Emotional Affairs

Emotional affairs can be a tricky area for most married couples. There is a very thin line between ‘friend’ and ‘emotional affair’. What typically happens is that the wife finds a text, email or phone call from a woman that makes the wife uncomfortable. When the wife confronts the husband, she gets ‘Geez, you are over-reacting!! Get a grip, she is only a friend, we were just joking and having a little fun’. Then as the wife you look like the crazy paranoid person.

Below are some things to keep in mind when confronted with the situation above that might give you a better indication if you are dealing with an ‘emotional affair’ or just a ‘friend’.

1. Do you know the person your husband is engaged with? If you notice a note from Pam saying ‘You are so fun to be around, can’t wait to see you again!’ and you do not know Pam, that is not a good sign. If she is comfortable enough to send a text to your husband about how fun he is, then your husband should of mentioned her name to you prior to you seeing the text. Close friends of the opposite sex should be known within the marriage.

2. Would your husband feel comfortable inviting her to dinner (it’s more of a rhetorical question)? If your husband is truly ‘friends’ with ‘Pam’, then he should absolutely be comfortable having Pam around you as the wife. If he refuses or gets angry with the request, take note.

3. Is your husband comfortable being transparent concerning communication with Pam? As the wife, if you feel uneasy around a communication from Pam, your husband should be in a position to share texts/emails ect. to put your mind at ease, after all, they are just ‘friends’. If your husband easily shares communication between him and Pam, great. If not, take note.

Emotional affairs are harder to catch because the default line is always ‘we are just friends’. And the truth is that it is very possible that your husband has friends of the opposite sex. It’s important that as a married couple that you establish rules of engagement with friends of the opposite sex. There is a thin line between ‘friends’ and ‘emotional affairs’ and ‘physical affairs’. You can go from zero (friends) to 100 (full out physical affair) very quick if you are not careful. Below are a couple of rules that can be good discussion points with your partner.

1. Texting/Calling friends after sunset. There is no reason for a friend of the opposite sex to regularly engage with a married man after hours. I understand on occasion something might come up, but consistently calling/texting a married man after work hours should be off limits.

2. Everyday interaction. If your husband is interacting with a ‘friend’ everyday, someone is trying to migrate into the ‘emotional affair’ zone. When married, the only one you should be interacting with everyday (outside of co-workers) is your wife/husband.

3. Flirting – If your husband has a ‘friend’…….that ‘friend’ should not be flirting with your husband (this includes sexting/texting). Flirting with a married man is leaning more towards emotional affair than a friend.

Discovering an emotional affair can be very painful because it is typically the first time in the marriage where the wife discovers that her husband may have feelings for someone else. Watch, listen and observe, and what needs to unfold will unfold.

21 thoughts on “Emotional Affairs”

  1. Hi ladies ,
    Jewels long time no see! I’m wanting to join this thread to just read right now. I will share in the near future.

  2. This topic is so pertinent to me. My H is such a sucker for the damsel in distress. This is how his inappropriate relationships have started. They complain about life — their marriages, their work, how lonely they are, how they have to fix this or that at home — and BOOM. There it starts and there it progresses. The guys love the attention and feel needed and feel the thrill of someone new. I’m just totally shocked at the women who engage in these — married women. Are they looking for the upgrade to what they think would be a better life? I’ve read the texts from the OW in my H’s case. It was all about feeling beautiful and fishing for compliments. She would say how she found her new jeans – -a Size 4 — 30 inseam…. just begging for him to compliment her — which he did….but this is what they do. And the men love to feel needed. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s the commiserating first — and then it shifts. They know it’s wrong — because it’s a secret. That is what really stings. The secrecy and deception…..from someone we thought loved us totally. But again, it’s about them getting their needs met — they really aren’t thinking about us or the consequences at that time. But I knew right away because of the hours on the blackberry. The “after sunset” that Jewels mentions is sooo on the money. He’s never on it now — but he really was while it was going on.

