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Am I having an emotional affair?


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Old 24th September 2017, 4:32 PM   #1
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Am I having an emotional affair?

Sometimes I think "oh hell yes I am", sometimes I think "no way, I am delusional”. Here’s the story:

To set the stage, I live outside of Chicago, male late 30's. I am going through a bitter divorce. I’m in a really terrible place right now, trying to fight my way through the pain. I’m vulnerable and needing support, which I have from friends and family. However, I also have a married coworker for whom I’ve had a “harmless office crush” for a long time. She’s really pretty and really, really cool. Whenever we talked in the past it was always effortless.

Recently, we found ourselves sitting next to each other at the office, and I spilled my guts to her. She was incredibly sympathetic and we had a wonderful, long talk. She immediately confided to me problems in her own marriage, but didn’t get into too many specifics, just some uncertainty on her part. She asked me to go out for drinks the next night. I felt happy and excited about it, and frankly it was nice to not feel like **** for a little while. So the next night we went to the bar and talked for over three hours. At one point, when I was on the verge of tears over my divorce, she put her hand on my thigh and we then held hands for about a minute. Later, we walked back to our office sat on the couch and talked some more. It was then that I (mind you, I’d had a few beers) told her about my crush. She was pretty surprised. I was embarrassed but also felt good for getting it off my chest. I told her it was harmless and not to worry, just one of those things. She said “I’m married, and despite the problems in my marriage, I plan to stay married. I hope you know there’s no chance here”. I was like, yeah cool cool, no worries. But THEN, she said she had a confession: she'd had a sex dream about me in the past. We laughed about that for a minute, then proceeded to head home. But get this: I found out later that she had been ignoring her husband’s text messages all night.

Over the next two weeks, we’ve developed a very strong bond. We talk every single day (even most weekend days when we’re not at work). We go out for coffee, sometimes sitting on a bench for an hour and talking about everything to the mundane, deep, and very personal. I’m now riding the highs and lows: when I hear from her, or see her, I get really happy. When I don’t, I start to get down.

A couple days ago, we went out again after work. Again, we sat at a bar for 3 hours and talked effortlessly about everything under the sun, always looking into each other’s eyes, laughing and joking. One time she put her hand on the back of my neck and stroked it for a second when I was despairing of my divorce situation. She also confided to me that while out at a concert with her husband a week ago, he basically ignored her all night. She was depressed about it. She expressed dismay that she had to be the one doing the work in the relationship to keep it fresh. She was unsure about the future with him, but never even hinted at wanting to leave him. Not in the the least. She also said some more negative stuff about him (I haven’t heard a whole lot positive, tbh). We have connected on a very deep level, it feels like, and there are shared interests she doesn’t have with her husband.

Later that night, she texted me at 12:30am. I thought, hmmm…. just a silly text, no big deal. We texted throughout the next day (Saturday). She told me she was at a flea market and found a hilarious painting. I asked her to text me a photo of it. She did, but it was a photo of her and husband holding the painting with their arms around each other. I was like WTF and immediately became depressed about it. I don’t think she was deliberately messing with me; mind you, she does NOT know the extent of my feelings for her, only that I’ve had a longstanding “harmless crush”. I don't think she knew the photo would upset me.

What should I do? Cut it off? Tell her the extent of my feelings? Suggest we talk less? She is doing things that are decidedly NOT normal things married people do (emotional intimacy, a wee bit of “harmless” physical touching, sharing problems with the marriage, etc.). If I had to guess, I think this is a classic emotional affair. I think she has NO intention of getting physical, and NO intention of leaving her husband. I’m not delusional to think that. But she has found someone who listens to her, cares how she feels, and has allowed an emotional bond to develop because there is something missing with her current one. And that’s true for me: it’s been wonderful to have someone to talk to about my problems, and she’s more like my ideal woman than my wife ever was. I really, really like her and feel wonderful when we’re together. And as I said, it’s nice to have a distraction from my very messy personal life.

Am I right about what this is?

(also, please don’t judge me. I know I’m going through a divorce and this is the last thing I should be doing, I should be focusing on my kids and “healing”, etc. I know that. But I’m vulnerable and I’ve allowed this to happen)

Last edited by bardo12; 24th September 2017 at 4:35 PM..
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Old 24th September 2017, 5:20 PM   #2
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Isn't your opening post just a laundry list of red flags? Why else did you include them? Haven't you already answered your own question?

