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Friend vs Emotional Affair


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Old 31st December 2017, 10:01 AM   #16
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The fact that you have this question is a reason to stop the friendship. You could also stop the marriage. But your best friend and confidante should be your husband. Once this guy's gone to #1 for your deepest, most meaningful emotions and thoughts, it's called an emotional affair. Cut it and shift these conversations to your husband. If it's not satisfying, go to counseling together.
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Old 31st December 2017, 12:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
We talk at least once a day during the week. Calls last from 20 minutes up to an hour. We text some in the evenings.
dovebrandy1,

I don’t talk to anyone that much! Even my best girlfriends and I chat 3 times a week max because we all have our own lives and our own families/priorities to attend to. The only person I chat with this frequently with is my husband, so IMHO, the frequency with which you are chatting with this guy and the connection with which you are both feeling is a HUGE red flag, and I think you already sense that since you are questioning the boundaries.
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Old 31st December 2017, 12:08 PM   #18
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Yeah, IMO that level of communication frequency, and depth, begins to invade 'surrogate spouse' territory. With the women, MW's in my case, the friend of the marriage thing or seeking to include their spouse tended to blow that up and they'd go dark on me, which I came to understand over time meant they moved on to another portal for their stuff. Plenty of guys who don't mind getting into a married woman's pants will put up with some talk-talk to get there. In general, men don't relish being a receptacle for women's stuff if they're not sleeping with them and even then it's 'hey, go talk to a girlfriend, sheesh'. He's got important stuff to do like drinking beer and watching bowl games (right now)
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Old 31st December 2017, 2:29 PM   #19
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Thank you all for your candid responses.

Yes, I guess I do feel we are on the cusp of entering dangerous territory.

Then again, as I mentioned earlier, maybe he just sees me as more a long distance therapist. Since we are far apart, with no plans to meet anytime soon, there is a safety net there.

He is complimentary of my work. He she never made any comments that would lead me to believe he feels anything for me romantically or wants an affair in any form. Yes, we discuss certain bad parts of our marriages, but never once has that lead to a discussion about us being anything.

I enjoy the friendship. Everything to this point has been above board. I would have no problems with my husband reading any texts. Yes, they may be frequent, or after business hours, but there is nothing in them I would hide from my husband.

The main thing is I've always had close male friends. They have less drama and relate to me better since I prefer talking about music and sports. The closest friends in my life has always been men. The difference this time is the amount of info. he shares. I know so much about his childhood, his rough spots in life, his children, his work frustrations, his plans for the future, and the areas of regret he has for the plans he had which he was never able to pursue. A male being this open, about his real self is new territory. Yet, with everything he has told me he has never brought up us being together, never a mention of any attraction to me, never a mention of me being in his future. Hence the therapist POV on my side.

In the end, I do find myself being drawn to him. There are things he shares with me where I realize those characteristics are ones I really wish my husband had. The things he finds enjoyable to do are things I've begged my husband for over the years, yet have never been able to convince him to do. The relationship he has with his children is the relationship I want for my husband and children, yet as much as I try to facilitate a better relationship my husband is mostly aloud with our children. He is a great provider, but the emotionally support is not there.

In the end, I believe my friend only sees me as a friend (or therapist), but sadly I'm getting sucked in to uncharted waters. I don't want to lose a friend, but I also dont want to end up with one-sided, unrequited "love" for someone who trusts me enough to open up to so deeply. The fact this is all long distance via phone calls and electronics makes it even more complicated. I'm in my 40s...falling in love virtually is outside my comprehension.

Thanks again for all the comments and insight. Very much appreciated.
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Old 31st December 2017, 2:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
we both often make a point of saying how much our friendship means to each other.
dovebrandy1,

Another thing that caught my attention was the quote above. I know that every friendship dynamic is different, but even in my closest friendships, we don’t often tell each other how much our friendship means to us. We know that we are close and that we are best gal-pals, but there is no need for us to tell each other how much we mean to one another. This is also IMO a red flag. Do you often tell your other close friends (female) that your friendship means the world to you? Just thought I’d put that out there…..
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Old 31st December 2017, 2:51 PM   #21
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I remember back in the day a MW would call me up (landlines back then) to chat after her H and kids went to bed. I mean really late at night. Friend? Heh, she knew I was single and had rules so it was easy to play that and get whatever fix she needed. Of course back then I was all-in as an ignorant guy and 'therapist' for her horrible marriage to an abusive alcoholic

In cruel irony, many years later, maybe ten, I was dating a lady, actually the first sexual LTR I'd had, and her daughter's best friend and the friend's mom stopped by to pick her up and, well, the mom and I kinda just stared at each other. Yup The girls were teenagers at that point and I hadn't seen the daughter since she was two. Friend? From her stare, eh, nah.

