“You Know You Are Having an Emotional Affair If…”

you are having an emotional affair

By Linda & Doug

After we posted the article Rationalizing the Emotional Affair as ‘Just Friends’  we were inundated with emails from people who were facing the challenge of a spouse who is denying that their emotional affair is an affair at all.

The main reason that they are justifying this stance is naturally because there was no sex involved.

Most of the people we communicated with were at their wits end because they cannot seem to make their spouse understand that what they are doing equates to an EA and that their actions are hurtful, deceptive and a betrayal.

The betrayed spouses are tired of hearing that they are being jealous or controlling, and that their demands for their spouses to end their relationship with their “friend” are unfair and unreasonable.

So, we thought we’d put together a little kick in the pants for the person who is denying that their EA is an affair – or at the very least an inappropriate relationship.

Remember Jeff Foxworthy’s old  comedy bit “You Might Be a Redneck If…”? Well, this is our version… “You Know You Are Having an Emotional Affair If…”

First of all, what is an emotional affair?

Judith Orloff MD, in her book “The Power of Surrender” describes an emotional affair as when you turn to a friend or co-worker for emotional (not physical) intimacy. The seduction is that this person gives you what you feel your mate doesn’t: support, ego boosts, empathy, playfulness, an undercurrent of flirting or attraction. Initially, this can seem innocent but you may begin to share more with this “safe” person that with your mate.

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M. Gary Neuman, psychotherapist and author of “Emotional Infidelity” says, “An emotional affair happens when you put the bulk of your emotions into the hands of somebody outside of your marriage.”

So here are some signs; some questions to ask yourself to determine that you might be having an emotional affair (since you are currently denying it).

Emotional Affair Signs

You Know You Are Having an Emotional Affair If…

  • You withdraw from your spouse but confide in your “friend.”
  • You confide in or share secrets with this person that maybe your spouse doesn’t even know.
  • You seem to enjoy the company of your “friend” more so than with your spouse.
  • It’s difficult to talk to your spouse about conflicts.
  • You believe your “friend” understands you better than your spouse.
  • You keep your friendship a secret from your spouse or lie about how often you interact.
  • When you’re confronted with the emotional affair, you deny it.
  • Your “friend” is the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about before you fall asleep. And pretty much all the times in between.
  • This person is the first person you want to share good news with.
  • You text, Instagram, Facebook, email or call him/her A LOT.
  • You would have a hard time sharing these emails, texts, etc, with your spouse, so you keep them secret.
  • You start wishing your partner were more like him/her and begin listing why your spouse doesn’t add up.
  • You plan what you’re going to wear, say and do around him/her. After all, it matters more what he/she thinks of you than what others do.
  • You feel that this person, just “gets” you. You feel you have a lot in common.
  • You share details and secrets about your spouse and/or your marriage.
  • You start to fantasize about this person.
  • You feel a greater emotional intimacy with him/her than you do with your spouse.
  • You start changing your normal routine or duties to spend more time with him/her.
  • You spend significant time alone with him/her.
  • You feel a sense of thrill of the forbidden without crossing any physical lines.
  • You feel that not having sex may make the connection seem all the more powerful. It feels genuine, romantic even, and isn’t easy to let go of because it’s so “safe.”
  • You would be embarrassed for your spouse to witness your interactions or to know what you are thinking about when you’re with this other person.
  • You’re feeling guilty and increasingly aware of how your time and energy spent on this other person was taking away from your family – but you can’t seem to help yourself.
  • You touch your “friend” in “legal” ways, like straightening his tie or putting your hands on her shoulders.
  • You think crush-like thoughts like, She’d love this song!
  • You no longer feel comfortable telling your spouse about this person and begin to cover up your relationship.
  • You experience increasing sexual tension; you admit your attraction to him/her but also insist to yourself that you would never act on it.
  • You find yourself feeling vulnerable and turn to the other man/woman for support rather than to your spouse or a trusted relative or friend.
  • You accelerate the level of intimacy through sexual or suggestive talk over e-mail or the phone.
See also  Should You Stay Or Should You Go? Know the 9 Common Traits of A Serial Cheater So You Can Decide

We think it’s fair to say that if you answer yes to several (any??) of these, you are certainly involved in an emotional affair. So stop denying it.

Instead of allowing the emotional affair to sap so much emotional energy and core values away from your relationship, focus your attention on your current relationship/marriage and put the work in that’s necessary to improve it.

For a PDF version of this that you can print out, click here.  We realize that this may not cause your spouse to immediately break down and admit that he/she has been having an emotional affair, but perhaps it might at least get them to think about it.

If you can think of anymore sure-fire, tell-tale signs of an emotional affair, list them below in the comment section!


    42 replies to "Stop! Just Stop! You ARE Having an Emotional Affair!"

    • Gizfield

      My husband was in the “I’m not doing anything wrong” camp. I don’t break this down into “emotional” and “physical” affair myself. Cheating is cheating, wrong is wrong, and you know it or you wouldn’t be “creeping” (to use one of the whore girlfriend’s own words, and she should know). I just told him it was an “inappropriate relationship” and told him it needed to stop, pronto. I think the term “affair” actually has kind of positive connotations in our society and is much too nice for loser crap like cheating and adultery.

      • Doug

        Good point Giz. The problem is there are still way too many people that think that if there is no sex, then it ain’t cheating.

        • Gizfield

          If there’s Creeping, it’s Cheating.