My husband had an affair that started exactly like this at work. The OW confided about her impending divorce.There are so many. What's nice about your post is I don't even need to tell you what are the factors in your emotional connection and the things you are saying and doing that take you deeper. You clearly know. It starts by sharing a little of yourself and then more, showing understanding, deep empathy, complaining about each other's spouses (much of which turns out later to have been consciously or unconsciously edited to leave out, as you've already noticed, the positive), etc.

In the meantime, do yourself a favor and get the book by Shirley Glass "Not Just Friends."
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Old 24th September 2017, 5:32 PM   #3
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You opened the door by confessing your crush to her. This isn't a 'platonic' friendship. Far from it.

End things and find a single woman to open up to, not a married one. You're gonna be hurt as time goes on and I can tell you now she isn't going to up and divorce her husband for you. It'll be an affair and you'll get messed up and get your heart broken.

Yes it's an EA.

She knows that this is wrong. Your friendship with her is a threat to her marriage and I'm betting that the 'issues' she has at home don't exist, she's doing the typical 're writing' marital history to justify getting closer to you.

If you were married and your wife was getting cozy with another man, texting and meeting up for drinks, confessing crushes and sexual dreams to one another wouldn't you think what she was doing was wrong and inappropriate? My guess is yes you would. Apply that to your situation now. Even though you're not married anymore, she still is and has a husband at home and is living life with him. Do they have children?
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Old 24th September 2017, 5:53 PM   #4
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That's a "yet"

I would say YOU aren't having an EA "yet." However, spending hours in a bar is no way for a married woman to lend a friendly ear. Reading over what you wrote, I think this coworker is the one starting an EA. The touching - if a guy did it- would be instantly labeled as flirting and making a play.
YOU are at present in a very vulnerable position. She had no business telling you about her marital woes. This way, you may come to think you aren't wrecking a marriage if you start an A with her. She also has no business texting you late at night.Coworker / crush or not, you are being played . You may be in the process of becoming single, but SHE is NOT. I am imagining myself in her shoes, and these actions and words are what I. would do (have done) if I wanted to come on to a clueless and available man.
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Old 24th September 2017, 6:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bardo12 View Post

Later that night, she texted me at 12:30am. I thought, hmmm…. just a silly text, no big deal. We texted throughout the next day (Saturday). She told me she was at a flea market and found a hilarious painting. I asked her to text me a photo of it. She did, but it was a photo of her and husband holding the painting with their arms around each other. I was like WTF and immediately became depressed about it. I don’t think she was deliberately messing with me; mind you, she does NOT know the extent of my feelings for her, only that I’ve had a longstanding “harmless crush”. I don't think she knew the photo would upset me.
This says a lot. It seems like you are looking for an EA, or a least hoping for one. Otherwise you would never have gotten depressed about the picture with her husband.

Does her husband know about the two of you going out for drinks? If the answer is NO, it is absolutely an EA. If she is completely open with hr husband about you (which seems unlikely), then its not an EA.

Do her a favor and back off. You both find it easy to talk to each other because there is no emotional baggage between you. I think you know where this may end up and it might not be pretty.
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Last edited by Doorstopper; 24th September 2017 at 6:55 PM..
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Old 24th September 2017, 8:47 PM   #6
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You opened the door by confessing your crush to her. This isn't a 'platonic' friendship. Far from it.

Do they have children?
How is it not platonic? I played it off like a "harmless office crush", the kind that are so common. She followed that by confessing having had a sex dream about me. We laughed both of them off. Both of those things are quite common.

They do not have children. I have two little ones, 7 and 4.
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Old 24th September 2017, 8:53 PM   #7
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Thanks all for your honest and blunt responses. I admit that I'm in a very vulnerable state and I'm doing some dumb ****, if only to find something to feel good about in the ****ty state of my life (which won't last forever - I know it'll get better). My divorce has been really bad, and despite my anger toward my STBXW, I really miss her. And so obviously I fell into something with someone who makes me feel good and fills that massive void. I justify by the fact that it's not physical, and on the surface we're just two people hanging out and having good conversation. Ugh. Our connection feels so goddamn deep though, we look at each other with such intensity, I can't even describe it!
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Old 24th September 2017, 8:59 PM   #8
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How is it not platonic? I played it off like a "harmless office crush", the kind that are so common.
Well, if you hang out in forums like this, you find that those so-common office crushes quite often lead to full on physical affairs.