Interesting world.
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Old 31st December 2017, 3:17 PM   #22
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Thank you all for your candid responses.

Yes, I guess I do feel we are on the cusp of entering dangerous territory.
No, you are well past the cusp.
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Old 31st December 2017, 10:50 PM   #23
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I should note I've had close male friends throughout my entire marriage. They have never been an issue for my husband and nothing inappropriate has ever happened. The thing with this one is, I've never had a guy be this open with me before. He opens up to me in ways most guys do not open up to anyone. Then again, maybe he sees me as some kind of love distance therapist!
Seems to me you're stating in the bolded you've had lots of male friends throughout your marriage but this one is different.

The above italicized (but not bolded, the last sentence) seems to indicate you're eager to find out if he has more than friendship feelings or just sees you platonically. So, you are mulling over his feelings, or lack thereof, for you. This could be a sign your own feelings for him are more out of control that you are admitting to yourself, which, oops! You confide in the below bolded.

Then below that in the next paragraph you're back to trying to figure out how he feels about you.

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you have feelings for him that you're afraid to face. To me, it's glaring. Given your original post and now these. Seems to me you "like" him and are wondering if he likes you back. You are really analyzing the status of his interest in you. Ime, when a person does this it's because he/she has developed an interest as more than friends in another.

Also, you are trying to convince yourself this friendship is safe. Because this forum is to support you I have to say, this friendship is not safe for you and on some level you may know it.

Further on down the below post: An entire paragraph describing how he is a better with you than your husband is in several different ways. And how he is a better father than your husband is.

Next paragraph and next to the last you're back to analyzing his feelings for you and concluding they may just be platonic.

I don't believe this is the way a woman writes about a man she has no romantic interest in. Imo, you're having an emotional affair with this guy and wondering if he feels the same about you.




Quote:
Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
Thank you all for your candid responses.

Yes, I guess I do feel we are on the cusp of entering dangerous territory.

Then again, as I mentioned earlier, maybe he just sees me as more a long distance therapist. Since we are far apart, with no plans to meet anytime soon, there is a safety net there.

He is complimentary of my work. He she never made any comments that would lead me to believe he feels anything for me romantically or wants an affair in any form. Yes, we discuss certain bad parts of our marriages, but never once has that lead to a discussion about us being anything.

I enjoy the friendship. Everything to this point has been above board. I would have no problems with my husband reading any texts. Yes, they may be frequent, or after business hours, but there is nothing in them I would hide from my husband.

The main thing is I've always had close male friends. They have less drama and relate to me better since I prefer talking about music and sports. The closest friends in my life has always been men. The difference this time is the amount of info. he shares. I know so much about his childhood, his rough spots in life, his children, his work frustrations, his plans for the future, and the areas of regret he has for the plans he had which he was never able to pursue. A male being this open, about his real self is new territory. Yet, with everything he has told me he has never brought up us being together, never a mention of any attraction to me, never a mention of me being in his future. Hence the therapist POV on my side.

In the end, I do find myself being drawn to him. There are things he shares with me where I realize those characteristics are ones I really wish my husband had. The things he finds enjoyable to do are things I've begged my husband for over the years, yet have never been able to convince him to do. The relationship he has with his children is the relationship I want for my husband and children, yet as much as I try to facilitate a better relationship my husband is mostly aloud with our children. He is a great provider, but the emotionally support is not there.

In the end, I believe my friend only sees me as a friend (or therapist), but sadly I'm getting sucked in to uncharted waters. I don't want to lose a friend, but I also dont want to end up with one-sided, unrequited "love" for someone who trusts me enough to open up to so deeply. The fact this is all long distance via phone calls and electronics makes it even more complicated. I'm in my 40s...falling in love virtually is outside my comprehension.

Thanks again for all the comments and insight. Very much appreciated.
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Old 1st January 2018, 12:15 AM   #24
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Even more than what is being talked about is how you feel and react to it. Would the same conversations with a girl friend have you wishing your husband was more like her or doing the things she did with her kids? Like the above poster said, doesn't sound like your thinking is platonic.

Also, be careful about reading into how "special" you and this friendship really are to him. Not cynical but realistic.
My exmm opened up to me about his bad childhood, it was the first time a man was "vulnerable" with me, he let me know how much that meant to him etc etc. He shared many of the same memories and thoughts and important songs/quotes with others too. His bad childhood imo made him need lots of validation. Not an excuse, just possible explanation. Might not be the same, but something to consider. Would your conversations mean as much to you if you knew he had similar with others? (Like his W, who he should be imo). I think that matters.

