated by loneliness or feelings of inadequacy. Other times they’re simply a case of bad judgment. But whatever the cause, they’re not always easy to recover from.

How To Tell If You Are Having An Emotional Affair

If you are having an emotional affair, you may feel attracted to someone other than your spouse or partner. You may experience excitement and anticipation when you think of spending time with them. Perhaps your mood improves when you’re thinking about them.

Other signs of an emotional affair include increased secrecy, increased time spent apart from your spouse or partner, and extra attention paid to how others perceive your relationship with this person.

Emotional affairs can be just as damaging as physical ones, so it is important to pay attention to the signs that one is occurring to end it before it does any damage.

How To End Emotional Affairs At Work

Most emotional affairs start at work and most of those end at work. But for some people, ending an emotional affair with a coworker is difficult because the relationship has been going on for so long. The best way to break off an emotional affair with a coworker is to be direct and honest about what you’re feeling and why it’s time for the relationship to end.

The first step in ending your emotional affair with a coworker is acknowledging it’s happening. If you’ve been spending more time than usual talking to this person, or if they’ve made themselves seem more important than they really are, you may be already involved in an emotional affair with them. Look out for signs like:

  • A sudden increase in the amount of time you spend together outside of work hours;
  • Constant communication through text messages or social media;
  • Going out of your way to make sure that you run into each other at events; and

There is a growing sense of attachment between two people who didn’t want anything more than friendship but suddenly felt differently about each other now that they’ve become closer.

How To Get Over An Emotional Affair At Work

If you’re in the middle of an emotional affair at work, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. In fact, one out of five employees has had an emotional affair. And it doesn’t matter if you work in a small company or a large corporation—the workplace is full of people capable of having these kinds of relationships.

But while they can be hard to break off, they can also seriously impact your personal life and career. Here are some tips on how to get over an emotional affair at work:

  • Take time off from work. If possible, take some time off from the office so that you can focus on your personal life without being distracted by work concerns. This will help you get back into a routine and allow you to think through what happened between yourself and your coworker.
  • Talk with your friends about what happened. You may not want to tell anyone about what happened at first because it will feel embarrassing or even shameful for some reason—but talking about it with someone else will help clear away some of those feelings so that they don’t distract you from moving forward with your life at home or work!
  • Understand why you fell for this person. Was it because they were charismatic? Did they promise you something? This can help you identify the root of your feelings to avoid falling into a similar situation.
  • Focus on your career goals and take advantage of opportunities at work that will help make them happen—this will give you something else to focus on besides your emotions during this time, as well as help make sure that nothing like this happens again!

Divorce, emotional bereavement, and breakups all provoke painful and sometimes debilitating negative emotional experiences. The same is true of an affair with a co-worker. 

We know of no magical “cure” for the anguish of finding oneself in an emotional affair at work. However, there are some useful guidelines that may accelerate the healing process for those who have been there. The first is to realize that the pain does eventually subside.

I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. I work with individuals struggling with how to get over emotional affairs. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. If you’re interested in taking the first step toward working with me, you can schedule an introductory private coaching session.

Looking for more information about working through the repercussions of cheating? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Surviving Infidelity.

Dr. Karen Finn

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