127 thoughts on “12 Warning Signs That It’s Emotional Infidelity – And Not ‘Just Friendship’

  • July 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    In my experience, I don’t think it has to be a member of th opposite sex.

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    • July 2, 2012 at 11:01 am

      I agree with you 100%. I never thought it possible until last year, but I’m very certain my husband had (and maybe still has,) an emotional affair with one of his male friends. I don’t think it will ever be a “sexual” relationship, but I do think he values that friend far above and beyond me and our children.

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      • July 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

        Thanks for commenting, and sharing what is likely a painful experience.

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      • November 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm

        I think that when emotional infidelity is between a husband and his male friend this is often underplayed in discussion among lay people or professional psychotherapists. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and couples and sex therapist. One example of this issue is illustrated in a heterosexual couple that I treated. The wife is troubled by her husband’s obvious excitement and enthusiastic changed tone of voice and manner during his more than once a day phone conversations with his male friend, the first call being at 8:00am daily.When the phone rings, her husband brightens up and his voice becomes boisterous like he “just heard the most engaging joke on the planet.” Meanwhile, she says that while her husband has long rambling conversations with this friend.

        To hypothesize about the underlying dynamics is beyond the scope of this discussion. The point here is that partners of either sex can be engaged in an emotional affair with someone of their same sex and it can still have the same distancing and destructive effects on the primary relationship.

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      • September 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        Well, you’ve just described my marriage, my live-in bf and likely more of them if i sat and thought back on them all. Could you please direct me to reading material that goes into depth on the subject of same-sez (yet hetero) emotional betrayals? Thank you.

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  • July 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I could not agree more with the information in this article. Emotional affairs are as cunning, powerful and baffling as drugs or gambling and can eventually destroy a marriage. It did mine!

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    • June 22, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Yeppo. Dangerous territory. A very well written article.

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    • July 30, 2014 at 11:56 am

      You are so correct. It ruined our relationship,as well. It started out with just regular conversations, and just took off like wild fire.
      Naturally, I just shook it off as being overly paranoid and untrustworthy.However, I could not shake off that “impending doom” feeling.
      I was correct in my feelings. I made an unannounced visit home, to find the “two” of them. He was overwhelmingly nervous and agitated. I just stayed calm and composed.My Wife said nothing, and kept her head down the whole time.
      It makes no difference. Hurt and Betrayal are the same for anybody in a “Committed Relationship” no matter if it is in a Gay/Straight/Bisexual/Transgender or any combination thereof type relationships…

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    • October 19, 2018 at 11:37 pm

      A sexless marriage, does not justify an erotic massage.

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  • July 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

    This post if very marriage-centric and heteronormative.

    I can see the concerns starting with #4.

    But #1-3 are overdoing it. A person in a committed monogamous relationship can’t have true friends of the gender they’re attracted to?? Going on these ideas, a bisexual person can’t have *any* emotionally intimate friendships. For many people, a romantic/life partner is not the only person they are emotionally intimate with, and that is *healthy*. When you start prioritizing this friendship over your romantic/life partner, that’s when it becomes a problem.

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    • July 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

      Thanks for sharing your perspective and concerns. You are right in saying the post was written with married heterosexual couples in mind, and on the side of caution. In my clinical experience, once the ‘prioritizing’ starts, it’s often too late to stop (until a lot more damage is done).

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    • February 27, 2018 at 10:59 pm

      This article in not only monogamy-centric, and heteronormative, but I feel the notion of marriage you are promoting is dangerous.

      A healthy relationship should not be an emotional prison. We, as humans, have the capacity for having several significant relationships simultaneously. On the most basic level, we may have good relationships with parents and siblings, and in the best cases, these are emotionally intimate. Add in friends, mentors, and those we care for, and we each have a web of relationships, of varying degrees of intimacy. This is healthy, as no person could provide all the social, emotional, and intellectual interaction and stimulation we need. Nor should we expect them to do so, as that places an impossible burden on them. Nor should we be expected to limit our own growth and interaction, by collapsing all our social interaction to that provided by one other.

      Marriage is a patriarchal institution developed to ensure that children are sired by the father. It is highly restrictive of women for that reason. Yet until recently, women have generally found that emotional links to other women are at least as important, and often more enduring, than their links with men… and they rarely cross into the sexual. This is why the first act of an abuser is often to isolate someone from friends and family.