    • Cherry

      My husband still swears “they” did nothing wrong, secretly for 15 months. He began an emotional affair with the SAME woman he physically cheated with on his first wife 38 years ago. He begged her for sex during 43,000 text and over 500 phone calls…even sent her photos of his penis (add THAT to your list), but SWEARS they were “just playing” I couldn’t be more devastated. He did everything on your list. He even invited her to family get together. They BOTH expressed feelings of wishing things could be different so that they could be together, but still insist they are “just friends”. It’s infuriating! Since he downplays what they were doing and she lives only 3 blocks away, I think they affair was more than likely physical as well. This causes lots of heated arguments. I am one of the few that had NOTHING wrong in my marriage. He and I agree. He simply saw an opportunity to play and took it. Now everything has changed. If our marriage survives, it can’t possibly be better than it was before. Now there is distrust and heartache looming where there once was none. I mourn for the husband I had.

      • Doug

        I’m sorry Cherry. That has to be incredibly frustrating for you for him to feel (say) that he’s done nothing wrong. Since that is his stance, I imagine he’s not doing a whole lot to help you get over it either.

    • Joan

      3 years after D Day, after thousands of dollars of couples’ therapy and individual therapy, my husband told me what he wished would come out of the therapy is that he would be “heard” because he saw no reason why he should have to give up a “friendship” with a now-21-year old female friend we knew through church because of MY problems with trusting his feelings were now appropriate. I came upon 3 months of daily page-long emails following finding out that my husband of 30 years had spent that summer trying to give her a graduation gift I had purchased as a family gift in which he had enclosed unbeknownst to me a page long letter beautifully written. Not sexual but clearly impressive in showing Her his writing and vocabulary skills (with which she had been impressed as they sat together on a church committee for about a year). He was interested in the same subjects and political leanings as she and became enmeshed in this “infstuation” that spring after his often-critical mother had died. He lapped up the praise as he was an unemployed attorney and feeling old and this young woman(honor student and bright…also a friend of our daughter) looked up to him – as she did with many church adults. It was a gift I had purchased for three graduates but he made it seem as though he had selected it himself just for her. She wrote a lavish thank you that was effusive as many 18 year olds write…just to him not us which I saw and thought odd and kind of funny at the time signed “all my love.” I had no idea about his feelings and he hid them from me. He spent several months downstairs on the computer “job hunting” long after I had gone to bed and at 5 am, crafting elaborate flattering emails on a daily basis that were not sexual but showed great interest that was escalating and asked many questions and told Her how “emotionally mature” she was compared to others Her age and were the type of thing I would have loved to have seen myself. He pursued her if he didn’t get a response he wrote again. He had never written me more than a sentence in all those years and never a letter with a gift. He had not pursued me with the same intensity and we had gotten married 30 years only when I gave him s deadline after over 2 years of our relationship and he asked me on the last day. But that was also two years of me being young and stupid because I became pregnant and he had said he would marry me and then a couple of weeks later fell apart and said he could never promise to be there for me because he could nit fathom telling his mother—whom I had not met— of his “failure” and this would wreck his goals of going into politics. I was foolish enough to have an abortion because I was alone with no money and an unsupportive family and I had a job but I was terrified. (Back then few single moms) but he still did not propose until given a deadline months later. Not exactly swept off my feet and times have changed. Since then ironically even though he went through law school and I had put myself thru college without parental support, I ended up in a career that took off and his has languished the whole time (still true). We have had three kids and he even stayed home with them for ten years as my job required travel. All the time they were small I wanted to stay home but he could never find a job as an attorney that paid more than $35000 a year without benefits. He never was a networker and did ok in school and is very smart but applied for jobs the whole time in politics and government without success. People like and respect his intellect at church and that is why he has served in leadership. But I am still the main breadwinner and he is now too old for most employers despite looking younger and job hunting for the last 13 years and he has been working as a contract lawyer making $24 an hour. I lost my well paying job ten years ago and found something but have no raise for ten years and make 1/3 of what I used to make and have also job searched for ten years for a better one without success. Financial problems now and adult kids who are also struggling (last one is in college other two are living at home and working but unable to afford to move out). I get that this infstuation was an escape. when I discovered the emails it was right before a party she would be attending as well as us. He was coordinating a time to be there at the same time. I observed them without telling him what I had found. He was clearly interested in her and spent the whole time in conversation with Her (I was invisible to him). I confronted him in the car after as he had told her he wanted to comw to campus to take her out for coffee some Saturday (remember he had been unemployed and we didn’t go out for anything at all and had no vacations and still haven’t for years now). Plus because I knew he was depressed as he was spending so much time “job hunting” I had been taking care of all the yard work and housework and bills and kids activities as well as working. He was angry at me for telling him this was “wrong” and he could have his own friends if he wanted! He finally wrote her a month later telling Her he would have to stop his communication as he was deriving too much emotional satisfaction from it and that was better spent on his marriage. I think it freaked her out and when we saw her at church she ignored him which greatly upset him (and I wanted him to stay away As I saw how he watched her every move). Yet he denied it and told me I had the problem. we started therapy and he promised to give up following her on social media as well but he didn’t (found out a year or so later he lied about that). Plus he acted like a hurt puppy at church staring at her when she was there. I had to watch all of this play out in secret as of course he told me if I said anything it would be terrible for her and for him and he would have to leave the church and all his friends and that was vindictive of me. His family doesn’t know and only 3 close friends of mine know. I have kept his hurtful secrets from his family and the rest of our friends, who also know this young woman as one of the group of “kids” who grew up in our congregation. We do a lot at this church and he refused to leave it even though it has been agony for me when she is there to know how much he had made of this fantasy relationship. He has defended it as “normal” for older men to like attention from younger women and because he did not have sex that it was my problem. And last night he has the audacity to say that he doesn’t understand why he can’t be friends with her like the other church members. Yet he claims to only have interest because of her interest in the same subjects as he and because she has such a fascinating life (she has parents who are well off and she has not had to work during college so she could intern and volunteer in politics without pay so she has worked for congressmen and in DC, something he had always wanted to do). He has few male friends and does not do anything with guys. They do not call him and he onky has coffee with a couple of guys with whom he used to work who do not know me and are divorced. Our couple friends are busy with their grandkids. He refuses to think that he is old enough to be this girl’s grandfather. I do not think anything will come of this “friendship” but I do not want to be reminded of the horrible pain I went through and I am sad that he holds her up as some ideal person because she used to look up to him and he doesn’t have that from career and certainly not from me with this kind of behavior. He has given up on that. It is difficult for me to feel loved if he is still “waiting” to be friends with this woman. When he was in the depths of this infstuation and we were arguing he told me I didn’t know what it was like to love somebody without them loving you back. I can’t forget that and still trust he doesn’t have the feelings for her. I don’t want a husband who has these needs for this kind of a female friend. Part of me wants to call her up and tell her everything and tell my husband who would then be too deeply embarrassed to talk with her. He says this is mean and not loving of me. But I have come to terms now that he will not accept his inability to kick this habit and his therapist who has never met me doesn’t know how he acts or what he says. We are not in couples counseling now because the therapist told me I had to stop giving the power to my husband. But I cannot afford to leave and I don’t believe he would come after me anyway because he would say that is what I wanted to do. He has low self esteem and my therapist thinks Aspergers like our son.
      He still is in denial of an emotional affair because it was one way. I saw how she was writing back towards the end of it because she was flattering him as he was wowing her with accolades and treatong her like an adult (even asking Her about child reading advice …she was 18!). I don’t know what to do. My daughter knows something is up but she is only 20 and away at college. I have trouble concentrating at work (they do not know either) and I have been taking antidepressants. So now I know he still wants to be friends with Her and thinks more therapy for me will help me “move on” past this so I will trust him again and say that is ok. I told him last night that friendship is over and get used to it and he said that is why I need to go to therapy because of my lack of “forgiveness”. But he lied for almost two years about following her on social media and rationalized it by saying it should not have bothered me. Sigh.

