The context of an emotional affair?
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The context of an emotional affair?

OK, my wife had some sort of an EA. She was drawn into it for the "fun" of it, and couldn't let go. To my knowledge, there was no flirting, sexting, or any suggestions of running away together.
They both admitted to idle chat about co -workers, and movie gossip, and shared interests. like movies, etc..

OK, forget her.....
Let's talk about others.

Can you tell me what the two people involved in these EA's talk about?
I assume there's no physical contact. So what the heck do you talk about?
Based on what I'm reading here, they seem very powerful, and in many cases, will result in a wayward spouse.

Seriously, how do these things work?
I can talk to someone online for hours, and easily fall in like with the words.... But without the physical stimulation, how can I be willing to break a marriage over an EA?

I would like to hear about some Real CONTEXT
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

I'll give you an example. My husband's emotional affair progressed along these lines:

First he began meeting her for coffee on Sundays. Then they began arranging other outings together - lunch during the work day, gettign together in the afternoons to go bike riding or cross-country skiing (often while I was at work), or to outdoor events in town like music festivals, etc.

Then they moved on to him going to her place for dinner. They began taking classes together - like meditative dance workshops or spiritual discussion groups.

Lots of emails, lots of phone calls. She became his best friend. He turned to her for all of his emotional needs, and I was frozen out. Her influence was painfully clear - he began changing his interests, his activities, and even his way of eating. Finally, he began to criticize me.

My husband also fiercely desired this woman physically, but she did not let it progress to that (which seems to have enabled her to convince herself that she is blameless and did nothing wrong). But at this point I consider whether they actually had sex to be irrelevant. This was a full-blown affair. He was in love with her, utterly infatuated, and would not stop. It hurt me terribly.

He moved on to sexual affairs after they had cooled their relationship. But the damage to our marriage by this first emotional affair was terrible, and the one that injured me the most. We will be divorcing.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

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Originally Posted by solitudeseeker View Post
I'll give you an example. My husband's emotional affair progressed along these lines:

First he began meeting her for coffee on Sundays. Then they began arranging other outings together - lunch during the work day, gettign together in the afternoons to go bike riding or cross-country skiing (often while I was at work), or to outdoor events in town like music festivals, etc.

Then they moved on to him going to her place for dinner. They began taking classes together - like meditative dance workshops or spiritual discussion groups.

Lots of emails, lots of phone calls. She became his best friend. He turned to her for all of his emotional needs, and I was frozen out. Her influence was painfully clear - he began changing his interests, his activities, and even his way of eating. Finally, he began to criticize me.

My husband also fiercely desired this woman physically, but she did not let it progress to that (which seems to have enabled her to convince herself that she is blameless and did nothing wrong). But at this point I consider whether they actually had sex to be irrelevant. This was a full-blown affair. He was in love with her, utterly infatuated, and would not stop. It hurt me terribly.

He moved on to sexual affairs after they had cooled their relationship. But the damage to our marriage by this first emotional affair was terrible, and the one that injured me the most. We will be divorcing.
Amazing.

I'm wondering if there are others like this, without the physical attraction?
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

I don't think that an emotional affair is necessarily earmarked just by being a thwarted physical affair. I think that attraction may or may not be a part of it. What I think defines an emotional affair is that the interest and attention is being shifted away from the primary partner. What becomes intoxicating is that someone is both interested IN you and interesting TO you again. There's someone who wants to know how your day was, who you can talk to about interesting things that have nothing to do with soccer and dishwashers--food, wine, books, music, movies, how stupid people look singing in their cars....whatever it is that gets lost in the day to day, really. Someone who's concerned when you feel bad, and not just because it means extra work for them. Someone that you have all the same interest in hearing about too. It's the rush of the first blush of a relationship.

Even if it doesn't make a person leave to be with the one they had the EA with, I think that it can open up possibilities once the line's been crossed. The idea that there is someone out there who might actually like you as a person again--not a mom or a maid or a nanny or a wife--can be pretty intoxicating. And I'd imagine it would be even more so for a SAHM. On the other hand, if there is a sense of physical attraction, that can be enough to make a person want to leave and roll the dice on that too....