If any friend of mine male or female needed that much time to talk or "emotionally process" I would probably refer them to an actual therapist. It would be a burden there are few people I would be emotionally invested in enough to bear without getting overwhelmed, ie spouse, sister, parent, best friend. And I wouldn't want to put my friends in that situation either. What is *your* level of investment and is it realistically appropriate to his role in your daily life and in the scope of the terms you and your H have for your relationship.
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Old 1st January 2018, 9:33 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
The majority of our interactions are via the phone. We talk at least once a day during the week. Calls last from 20 minutes up to an hour. We text some in the evenings. My husband knows my phone password and I've never deleted anything. We email occasionally. Those are on my phone as well. My husband trusts me, as I him, so even though we have each other's passwords we never look at the other's phones.

As far as our spouses hearing our talks, it depends. We have had some talks about where we are in our marriages that I doubt either one of our spouses would appreciate us sharing with someone else. ...
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
We talk at least once a day during the week. Calls last from 20 minutes up to an hour. We text some in the evenings.
I finally have a use for my obsessive collection of phone data from my husband's EA with my sister-in-law, brother's wife; we trusted them for a long time. I think it started like yours—sharing personal stories, answering a lot of questions about each other. They never shared with their spouses the amount of time they spent talking or the nature of their feelings, even in the beginning stages. If asked, they always had an excuse because of my brother's massive health problems at the time. Later, she told me this was because she knew I had a problem with the idea of opposite-sex friendships.

The ‘friendship’ was also long distance, on the phone mostly. It took two years to get physical. Then, they decided they liked being “mostly just friends” better and tried to backtrack. It sounds like I'm talking about 12-year-olds, but they were fully committed to this notion. They believed they could just discount the physical part as nothing more than "really stupid" accidents because they'd learned their lesson. Actually he wasn't so convinced. Within minutes of my confrontation (I actually fibbed and told him she'd confessed to me), he dropped the pretend talk and went straight to "wrong." She never did.

So the data: I calculated 826 total calls in 11 months—average: 75 / mo. It was a massive shock. I’d had no idea. I also collected emails and was crushed by the tenderness, longing, openness and deep, deep appreciation and support they shared—a tenderness, longing, openness and appreciation I did not know. It was so devastating. Even without the physical part, she was getting the best part of him and giving him the best part of herself.

Read this message I wrote him a week or two after our D-day. He’d started trying to say again it was 98% friendship. He said later I was 100% right and apologized.
Quote:
Wait a minute. You did it again: "We were just friends - mostly," you said this morning. WTF! You can still say this to me - now? You still think this?

Let's have a little review:
If [Bro] and I were not part of it 100%, it was 100% wrong. Period.

Anything you had to hide from anyone, any question you could not answer about where, when, how much or how you saw each other or talked to each other - if you evaded, avoided or omitted, it was wrong. 100% wrong.

Your need to evade, avoid, omit? Or worse, saying you evaded, etc. because I and others would be "uncomfortable" with it? This was your own signal that it was wrong which you both chose to ignore.

Even if you think you can justify having an opposite-sex friendship outside of your marriage (legitimized because you called yourselves ' family ' ), what about the other part? The leftover after "mostly"? That part - however itty bitty - cancels out the "mostly" and does so 100%. Which is why prudent people have boundaries. Social taboos. Rules. Mores. Norms. No one is above them. Circumstances do not change this. There can be no "mostly."

Do me this favor at least: Try to remember not to insult me again by using the word "friend" in relation to your history with her - ever. That was the wrong answer in June. It was the wrong answer today. It will always be the wrong answer.
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Old 1st January 2018, 9:54 AM   #26
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This one is great...

Quote:
Originally Posted by merrmeade View Post
I finally have a use for my obsessive collection of phone data from my husband's EA with my sister-in-law, brother's wife; we trusted them for a long time. I think it started like yours—sharing personal stories, answering a lot of questions about each other. They never shared with their spouses the amount of time they spent talking or the nature of their feelings, even in the beginning stages. If asked, they always had an excuse because of my brother's massive health problems at the time. Later, she told me this was because she knew I had a problem with the idea of opposite-sex friendships.

The ‘friendship’ was also long distance, on the phone mostly. It took two years to get physical. Then, they decided they liked being “mostly just friends” better and tried to backtrack. It sounds like I'm talking about 12-year-olds, but they were fully committed to this notion. They believed they could just discount the physical part as nothing more than "really stupid" accidents because they'd learned their lesson. Actually he wasn't so convinced. Within minutes of my confrontation (I actually fibbed and told him she'd confessed to me), he dropped the pretend talk and went straight to "wrong." She never did.