      • Kathy

        Hello Joan. I feel for you so much, I have been married 30 years with 3 grown children when I found out about my husband’s emotional affair, It has only been a few months but I an still devastated, He was my best friend and now I see him with different eyes, I no longer trust him. One think that struck me from your letter was that you cannot afford to leave. But haven’t you been on your own this whole time? He was unemployed and you were carrying the load? If you constantly ask him to stop his antics you are in essence condoning his actions. You need to start loving yourself and see all the good in your life, and he is not one of them. Re-kindle with your old self, dump him and move on. He will wake up and realize what a wonderful woman you truly are. Hope you find peace in your life.

    • Broken2

      My hubby says his definition of an affair is sex. So he really wasn’t cheating because at the time his affair was not meeting his definition of an affair. According to him he is enlightened now and so from the moment of this miracle enlightening he will know what an affair is and won’t do it again but before this moment it wasn’t an affair because he didn’t know it was. Hows that for f@#$ed up thinking. Oh and him going on Craigslist looking for woman, that was just curiosity not cheating. I can’t wrap my head around the way these people think.

      • joan

        Broken2 are you sure that they are not using the same brain? I have heard the same thing from my husband. All over the map with this. Three years later he is “waiting” for me to “get over it” so he can go back to being “friends” with her because after all he knows better now. Yet he has said from time to time when he talked about it how “interesting” she is and “her life is so much more interesting” – She is 21. There are other people – young men we know – who are doing some of the same things but they aren’t nearly so “interesting”. He is frustrated by his life that it seems empty and without purpose (oh, except for our daughter, two sons and me, I suppose). He has a post of leadership now in our church (yep, same one) so he gets kudos – though no money. So of course he spends lots of time on that instead of paying attention to our finances, house repairs, even our daughter’s birthday (which he had to be reminded to send her a birthday card – yet he remembers his siblings’ birthdays well in advance as well as other friends). He says he has changed – he used to make a big deal out of the problem with my birthday falling near Christmas and he had to go out and buy a gift during the busiest season of the year – it was always hurtful when he did that. But when he made a special effort to not only wrap this gift for this girl in gold paper (!) but to carry it with him to church in case she was there – and enclose a page long letter to her with the gift – something he had never done for me, beautifully written – he has no idea of the pain that has caused me.

        Yet he thinks he has “given up a lot by giving up this friendship”. But he refused to change where he hung out, go to a different church with me so that I would not have to see him stare at this girl – which he claims I exaggerated but I didn’t especially when he would try to sit near her so he could see or hear her better for a year – and doesn’t see why I shouldn’t trust him. And he refuses to talk about our life prior to we got married – because that is the “past” and I must just want hiim to feel badly all the time.

        He is a nice fellow to me physically – gets me coffee in the morning and wants to do things like go cross country skiing and eat out. We used to vacation when we had money but we have none now. He planned a three day weekend away – first one in four years – this fall, but he just wanted it to be about sex and eating out and thinks that should “bring us closer”. But he will clam up about talking about my feelings because he doesn’t see the point of “making himself feel badly” because he is the “source of all my pain and who wants to hear that”. I don’t want him to hear that – I just want him to show empathy – that my pain or what he did hurt me and he doesn’t want me to hurt by saying that and doing things that will show me that our relationship is more important to him than, I don’t know, renewing this stupid friendship that caused me the pain? He doesn’t get it and his therapist is worthless and refuses to meet with me. He also talks with his therapist because “he listens to me and you don’t.” I just plain will always disagree with him about this subject because I don’t think he is being honest with himself – he still has feelings and they aren’t appropriate.

