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Friend vs Emotional Affair


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Old 30th December 2017, 5:16 PM   #1
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Friend vs Emotional Affair

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.
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Old 30th December 2017, 5:20 PM   #2
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How do you differentiate between a close opposite sex friend and an emotional affair?
Easy. Whatever behaviors and words are performed are performed in front of a partner or spouse and, if they are good to go, good to go.

In your case, the interaction is mostly electronic. Met once. Spouses around for that? Is your correspondence open and conspicuous? Are your devices encrypted and protected and no one else has access? Just some questions to ponder.
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Old 30th December 2017, 5:27 PM   #3
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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. However, I would have the same combos with a close female friend if I had one. It's more than I want an outside perspective.
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Old 30th December 2017, 5:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
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[B] he is able to talk to me more openly and freely than anyone[/B] 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.
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.
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Old 30th December 2017, 5:44 PM   #5
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So, OP, if you had no sexual interest in men, like if a lesbian, and you were living with your wife and had this male friend you were interacting with at this same level, what do you think? Just throwing that out there.

IMO, it boils down to behavior your committed partner or spouse feels is inappropriate in your relationships or marriage. You may not feel it's inappropriate; I may not. It's the spouse/partner which matters here. They decide. If you don't agree and no compromise can be reached, well they call it irreconcilable differences in no-fault states.

Here's a tip if you want to maintain boundaries. Be a friend of the marriage. Show interest in their spouse and include the spouse in interactions. See how doing that flows into the dynamic. The response will usually tell you everything you want to know about describing the dynamic as a friend versus EA.
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Old 30th December 2017, 5:59 PM   #6
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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!
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Old 30th December 2017, 6:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
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.
Why isn't your marriage "super strong" and what would it take to strengthen it?
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Old 30th December 2017, 7:37 PM   #8
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We married young, for all the wrong reasons. We're a great partnership, and have made the best out of a bad situation. We've never been on the same page romantically nor emotionally. At this point, over 22 years in, I do not see that changing. My husband and I are both content with the relationship we have.
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Old 30th December 2017, 7:45 PM   #9
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I had to laugh recently when playing the game so well one MW thought I was gay. I mean I've known her, what a couple decades and she even knew my wife. I simply played the eunuch friend card to the hilt. It was hilarious. After a few drinks, when she said that, I did a sweeping motion and 'oh, kiss me Scarlet!' (Gone with the Wind). What fun. Anyway, she tells me she loves me in front of her H and he's cool with that. Still, oh my, hottie and if she wasn't married 30 years, eh, I'm not that gay

Point is, OP, men can be complex and, come down to it, any of us with a modicum of testosterone flowing through us, yeah, you know what we want. We may box it up in a nice package with a friendly bow on top but don't kid yourself. Up to you. Is this guy an anomaly? OK.
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Old 30th December 2017, 7:46 PM   #10
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In cases like this, the boundaries between friendship and emotional affairs are legitimately fuzzy. There isn't going to be a clear-cut answer at this stage. You might be fine. You might not be. You might be fine now and yet run into trouble in the future.

Some things to consider:

Have you ever fantasized about what it would be like if you were in a relationship with him and not your husband?

Have you and he ever talked about what it would be like if you were in a relationship together?

If you DID flirt with him or suggest an affair, do you think he'd go for it? Or vice versa? Would you be flattered or shocked?


If you're concerned that your friendship may be a bit too intense, then try to push back a little bit on the deep personal parts. If you're tempted to tell him things that you wouldn't like your spouse to know about, or he wants to tell you the same, realise that it's perhaps not the best idea and keep your friendship in safer territory.
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Old 30th December 2017, 8:36 PM   #11
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How do you differentiate between a close opposite sex friend and an emotional affair?
dovebrandy1,

A long time ago, someone offered to me that if it was something that I felt perfectly happy to share with my spouse/partner, then it did not cross any lines.

When you start to feel that you want or need to withhold, for the purpose of 'protecting' or 'sheltering' yourself and/or your spouse/partner from any real or potential negative consequences or 'fall-out' -- then you know you are on the wrong side of the highest intentions and desires of your wedding vows/relationship promises.

It is you, personally, who gets to make this determination. You will and you do know, all by yourself and for yourself. You don't need any external input/validation.
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Old 31st December 2017, 6:29 AM   #12
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Hi Dovebrandy, I have just one question for you. Why did you think it necessary to come to a forum like this one and pose a question like yours? You have given every reason as to why your friendship with this guy is completely above board and so that should be good enough for you yourself. Why ask the question unless at some deep level you know you've crossed a red line and every thing is not hunky dory. Your husband may be trusting of you or maybe he has lost interest and is waiting for you to have an affair so that he can call it a day on your marriage. After all you did say your marriage was not very strong and so this aspect would also be well known to your husband.

Livingwaterplease, highlighted all the red flags in your OP. I think those are very valid. As an adult and a spouse you should have your own internal boundaries and should know when you are breaching these. I would bet my bottom dollar that if you were to meet up with this friend of yours then in your husband's words you would end up having a 'little fun' with him. After that only the Lord knows what's in store for you and your marriage. Warm wishes.
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Old 31st December 2017, 8:49 AM   #13
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If there's anything youre saying to your "friend" that you wouldn't want your H to know about, then you're in an emotional affair.

As far as you saying that both marriages are not super strong, this is one of the first steps one takes in an A. You convince yourself that both marriages are not good marriages. It progresses from there.
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Old 31st December 2017, 9:13 AM   #14
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If there's anything youre saying to your "friend" that you wouldn't want your H to know about, then you're in an emotional affair.

As far as you saying that both marriages are not super strong, this is one of the first steps one takes in an A. You convince yourself that both marriages are not good marriages. It progresses from there.
Add to that if you are keeping what you are telling you OM
a secret from your BH you are having an affair.

And, if you are hiding all of this quality time spent with your
OM from your BH you are having an affair.

Telling and things with the OM first and or excluding your BH
you are having an affair.
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Old 31st December 2017, 9:23 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by dovebrandy1 View Post
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.
He is using the friend angle to get close to you to start an
affair.

He is slowly working you across the line from a girl friend
to a girlfriend.

This man knows how to set the bait very skillfully. Getting you
to admit your marriage is weak. You just showed him that you
are ripe for the picking to cheat without him having to ask you
to cheat.

He admitted the same to let you know that he is ripe to have
an affair without saying so. Planting the seed as he works
to develop you having a close enough emotional bond for
you to change your feelings of friendship for him to affair
partner.

I am sorry he needs friends he should be finding them in his
town, unless he wants the wrong kind of friendship. A red
flag that something is wrong that he cannot find local friends.

Your gut is telling you something stinks in ice. This is why
you have posted here.
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