But I think that at the end of it all, it's the feeling of being interesting and interested that makes it all happen. It's heady stuff...
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Old 06-11-2011, 07:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

A gay man can yack it up for hours a day, months at a time with a woman he has no sexual interest in. They could gossip about coworkers, discuss whatever. I think very few healthy, straight men would invest a huge quantity of time and effort communicating with a woman they did not find sexually interesting.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

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Originally Posted by COGypsy View Post
I don't think that an emotional affair is necessarily earmarked just by being a thwarted physical affair. I think that attraction may or may not be a part of it. What I think defines an emotional affair is that the interest and attention is being shifted away from the primary partner. What becomes intoxicating is that someone is both interested IN you and interesting TO you again. There's someone who wants to know how your day was, who you can talk to about interesting things that have nothing to do with soccer and dishwashers--food, wine, books, music, movies, how stupid people look singing in their cars....whatever it is that gets lost in the day to day, really. Someone who's concerned when you feel bad, and not just because it means extra work for them. Someone that you have all the same interest in hearing about too. It's the rush of the first blush of a relationship.

Even if it doesn't make a person leave to be with the one they had the EA with, I think that it can open up possibilities once the line's been crossed. The idea that there is someone out there who might actually like you as a person again--not a mom or a maid or a nanny or a wife--can be pretty intoxicating. And I'd imagine it would be even more so for a SAHM. On the other hand, if there is a sense of physical attraction, that can be enough to make a person want to leave and roll the dice on that too....

But I think that at the end of it all, it's the feeling of being interesting and interested that makes it all happen. It's heady stuff...
This is how it starts and then the neurochemistry takes over and they become addicted to the rush and excitement of the relationship and want more and more. Comparisons become inevitable and the freshness of the new neural connections and the neurotransmiters causes the older connections (belonging to spouse) to be less favored and the fog decends and the displacement of the spouse begins.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

I think it's easy to get into these things without even realizing it. I had a friend at work with whom I just seemed to click. She was just my buddy. We talked all the time at work, and just seemed to see eye-to-eye on things. If I'd been looking for a relationship, this would have been a great start, I think.

It started totally innocently (and it never progressed past that). Eventually I stepped back, though, and tried to see that friendship from someone else's perspective, and realized just how easily it could have turned into something improper. I distanced myself from her to put a stop to it, but it would have been so easy to continue down that path (and I had to admit to myself that I wanted to), and to do so while telling myself that it was just a friendship.

So I think the context of an EA is just the normal ebb and flow of relationships. You some meet people you like, some people you don't, and some people with whom you just click. And when that happens, unless you're thinking about it, it's easy just to coast right into impropriety.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
OK, my wife had some sort of an EA. She was drawn into it for the "fun" of it, and couldn't let go.
It's the adrenaline rush of having some one pay attention to her. She looks forward to his communication because he makes her feel good. She likely gets something from him emotionally she doesn't feel she gets from you. He becomes her emotional center, her support group and it hard to let go of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
To my knowledge, there was no flirting, sexting, or any suggestions of running away together.
Doesn't have to be. Many are fine with the "fantasy" of the relationship. It doesn't have to be sexual in nature. It is emotional.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
Can you tell me what the two people involved in these EA's talk about?
The weather, roses, NASCAR, movies, co-workers, politics.... all innocuous enough. Wouldn't set any flags off. "We're just friends!"