        I may tell him sure go ahead and be friends – after I make sure she knows all about what has gone on with him. He says that is mean spirited – because she doesn’t know anything except from the note he sent her that he needed to concentrate on his marriage and she has a boyfriend (incidentally, a friend’s son from church!). So other than “giving up” this inappropriate relationship, I don’t see anything else he has done to show me that he cares more about my pain than his own. He says he has “lost my respect and trust” so he has “given up” a lot – that is BS. That was a choice – he let himself act inappropriately. I have forgiven what he did – I understand it was a midlife crisis. What I don’t like is that he doesn’t appear to think he should bear the consequences and realize he has to do something to earn back trust and respect.

    • Cherry

      It’s true. His reactions do nothing to help me move forward with recovery. It also causes me to still believe that the affair WAS physical. This other woman has HPV and it developed into anal cancer. Now, she has been diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer in her spine. Guess who has signs of HPV . Me. Now I have to endure a doctor’s visit for testing. They are STILL insisting they did NOTHING wrong! I think it’s more than just coincidence.

    • joan

      Doug, I know he has low self esteem. But he has never “owned up” to things that he did. He is good at keeping secrets and absolutely believes nothing he can do can fix this so he doesn’t try that hard. Yet he doesn’t want to risk failure – so by doing very little about it except waiting, he is failing. But that is not because he fails -it is because he knows he isn’t trying. And I am done with trying. I just have to not care and get my own life. It is difficult to face that I am without a husband who can be emotionally supportive. It is not a satisfactory marriage -but my thing is I don’t want to be alone. That is what my therapist says is a decision I have to make – he may never be able to change. Even if I left him he would say that I had the problem of being unable to forgive. Yet he has never really asked me specifically what to forgive him for, because he keeps defending it as “not that bad” and that “people have physical affairs and get over them so why are you dragging this thing out because it was not an emotional affair.” Our couples therapist told hiim it was – his personal therapist doesn’t really help him take responsibility for anything that I can see. I wish he did.

    • Gizfield

      I think when you give any “credence” to the garbage cheaters tell you, it gives power to their deranged thought processes. If you show any doubt that you are right and they are wrong, they pick up on it and run with it. I listened to my husband’s shit about his gf wasn’t doing anything wrong, he/she were good persons, I was jealous, insecure, crazy, ad nauseam for over TWO YEARS. Makes me almost puke to even think of it.

      One day I just snapped. I thought “if my husband sneaking around with a whore is the best thing I can expect out of my marriage, I will no longer want to be married.” I meant it, too. I threw his ass out of the house and consulted a lawyer. I guarantee you that I will never again listen to one word in defense of this slut and whatever their so called Relationship was. If it comes out of his mouth, he is gone. I can’t control what he thinks but I can damn sure control what I listen to. And so can every person on here. Guaranteed.

    • Rachel

      Is it weird that I seems that all of the CS read the same book?
      Everything sounds the same. The excuses are amazing!!!

      • theresa

        Check out “THE SCRIPT”

    • Jim

      It’s all about the chemical addiction to dopamine, they can’t go cold turkey, they have to let the feelings fade. Some lose it quicker than others, they keep feeding their fix…..they will do anything to hide and conceal the affair to keep it going until the affair runs its course..all of us are waiting for it end……..

    • BeckyB2

      My husband defended his opinion of his professional whore (yep she has made a business of fucking other women’s husbands) he has insisted he is entitled to his opinion .I told him he can have any opinion of a married prostitute another mans wife and while he can keep any and all of his . opinions are like assholes we all have them but we never protect any strangers asshole only our own. I also told him that as a married man if he chose his opinion over me my life our life together our 8 kids and our 7 grand kids . then access to me and my body are in my opinion never going to be safe with him so sex is no longer an option he has given me his multiple whores infections viruses and diseases and guess what I am still laughing cause no matter what disease ridden whores he has had he EXPOSED EVERY ONE OF THEM TO MY DISEASE HPV yep the kind that causes cervical cancer ( I am a 21 year survivor of CIN4 stage 4 cervical cancer and my baby survived it while I was pregnant he is 21 ) it also causes throat cancer and other cancers. Talk about truly knowing I came out the winner ! Hmm that talk of revenge being sweet I believe life has a way of giving back what you do. I know I did nothing wrong I was foolish to believe a lying cheating thief.

    • exercisegrace

      I believe there is definitely a great deal of rationalizing when someone is cheating but hasn’t taken it to the physical level yet. I am certain my husband justified his “friend” in exactly that way. If they weren’t having a physical relationship, then he wasn’t “technically”, cheating. However, there is also NO doubt in my mind that cheaters know what they are doing is WRONG. Whatever they call it, whatever they strive to AVOID calling it, they know it’s wrong. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be hiding and lying about the friendship. They wouldn’t delete texts and emails, they wouldn’t lie about their “friend” or how much time they spent talking to or being with their “friend”.

      So my point is simply this. Instead of trying to beat someone to death with semantics, maybe we need to just draw our line. If my spouse speaks or acts in a way that would make ME uncomfortable? He shouldn’t be speaking or acting that way. He is wrong and it is cheating. We keep acting like the CHEATER has a right to define his behavior. He doesn’t. If we want strong marriages, we need to respect what feels right and wrong for our spouses. Yes, if you wouldn’t do or say it in front of your spouse its probably an issue. But really spouses need to draw the lines for themselves. The other night, my husband voiced his opinion that he wasn’t comfortable with an online word game I play on my phone. Now I can tell you I have NEVER chatted with anyone, I just like the mental challenge of playing the game. But because it made him uneasy, I deleted the app. No problem. While I COULD climb up on the high horse of being the betrayed spouse, not the CHEATING spouse, I chose to respect his request and delete it.