So the data: I calculated 826 total calls in 11 months—average: 75 / mo. It was a massive shock. I’d had no idea. I also collected emails and was crushed by the tenderness, longing, openness and deep, deep appreciation and support they shared—a tenderness, longing, openness and appreciation I did not know. It was so devastating. Even without the physical part, she was getting the best part of him and giving him the best part of herself.

Read this message I wrote him a week or two after our D-day. He’d started trying to say again it was 98% friendship. He said later I was 100% right and apologized.
This one is great...

I was not going to comment on this one but now I just have to.

What merrmeade wrote is exactly what happens. Your husband is a fool, BTW, because he thinks you won't cheat on him. But, the fact is you already are. But almost anyone can and will cheat physically if the proper opportunity presents itself.

When you are emotionally close to an OPPISITE SEX friend of any kind, you are one small step away from having sex if the right opportunity presents itself. And it will.

Here is the bottom line... My current GF is still suspicious of me because I have been around a lot, too much really, but it is what it is. I too have a lot of opposite sex friends, that I have not slept with because they are friends.

But the fact is that if I was single, and the proper opportunity presents itself I would bang any one of them. I am not silly enough to say that I would not.

I am in no way saying that you plan on something happening, but it would be silly to say that it could not happen.

Further, the thing you have to realize with opposite sex friends is that the emotional closeness that you feel with them is RESERVED FOR YOUR HUSBAND. That is where the concept of "Friends of the opposite sex" breaks down.

The closeness that you fell with your friend is something that you should have with your husband. If he will not give you that, you need to figure out why. If you cannot, after working on it, get him to provide that for you, you have to consider ending the marriage, because you cannot be truly happy if the man that you "Love" is not giving you that closeness that every woman desires...
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Old 1st January 2018, 10:51 AM   #27
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After telling her that her behavior is inappropriate.
She thanks us for our advice then ignores it. She
then goes on to justify what she is doing is not wrong.

Another one that only wants to her the advice that
she wants to follow. Not hear what she should not do.
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Old 1st January 2018, 10:55 AM   #28
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Why do you have to be so close to this man? Why don't you have a female friend to talk to? I think your friendship is inappropriate.
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Old 1st January 2018, 12:23 PM   #29
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Okay, let's try this approach:
dovebrandy1, have you heard of Dr. Shirley Glass' book "Not Just Friends"? Here's her quiz for the very question you asked or, rather, THOUGHT you wanted to ask. The quiz is called "Just Friends or Emotional Affair"—almost verbatim the title of your thread. (You should read the intro to it as well titled "The Slippery Slope.")

Quiz: Has Your Friendship Become an Emotional Affair?*

Quote:
Directions: Check Yes or No to the left of each statement.
Yes No
1. Do you confide more to your friend than to your partner about how your day went?

Yes No
2. Do you discuss negative feelings or intimate details about your marriage with your friend but not with your partner?

Yes No
3. Are you open with your partner about the extent of your involvement with your friend?

Yes No
4. Would you feel comfortable if your partner heard your conversation with your friend?

Yes No
5. Would you feel comfortable if your partner saw a videotape of your meetings?

Yes No
6. Are you aware of sexual tensions in this friendship?

Yes No
7. Do you and your friend touch differently when you're alone than in front of others?

Yes No
8. Are you in love with your friend?

You get one point each for yes to questions 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and one point each for no to 3, 4, 5.
Better not argue with us. You've already answered every one of these. Based on your own comments, I think your score is already a 5. I don't think you'd answer 'yes' to 7 or 8 but not sure about 6. So with a 5 you're already in the category of "you may not be 'just friends'" and only 2 points away from a 7: "definitely involved in an emotional affair."

However, you call it, OP, I think you've heard and will do the right thing sooner or later. Otherwise, you're obstinately refusing to make your marriage stronger and your friendship weaker. Whether the marriage fails first or the friendship wins out, you'll blame the marriage when you should be blaming yourself.
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Old 1st January 2018, 1:00 PM   #30
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OP, after long life experience, while I tend to agree with the general tone and content of responses here, I also respect the reality that, out there in real life, the vast majority of women I've had similar contact with (imagine me as 'the friend') do not/did not believe they are/were having an affair. Why? For them, it's that grunt in the sheets making love sex stuff that defines an affair. All this other stuff is just that, other stuff. Do I agree? No, I don't. You think they care? I doubt it. The only opinion that matters to them is their own. Use up, move on, make nice with hubby all better, hug the grandkids, smile for the picture. That's how life works. Up to you. It can work that way for you too. Just takes the will.
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