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Friend vs Emotional Affair


Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

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Old 1st January 2018, 1:07 PM   #31
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The amount of time and energy you are spending on this May develope into an EA.

Plus it takes away from your current marriage and his too.

EA's and subsequent PA's develope with much less contact.

You can be in it neck deep before you realize it.

Once you cross that bridge it can't be undone.
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Old 1st January 2018, 1:31 PM   #32
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Just one more thing, maybe the most important:

Nevermind the admonitions, the bottom line is how your husband will feel when he figures out, like I did, that YOU have decided for him that he would not understand or that you've only told him partial truths. You've come to an online forum inSTEAD of him with the classic excuse: Some of it might make him uncomfortable. Indeed it will and much more than uncomfortable.

He will not look at it clinically or dispassionately. He will look at YOU in disbelief, wondering why and how you you could think that hiding your feelings, words and thoughts about another man is not cheating.

your husband when he finds out. He may not recover and be able to trust you again? It could ruin your marriage. You'd aDo you really want to be responsible for that?
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Old 1st January 2018, 3:06 PM   #33
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Is your husband encouraging this friendship? You said something earlier which made me wonder about this.
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Old 1st January 2018, 3:21 PM   #34
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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.
It doesn't matter if it's opposite sex or not, what matters is if it's TOO close, and whether it involves things that are bad for the marriage.

If you're telling your best same-sex friend things that you wouldn't want your spouse to hear, that is also a problem in the marriage. It just looks less obvious, because you're probably not going to bang your same-sex friend or run away with them. But if you are bad-mouthing your spouse to them or sharing your deepest secrets that you would not trust your spouse with, that is ALSO chipping away at the foundations of your marriage.

Talking about your spouse behind their back subtly builds contempt between you. Even if it doesn't lead to "cheating" in the traditional sense, it accustoms you to thinking of your spouse in a negative way, and as an obstacle that can be brushed aside or worked around. It encourages you to keep secrets rather than to work out your differences. It's poisonous.

The reason I'm emphasizing this here is not to argue with you, BluesPower, but because I've seen us get tripped up over this same/opposite thing on LS too many times. All the "you should never talk to someone of the opposite sex!" mumbo-jumbo breaks down when faced with bisexual people, who would therefore never be allowed to speak to anyone, ever. But it's not the talking to, it's not the having a friend, it's the nature of the friendship and the way the marriage is being treated.
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Old 1st January 2018, 3:38 PM   #35
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Thank you again everyone. Your comments are very helpful and thought provoking.

The truth is, until I came here and starting writing some things out I had not really put a lot of thought into the situation. It was more we are friends, and we enjoyed each other's friendship. I had not really gone, or more truthfully allowed myself to go, much deeper on what was really happening.

Yes, my husband supports the friendship. Even when we text later at night I will make sure to let my husband know who I'm texting. I often openly tell my husband what we are texting about, my husband's typical response is to either laugh if it's funny or say that's your guys thing and walk to another room. It's no big deal to him.

The depth of the phone calls is where I'm now questioning whether we go to far. The big flag to me came from a conversation a couple of weeks ago when he told me something big another family member was dealing with which he had not told his wife. The other family member did not want his wife to know. He wanted to talk about it with someone, and felt I was the safe person to discuss since I didn't know this family member.

With the holidays I have had very little contact with him the past couple of week. No calls at all. He's initiated only one text convo. and that was to respond to a joke I sent 3 days prior. We have both spent the holidays focused on our families. We didn't make a point of verbalizing that, but it's clearly what we have done.

We'll see if things go back to the way they were once we resume our normal schedules.
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Old 1st January 2018, 4:29 PM   #36
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It doesn't matter if it's opposite sex or not, what matters is if it's TOO close, and whether it involves things that are bad for the marriage.

If you're telling your best same-sex friend things that you wouldn't want your spouse to hear, that is also a problem in the marriage.
A friend of mine had that kind of a problem.
Her husband had this close male friend that he hung about with all the time, they were childhood friends from birth and were like joined at the hip, though he was also married.

After being married a while, her husband became more distant, he never really told her anything, he never discussed problems with her, she would find out things weeks after the event, he was irritable and didn't want to talk, she was "bothering" him, she felt alone and isolated.
Then suddenly he would be telling her everything, sharing his stories, his feelings, he asked her advice, laughing and joking, they would be very close. It was like living with two different people.

This pattern continued and she was struggling to explain it. One minute she was essentially a stranger, the next she was his bosom buddy.