    • theresa

      So, we see changes that appear to be going in a positive direction. There has been compliance with our requests for change. And this has been the situation over time.
      Hope is eek ink through. I am cautiously optimistic.
      I have had my hope obliterated in the past. But this time he is really trying.

      Only to find his ap is the one that put an end to their affair. She has stopped all contact with him.

      So his “sincere efforts” to rebuild the marriage were not because he wanted to turn away from his affair.
      He had NO choice.
      He never really chose me

    • Joan

      Theresa, I understand the need to be chosen. It isn’t like you want to “win”. It is that you want to feel like he woke up and realized his behavior was wrong and that he really wanted you. In my case he did not choose to end it until I found out and made him stop. And then it took him a long time and he was and stil is addicted to any information about Her. Even a picture. Sad. Because he denies how he is acting. He and your husband don’t understand that they need to show you that you are important. Not just someone they end up with because it is comfortable. Or socially acceptable in my case (as she is 40 years younger). Best to you. You deserve better. We both do

    • theresa

      Joan, thank you. I wonder sometimes if this site becomes a crutch. I’ll hit it during the day when I need a boost. Then I realize it’s not affecting anyone but me. This quick look does not push anything else to the side. It just gives me a feeling of support, of not going thru this on my own. You guys are the only ones I’ve confided in, and I hope I can give some of that back.
      I started asking the “what are you thankful for” before Thanksgiving Grace around our wonderfully full table. I’m the oldest at 60 and we have a one year old, and another on the way. All say thank you for family, there are some poignant prayers and hilarious observations, all happy to be together. We have been able to get 2-3 days together. Unfortunately, the family is global now. My daughter in Italy at school, one nephew in Ireland, another in the service. Thank you God for Skype. They get a few minutes with us, and we get to see them for too short a time. It’s a glorious madhouse of big eaters, we go thru 4 turkeys and all the trimmings in 2 days, (leftovers is the best) and yeah we have a family of big eaters!
      So, I’ll say thank you God right here, for my other family.

    • PauliD

      I had an emotional affair. It was so exciting, thrilling, like a roller coaster ride every day.

      The things He told me were things I have never heard a man say to me IN MY LIFE.

      He offered the friggin moon (but only b/c he is tired of his own wife and they are having major issues)

      * He offered to touch me as no other man has ever touched me.
      * He offered to even marry me

      These things I had never heard from a man in my life and certainly craved being talked to in this fashion.
      However, it was always myself that kept men at arms length because I have always had a higher level of physical beauty and did not want to be ‘dominated’ by a male–ever.

      At any rate-I would wake up in the AM and think of him, afternoon, evening. I would enter into an erotic state in my spirit and allow him ‘spiritually’ to make love to my body.
      I thought this was most thrilling, intoxicating..

      Then, my husband was taking me to Vegas…

      I decided I needed this time alone to go to Vegas–to think. My husband goes there for sports…
      So, think I did–A LOT.

      You see, I LOVE my husband, he is excellent to me. NO, he is not passionate, nor is he really romantic–but he makes me laugh like a jackass and I do the same for him. He has taken care of me in sickness.
      He is the LEVEL BEST man in this planet. He deserved more than this and what I was doing in my mind.

      After 3 days in Vegas and a spiritual cleansing, I decided to confess EVERYTHING to my husband. And, I did.

      I decided to keep ‘the other man’ as a friend. When he wanders off into the sensual talk.. I just remain quiet and do not engage him.
      It is not easy, but it is a lot easier than if I had allowed this to continue.

      You ARE having an emotional affair, ladies, gents. You CAN ‘let it go’. Just cry out to God to deliver you.

      Thanks for letting me rant.

    • Rachel

      Why are you telling people they can let it go as you are not doing that?
      The guy is married and so are you. Leave him alone and concentrate on your own marriage, not someone else’s husband.

    • Pauli


      Did you not read?
      We are just friends now. We hardly talk anymore.

    • theresa

      I have soooo many questions, Rachel.
      What, if anything, has your husband asked of you?
      Does he know about your continued contact with your affair partner?
      What is the difference between your “other ” friendships and your relationship with your affair partner, (because this still sounds like an emotional affair to me)?
      It also sounds like your affair partner is still holding out hope. Is this fair to him?
      Have you figured out why, (not just the words you neede to hear), it first started?
      Do you have the self confidence to prevent a recurrence with your current affair partner?
      How about someone else?
      How would you feel if you were the “wronged” partner? You being the spurned spouse or strung along affair partner.
      Do you feel you have that much confidence in yourself?

      If I’m wrong I will apologize now.
      It just sounds, to me, like you are bragging.

      • Rachel

        Paulie Dis who the questions should be asked to not me.

    • theresa

      Rachel. I am very sorry. The questions were meant for Pauli.

    • theresa

      Doug, can you fix this for me?

