When it comes to the dissolution of marriage, each state in the U.S. has its own set of laws and regulations. In this article, we will specifically focus on Tennessee (TN) and delve into whether emotional affairs constitute grounds for divorce.
Understanding Emotional Affairs
An emotional affair is a relationship that doesn't involve physical intimacy but encompasses emotional attachment and closeness. It's a connection where one person shares their thoughts, feelings, and emotions with someone outside their relationship to the point that it affects their connection with their partner. Unlike a physical affair, an emotional affair is not about sex; it's about an emotional bond that forms between two people who are not married to each other.
Can a Marriage Recover from an Emotional Affair?
Emotional affairs can be as damaging, if not more so, than physical affairs. The primary reason being that they attack the very core of a marriage – trust and emotional intimacy. When a spouse begins to share their innermost thoughts, fears, dreams, and feelings with someone else, they create a distance from their partner, leading to diminished intimacy in the marriage.
Loss of trust is another significant harm caused by emotional affairs. When a spouse discovers that their partner has been emotionally intimate with someone else, it can lead to feelings of betrayal and deception, similar to those experienced when a physical affair is revealed. This betrayal can further lead to feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, and resentment.
It is also important to note that the long-term impact of an emotional affair can be profound. It can cause lasting damage to a couple's relationship and their family dynamics. Children, especially, can be negatively affected by the tension and possible separation that may follow such an affair.
Is Divorce the Only Option After an Emotional Affair?
Despite the damage caused by emotional affairs, there are alternative avenues to explore before considering divorce. Professional counseling or therapy can help couples navigate through the aftermath of an emotional affair. It can provide a safe space for both partners to express their feelings and find ways to rebuild trust and intimacy.
Open communication is crucial. The partner involved in the emotional affair should be willing to cut ties with the third party and focus on rebuilding their relationship with their spouse. Patience, understanding, and time are key elements in healing the wounds caused by an emotional affair.
Tennessee's Divorce Laws
Tennessee's laws concerning divorce are outlined in Statute 36-4-1011. Adultery is listed as one of the grounds for divorce from bonds of matrimony. However, the law primarily focuses on physical infidelity, defined as voluntary sexual contact. This raises the question: does an emotional affair fall under the category of adultery?
Despite the profound impact emotional affairs can have on a marriage, current Tennessee law does not consider emotional affairs as adultery. This means that while emotional cheating can certainly lead to the end of a marriage, it might not serve as legal grounds for divorce under the banner of adultery.
Get Legal Counsel
At Conner & Roberts, PLLC, we provide comprehensive legal guidance in divorce proceedings. Our experienced attorneys handle complex and emotionally sensitive negotiations and court cases with skill and finesse. Our track record demonstrates a consistent ability to secure favorable outcomes for our clients.
We understand how emotionally impactful divorce cases can be, especially if infidelity is involved. We believe that every case deserves a personalized approach, and we strive to minimize the stress and anxiety often associated with divorce proceedings.
Schedule an initial consultation by calling (423) 299-4489 today.