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Sunday, May 17

Don't Ignore the Signs: How Emotional Infidelity Can Ruin Your Relationship

Emotional infidelity can start with a simple hi or a wink. It begins in a boardroom or a chatroom. One spouse says, "What's the problem? We're only friends."

The other spouse can't believe the reassurances. So the jealousy builds and a wedge is driven between partners. Sometimes nothing really is going on, and sometimes an affair is in progress. It's only a matter of time.

So how can you tell if your spouse is a potential cheater? How can you stop a relationship from becoming romantic outside of your marriage? Here are five topics to think about before determining if your marriage is in the danger zone.

1. Secrecy: Do you feel as though your partner could be telling you more about his or her new friend? Or do you hide the details of your platonic relationship from your spouse? If so, why? It's best not to keep secrets from your partner, even if you think he or she will be hurt, angry or jealous. If you want a successful relationship, trust and honesty is the one factor for marriage that should not be compromised.

2. Displaced Trust: Is information that should only be shared between husband and a wife, shared outside of the relationship? Topics like sexual intimacy, irreconcilable differences, personal finances, and detailed accounts of your partner's shortcomings are best left within the constructs of your marriage relationship.

3. Comparing: Does your spouse compare you to friend(s) of the opposite sex often? Or do YOU feel as though your spouse could improve in the areas that your special friend excels? Comparing once or twice may not be a problem, but habitual comparison is a warning sign.

4. Time Management: What type of time do you spend together as a married couple? Is it mainly dutiful, like paying bills or going to conferences for the kids? Or do you actually date-- one-on-one, no kids, family or friends around? If not, and you find yourself, or your partner, engaged in date like activities outside of your relationship, stop it. Either invite your spouse or don't do it anymore. Coffee talk can turn to pillow talk in the blink of an eye.

5. Attraction: Do you feel as though your spouse like the way his/her special friend looks? Are you attracted to the way your friend looks or the way he/she does something? If so, address this issue with your partner and then try to refocus your attention on each other, rather than the outside party.

If three to five of these topics need to be addressed in your marriage, I urge you to get professional help either from your religious leader or from a professional counselor. -Keishia Lee Louis

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