    • Joan

      My husband told me he will not write me beautiful letters like he wrote the object of his infatuation (20 year old girl) as nobody can expect romance after 34 years and she didn’t make him feel badly about himself (of course because he was emotionally cheating on and did not hurt her) nevertheless what I wantand need from him he refuses todo. He says making morning coffee and rubbing my shoulders shoukd be enough and I should stop expecting more because it will never be enough no matter what he does. I am grieving feeling special in a way he showed someone else he could show them but not me. This is three years after dday and I am so sad but I know he has self esteem issues he is unable to get over. And I am angry at him for withholding the romance from me because he doesn’t get the kicks he did from trying to woo a 20 year old. He only stopped because I found out and it was mostly in his head. Yet he hung onto his infatuation for a year or two more checking up on her on social media behind my back and lying about doing so. He is 62 and I am 60. I csnnot afford to leave him and our adult kids are working at low paying jobs and living with us I can’t find new work and my husband has been unsuccessful in his jobs and career for years despite hardwork and trying. I get the reasons he did this but to blame me for wanting the romance he showed he could give away to get some back is low. It hurts. My counselor has told me he may never change despite his two years of counseling. He thinks he is right and I am unwilling to forgive him even though he does not show remorse or that my feelings bother him for me rather than just that he doesn’t like to feel responsible. I may have to move on but I am unhappy about being alone at my age and don’t have a great job either. He would not bother to come after me if I left him because he would say that I wanted to leave and there is nothing he could do. There is but he has no desire to do so.

    • Happy

      I really need some advice from anyone willing!

      Some background – last year my husband of 15 years told me he was in love with another woman he worked with and had been seeing her for a while (emotional and physical affair). Our marriage had been deadish for a number of years after having kids and although we still loved each other he obviously was not as okay with the status quo as i was. Long story short we both really wanted to work on our marriage and he finally came out of the ‘fog’ and we’ve been in therapy and our marriage is definitely on a WAY better path. In fact we are both so much in love with each other it’s like a completely new and different partnership.

      Today at work a colleague/friend I’ve worked with for 5 years – we work together and have lunch every so often and generally chit chat (like he does with most other woman in the office) told me that he needs to get something off his chest – he has a crush on me and always has since the first time he met me 5 years ago. I am sooooo shocked considering what i went through last year in my own marriage. Because we’re friends, at the time of all my drama, I told him all that was happening in my life, as I did with all of my other friends and colleagues.

      He’s going through issues in his marriage which i recently discovered (and that he’d been involved in an emotional affair with another colleague last year). Him and his wife are going for counselling and he’s going to be seeing therapist on his own too.

      He told me he needed to really get this off his chest and tell me, to put it out there, as he thinks that its what’s holding him back from dealing with all his marriage issues. He also flirts with almost all the girls at work and I never thought anything other than ‘that’s how he is with all the girls’. Let me tell you that there is nothing from my side at all. I even asked him if i’d done anything to give him the wrong impression or led him on.

      I am the kind of person that people come to when they need to offload, need advice, dump emotions on. And unfortunately i’m more than willing but now i’m sitting with this weighing heavily on me and i have no idea how to deal with it.

      I feel devastated for his wife who obviously has the same issues to deal with that i had after finding out that her husband was having an affair. I wish i could tell her that she has NOTHING to fear out of my friendship with her husband but he’s not honest to her about our friendship.

      He’s told me that he’s really trying to stay on the “good” path and be good and sort his stuff out and i guess that having these feelings for me might have been hampering his path and he wasn’t completely “clean”. He’s hoping that telling me is going to help him better deal with his marriage issues.

      I really don’t know what to do 🙁
      Do I still stay friends with him? or limit contact? I’ve been his sounding board for a couple of weeks now and giving him advice based on my experiences with infidelity last year. I don’t really want to add to any more hurt he’s going through. Even writing this now i can see how dangerous having any interaction with co-workers can be.

      Also, i’ve been telling my husband all about our conversations so he’s fully aware of my friendship with him. Do i tell my husband about this new revelation?

      I’m still shocked that I’m at the centre of this and would really appreciate any advice other readers might have.

      • Doug

        Hi Happy! My two cents…I think you should tell him that though you value his friendship (and that is all that it is) – you need to back off and limit contact so that he can focus on his marriage and whatever other issues he’s going through. Stop the lunches and the personal therapy sessions. Trust me. As far as telling your husband…I’m leaning towards saying yes, you should. However, if your husband is the kind of person who would fly off the handle and confront or physically approach this other guy, then maybe you should think twice about it.

    • Happy

      Thanks Doug,
      Had a long weekend away to think about it and told hubby last night. I just didn’t want to have any secrets from him. The way I look at it, if I keep this a secret from him then I form a bond with this this other person which I don’t think is healthy or wise. He took it okay although I could sense he was trying to contain himself – He told me never to introduce him to this person. I will also take your advice on what to say.
      Thanks for the response 🙂

    • Kathy

      I just found out 2 months ago that my partner of a year was texting with his ex-girlfriend the whole time we have been together. He said he erased the texts on the off chance that i might see them in his phone. But he only erased the personal texts, he left the generic ones that said happy thanksgiving or merry xmas. It seemed to me if he didn’t want me to know they ere texting he would have erased all of them. He said she was happily married and that she knew he was in a happy relationship, she even gave me a nickname, she calls me “sweetie”. That infuriated me.

      Instead of a knee jerk reaction I told him if they were going to be friends he needed to be open about it and not keep it from me. He said he felt guilty about it and he knew it was wrong, he had violated my trust in him. That is where it ended.

      Two weeks later I sat down and told him I didn’t feel right about all this and it was wrong. I told him no one outside my relationship had the right to know everything that was going on in it. I told him it pissed me off she felt so comfortable being an outside part of this that she would give me a nickname.. I told him I would not share my holidays or birthdays with her. I told him that they were our holidays and birthdays and I would not have him sneaking off somewhere to carve out time in our day to text her. He said he didn’t text her on the 4th of July but he checked his phone every 5 minutes the whole evening looking for a text from her. It was devastating to know he was so eager to hear from her. Instead of recognizing that what he was doing to me and us, he simply defended the friendship. He said he had not seen her face to face in a couple of years and the she was just an old friend from the past and she meant nothing to him! Never once did he say for the sake of us he would end it, either time we talked. Then he recanted and said they only talked about 2-3 times a year. This was a lie because he left 6 messages on his phone that took place over 6 months. Sound fishy??? Ya, I thought so too. He refuses to see this for what it is, an emotional affair. He has never talked about her, mentioned her, or ever said she texted “us” to wish a a merry christmas…..Lying by omission.

