A thriving social life is an essential part of a balanced life. Time spent with friends and co-workers can help you relieve stress and give you the chance to talk (and gain insight) about your more intimate relationships.
But if you're not careful, these relationships can cross a line and begin to threaten the sanctity of your partnership. Social affairs can start without you even noticing - here are five signs you've slipped into an unintended social affair:
1. Intense attention
Social affairs often begin with an excessive amount of attention paid to one person. Even when you're all together in a group, you may find yourself locking eyes with a single coworker or sitting a little too close to a lone acquaintance. The crowd fades away when you two are together.
All romantic relationships face issues and the best person to help resolve those issues is your partner. But if you're having a social affair, you confide in someone else instead of talking to your partner about your problems. Your needs, wants and innermost thoughts are entrusted in this third party instead of your love.
3. Partner complaints
Confessing your doubts about your relationship opens the door for your "friend" to fill in the gaps. They might genuinely be trying to help you fix the flaws in your partnership, but this compassionate and caring behavior often also breeds attraction ... turning a social and emotional affair into a physical one.
4. Two's company
Social affairs can't hide forever. Soon other people in your social group will start talking about the cozy relationship you two have developed. They will begin to feel uncomfortable and excluded when you two are around each other. They may even express their concern to your spouse about things getting too close between "friends". Soon, you've alienated all of your friends and your spouse because you've chosen to spend your time confiding with one friend or coworker.
Your partner may not be as extroverted or socially keen, but you should still make an effort to invite then to social events. If you prefer to spend time with or be around this other person, and actively discourage your partner from joining in on the fun, a social affair probably isn't far behind.
Social affairs can sneak up on you. Outing after outing, month after month, casual friendships turn into small touches and lingering looks ... And before you know it you feel closer to someone who isn't your partner. It is possible to take a step back and calm things down once they've veered over the line, but only if you know the signs of a social affair. Evaluate your friendships honestly and disconnect before things go too far - don't lose your spouse over a too-cozy friendship.