A common plea: But, we're "just friends." However the "emotional connection" is quite obvious by the amount of time spent in communication and the "vibes" that are set off.
These emotional connections often arise at work or in a social context in which working intensively toward a common goal consumes energy.
Here are a few observations of the "just friends" emotional affair:
1. This person often struggles knowing where to draw the line. S/he often throws him/herself into something 100%. Other aspects of his/her life may suffer or be ignored. There often is a lack of personal balance between family, work, self care.The lover or "falling in love" emotional affair has a different twist.
2. He/she struggles with intimacy. (I want to be close to someone, but don't like intimacy.) The "just friends" emotional affair means neither spouse nor OP (other person) ever get "intimate." Neither relationship is fully consummated or has potential for growth.
3. Of course the "just friends" comment means either "stay away" or I'm, underneath all this, really confused about where I fit in relationships, what I want from them, or what they mean to me. There is an "emotional connection" to the OP that defies description. A sad kind of "stuckness or lostness."
The common complaint to the partner is: "I feel badly about this, and I don't want to hurt you, but, I'm not "in love" with you anymore. "I love you but I'm not in love." This often indicates:
1. This person usually has a need for drama and excitement. Life easily becomes a soap opera. Emotional juice from the fall-out of emotionally intense relationships reigns rather than living life from the core of who one is. (sociopathic need for stimulation?)There are many many subtle differences in affairs. Emotional affairs are only one kind.
2. The person “looking for love” is actually looking for the ideal, someone out there, who will project back to him/her that he/she is OK. No, more than OK, close to perfect. (narcissistic)
3. This person needs to be adored, or think another adores him/her, because there is a lack of inner strength and solid identity. The other becomes my world, because I lack a world. Being “in love” is the panacea for my emptiness. (narcissistic)
4. This type of affair often occurs when there is a “lull” in the marriage relationship. The responsibility of raising children, starting and maintaining a career, paying bills, etc. become the focal point for the couple. Romance becomes a foreign word. (pathological irresponsibility)
Once you begin to see and understand the differences, a new sense of empowerment overtakes you embark on a more confident path of resolution.