      What it has done to me is to lose the trust in him I once had. Coming from years of bad relationships, this was the lowest boo in what I thought was the best relationship I had eve had. Outside this, it is its good as it gets. No really.

      I thought we were best friends, I thought we were the lovers and the confidants. I thought I was his buddy! I have spent the past couple of months trying to figure out how to re-gain my trust for him knowing she is still in the background. I can’t seem to do that. I know she has to go or I will. By defending her to me he put her in first place and put me in second. I now have a partial relationship, not a full one. I have never settled for second and I damn sure won’t settle for left overs! I have even looked into having his phone hacked so I can see what they actually talk about and how often they text. But I know in my heart this is nothing more than a control issue on my part. I know he has to comes to terms with what he is doing and give it up. He has to decide if this relationship means that much to him.

      Silly as this all seems because I know I already have my answer, can any one suggest how to try and work through this? When I bring it up,only 2 times, he gets angry, denies everything and then shuts down on me. Don’t know where to go from here.

    • Deah

      I have been married to a wonderful man for 7 years…I recently had knee surgery and found myself with lots of time on my hands…I had downloaded a game on my phone..one that u can chat with people on…for about 3 weeks I just played..one night i received a message from a guy asking if I wanted to play..I said yes and so we did….we started chatting through the game and eventually he asked me to download an app we could talk through..I did…it started out innocent enough..but eventually we were cybersexing….I am 43 and he is 20…which was confusing to me as well that I found myself attracted to him…anyways…he made me feel young and Sexy and free….he said nice things ALL the time…I realized quickly I couldn’t wait to talk to him…I checked my phone often and felt sick if he hadn’t responded back…I started to recognize I was in the middle of an emotional affair….never did I think I could do this….my marriage us very solid….I did tell my husband and I was very fortunate he kind understood…he thinks I was bored and looking for validation of my “sex appeal” outside of our relationship….I ended all contact with this guy and have been left with the pain of hurting my husband…because he didn’t deserve this at all….most think something has to be missing for this to happen….I am here to tell anyone it can happen when least expected even good marriages…..all of my needs are met through my husband…that’s why I am so pissed tlat myself that I did this to him….I now know for me it was about feeling young and the attention outside…I also now know nobody can give me the stability and comfort of my husband….please if u suspect you are in an emotional affair STOP NOW…it’s not worth the pain…yours or theirs….everyone has their own reasons or justifications…but if u know deep down why address it….and be honest with your spouse…for me that was the only way for me to Really deal with all this and end things….

      • Shifting Impressions

        thanks for sharing that….It took courage to share that with your husband. So many people keep things like that hidden until they get caught.

        • Renee

          Thank u…I was scared to death…but knew I was wrong and he deserved the truth…plus losing him is not an option for me…I have been very fortunate that we keep communication open even if it’s painful

      • Krishna

        Dear Deah,

        Your insightfulness and self reflection are simply so admirable and wished my wife could at the very least admit that she is in an emotional affair … ‘I’m just following him on FB or instagram’ is apparently ‘ok’ … she doesn’t get it that it is hurtful 😔😔
        Wherever you’re, I wish you well 🙂

    • Misguided

      First I have to say thank you for this comprehensive list. We are currently working on our marriage after my husband’s emotional affair with a co-worker using a very good book I found by accident while in the book store — however, the book only scratches the surface to describe an emotional affair and does not give a list nearly this extensive.

      Second, there are a few things I would add to this list because it occurred with my situation and they were the things that made my anger skyrocket when I found out about them. They were also things that occurred close to me finding out about the emotional affair, so I am certain if I wouldn’t have found out, it would have been headed to more than just an emotional relationship. The “common interest” that was claimed to exist between them when denial was also taking place was exercise/running/physical activity…

      My husband was supposed to go on a mountain climbing trip without me (because it is not something I will attempt), and the trip came up numerous times in their messages. Once I told him I wouldn’t travel to the area to even venture out on my own, he was sure to tell her he would be traveling solo including dates and the touring company he used.

      He downgraded our family gym membership to just single and told her that if he hadn’t taken me off the account, he would have given her my key-chain bar code to use for entry into the gym. This was after I already denied that to a friend because it’s not right.

      Since he couldn’t give her the bar code for the gym, he decided to bring her our handheld weights out of our house without telling me.

      Just days before D-Day, he ordered a Christmas gift for her – rock climbing chalk bag (because she said she wouldn’t go back to the local climbing place without her own equipment). He ordered this using a gift card I did not know about and had it shipped to his work.

      While we are working through this and he no longer denies this was “just a friendship”, if any particulars are brought up about conversations or what he said he wanted to do or not do for/with her, he still claims it isn’t what I think it was and he didn’t mean anything by it. Essentially this is still a form of denial, but I am not in his head so I can’t make him admit what he really did or didn’t mean or what thoughts were flowing when he said the things he said.

      Regardless…this girl doesn’t exercise any more than I do, and from what I discovered in the texts is she is less physically active than I am. I could immediately see what was going on when I read their THOUSANDS of texts and that he was living in a fantasy world believing she was someone she was/is not.