  3. What happens when your husband’s emotional affair has gone full blown, he has left the marriage, the home, the children, and has moved on without a backward glance…. and yet you just can’t stop missing him?

    My husband denies aan emotional affair ever happened , but l do not believe anyone starts to see a work colleague ‘out of the blue’ and then only 2 mnths later moves in and demands to have your chldren to sleep at her house on aternate weekends, and plans a summer vacation with her and them…. yeah, right….

    what do you do when your two youngest children as so confused and distressed because of the separation and the sudden appearance of the girlfriend?

    What do you do when your oldest child becomes so angry and depressed that she refuses all ccontact with her father and resorts to self harm, and even when you arrange counselling, resists all overtures from the counsellor as ‘stupid’.

    What do you do when your friends all tell you to start dating, but after 23 yrs together you just cannot imagine being with anyone else?

    How do you recover?
    How do you move on when you still dream about him every night even after such heartless betrayal?
    How do you ever trust someone again after the person you trusted with your whole life reveals nothing but contempt in the way he handles the revelation [test message, how low can you go?] and the resulting fallout?
    How do you start to live again?

    1. Hi Leah,
      I know you are in a great deal of pain over the affair and the emotional pain this has caused you and your family a great deal of grief. You ask what do you do when your world is falling apart and you are losing control. What you do is hang on to that ounce. That ounce of hope that all of this has to have a purpose that is bigger than what you see. That ounce of hope that says maybe you are not suppose to be with someone who has the capability of doing this to a family. Maybe your kids are going to learn at a very early age that life does not always go as planned and that you should not depend on the actions of others for your sanity. Your kids are not going to listen to you during this time. They are going to watch mommy. They are doing to see your actions. Grab that ounce of hope that you can survive this. Why? Because your kids are going to see the hope in your and grab onto it as well.
      But in order to grab that hope, you have to be selfish enough to stop focusing on that which does not serve you. Your husband moving out and focusing on him does not serve you. Focusing on things outside of your control does not serve you. Focus on things you have control over (your thoughts and actions) because at the end of the day, that is all you can do, all we can do as a society. I can not tell you what to do in your particular situation because you know the answer better than I do, and it will be clear once you focus inward. I wish you well in your journey – hugs to you!

  4. Oh my! Today has been an eye opener…I always knew in the back of my mind, and even when I confronted him not once, twice; but three times (three different “friends”), I learned today that is called Emotional Cheating. This is the person he goes to when he wants to flirt, have fun or even vent. Not me, not his spouse, but this person whoever she is. By the third time in six years, I just won’t feel right sticking around, can you blame me?
    I don’t foresee trusting him, ever again. I have become that person that spies thru emails, facebook, whatsapp, and whatever new social network there is. I am not that person, nor I want to be. He says he wants to look for counseling, for help, is it too late? Three times is not enough?
    Right now I’m standing at a crossroad, after all I’m still questioning myself (which makes me really mad): should I stay or should I go?

