Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Emotional Affairs

posted by Michele Olson

Ask your Grandma if she were ever attempted to have an emotional affair and chances are…she wouldn’t know what you were talking about. Our work-a-day world filled with chat rooms, emails and extended work hours has led to a fairly recent phenomenon known as an emotional affair.

According to an oprah.com article featured on Cnn.com/living, emotional cheating steers clear of physical intimacy, but does involve the same type of secrecy, deception and therefore betrayal of the traditional affair.

The article points out that while people may think they are fooling themselves that they haven’t really done anything, it’s the breach of trust more than the sexual misconduct that is the most painful part of an affair.

The problem is even worse when we consider where a person is putting their “energy” when they aren’t happy with their marriage or relationship. Instead of seeking out marriage education or some kind of counseling…they are putting their efforts and need for attention in the wrong place. That’s the recipe for an affair; emotional or otherwise.

The story highlights these points which can be a good benchmark for understanding if you have been flirting with an emotional affair:

1) You are confiding in a friend who happens to be someone of the opposite sex, things you aren’t telling your spouse.
2) You hide the amount of time you are spending with “your friend” from your spouse.
3) You are flirting or spending a lot of time with old lovers.
4) You are devoting your energies and time to “your friend” and not putting the pro- active energy into working on your relationship, possibly with outside help.

I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. Relationships between co-workers and internet friends that crossed a line of what was appropriate, all while the involved person goes to great lengths to explain how “nothing is going on.”

What do you think? Have you ever been tempted by or been in an emotional affair? Have you been on the other end when your loved one was in one? What thoughts can you share?


Dana Twichell said...

I absolutely agree with this, and both people have to take responsibility. Unfortunately, I think single girls are a huge culprit- starved for attention and relationships, they reach out to the wrong people. I know both genders are guilty, but most of the time I see married men trying to help a single girl in distress, and it becomes something they didn't intend. It's a married person's responsibility proactively prevent that type of emotional intimacy and not mislead, but it's also the single person's responsibility to respect marriage.

thinkmarriage.org said...

Thanks for the insight Dana...the more we as a whole can promote the importance of marriage, the more everyone...single or married, will value it and support it, including the issue you bring up. Keep blogging!

Susie said...

I currently living this, only I can't seem to make him understand. My husband contacted an ex last year and has been talking to her ever since. There has been months when there is no contact then there is months that there are 4-12 calls ranging from 15 mins to about 2 hours. When I question him I always get the story she is 300 miles away, I am not doing anything. His latest is that it is just his escape from reality, like when I read a book. When I bring it up I am the crazy over jealous wife. He says I should not be jealous he is here with me, not there with her. I don't see that as the case, but what can I realistically do. I don't want to leave him. Your article really hit home. I wish I could get my husband to understand.

thinkmarriage.org said...

Hello Susie,
I'm sorry for the pain of having to experience an emotional affair.
I'm going to recommend a Redbook article because it quotes Steven Stosney, a Ph.d and Author who may give you some insight about what you can do. He wrote an excellent booked called "How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It."
Here's the article:
If your husband will not seek out help for this situation then be sure and seek it out for yourself. Don't quit working on the situation. Please let us know what happens...and I hope you will continue to pursue avenues to help you with the current circumstances. Many people have gone on to have successful happy relationships after these types of behaviors. http://www.beyondaffairs.com/
This is another resource to explore.
Take care.

Susie said...

Thanks for the URLs I will check them out, and I will also let you know what happens.