Danger points: Their spouses, their marriage problems, their deepest emotional touch points, sex... These are the ones they won't tell you about. Once it goes under the surface the hiding, lying, justifications, rationalizations and denial start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
I assume there's no physical contact. So what the heck do you talk about?
See above, it does not have to be physical. They may have never met in person.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
Based on what I'm reading here, they seem very powerful, and in many cases, will result in a wayward spouse.
It is a natural step for it to go from an EA to a PA. Some don't because they draw a line in the sand there. Some do because they are passed that point and want more. Much of the danger in an EA is that the players really don't see it as an affair. "We haven't slept together so it's OK." Total denial and they begin to slip down that slop. Only when the relationship is threatened do they begin to see it for what it really is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
Seriously, how do these things work?
I can talk to someone online for hours, and easily fall in like with the words.... But without the physical stimulation, how can I be willing to break a marriage over an EA?
Get past the physical, it doesn't have to be there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertheradar View Post
I would like to hear about some Real CONTEXT
My wife engaged in an EA several years ago. It went on for about a year with me having very little knowledge of it. They never met but I believe it was moving to-wards that when I intervened. She turned to him because I wasn't fulfilling her emotional needs. Same ole story, she wasn't fulfilling my physical needs either. We grew apart and lived like roommates and co-parents. The EA took a listing marriage and damn near sank it. Full recovery took three years, a lot of pain, tears, counseling, self reflection, compromise and determination. It was the toughest challenge I ever took to get her out of it and recapture her love. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Don't ever let any one tell you an EA is not as destructive as a PA. It can be more divisive because it is not understood per se.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Don't ever let any one tell you an EA is not as destructive as a PA. It can be more divisive because it is not understood per se.
This. Only I think it may be worse, in part because the participants probably don't realize what's happening until they're hooked, and in part because a PA might just be about sex without the deep connection.
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

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Originally Posted by Amplexor View Post
It's the adrenaline rush of having some one pay attention to her. She looks forward to his communication because he makes her feel good. She likely gets something from him emotionally she doesn't feel she gets from you. He becomes her emotional center, her support group and it hard to let go of that.
This is spot on
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Old 06-14-2011, 03:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

[QUOTE=Amplexor;347738]It's the adrenaline rush of having some one pay attention to her. She looks forward to his communication because he makes her feel good. She likely gets something from him emotionally she doesn't feel she gets from you. He becomes her emotional center, her support group and it hard to let go of that.


Unfortunately, every man that goes to work to support his family, and give his wife EVERYTHING ELSE, except stay on the phone all day, is in danger of having a wife that feels that way.

My wife gave me the " I only spoke to him while you were either working, or downstairs doing something else" line.In other words.... Every time I wasn't in her sight
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

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Unfortunately, every man that goes to work to support his family, and give his wife EVERYTHING ELSE, except stay on the phone all day, is in danger of having a wife that feels that way.
I disagree. My wife didn't want me on the phone all day. She just wanted my undivided attention when we were together. She wanted to talk about her day, work, kids. She wanted me to do the same. When she gave up on me doing that, she found someone who would. I, like many other husbands, felt I was an excellent one. We didn't argue much, I didn't make her a sports widow, go out with the guys much, home when I said I would be, did far more house work than most and brought home plenty of coin. But that wasn't what she desired. She wanted to be listened to, made to feel special and appreciated. That's where I missed the boat. And that's where TOM found the opportunity to slither on in.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: The context of an emotional affair?

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I disagree. My wife didn't want me on the phone all day. She just wanted my undivided attention when we were together. She wanted to talk about her day, work, kids. She wanted me to do the same. She wanted to be listened to, made to feel special and appreciated.
Every woman wants this.

I know when I had my EA, all of the above was sorely lacking in my marriage. Ex-H and I would go out to dinner and he'd be on his phone The. Entire. Time. Even after I'd ask him not to do that. I'd ask how his day was and go to kiss him and he'd tell me he was busy, to move out of the way. I'd plan outings and he'd either bail at the last minute or mostly say he wasn't into it and for me to go alone. So I felt alone a lot. People wouldn't even ask me where my husband was anymore...they were so used to him not attending anything I went to. I swear people started thinking my husband was make-believe. He refused to come to my high school reunion because "that's your thing" said he was staying home & later called me while I was at the reunion telling me he was going out with his friends. UGH. Another time, I was recovering from surgery & had asked husband to hold me and he said he wasn't in any position to!!! He was playing Playstation. I remember OM telling me had he known I was ill, he would have sent me flowers. And I thought in my head "Really?" My H had only bought me flowers when we were dating and in MC would tell the counselor he never had any intention of doing those things for me, that he wasn't willing to do those things cause that wasn't his way.

Stuff like that.

So yes, OM was very attractive to me at that time.

Doesn't make it right. I'm just saying.

Women want to feel like they matter, like their husband cares about them.
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