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Infidelity in a marriage often leads to divorce as it indicates a significant betrayal of trust between spouses. However, affairs don’t always need to be physical in nature to cause problems within a relationship. As explained by Very Well Mind, emotional affairs can be just as damaging to a marriage and may also lead to divorce if the issue isn’t rectified. 

Platonic relationships outside of marriage are common, and even healthy in many cases. It’s good for married couples to be friends with others, provided those relationships are based on mutual respect and friendship. The main difference between such wholesome platonic relationships and emotional affairs is secrecy. When a spouse has a friendship with a person of the opposite sex, there shouldn’t be a need to keep the friendship secret or withhold information. Emotional affairs also have a component of sexual attraction, although this may not be acted on initially. 

There are also other signs of emotional affairs that spouses should look for. A person will be more excited to share personal information with their friend than their spouse. Time spent conversing with the friend, even via text or email, will also be highly anticipated. There are often beliefs that the friend is more understanding than the spouse, which creates feelings of tension and isolation within a marriage. 

When questioned, the person carrying on the emotional affair will claim that it’s only a friendship that he or she shares with other party. While this may be true, emotional affairs often lead to one spouse withdrawing from the other. This can entail a lack of physical or emotional intimacy or continuous bickering between a married couple. When involved in an emotional affair, a person often keeps their phone closely guarded or continuously deletes browsing history. This is to prevent evidence of the affair being found out.