  5. I caught my husband having an online relationship. He said it was early in the relationship and they just talked about what they did that day. But how can you know or believe. The act of having the relationship makes his explanation suspect. We have talked about it several times and it ends up with in an aurgument and me being the bad guy. Me being the one who has made him live in a marrage where he fells unimportant. I am just lost with what I believed was a good loving relationship. It hit be out of the blue. I am just lost. I do not know where to turn. I do not want my family to know how blind and stupid I have been. We have been married for 19 years. What happened? I am not so young anymore and just do not know how to handle the pain and the loss. I just want the pain to end. I want everything to end. I have considered killing myself but it would hurt my sister so much. She lost her son about five years ago shortly after I lost my son. She lost her mother-in-law last week. They were very close. I know no one on the end of this web site will solve my pain but it does feel good to type it out. I wish I could explain this all to my husband but he is so angry we would just end up in another fight. I would not sleep. I would get a migrne and make lots of mistakes at work and life would go on and still be the same. I do not know how to tell my husband how much I care nor even know if he will care. He did not sleep in our bed tonight. He is out on the couch. So lonely for a hug that is loving and meaningful not just to appease me. I see a counselor but do not want her know because I have been hospitalized for depression before and it is embarrassing when you come out. It is embarrassing to face your family and embarrassing face people at work. I do not know what to do with my life. I do not want to be a fool. I want my marriage, I want Steve to want to be with me but the grass is always greener on the other side. He is five years younger so other women his age may be more appealing than me. I am not ugly but not so attractive. Now I am just rambling. I am so lost, so lonely but still in love with him, with us. I guess I do not express my feelings so well because it comes out selfish and unfeeling. I do not feel selfish and believe myself to be a caring and loving person. He does not see me this way. So far there is no limit on characters so on I ramble. It does help to put it down. I still do not know where to turn or how to be a better person. I am so willing to work on my faults but it is not all me. I have never roamed from the promise I made when we were married. I never wanted to hurt him or be that person to myself. I am so tired and so scared and so lonely. I want it to end but that would be the chickens way out, but an option. I can not imagine what life would be if he were to leave and I were to live alone again. I have not been so lucky with my marriages, all three. You would think I would learn that I am just not wife kind of material. I am so scared of what my life is going to be. I am sitting here typing wondering if he could read this would it help him understand me but fear that him would interpret it as an insult and me blaming him and just adding to the uncaring person he says I am. I am not. I just do not know how to express my feelings in a way that shows him what I feel inside. I try. I do try. I am so scared and lonely. I feel like I am going to implode. I think I am going to send this to him. It cannot get any worse.

    1. B.J in shock/ Michella

      B.J in shock,

      Hi, I want you to do something very simple. Take a deep breathe, it is really going to be ok. The first thing that came to mind when I read your story is courage. This is your third marriage and so many people give up after the first time, the first divorce. For you to have the courage to say ‘I do’ again means two things. First is that you are willing to fall down and get back up (learning lesson’s along the way), and second, that you must be hot stuff for 3 men to propose to you (you are so not giving yourself enough credit!!).

      I know your current husband is acting up – but that is on him. And guess what? My ex-husband did that same thing where every time I brought up the cheating he blamed me – it’s a trick I tell you! A trick to divert attention off of them and onto you. Don’t believe it, don’t believe any of it because it is not true. You can not make someone cheat. If there were problems in the marriage there are a multitude of things he could of done – he doesn’t get off the hook that easy. I was told I was insensitive, not caring, not affectionate – just like you. And years later I realized – none of it was true.

      I also remember being embarrassed as well. But what you have to do it keep telling yourself – this is his embarrassment, not yours. It’s not your job to own his actions and behavior. People cheat for tons of reason’s, many of the selfish and self-centered (you see everything he is saying you are he secretly thinks of himself but can’t admit it).

      Next time he starts calling you those names, remember what I told you (that is him projecting how he feels about himself), and realize that you can always choose to not entertain a conversation that ends up making you feel bad. I had to learn to end discussions when it kept coming back to me.

      You will be ok. You still got the looks, you still are caring and loving, and someone will want that. But don’t focus on that now, focus on you, building your self, realizing that you deserve to be loved and accept nothing else. Many hugs to you!


      The question that every wife asks after the affair – should I stay or go? With your situation, I think that if this is the third time, you have to be tough with him. Is should not be ‘I will look for counseling’, more like ‘We need to have our first counseling session by X date and time’. And then you have to be in a position to make sure there are consequences for his lack of action. 3rd offense he needs to lead the effort, if not, he will be likely to do it again. No matter what happens, I would start thinking about your plan B, so that you won’t be caught off guard if things do not work out. Hugs to you as well!!

