Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?

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seekingvision

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Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« on: September 24, 2014, 01:38:15 PM »
I read about emotional affairs on this and other forums a lot.  Most people equate them with adultery to a degree. 

I am not sure I agree.  Perhaps I do not understand what others are talking about when the say emotional affair.  I will share my understadings and invite others to share theirs.  I wanted to post this topic because I was unsure where to put it, but I realized it was a religious matter because these definitions would be a matter of what one believes.

I will start by stating some background beliefs of mine.  I believe that marriage is a God invented thing.  I believe that God does have the right to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies and that he has rules regarding sexuality.  I believe that there is pretty little said about marriage and the marriage commitment in the bible in terms of the emotional part and love and all that. 

I think that the modern church has put a lot of pressure on marriage.  I think that prudishness, and judgementalism and other things have made people depend too much on their spouses as the everything in their lives.  I do not think a husband or wife can be another person everything and that pretending such sets people up for not having needs met and being tempted to fail.   

I think it is okay to have deep emotional connections with members of the opposite sex.   I think that it is inevitable that we will find ourselves attracted to another person sexually at times.  I do not think this is a sin in its self.   

I define an emotional affair as being when you let an emotional connection grow with a person that you share a deep sexual attraction with and you are always playing with fire.  We might not be able to help the feelings but putting ourselves in harms way is not wise.

Otherwise having a deep emotional connection and friend ship with a member of the opposite sex is not something I perceive as being wrong.  I have very close male friend ships.  They keep me sane,  I am mentored by them and these people give me the inspiration to keep going and doing the right thing because I see them doing the same.  I feel love and respect from such relationships.  I spend time with these men in the presence of their wives or their family or at social gatherings.  Not in private. 

I understand that others would think that such a thing is wrong because my H is not the source.  I say that God made a man who cannot provide certain things and I am unreasonable to ask them of him.  He is not a leader, he is not a wise person, he is not patient, he is not so many things.

I have read in so many thread, my H was having an emotional affair at work, then everyone jumps on and crashes in with that is wrong it is adultery, cheating etc etc etc.  I guess I am wondering where the lines are typically drawn and what most people mean when they use that term.

I know good Christian people who have what many would call a "work husband" or "work wife".  A person they interact with at work.  they become like a member of each others family.  They have to watch each others back and collaborate to get the job done.  They spend time together eating lunches, or driving clients around and the like.  These people become close and can read each others minds and know each others emotional states at a glance.  Is this an emotional affair?

Maybe emotional affair means you suspect but have not caught real adultery yet, and that is all you can call it?  I am not sure.  I just noticed that many pile on when this term is used and all seem to get it and I am always left wondering.

I can be pretty negative about what the Bible says regarding marriage.  Look at he old testament.  If a woman is raped, her father is to be paid, an she get married to the man who raped her.  There are so many examples of where a woman's feelings are not part if the equation. Get married do your job and don't have sex with anyone but the hubby.   Why would a wife's feelings all the sudden count when applied to a friendship.

Back to an earlier point.  I think that the modern church often puts pressure on marriages that are not biblical.  I grew up going to a large protestant denomination that many consider "Southern". No Drinking,  No dancing.  yada yada yada.  You wold think your life ended when  when you married.  I now attend a nondenominational church and mariage issues are discussed openly in bible studies and sermons.  Men and woman talk openly in fellowships together and laugh.  There is even adult humor that is not nasty in these settings.  In a sermon for example, as a joke the pastor will say things like I used to preach longer sermons on sin, but you folks are getting so old I could cut out the stuff you could not do any more and now I learned there are new meds out so guys can forget that lunch after church today.  Or if he comes into the choir when we are robbing up and chatting with each other and two people are laughing at a joke, he will call out to someone will "you sit between them since yada is not hear today.  Someone will call back, your just jealous.   

 

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2014, 08:29:42 AM »
For me the bible and modern churches are different things. I prefer to take the scriptures as a whole by itself apart from church influence. So that said, I see the scriptures encourage community and interaction with many. Jesus had friends of both sexes. There's nothing I've read in scripture that says one person fulfills your every need.