She finally realised that it was the friend. When he was at home the husband told everything that happened in his life to the friend, he didn't need to then repeat it all to his wife. When the friend left to go abroad for his job, the husband then relied back on the wife for someone to talk to.
The friend then got a job where he never needed to go away and the marriage then disintegrated and eventually ended.
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Old 1st January 2018, 4:33 PM   #37
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You are entering dangerous waters. Waters that will blow up your life as you know it IF you continue to communicate.

Stop ALL contact with him and focus all of this energy on your husband if you plan to stay married to him!

The relationship that is great is the ONE you place all your time and energy into.

It is up to you to change your M for the better by reconnecting with your H instead of your fake friend (OM).
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Old 2nd January 2018, 4:52 AM   #38
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Thank you again everyone. Your comments are very helpful and thought provoking.

Yes, my husband supports the friendship. Even when we text later at night I will make sure to let my husband know who I'm texting. I often openly tell my husband what we are texting about, my husband's typical response is to either laugh if it's funny or say that's your guys thing and walk to another room. It's no big deal to him.
Hmmm. I asked whether he encouraged it, because some men like their wives being with other men (intimately) ....and something recently led me to see how these men drop subtle hints to get their wives to be close to other guys.

I can understand him sharing the thing about a family member with you. Your safe because you are far away and not involved with them.

I have a few 'friends' that I talk to online.... but nothing near the frequency that you and this guy communicate.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 7:21 AM   #39
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I think emotional affairs are often open to the interpretation of an individual. The only way to definitively find the answer you seek is to ask your husband. It is so much easier to have a conversation about how you can avoid hurting him, than one trying to figure out how you hurt him after it has happened, and how to fix it. If fixing it is even possible.

Ask him what boundaries or restrictions he has, and that you have for his communication with other women. Have a discussion if either of you believe the other person is being unreasonable. The most important things are to be honest, and to communicate openly. Many spouses appreciate their loved one having someone to talk to, and let off some stress with, so that they can enjoy their spouse without all of the little drama things that add up over time, intruding into their daily lives.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 7:33 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
Thank you again everyone. Your comments are very helpful and thought provoking.

The truth is, until I came here and starting writing some things out I had not really put a lot of thought into the situation. It was more we are friends, and we enjoyed each other's friendship. I had not really gone, or more truthfully allowed myself to go, much deeper on what was really happening.

Yes, my husband supports the friendship. Even when we text later at night I will make sure to let my husband know who I'm texting. I often openly tell my husband what we are texting about, my husband's typical response is to either laugh if it's funny or say that's your guys thing and walk to another room. It's no big deal to him.

The depth of the phone calls is where I'm now questioning whether we go to far. The big flag to me came from a conversation a couple of weeks ago when he told me something big another family member was dealing with which he had not told his wife. The other family member did not want his wife to know. He wanted to talk about it with someone, and felt I was the safe person to discuss since I didn't know this family member.

With the holidays I have had very little contact with him the past couple of week. No calls at all. He's initiated only one text convo. and that was to respond to a joke I sent 3 days prior. We have both spent the holidays focused on our families. We didn't make a point of verbalizing that, but it's clearly what we have done.

We'll see if things go back to the way they were once we resume our normal schedules.
I think you are actually doing a good job of dealing with this. Your antenna went up when he confided something to you but not his wife. It made you uncomfortable enough to start asking this question. Maybe you haven't done all the extreme things we've experienced or heard about, but I think you understand the potential by now.

I want to point out that using the husband's reaction as some sort of guide is misleading. He's clueless and hasn't considered any of this world we're all talking about. So was I. So were lots of others. Hell, I was constantly groveling in gratitude to my husband's EA partner because she was helping him and the family out in so many ways. None of those times did either of them ever say anything about their other world together.

Yes, your husband knows, but he doesn't know. It's up to you to share it with him. Maybe he can help you, but probably you need to help him help you. And one thing is sure: He deserves the respect and openness of hearing your thoughts, feelings and concerns; you need to make him listen and take you seriously. You can tell him what you need. Learning to talk in a rewarding way is kind of like sex; you have to tell each other what works and what doesn't.

That's my strong feeling about all this. YOU are leaving him out. It's time to train him to be the partner you need and friend that makes you feel heard, valued and understood - like the other guy. So teach him how to listen and show you that he hears and relates to your stories. Ask him questions about his experiences. You're selling him and your marriage far too short. It's the job we take on when we commit to one person. Finding support and understanding in someone else is selling out.