  6. Thank you jewels from USA. You are sweet for responding to my cries for help. For now I have decided to keep my mouth shut and see what I decide to do. My counselor says that, that idea is sustainable. I know, I just need time to breath and think. I have so much trouble trusting him. Every little thing makes me wonder if he is still in contact with her. Everything. He acts like he is trying but the trust is gone and that will be tough to handle. I have to bite my tongue and not confront him with my suspicious. Our 19th anniversary is soon. Wow! What a mess. I thought this was forever and now I have no clue where my life will go. Still so confusing.

  7. After 26 years together my husband went & had an affair with a younger woman. She was 34 but looked and acted like a plump insecure teenager. She told him she was a psychological nurse. In fact, she is a nurses aid. She went after him because she wanted “to experience an older man. No strings, no relationship, just one time sex” but within a few weeks it was a full blow lovey dovey sickening sugar coated affair. My formerly intelligent husband was being led around by his penis and spending $ to meet in hotel rooms once or twice a month. She was seeing TWO OTHER MARRIED MEN but all three were so damn dumb, they each thought she was wildly in love with them. They gave her cash for the room, she put it on her credit card and took a fabulous trip to Hawaii on the points. I found out a d studied her before confrontation. I knew her better in many ways after three weeks than he did. I also realized he didn’t actually LOVE her . In fact he only loved and craved the 100% adoration she gave him. It’s easy to be completely devoted and adoring once of twice a month for a few hours. The most hurtful thing was confrontation . He was angry and upset when I told him what she was doing and how she was using him. He left me one more afternoon to go confront her. Later he explained he was irrationally angry because SHE had caused so much destruction in his life. Even later he realized he’s responsible for his actions regardless of hers . He was always guilty and even told her he loved me snd felt he would break in half if we broke up. And still, he was so damn dumb he didn’t find it ODD that she seemed ok with that.
    Laura the fake nurse in Chattanooga was and still is a master manipulator. She’s taken just enough psychobabble classes to know how to twist somebody up. But he is still responsible too. And even more painfully, so am I. In all honestly, I’m to blame as well. I took him for granted and let life as a mom take precedence over life as a wife. He was feeling ignored and unappreciated . In steps Laura. But Laura was surprised to know I knew her address, her relatives names & numbers, her DOGS names & even had pictures. She was actually upset because I called her grandfather and accused me of INTERFERING and INVOLVING her family. Uh, what the hell did she think SHE was doing?! My husband says I rescued him from the pit of hell and he’s beyond sorry for what he’s done. I couldn’t be with him anymore if I thought for a second he actually loved her but I knew he didn’t. He was temporarily addicted to the high of her adoration. They’re polar opposites in politics and religion and many other things but none of that is what an affair is about. She enjoyed the power she had over him. She made him a lapdog. My theory is she was heavy & homely in youth but as a 34 year old, her plumpness made her look youthful and cute so she was wielding power she didn’t try out as a teen. Either that or she’s stark raving mad. Thankfully, despite her sexcapades with multiple men, we don’t have STDs and his vasectomy prevented an unwanted pregnancy. But he NEVER hides his phone, PC etc. he calls back immediately when I call him. He’s constantly making it up to me or trying. I almost feel sorry for Laura & others like her, but not quite….

    1. Hi Molly

      What a powerful story, filled with nuggets of wisdom…and some humor( I laughed out loud at Uh…what the hell did she think she was doing?).
      Anyways…yes, yes, and yes! I can totally see your husband getting mad at the confrontation. He was caught. He was scared,. He was embarrassed. And most men in that situation get angry to cover up all the real emotions. So it made sense. Yes, that was nothing but the truth when you said it is easy to be devoted and adoring for a couple of hours a month. It’s a fantasy relationship, it is not real. I think that is why when people that have affairs sometimes try to go to the next level (leave the wife, move in together), it becomes difficult because reality sets in, the fantasy of twice of month because everyday, and the parties realize there was nothing there to begin with, only the fantasy. But like you said, sometimes husbands leave those brains in the closet and let their lower parts lead, which is how they get in situations like this.

