This might be a recipe for disaster, and it takes just a little common sense to realize that healthy ground rules should be acceptable for both partners." Meeting a male friend for a drink is one thing — but if you're going out of your way to cover up everything you do, then it doesn't really take a rocket scientist to figure out that you feel at least a little guilty about what you're doing. If you're erasing his messages, neglecting to tell your partner about one-on-one meet-ups, and feeling guilty about your feelings, then there's a fair chance you're having an emotional affair, says Erika Boissiere, marriage and family therapist and founder of The Relationship Institute of San Francisco.
Remember: Splitting the occasional pizza with a buddy shouldn't make you feel like a thief about to commit the ultimate heist. "The person completely fills your mind's mental space (you think about him/her constantly or obsessively)," Walfish says.
And there are healthy ways to do that, like joining a class, book club, scheduling regular dinner dates with friends each month, or even simply Skyping with family when you're too busy for regular visits.
All of these efforts will enrich your life and broaden your social circle so that you don't expect 24/7 attention from your partner.
"This does create a situation of 'temptation,' and not everything that takes place online stays online.
People are bolder when hiding behind a screen, and often click on send without thinking first.
But there's a chance it has more to do with your needs than it does your crush's perfect body.
Never want to talk about real, meaningful things with your spouse?
Sure, a social networking site can't technically harm a marriage (Mark Zuckerberg isn't physically forcing you to send that message), but it still makes it dead easy for careless, impulsive people to sink their own marriages, says Dr. O'Connor, a licensed marriage, family therapist, relationship coach, and author of ."Technology has allowed people who might never risk having any kind of affair, to flirt online, and more," O'Connor says.
Instead of working together to bring back some of that passion and intensity, it's often easier to seek thrills outside of the relationship."Affairs are a symptom of a relationship gone awry," Bossiere says.
"Benefits of an affair can include a chance to have a meaningful relationship repair with your current spouse, falling in love with the person you are having the affair with or a chance to start over with another that may be a better fit for you now.
But, Boissiere says if you find your sex life unsatisfying because you secretly wish you could be sleeping with your crush instead of your actual partner, Houston, you have a problem.
Many long-term relationships and marriages become "comfortable" after a few years and some partners may find themselves longing for a time when their spouse was electrified just by the sight of them.
If you're revealing feelings about your partner to your crush that you haven't even told your partner, this is a sure sign you're growing too emotionally attached to another person.