Your partner’s attention is beginning to fade away. You feel the withdrawal with little or no idea about what is going on. Your partner may not be having a full-on affair or actively engaged in infidelity, but he or she might be being led away by a third-party threat to your relationship.
What is happening is that your partner is engaging in another type of relationship with a “friend” which is appearing to increase in value as this friendship deepens. The third-party may actually be innocent enough but is far more often intentionally “grooming” your partner to serve their intimate and possibly even evil desires.
Grooming is a process used by sexual predators, psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, and other toxic individuals to lure victims away from their primary relationship and they create an emotional bond with the victim which grows until it takes precedence over your relationship, then the predator exerts whatever plan they have carefully prepared for.
It starts off so apparently innocently, as the predator will exploit any potential topic of interest which is meaningful to your partner, their next potential victim. The key is to gradually become your partner’s most beloved friend, to slowly over time cause your partner to trust the predator more than you.
They will use any variety of ways to attach themselves to their prospective victim. Opportunities might be to offer support in your partner’s interests, especially if he or she can find one that you may not be expressing a great deal of interest in. They create common ground to form the foundation of the relationship which is the basis of this seemingly innocent relationship which will be increasingly exploitative unbeknownst to the victim as they are slowly enveloped and entrapped, not unlike quicksand.
Exclusivity is an important component of this predatory relationship. They will build confidence with the victim insisting that they share sensitive information that would be not shared with any other human being.
After the foundation has been laid, the predator insists that the relationship be regarded as highly sophisticated and allowed to flourish under an umbrella of secrecy, as “normal” people may not understand the innocent nature of this relationship, and might think that there may be a sexual component which there is clearly not (at least not yet).
Then the predator establishes “importance” above any other existing relationships in the victim’s life, for no one, not his/her husband/wife, friends, family, coworkers, mentor, or priest can be trusted as much as this snake in the grass, and in time the natural cognition of the victim can be worn-down, until they feel this connection deep inside, in the most sensitive areas of their being.
Later, the predator will attempt to exploit the victim’s inner circle, like showing up and working, or “running into them by accident” when the potential victim is out with friends and/or family. As they get to get exposed to these people, using misdirection, this person will begin to cause the victim to question the trustworthiness of these individuals who may be seeking to exploit him or her.
Clues to your partner’s being manipulated by such a third-party snake might include
You don’t know why it feels like your connection to your partner is fading away, he or she seems to admire you less, and is beginning to criticize you more.
Your notice your partner talking more and more about a new friend or reconnecting with an old friend and recounts comments or observations which appear to be meaningful.
Unusual technology behaviors like increased security measures regarding telephone, computer, and other communications devices may indicate the preservation of “secret” communications.
Your partner may be developing new interest in activities and/or projects which may require time away from home.
Your partner may be staying late at work, or you notice he or she is making more time to spend with “the boys” before coming home, may be spending weekends on special assignments, training, or taking classes.
Once you become aware of this it is time to open a line of communication with your partner about what might be distracting him or her from your relationship. It is perfectly fine for you to express concerns about your feeling that your connection is fading away. Just make sure that you do not become accusatory. Just express your feelings and allow your partner to respond.
Be prepared for your partner to respond with how innocent this relationship is, becoming defensive, insisting that “nothing is going on,” and accusing you of accusing him or her of having an affair and insinuating that there is sexual infidelity (which you have been careful to avoid). Simply and calmly re-state your assertion that you are not accusing anyone of anything, just noticing changes and seeking to reconnect with your partner in love.
Keep the line of communication open and non-threatening.
This is the beginning. If you have caught it in time, you may be able to rekindle your relationship and foil the plans of the person who is trying to set your partner free from your relationship.
A qualified relationship coach can help you and your partner work through the issues and identify and deal with the third-party threat to your relationship.
Be aware that even if this is only an emotional affair and there has been no sexual component, you may agree with so many who have lost someone they love to such a predator, that the damage to your relationship and your heart is far more severe than had it just been a sexual affair. Note that your partner will also feel the same way when he or she awakens to the fact that they have been duped, exploited, and victimized.