      Last but not least, you are at a point where you realize your part in the process. It’s easy to forget your husband, especially when you are overwhelmed with life. There are several couples in my positive recovery section that have a greater love after the affair because it brought to light and started some serious conversations that brought the marriage closer. But it takes two people willing to work, willing to rebuild trust, and willing to communicate. And it seems that you have those 3 qualities in your relationship. Just curious, how long as it been since this all start? Anyways, take care, thanks for the perspective.

  8. My husband was caught once red handed making out with a girl while he was drunk…. He stopped drinking and wanted to fix everything…. Almost a year later I found 138 messages between him am the girl that worke for us wanting her to come over and drink beer with him. Told her they could hide the beer and panties and all kinds if stuff…. I kicked him out but recently let him come back….. Confusion is the understatement right now for me! He says he will go to marriage counseling to work it out but I’m having a hard time getting along and trying to forgive! Should I say once a cheater always a cheater and leave him or what!?!? We have a little girl that is 2 and she loves her daddy it’s so sad! Help please!!!!

    1. Hi Bug,

      It seems like this is the second time you have caught him, which is not a good sign. It’s a tough decision, and one that only you can make. I would let him lead the entire recovery. He needs to find counseling and set it up. He needs to rebuild trust and be totally open and transparent. He messed up, twice. He needs to leave. Is he willing to join alcohol anonymous? He needs to so up strong and all you need to do is watch and observe. How serious is he? Watch his actions, not his words. They will lead you to the answer that you seek in the situation. Last but not least, if you decide to stay, tell him exactly what will happen if you find out he does it again, and stand behind your word.

  9. I found out a couple of months ago about a girl my fiance is/or has communicated with. I asked about her about 2 years ago because I founf some suspicious texts to her. He answered with” she is the “shit girl” from work”. He says they call her that because she worked a portapoty cleaning company or something like that. That any conversation or text with her was about work, so I let it go. So i come across this email from him to her asking her how she has been and that he misses her. I was so distraught because he should only be missing me. That was all I saw on the email. She replied and said she was fine and that she missed him too. I kind of just let it go again I thought its just harmless, because I never did see anything from her again. Well I saw a private facebook message from him to her saying ” I wish you can call me, I have so much i want to share with you” my mouth just dropped. What is so important that he cant share it with me. There was never a reply from her and he posted stuff on her wall but never saw a reply either from her. I dont know what to think but think he has been lying to me about being just co-workers. maybe they are friends but why did I have to find out like this. Mind you I dont have accsess to her facebook because he changed the password but the idiot used my computer and he forgot to log out. Should I be worry it could have lead to emotional cheating?

    1. Hi Kathy,
      From only having the data from what you wrote, it seems like something is off. I know how heartbreaking it can be to hear that your husband is ‘missing’ another woman. Could this be an emotional affair? Yes, it could. But most importantly the issue you have is trust.. He has giving you indication that he can not be trusted. If you do talk to him about it, do it from the standpoint of trust and setting ground rules. You both should sit down and determine what level of communication is acceptable from the opposite sex. Maybe one rule is that you should know his female friends (as an example). If you accuse him of cheating, since you do not have that much evidence, he can just quickly deny or say I missed being at work since she left. By the way, how long ago did you discover the email of ‘I miss you’? And did you talk to him about it? I also get the sense that you might be afraid of talking to him about what is going on? Is that accurate? If so you should probably look into why you feel that way. Take care, I wish you well.

  10. It’s been over six months. I wasn’t about to go on our pre-planned Disney world Christmas trip with Laura between us and confronted early December. My husband actually did most of the planning for that trip and even insisted we get family t-shirts made. The guilt was killing him. He (and the mistress) were pretty lucky actually. I calmly confronted when what I really wanted to do was show up at her work and toss pics & info around, or make voo-doo dolls out of the socks she gave him & put in his briefcase with notes attached. But in the end I was calm then incredibly upset when he became angry. In all honesty I’m having more trouble forgiving that and his leaving me one last time than the whole stupid affair which lasted slightly less than a year. I’m better now but for three/four months I was next to nuts about that. Just being honest. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. It means so much.