When you said marriage is a God invented thing I thought of Adam and Eve they were to complement each other - to complete - as a man and woman together complete each other. Everything needed to produce a family, bringing different skills and each to play a role in the family circle physically, emotionally, mentally. But there would be others in their life, children, families, many many others.

An affair needs to have at least one married person to qualify as an affair. Otherwise it's not an affair in the sense we're discussing, it's just two single people getting closer. An emotional affair has a component of emotional intimacy and I don't believe being close to someone isn't wrong in itself. You use a phrase that is telling. "Not in private" 

First thought is I don't know of any examples in the scripture where time between sexes married or single spent in private didn't lead to some form of intimacy. Rather Jesus spent time in groups of people often over dinner and sometimes conversed in this setting with one person so felt closer to some more than others.

Second, if how you act when others are around is not how you act in private then something is being hidden. There's an intimacy shared in private not revealed in public. Private jokes and excluding of others when in public this is another sign of emotional intimacy. This is a where I see a problem of an emotional affair beginning. Moving from simple closeness to something more intimate.

An emotional affair has to do with intimacy the same way a sexual affair has to do with intimacy. Emotional intimacy.

My personal opinion is my mate should be my closest ally and that my emotional attachment to him should be greater than my attachment to anyone else but not to the exclusion of emotional attachment to others in my life. For me an emotional affair means being more emotionally attached to another more than my mate and if combined with increased distance between my mate and I, my marriage is in danger and its a signal something needs repair.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 09:10:54 AM by Spring Butterfly »
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healingnow

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 01:30:51 PM »
Can I throw this out there?  I thought this was wrong and I called it an emotional affair.  My h came home from work one day and said he'd been talking to a woman (that he's known for a while) and she is looking for a new job.  He told her he didn't know if he was hiring right now, but invited her to his office and lunch.

The reason I called this an emotional affair was because:

1. Why did he wait until he had several conversations with her before telling me?
2. How well did he really know her before?
3. Why invite her to office and lunch when he's not really hiring now?  (Supply, BTW this was pre OOTF)

When I told him how I felt….he said "She's married."  He got all defensive by me just telling my feelings??? Next he said "I won't have her to the office, jeez it's nothing."

Sorry, but this is what happens when the trust isn't there, and the emotional and physical contact isn't there. Oh and yeah, I'm accused yet again for being unreasonable and questioning, project much??    Any thoughts??

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 09:57:48 AM »
Healingnow, I looked back at your posts to see why it would be triggering. Based on the distance you have between you and your husband emotionally and physically you share here and some of the other posts I've scanned I can understand why this would make you uneasy.

IME, in and of itself not necessarily an emotional affair, I've often had lunch in groups and one on one with members of both sexes but it was business only with colleagues. But in the context of your already distant issues understandable. The big question is does he admit to their being distance between you and is he willing to work on this in anyway? I apologize I don't have much time to catch up on your back threads to fully understand where you're at.

On the one hand he told you she was coming. If he is a hiring manager, with the actual job description of being able to hire people should an opening arise again it seems rather normal to meet for lunch. But then again if he knows her for some time what would he find out at lunch that he doesn't already know.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 09:59:27 AM by Spring Butterfly »
Each and every contact with a PD person results in damage. Plan accordingly and make time to heal. See Toolbox for tips. Individuation is the key to emotional freedom.

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healingnow

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 10:30:35 AM »
SpringButterfly,

He has a small business so there really isn't a need to hire. He told me she called him to possibly get leads to someone who may be hiring (in same type of business) and then he said well tell me what you're looking for. He told her he wasn't looking to hire right now, but he would keep her name and number for the future.  BTW- he has no intention of hiring at all in the future.

He is well aware of the distance between us. He has said he would try to change, by talking to me more about his thoughts/feelings, but now I realize he can't. And so does he. He tells me he can be open and talkative with others because there are no emotional ties with them.