Quote:
She followed that by confessing having had a sex dream about me. We laughed both of them off. Both of those things are quite common.
Would you think it was normal friendly banter if your boss said he/she'd had a sex dream about you? Or if your child's schoolteacher told you that? Would you think that was wildly inappropriate? If your sibling told you they'd had a weird sex dream about you, would you think that was normal to share?

Having sex dreams about random people, including people you would NEVER want to sleep with in a million years, is normal. It's not something you generally confess to another person, though, not unless you are flirting with them.

You have a crush, and you know it. You are "riding the emotional ups and downs", and you know it. You are vulnerable right now and you are letting yourself get attached in a way that is probably going to crash down around you.
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Old 24th September 2017, 10:19 PM   #9
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If she was your wife would you like what you two are doing together?

You are both in too deep. Cut it off or you'll likely be just another typical cheater.
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Old 24th September 2017, 11:15 PM   #10
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How is it not platonic? I played it off like a "harmless office crush", the kind that are so common. She followed that by confessing having had a sex dream about me. We laughed both of them off. Both of those things are quite common.

They do not have children. I have two little ones, 7 and 4.
Platonic friends don't tell each other that they've had sex dreams about one another, nor do they confess a crush, especially when one person is married.

You have feelings for this woman, that's obvious. She likes you too but it's going no where except to feed her ego.

Sure you've laughed it off but something is there and you know it otherwise you wouldn't be posting here. Go read some stories in this section and in the Ow/Om section as well.

No good can come of this friendship.
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Old 24th September 2017, 11:19 PM   #11
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Thanks all for your honest and blunt responses. I admit that I'm in a very vulnerable state and I'm doing some dumb ****, if only to find something to feel good about in the ****ty state of my life (which won't last forever - I know it'll get better). My divorce has been really bad, and despite my anger toward my STBXW, I really miss her. And so obviously I fell into something with someone who makes me feel good and fills that massive void. I justify by the fact that it's not physical, and on the surface we're just two people hanging out and having good conversation. Ugh. Our connection feels so goddamn deep though, we look at each other with such intensity, I can't even describe it!
Bingo! You are vulnerable and opening up to her about your pain and divorce, leaning on her shoulder etc and she is taking advantage of it and your feelings for her. Everybody on here can see what's coming your way if you don't back off and stop hanging out with her.

You feel a strong connection and because you're in a low place in your life the choices you're making right now aren't healthy... It'll just hurt you more even though what you're feeling is making you feel good. It's a false sense of security.
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Old 24th September 2017, 11:22 PM   #12
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You have two little ones who are also hurting and adjusting to the changes in their lives. Focus on yourself and your kids, help them through this tough time.

Last thing you need is to get too attached and fall for a MW and have an affair. You're not even close to being over or dealing with the pain of your divorce and the life changes happening around you. clinging to this MW is masking your current pain and on some level you think it's helping because you feel good around her. All you're doing is prolonging the process you need to go through so you and your kids can heal in a healthy way. Hope this helps.
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Old 25th September 2017, 1:02 AM   #13
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Maybe.

The question I would ask is did the close communication with this lady start before the divorces started or after? Is your relationship with each other a contributing factor in either of your divorces?
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Old 25th September 2017, 1:08 AM   #14
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How is it not platonic? I played it off like a "harmless office crush", the kind that are so common. She followed that by confessing having had a sex dream about me. We laughed both of them off. Both of those things are quite common.

They do not have children. I have two little ones, 7 and 4.
You're writing in an infidelity forum.

Why not talk to her husband or go out with both him and her?

Surely a man going through a "bitter" divorce and with two kids has better things to do?
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Old 25th September 2017, 2:23 AM   #15
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How is it not platonic? I played it off like a "harmless office crush", the kind that are so common. She followed that by confessing having had a sex dream about me. We laughed both of them off. Both of those things are quite common.
You are answering your own question when you stated "How is it not platonic? I played it off like a "harmless office crush", the kind that are so common." If it were truly harmless, you would not have stated that you "played it off" like a harmless crush, because if were really harmless you would not be playing it, you would be feeling it. Cheaters always falsely claim that it is harmless when they pursue a married person. Be honest with yourself, if she leaned over and kissed you, you would kiss her back, which makes nothing about this harmless. And the only thing common about you telling her that you have a crush on her, her telling you that she "had a sex dream about" you, her touching you the way she does, you getting mad when she shows you a photo of her with her husband, and you enjoying the fact that when she is with you for hours she is ignoring her husband's texts, is that it is common for cheaters to think the way that you do.
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Last edited by Try; 25th September 2017 at 2:26 AM..
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