My husband and I found this out the hard way and way too late but at least we found it out. He's 'learning' how to talk and share with me better, and we can joke about it. But we know it's important and something to work at.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 8:15 AM   #41
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How do you differentiate between a close opposite sex friend and an emotional affair?

Have a long distance friend. We have only met once, but have become extremely close over the past few months. We talk almost daily and text often.

No communication has every been flirty or sexual. Both our spouses know we are friends.

However, when we talk our talks vary between intense laughter and some deep emotional conversations. He is happy in his marriage, but he has a lot of weight on his shoulders as he is both a husband and caregiver to his wife.

He had a rough childhood, which he's been very open with me about. He often tells me he feels he is able to talk to me more openly and freely than anyone else. He admits he may say too much at times, but he just feels so comfortable with me.

I'm a pretty friendly, outgoing person, so I love making new friends. However, opening up the real me to anyone is extremely difficult. Hence I have very few close friends. Actually since I lost my best friend a few years ago, I don't have any friends I would consider close friends. Although I'm still not completely there, I've gotten to the point I'm starting to really open up and let this guy friend in.

Like I said, our spouses know we are friends, although doubt either know the true extent of how much or what we discuss. Our chats are about anything and EVERYTHING.

The other part is neither one of our marriages is exactly super strong. As I stated, there has never been any talk about anything sexual or flirty. We have not professed any kind of feelings other than friendship. Yet, we both often make a point of saying how much our friendship means to each other.

What are the warning signs to look out for to ensure we do not cross any boundries? I don't want to lose the first friend I've been able to make in a long time, but I also don't want either of us to experience any heartache by sliding into inappropriate territory under the guise of friendship.

Input greatly appreciated.
You have already gone by the warning signs. You are having a emotional affair already which many would say is far worse then a ONS.

One thing to do is treat this relationship as an affair and stop all communication. Then work on making your marriage stronger.

The other is to divorce your husband so you can continue what you have with your affair partner and let your husband find someone that will love him.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 8:17 AM   #42
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I bolded red flags in the above.

If you're not in an emotional affair at this point you're at least phone dating, imo.
Yes she is.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 8:22 AM   #43
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I dont think either of us would mind going out to dinner with our spouses involved. With that sale, some of the interests we share are ones our spouses do not, so we would like to hang out just us as well. I've even mentioned to my husband if said friend was ever in town we planned on going to do something together. Husband was fine with that. Seeing how we live 1500 miles apart though, our plans to be in the same town anytime soon are not currently in the works. I do plan to be within a few hours of him when I go on a business trip this summer. My husband inquired if we would get together for a mutual hobby. I responder that may be a good idea, but I would be pretty booked with work. Husband had no issue and said I should make sure to include a little fun time while I'm there and it was great I had at least one friend I could hang out with.

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!
This is why it an emotional affair. You are investing time and emotional energy in a man that is not your husband.

If the two of you met up one day and he took you to dinner. Then afterwards tried the kiss you, would you stop him? Would you stop him if he tried more then a kiss?
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Old 2nd January 2018, 9:15 AM   #44
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when it feels wrong it probably is.....that uncomfortable should i say this or shouldnt i say this..... if you are not telling your husband certain parts of the conversations incase he might get upset or hurt then that's crossing his boundaries....as other posters have suggested have that conversation with your husband and ask him what he would worry about ...if you share more with this friend than you do your husband then you are already emotionally attached


that you also add you don't have a strong marriage is something i feel you should concentrate on more than having convos or keeping up a friendship with this other guy....if you were single it wouldn't be an issue but you are married whether it is strong or not......you obviously dont want to hurt your husband so dont go there...talk to him and find out what would concern him and think about what you also would feel if the situation was reversed..........i wish you well........deb
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Old 2nd January 2018, 9:20 AM   #45
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I think you already know the answer. This is definitely more than just friends. It doesn't matter what you tell your husband or what your "friend" is thinking his is. You obviously have feelings for him, and the sheer amount of time you are spending talking to him is time spent away from your marriage. Who talks to any "friend" daily? I know i don't.

Im picking up on a lot of resentment toward your husband. When you mention that he isn't bothered by this "friendship" of yours, are you at all bothered by that? Do you wish he had more of an emotional response?

If you want to stay marriage, drop this guy and spend the extra time working on your marriage or seeking out new female friends. Nothing good lies at the end of this road imo.
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