So I guess this was such a big trigger for me because back when this happened, he knew darn well he wasn't hiring and it really was just a way to show off his office and have a lunch date IMO. My anger from my needs not being met came through and this jumped out at me like a big red flag. Why would he come home and tell me, is it to make it seem like it's okay since he's telling me? I guess I would rather not even know what he is doing.

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DealingWithIt

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 01:41:00 PM »
I was in an emotional affair with my previous wife...  I define it as when you share more with someone else than your spouse, especially emotional feelings.  You hide things from your spouse about this person and you can't wait to talk to or see this other person more than your spouse.  You envision a future being with that person instead of your spouse.

I see it as wrong and "cheating" because it directly takes away from intimacy in marriage.  Your relationship with your spouse is supposed to be the most intimate relationship you have.

Unfortunately, when our needs for intimacy are not met by our spouse, we often go looking elsewhere, as I did.  It often does lead to physical affairs.

Friendships are different.  They're generally not deep emotional, intimate bonds and are public.  With friends you don't fantasize about a future with that person.

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Mare Kaio

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 12:44:52 AM »
What DealingWithIt and SpringButterfly said...

I think that once you keep something secret from your SO, then you're crossing a line. I mostly interact with men (I'm female and heterosexual), because of the type of job I have and because of the kind of hobbies I have. I've gotten quite close with some of the men I interact with. But nothing I say to them or do with them I would ever keep secret from my partner. I don't necessarily tell him everything (simply because it's not important), but, in principle, I'd be fine with him knowing anything and everything about my friendships and professional relationships. (Though I don't think it's okay if he would want to check everything -- there needs to be trust in a r/s.) Also, all the men I interact with know that I'm in a committed r/s and that I don't have any interest in some deeper (emotional or sexual) connection with someone else.

Context is everything. If your gut feeling says that there is something wrong with a lunch date or something else that might be completely innocuous in principle, then it's worth listening to it. Always trust yourself, and be true to yourself.

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healingnow

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 01:17:27 AM »
What DealingWithIt and SpringButterfly said...

Context is everything. If your gut feeling says that there is something wrong with a lunch date or something else that might be completely innocuous in principle, then it's worth listening to it. Always trust yourself, and be true to yourself.

He has told me a lot of little lies and he lied to me over something serious (not cheating though) he kept saying I'm telling the truth but I trusted my gut and he was caught in his lie. Since then, I can't trust him.  Several times throughout our marriage he said he would never cheat. If we had a normal relationship with emotional intimacy I'm sure I wouldn't be the least bit worried. He broke the trust in our marriage and by keeping secrets from me certainly isn't helping him to regain it back.

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Mare Kaio

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 01:26:02 AM »
I understand. xSO also lied on a regular basis. I didn't trust him, and, in hindsight, I'm quite sure he crossed the line with another woman. I don't think anyone who lies on a regular basis can be trusted. The basis of trust is honesty. Period.

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seekingvision

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 06:32:15 PM »
The reason I specified that I meet publically and not privately with the close male friends is not because I would act differently with them in private, but because it would be cause for pain to their spouses and potentially to mine, and others who thought they were observing wrong doing.  We are not to have the appearance of evil, or be a stumbling block to others.

As to having intimacy that I don't have with my spouse...... I could do that by shaking hands with a sales man or having a cashier laugh at a joke I told.    There is almost zero nada connection.

The night my father died, I came home from taking my mother to her house after we left hospice.  I was unsure if he was sleeping and woke him to let him know I was home.  I had called about 45 minutes earlier.  He did not respond so I repeated myself.  He said, yeah, I heard you and rolled over.  I went down stairs and went to bed in the basement and then about 10 mins later, He got up and adjusted the AC, then went to the bathroom then went to the kitchen and made a sandwich and watched the news or youtube.

Like I said, I get more emotional connection getting change at a toll booth.  Am I always having emotional affairs.  LOL 

 

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healingnow

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2014, 11:09:09 PM »
Hi SV,

Was your h emotionally connected to you when you first met him? Mine was. It was so over the top. I thought wow this is great no one ever treated me with such attentiveness before.  It's just mind boggling to go from that to nothing.  :stars:

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1Brightnight

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2014, 04:30:38 AM »
YES, they're wrong and they hurt! Betrayal is in the eye of the beholder. Here are two good article, worth reading.