      What you are fostering, particularly in your first areas of concern, is a dangerous paranoia that would isolate people.

      The primary issue in relationships is honesty. The problem is not emotional intimacy, it is that either an attraction develops, or attraction to a partner declines, and there is no honesty between them. When someone is not getting what they need or want in a relationship, they need to talk to their partner, and develop tools for communication without fear. IF someone feels attraction to someone else, that needs to be spoken of, before it is acted on. That’s basic honesty and respect. Saying “You can’t have emotionally important relationships and be with me” sets up conditions for lying.1

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  • July 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I don’t agree that you can’t be friends with somebody of the opposite sex.

    I have many friends, some of whom are male, none of whom I’d be interested in or who would be interested in me. You do sometimes meet somebody and you sense that there is more to their interest but it is up to you to deal with that appropriately.

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    • July 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

      Thanks for your contributing your viewpoint in the discussion. I agree that it is possible, however, if you’re married or in a committed relationship, the risks are many, in my opinion. A general rule of thumb here is that if your partner feels in any way intimidated by a ‘friendship,’ follow their instincts.

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      • July 3, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        A partner may be intimidated by any number of things, but it doesn’t mean you should necessarily follow your partners instincts.

        For example, if my partner is intimidated by the fact that I make more money than him (because he thinks a man should always make more money than his female partner), that is not a good enough reason for me to choose a different career or only work part-time.

        It’s a sign that there’s an issue that needs some work in the relationship, but it is not a good enough reason to kowtow to someone else’s insecurities.

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      • July 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

        Thanks for commenting scc101. To clarify, I meant ‘sexual’ vibes – if a partner feels something is ‘sexual’ or ‘intimidating’ about a ‘friendship,’ it’s a good idea to give careful consideration at least. Thanks again.

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      • June 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

        A partner who wants you to stop seeing your friends… isn’t that one of the signs of an abuser?

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    • August 18, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Please note that *some* people absolutely cannot be friends with the gender they are attracted to because they are addicted to that feeling of closeness, secrecy, danger, newness… the high of it all.

      My husband is one of those people. He has had a few “emotional affairs” and I guarantee you it is a real problem and one that we are seeking a lot of guidance and help to work through.

      While some people, myself included, can easily have platonic, open HONEST relationships and friendships with the gender we are attracted to (if we have to put it that way to be PC), there is no guarantee that the person you’re friends with works the same way you do either.

      Bottom line is — when you hide it, it’s wrong. Don’t give to someone else what you refuse to give to your partner. The gap will grow wider and the resentment will build to a point where most couples can’t recover. It’s too bloody hard and painful. We’re fortunate in a way… as a couple.

      Me? I’m still battling the scars and depression and deep hurt.

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    • September 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

      I agree that you can be friends with the opposite sex. However, if you have to keep it secret from your spouse…that is where a definite line gets crossed – at least for me.

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  • July 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I respectfully disagree with the first statement that friends of the opposite sex are dangerous to a relationship. A healthy relationship involves trust, communication and space. Limiting friendships to a certain gender, race, religion, etc. can be short sighted.

    Although I understand the risks of develop close, intimate friendships with members of the opposite sex, it is emotionally healthy to have a circle of friends of all kinds. I think it’s important to feel comfortable sharing thoughts and emotions with your partner AND friends of any sex. Feedback from both genders is important. Men and women often view the world differently and process information, facts and emotions differently. Listening and understanding a different viewpoint can heal or help a relationship develop.

    With that said, it is important to recognize when a friendship is interfering with a relationship. The points about comparing a friend to a partner, obsessively thinking about the friend, believing there is a stronger connection with the friend, making plans with your friend over your partner, family or work, keeping secrets, and fantasizing are legitimate issues. However, these behaviors, in my opinion, arise because of existing issues in the romantic relationship. Partners seek out emotional support elsewhere when they cannot find it in their significant other. Kind of like the chicken and the egg issue – does emotional infidelity arise before or after developing marital strife?

    I also agree that emotional infidelity can develop with anyone, not just someone of the opposite sex.

    Great post, made me think, thanks for sharing!

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    • July 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Thank you for commenting, ASD. Yours is the mainstream, popular view. Pop culture and entertainment would agree and back this view. I also agree that emotional infidelity can develop between same sex, of course, wherever there’s strong attraction and sexual chemistry.