  11. Thanks for the feedback Jewels. No I havent spoken to him about it because I have tried in the past to talk to him about these things and he seems to always get defensive about it. I know acting defensive is not a good sign especially if gets upset and threatens to end the relationship. I have in the past tried to talk to him camly without accusing him but I think in all he feels guilty but does not want to feel like he is doing wrong. This happend in march so it wasnt too long ago and its been almost 2 years since she has moved to mexico, so I’m not to worried but I know he might be capable of starting this with someone else becuase he knows a lot of women that I dont know that he calls” freinds”. Mind you these women are facebook friends or old high school classmates. I dont know how to approach the subject without him getting defensive about it. I really appreaciate your help on this, thank you.

  12. You know, all affairs are ’emotional.’ That’s the draw, the addiction. My husband was absolutely addicted to the high that came from Laura’s adoration and devotion. She was absolutely wonderful at making him FEEL like she was the only one in the world to understand him. She manipulated his mind with subtle comparisons to me where I would come up short of course. Things like, “Oh wow, if I were your wife, I’d never complain about something as stupid as socks being wrong side out.” Then to further prove her point she would give him nice new socks. It was easy for her to do that sort of thing. She wasn’t washing socks for him AND his five kids. I was! After a few weeks of NO LAURA, he said he felt relieved. He knew the relationship wasn’t real. He knew he was being thoughtless and selfish but was so attracted to the FEELING he had when being adored. He said it wasn’t about her looks, her body or the sex. I beat her in looks even with 17 more years in age. Our sex is good to great most of the time. What he was missing, what he craved, and what Laura provided was ADORATION. She was putting on a show though and was entirely dishonest. He had to deal with that addiction and recognize its falseness and how it nearly ruined his life, my life and the lives of our children. I’m still having trouble with letting go of that last time he left his family for her. I hate her with passion during times we are making love and I think about her head on his shoulder or him holding her. Even though the last time they were together wasn’t a joy ride so to speak, it still angers me that he felt, even briefly, the need to confront her. She tried for hours to convince him I was the liar in spite of a mountain of proof to the contrary. I guess he was dealing with his emotional upheaval and addiction. All that to say this, watch how women (other women) make YOUR husband FEEL. If its inappropriate, contact needs to stop, have a friend send a fb message to the other woman letting her know she’s being monitored by a wife. That will stop it, by ‘monitored’ I mean checking your husband’s accounts, not hers. Nothing illegal!

  13. Kathy, your husband probably misses those women about as much as you do, which is to say not at all. But he likely IS enjoying the flattery and how it makes him FEEL. Gives him a type of high. Our bodies actually trigger feel good hormones when we FEEL flattered and adored. We often mistake flattery for adoration and love. Your husband is no exception and a woman going after him will have an agenda OR simply be enjoying the flattering things he responds with. His responses make her FEEL as well. It will lead to trouble if not stopped. I wish you well, I really do. It is very hard to deal with your partner’s disloyalty.

    1. Molly

      Molly all of your comments are spot on, the flattery is a powerful emotion that leads to the fantasy. “We often mistake flattery for adoration and love.” Again, so many truths in your comment, thanks for sharing!

  14. How do you stand tall after your husband crushes your world! Oh how I loved him so! Now I truly feel hated for him! The only part I love is the two beautiful children he birthed with me! I wish marriage came with disaster Blue Print! If anyone wants to make (start) one with me, I’m up to the challenge! We have to start protecting the future women in love with cheating Husbands!

  15. I have been married now for 8 years. I found out my husband was having a fb sexting relationship with his high school girlfriend. I found out while I was in hospital with my 2 month old son. I confronted him he said it was purely sexual but it lasted at least 2 years if not longer.
    Its been almost a year now and I am still having troubles living with the hurt. I even found photos that she sent him which made me physically ill.
    How do you pick up the pieces. I have been in counseling eversince. Advice please.

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