      This is actually the second time I’ve caught him emotionally involved with someone else – the other was discovered 3 months after our wedding that had gone on for YEARS.
      I’m thankful for this list because the first time he deleted 95% of all evidence. This time his first excuse/denial reason was because it wasn’t deleted — which only helped in the fact that I didn’t have to spend hours on end recovering deleted data from cell phones.

      So I am thankful for this comprehensive list so that most “excuses” that haven’t been discussed as boundaries can be while we are working on making our marriage affair proof.

    • Lilmaree

      I worked myself thru his EA and took a year and a half. Then a year later the single woman text him and said “hey, come out with us!” He and i were enjoying a movie together but he jumped up, put on a clean shirt and cologne and headed over to go out. Told me later it was because he thought he may get his chance that night an was pretty sure he could’ve because she kept saying in her drunken stupor “Take me home, take me home”. He didn’t do it, doesn’t know what stopped him, but 3 years later regrets it and tells me to my face. I could forgive with an “I’m sorry I hurt you” but he refuses to say it because he stands by that he didn’t do anything wrong. Even after I said “we don’t even have to call it an affair, all I want is I’m sorry you hurt me”. Still can’t get it. Divorced him last September.

    • Ted

      Does anyone have any experience with a spouse in denial about an emotional affair when you go to marriage counseling? Will a therapist actually TELL the cheating spouse that they are, in fact, cheating?

      I would love to hear your experience, because I’m going through it, my wife’s cheating and she’s in total denial about it. We just started therapy and I’m concerned that the therapist won’t call that out…


      • L

        My husband denies anything but friendship. I was only trying to help her (her husband is a alcoholic). She was lonely and I just tried to help, she has noone. She didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I didnt do anything wrong.
        Refuses to admit any wrong doing! And frankly it really makes me mad! He has done nothing to fix it except to to be nice on the surface. No hug to say its going to be ok, no rub of the back when im hysterically crying. Nothing. Not one sign of affection. Today I got “I’ll make you a nice supper” So what. I DONT care about supper. I cant eat (lost 18lbs since 9/4). He gets on my case about eating every day. Its like we are friends and I told him that.
        Ive told him about needing a hug, reassurance, physical (not sex) touch (hand holding, a cuddle), a hug). He has not made one effort! Not ONE! After explaining it 3 times! I shouldnt have to ask anyways. He should want to do it! We had intamacy problems for many years now. But… I feel like he has something to prove to me yet he doesn’t do it?!
        I’m hurt, angry and lonely, thinking he really doesn’t care and just stays for the convince of it. He says “I dont want anyone else, I only want you”
        Then why not try? Why not put any effort in? I’m lost. Im emotionally exhausted wondering what really happened with the “friend”
        I would love to tell the entire story but its so long I’m not sure anyone would have the time or energy to read it. Im obsessed with it. It consumes me every day all day. I will never be able to stop thinking about it until he admits the truth. He won’t even admit to the EA so its highly unlikely I will get any additional answers from him. He says he will go to counseling but only because I want to, he doesnt believe in it. Why can’t we fix our own problems? Well, lets see, you are doing a great job putting in the effort already. Thats why

    • lister

      Wow I am still getting my head around all the abbreviations so I may have to do this without. Dday was 12th August. OH was in bed and I happened to see a message that set off my spidey sense – married for 20 years honestly never doubted him before that moment. Saw the name of the app – KIK – and googled what it was. what I didn’t learn on google is if you log out if deletes all the conversation, thanks for that KIK creators its a cheaters paradise. So I confronted him, he lied and said he was on a group chat on WhatsApp with the lads, told him I saw the app and ……. he logged out.
      Any how he’s know saying he downloaded it on the day and randomly found someone to talk to with a first name only. This is important as I have found out since you cannot search for someone by first name you have to know a user name to talk to them. So lie 1. Then when I insisted on looking through his phone everything was deleted but also I saw an email saying his account (the one he gave me the log in for) was created on sunday morning. I’d caught him on the sat night so he seems to have made a fake account just for me to look at and not know his real user name. lie 2. He told me he didn’t have any other email accounts apart from the one I knew about, yesterday I found another email address in his name lie3.
      So here’s my problem. I have no concrete in stone – you’re a complete cheating loser proof. And I want it. Before I throw away 20 years of a great guy I need to know he royally f**ked up more than one night. And yet in my heart I know he has. Looking back he has been off since June but I put it down to both the kids leaving home.
      I feel broken. As though something inside me snapped and I can’t fix it. he won’t talk about it, won’t admit anything but just to go a little way to prove i’m not crazy…
      A couple of times I’ve called him and his phones engaged he insists he wasn’t on a call. His WhatsApp is set to busy which means he doesn’t get notifications on his phone he has to to open the app. he has changed every password he could think and guards his phone like it’s his new born. His Fb is now set to not show when he is active FYI all of these things have happened since I caught him. And the most random thing is I found two receipts for parcels sent at a local store in his car. Which is weird cus the man is not domestic so I asked why he had posted anything. He swore blind he hasn’, has no idea how the receipts got in there. So I said fine just show me your google location on the day……………… all locations turned off.
      Writing this I feel like an abs moron because obv something is very wrong in our little world but I just need the truth. Anyone have a clue how to get it? Not in the sense of spyware or anything like that more in that I feel he thinks if he tells the truth I will freak and kick his ass out – maybe – but I feel like without at least the truthful basis facts we can never move forward.
      Since finding this site I have been addicted to the advice given anything you guys can give me is gratefully received.

    • Mickey

      My husband says that he is “special”. He is unlike any other man, therefore he has the ability to just be friends with a woman and not want sex. He knows most men are not like him….and that if I do not believe him then I must not know how special he really is.

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