Emotional cheating may not involve sexual contact, but it can nevertheless be destructive to a relationship. When interactions create emotional unavailability that interferes with an existing relationship, it is emotional infidelity, says psychotherapist Michael Formica. You are smart to avoid becoming entangled in such a scenario with a married friend. Being aware of how such infidelity works can help you to avoid it.
1. Avoid Being Alone
Whether it's meeting for coffee or texting privately on your phone after his wife is asleep, avoid interactions with your married friend that leave you free to communicate without the presence of others. Take care not to say anything that you wouldn't feel comfortable saying in front of his wife or your own romantic partner. For example, if you're in a meeting at work discussing the best graphic to use on the company's website, that's fine. Holing up in your office and chatting about his dissatisfaction with his marriage is not.
2. Affirm Your Values
Use self-affirmations to help you to maintain your resolve, advises psychologist Jeremy Dean. Remind yourself of your core values by stating them out loud. Repeating affirmations such as, "I believe in fidelity and commitment" and "I am a respectful person who honors others" can help you to avoid the temptation to move your relationship with a married man in an inappropriate direction. Your subconscious hears what you say out loud, so if you're proclaiming your respect for the position of the man's wife, you'll be less tempted to indulge your desire to turn him into your confidant.
3. Improve Your Life
If you're engaging in inappropriate emotional intimacy with a married man, you may be bored or otherwise dissatisfied with your life. Rather than adding the wrong kind of spice to life by pursuing such a relationship, add interest to your life by making new friends, developing new hobbies and otherwise seeking to live life to the fullest in ways that will produce positive outcomes in the future. If you focus on improving your salsa-dancing skills after work three times a week instead of meeting your married friend for drinks, in a couple of years you'll be an expert salsa dancer instead of someone who contributed to the breakup of a marriage.
4. Choose Friends Wisely
You'll find it easier to avoid engaging in an inappropriate affair if you choose friends who discourage you from such actions. On the other hand, if your friends are wild and free-wheeling people who have an "anything goes" attitude towards marriage, you'll be more likely to follow your feelings into what could turn out to be a real mess. Your moral compass can be affected by your friends, says psychiatrist Gail Saltz. The motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Since you will tend to become a composite of your five closest friends, choose wisely, and you'll be better able to resist temptation.