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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.