In our very technical world, the opportunity to have an emotional affair is certainly easier than it was for our parents and grandparents. Cell phones, tablets and computers can link us to countless possibilities. It can happen when you least expect it with a co-worker, friend or even an acquaintance on Facebook.
It may start innocently enough when you find a kind ear that actually listens to what you say. You vent about your spouse. He is sympathetic, and says you deserve to be treated better. Later, a smile spreads across your face when you realise some of the weight on your shoulders has lifted. You secretly look forward to your next conversation with him.
Whether you are talking to him online, the phone or in person, the emotional bonding seed has sprouted. At first your conversations are sporadic and about your husband's shortcomings. As the weeks fly by with you thinking more and more about this other man who you now consider your close friend, maybe your husband senses something is different about you. Hubby asks you if something is wrong. You smile and tell him no. He stares at you suspiciously as your eyes twinkle and you avoid his gaze and tell him you need to run an errand. Unable to resist the temptation you sit in the car at the store and talk to the other man on the phone. You both giggle and babble, talking about anything without embarrassment maybe flirting as well as teasing each other about sex. You return home with a flushed face, hammering heart and a secret feeling of hope that you have not felt in years. While you cook dinner your hubby lingers nearby trying to kiss you and engage you in conversation but you give him the brush off.
As the days go by tension in the air thickens as you stay lost in your thoughts about the other man, all the while hubby has been watching you closely. He grows angrier until he finally erupts and accuses you of having an affair. You laugh and deny it even as he says your always on the computer or on your phone talking to that guy! Shaking your head, you deny, deny and deny that you're anything more than friends. Your conscience may whisper... are you sure about that? Of course it's not an affair you tell yourself. It's only talking and flirting. Nobody is getting hurt by it, right? Wrong.
Signs that your friendship with another man is crossing the line.
- He consumes your every thought.
- You feel closer to him than your husband.
- He is the first thing you think about each morning and the last thing you think about when you fall asleep.
- You look forward to the next time you talk to him.
- You mentally compe the ways he is better than hubby.
- You try to keep your friendship with the other man a secret from your husband.
- You think about and/or secretly spend time with him.
- Your conversations and/or time with him leave you lusting for him.
- You dread spending anytime with your husband.
- You have become so emotionally distant from your husband and emotionally close to the other man that you move out of the bedroom.
If you are having an emotional affair, the distance between you and your husband will expand until the emotional gap stretches so far that it snaps. Even if you tell yourself that you're not cheating, listen to your heart. Whether you still love your husband or not, its not fair to either of you to stay in the marriage if your heart longs for another man. Put yourself in your husband's shoes. Would you feel betrayed and hurt if hubby had a secret female friend that he can talk to about anything? A woman he can compare to you?
I am guilty of having an emotional affair, several in fact. The marriage had crumbled long before I did it. When I finally decided to say 'fuck this shit' and emotionally withdraw, the marriage very slowly disintegrated like ashes blowing away in the wind. Do I regret my emotional affairs? No, because those friendships gave me hope that made me strong enough to make it through the last days of that horrible marriage. If you want to save your marriage then, yes you will have to end the emotional affair in order to learn to communicate with your husband again. Rebuilding that emotional bond you once shared will bring you back together as you slowly walk away from the other man.