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Emotional Affairs: Just as Bad as Regular Affairs

Just like old-fashioned physical affairs, emotional affairs can leave a partner feeling deceived and betrayed. An emotional affair isn't filled with steamy hotel-sex sessions; instead, the unfaithful find themselves confiding in and flirting with a "friend" of the opposite sex. They look forward to the other person's attention in the form of secretive meetings, phone calls, text messages, or emails, while they withdraw from their partners. While there's no sex, the most hurtful marker of an affair is there: the breach of trust.

One marriage counselor says more of her clients are having emotional affairs these days. She credits the abundance of sexually suggestive material in modern magazines, film, television, and overall society, which makes it hard to know when we cross the line of inappropriate behavior.

Do you think it's obvious when you step into emotional-affair territory, or is it hard to tell when a friendship has stopped being harmless?


danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this. I honestly don't know the situation so I don't want to give my opinion. Only the 22 year old and your husband know what really happened. I do know that it's easy to get caught up in something that's new and exciting, but that's not to say that your husband ever went beyond what he told you. I suggest seeing a counselor, with or without your husband. I really wish the best for you.
Chokatella Chokatella 8 years
unfortunately i think i find myself in between a relationship. i guess i am the mistress in the emotional cheating. but really we are in college and its not like the relationship is that serious. after reading this though i feel horrible because like someone said before having that person to talk to and be open with is exciting and yet knowing they have someone else just makes me feel horrible. i think ive been in denial that i may be doing something wrong considering it really hasnt moved to anything physical except maybe holding hands. im sorry...
danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
Anon - I'm so sorry you're going through all of this. I wish you the best!
danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
Amber, if you read my above post, that's essentially what happened to me. I honestly can't tell you what to do, I think every situation is different. How long have you been together? Is this a guy you can see yourself marrying? Has he done anything like this before? I took my guy back and I've never regretted it, BUT I'm not saying it would work out for you. I'm so sorry you're going through this, I wish you the best. I'm subscribing to this thread, so feel free to post to me.
danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
I was the "victim" of an emotional affair, even though my boyfriend didn't think that's what it was. I think it was cheating. He was seeing a girl behind my back and began having feelings about her. He ended up breaking up with me and immediately going to her house. At the time, I was FURIOUS about the whole situation He realized the mistake he made and came back to me. He lost my trust 100% and it took him years to gain it back. Even to this day, I'm surprised he ever did it. He had his chance, if it happened again, I would break up with him for good. I think I have a really good guy though, I'm not worried about it. Amber, going to reply to your message now....
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
If you wouldn't talk/act like you do with this person in front of the person you are dating/married to, then its an affair. For me, that rule as always been plain and simple.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
They are more hurtful to me. I think it is worse to have my husband putting his trust in another woman - putting his penis in another woman is bad, too, but doesn't seem as hurtful. That, somehow, seems more 'normal'. Like a man's normal desire. But having a relationship with another person..... sounds stressful.
GScott86 GScott86 8 years
Just as bad. They pretty much usually lead into regular affairs anyway.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i think there has to be a physical thing going on in order for there to be an emotional affair. nothing big, but if you are cross country and talking on the phone, or sending emails that's, to me, not really anything. i have a friend who started something with a guy she met on the phone through work. they were texting, then talking on the phone, then setting up dates on friday nights to talk on the phone. one day he changed his phone number and she couldn't reach him at work. the end. she thought it was a relationship, i thought it was a waste of her time.
Rebecca14916991 Rebecca14916991 8 years
Yeah, it's pretty obvious when an emotional affair is going on. When you look forward more to contact with the "friend" than your significant other, you feel the need to hide it when you contact each other, and you stop confiding in (or sometimes, even sleeping with) your SO, there is definitely an issue. These actions mean that a) you know what you are doing is wrong and b) you are emotionally removing yourself from the relationship anyway. It's a refusal to do the right thing; it's almost as if, by not acknowledging it as an affair, the person is trying to convince themselves that what they are doing is okay. They don't want to recognize the social consequences. As a psychology minor, I've been taught a peculiar thing about people; until they are forced to explain their actions, emotions usually rule their thinking, but when they do explain, they have to think more logically and empathetically to do so. So, even though they may know it on some level, many don't acknowledge even to themselves (because everyone knows only bad people have affairs) they actually are in an emotional affair until they are confronted. It's not that they don't realize they are in an affair. It's that they don't want to confront in their own minds the fact that they are being bad people.
kty kty 8 years
it's true that emotional affairs are wrong but most of the time they happen when someone's relationship's always obvious when it happened you just know that you are having one
arrowstraite arrowstraite 8 years
I think they are equally hurtful. My ex husband and I discussed dating when we decided to divorce,and although we were still living in the same house for financial reasons i wasn't hurt at all when he started a friendly relationship with a female, a woman he's now married to. I was chatting online with a guy which was completely platonic and he said it didn't bother him either. But since then, I fell for a guy who treats his female friends better, spends more time with and is much more attentive to his so-called female friends...that to me is much more devastating. So, I think the answer depends on how deeply invested your emotions are for that person doing the emotional/physical cheating.
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
You can tell when you are having an emotional affair. It feels exciting, wrong, and right all at the same time. You can't wait to see or hear from the person and other people start asking what's going on and you say, "We're just friends." You know that you haven't slept together, kissed or even held hands but you seem to connect on every level and at the same time you get the feeling that what you are doing is wrong. I'm obviously speaking from experience. It happened to me and I knew what I was doing was wrong the whole time. It was a bit of a thrill and I definately felt the need to hide it and keep it a secret.
French-Kiss French-Kiss 8 years
Maybe worse than a physical affair =/ (i mean, for the other that is not cheating) but it's confusing
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Personally, I can tell for myself when I stepped into emotional-affair territory. I know myself, and I know when I've crossed my line. With that said, I think emotional-affairs are harder to be accountable for (to a spouse or significant other), as they're more passive than physical affairs. In my book, they're just as immoral as physical affairs, and as posted by Tresugar, they're a breach of trust. JMHO.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
I think it can get confusing for people who aren't prepared for it. it's easy to think of this sort of thing as just a friendship. It's really important in relationships to have boundaries about what is and isn't ok as far as relationships with the opposite sex go. I just think that if people take the time to really think about their partner and how they would feel about this other person then they wouldn't cheat. And yes I do think emotional affairs are cheating and just as hurtful as physical affairs
VeeKeeTee VeeKeeTee 8 years
i think it is pretty obvious. maybe people get bored, but it is true that a lot of people get a lot more flirtatious when they ARE in a relationship. sometimes they get carried away
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