Snippet: Often, people who have close extramarital relationships feel perfectly justified as long as it isn't sexual. Then there is no betrayal, no threat to the marriage. However, if their spouses think otherwise and feel hurt, threatened or emotionally abandoned, it becomes a marital problem. And as with any marital problem, partners need to protect each others feelings. This means that the emotionally involved partner should honor the feelings of his or her spouse whether he or she agrees with or understands it completely. Mutual care taking is what loving relationships are all about. It's essential to remember that betrayal is unquestionably in the eye of the beholder.
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michele-weinerdavis/the-truth-about-emotional_b_1958709.html


------and----


Excerpt: Emotional affairs occur when a deep emotional attachment or bond is created with someone outside of your relationship and it consumes your every waking thought and action. This type of affair involves sharing deep secrets and wishes, innermost thoughts and a transference of the intimate connection you'd normally have with your partner or spouse to someone else instead. It can begin innocently enough, at a time when you feel things aren't quite right with your current love and you decide to pull someone else in to play a role you feel is lacking in your partner.

http://www.wikihow.com/End-an-Emotional-Affair

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NeedingAnswers

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2014, 11:09:21 AM »
If we are basing our discussion on the Bible then I thought I would post a couple scriptures here that IMO apply, hope they are helpful~
Mat 5:27  You have heard that it was said to the ancients: "Do not commit adultery." Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18
Mat 5:28  But I say to you, Everyone looking at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If someone is looking at another in a longing/lusting way they have already done more then Jesus says they can in a marriage. If we are making deep emotional connections then we are heading in the wrong direction, if we are thinking of that other intimately then we have crossed the line.
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omui

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2014, 05:19:02 PM »
Haven't read all the posts.  But this is what I have to say about it.

It's just human, from time to time, to think about someone else when you're married.  The problem comes when you willfully allow yourself to focus on it.  Or, to engage in an opposite sex friendship where you put yourself in a position that it may enter into a physical relationship.

Or, one just "fantasizes."  My husband actually did this, writing songs and poetry for some 20 years into our marriage, for another woman, someone he knew briefly in college.  Then years later tried to contact her.  It was very demoralizing for me.  But that's how we codependents roll.

That said, I do have an opposite sex friendship with a man I've known since the 8th grade.  We were the class nerds.  Anyway, he was the first person I called when my discovery day came (the affair).  Husband had taken off with the woman, telling me he was going on a trip alone.  Three days later I found out he was with OW.

Anyway, my friend was there for me.  I could call him any hour of the day or night.  He stayed with me for hours (via phone, he lives 2000 miles away).

Long story.  Husband came back, wanted me to end this friendship.  Not so much.  After everything he'd done for me, keeping me on my feet, keeping me to put one foot in front of the other to take care of my kids during those very dark days.

Plus, he was an instrument toward bringing me into the Church (another story).  And if not for the Church, I'd seriously probably be dead by now.

I went to visit him about three years ago.  My husband was not thrilled.  No.  He was, in fact, a nervous wreck the entire time.  And talked about being schmoosed.  It was ridiculous.  I think he lost 30 lbs that month. 

Let him worry.

I went.  We had a fabulous time catching up on old times, and new.  And I can tell you that nothing happened.  Nothing.  It's simply a good friendship which I value deeply and will not give up because husband is jealous.

We talk on the phone.  He's always there.  But, I did draw a line and made a rule that there would be no more talking about my marriage.  Especially in the shambles that it is in.  I simply won't talk to him about it.  I'll talk to my mom and one girlfriend.  And even that, only from time to time because I think they're just sick of hearing it and  that they also think I should sh*t or get off the pot.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

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1Brightnight

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Re: Emotional Affairs: What are they are? Are they really wrong?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2014, 07:42:37 PM »
Mmmm... so you got to play IWFY and ..NIGYSOAB? Can be found in (Eric Berne, MD) Games People Play.