Reply To: Emotional affair

Reply To: Emotional affair

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tcoleTim Cole

Hi Milly,

I’m going to make some assumptions here. I’m assuming that you want to be loved and feel secure in your relationship, but you’re struggling with doubts and concerns that your husband wants to be with you. So, you want to know what he’s up to in order to reduce your uncertainty. When you ask him a lot of questions it comes across as accusatory in nature, which leads him to become defensive or less forthcoming with the facts. This pattern of interaction only makes you feel more anxious and concerned.

If this description hits home, try this the next time you’re feeling anxious and uncertain.

First, acknowledge where your feelings are coming from. You want to feel safe, loved, and secure, but have doubts. When these doubts arise, take note of how you typically deal with them. Write down how you react when you feel that way — perhaps you ask a lot of questions, snoop, let your imagination run wild? Next, evaluate how helpful those reactions are. Do your normal reactions help you feel more loved and secure? If not, try to write down different ways you could deal with your doubts and concerns. Some possible strategies: write down what you’re feeling… doing so can help reduce the intensity of the emotions you’re experiencing. Talk to someone who will listen to you, but won’t try to influence or control the outcome. Or share your feelings with your husband in a way that respects his needs as well. You could tell him… “I’m feeling insecure right now… I wanted to tell you how I’m feeling, rather than let my feelings get the best of me. I understand you might not want to talk about it, but I wanted to share how I’m feeling. You don’t have to respond.” And when you’re feeling uncertain or full of doubt, it can help to take a moment to be kind to yourself. You’re going through a lot and feeling anxiety can make it difficult to take a moment to show yourself kindness. If you can, take a few deep breaths, think about something that you can do for yourself to make you feel loved and special. Treating yourself with kindness during moments of doubt and uncertainty can help you feel more secure. If you can consistently find different ways of coping with your emotions, you will interact with your husband differently and hopefully notice a change in his behavior.

As for snooping… it rarely creates a sense of intimacy in the long run. If you snoop and find nothing — that can momentarily feel good, only reinforcing the desire to snoop when doubts emerge again. And it can also be very easy to take ambiguous information twist and it in ways that reinforce your fears. Snooping rarely helps couples get what they want — to feel loved, valued and respected.

Hope this helps.