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    • July 10, 2012 at 7:56 am

      I totally agree with ASD.
      =)

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    • December 3, 2014 at 6:45 am

      In regard to the chicken and the egg… In our situation the extramarital “friendships” led to real problems within our relationship. It CREATED problems where there weren’t any huge problems already. As you can imagine, reading this article and having all of these points relevant in my/our own life/lives is a gut punch and eye opener.
      Thankfully for the sake of my husband and the relationship, he is finally getting some professional help. Unfortunately, we all lose and I am devastated. Its hard work to rebuild broken trust… Twice.

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    • May 30, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      I agree with the article. My H was having an EA many years back and it threw me into depression and caused significant trust issues which we have worked on in therapy but it seems like its back again many years later with the same person. She is not interested and never was that way for her they were “just friends” but not in his fantasy– sadly many here say that there is something wrong or something missing in the marriage when in fact we had a great relationship, have fun together and until all this happened were best friends ..sex was great too.I have come to understand that the issue can lay with the person themselves and some need they have for this which may have nothing to do with the partner. The lying for me is what is a killer.. bad enough that he sees her knowing how i feel.. he does not want to give her up.. I think he did for awhile and things over time got so much better for us..and then she surfaced again and we are tumbling back to square one. Hoping to work through this in therapy as there has always been so much good in the relationship and the therapist agrees but his denial and addiction to her makes it difficult. The article describes my H and this situation to a tee.. I could check off every item.. so hurtful..

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    • December 17, 2016 at 12:02 am

      I read through the response by ASD, and I know this post is really old, but I wanted to address the issue from the view point of someone who has committed this digression, not a victim of it. ASD’s view point doesn’t take into account the “addiction” portion of the article. I come from a long line of addicts. It is something that I struggle with on a daily basis and in the beginning of my relationship with my now husband, this type of infidelity destroyed our relationship. Fortunately for me I realized my mistake and my husband forgave me and still chose to be with me, but I still struggle with the desire to seek out inappropriate emotional connections. He gives me everything I need but for some reason I still find the drama associated with the illicit friendship attractive. This same addiction destroyed my aunt’s marriage and her life.
      I found this article helpful. It gave me an outside perspective and a list of things to look for to help me realize when I might be treading down the path of denial.

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      • February 4, 2018 at 4:25 pm

        So how do you get through it? I’ve tried therapy, looking for books and have gone to those I trust to find answers but I haven’t found any answers and I haven’t found any techniques to get over it

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  • July 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Made me smile. I had one of those emotion affairs but it never went into anything sexual. I disagree with you saying a male and females can’t be sexual. If one demands that you can’t have opposite sex friendship,then you shouldn’t be in 1. Specially if that partner can and you can’t. Good story

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  • July 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks Dr Staik for helping us to see and “avoid the near occasion of sin” before we hurt our spouses, families and ourselves. And thanks for not joining in with the moral relativism advice. There is far too much of that.

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  • July 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    I know the first statement hits upon people’s sensibilities and it goes against political correctness, but I 100% agree with it. The bottom line is this. If you are sharing things with the “friend”, whether it’s too much time, too much attention, too much personal information and too much of your thought life, that belong solely to your spouse, you are on a very slippery slope. Anything that interferes with the emotional intimacy between spouses is a problem. There is a difference between “friends” and “acquaintances”. It’s normal to have work acquaintances of both sexes, but to want to spend time with a “friend” talking, going to lunch or coffee, calling each other in the car, etc., you are most definitely in trouble. Often, people enter that slippery slope before they realize it and it’s often too late by then. Emotional affairs are just as devastating as sexual ones. Is it really worth the risk to prove you can be “just friends” with the opposite sex? I personally don’t think it’s worth the potential pain it could cause. Just my opinion!

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  • July 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    It is amazing to me that you would judge the outside relationship with whomever without looking at the primary one that is being affected. Nature abhors a vacuum, the primary relationship with the spouse starts to falter and one looks else where. This is fundamental. Sex makes things different between people, spouse or not. This always confuses things. Depending on your age, 19–40, it is chemically powerful. Anxiety is pervasive here and inevitably avoiding anxiety becomes an issue also. Manage the anxiety and you will think more clearly. A good clinician that doesn’t allow the anxiety to drive everything is a must. Manage the anxiety and the clouds will part.

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  • July 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    The only one I disagreed with was #1. That’s always bothered me, that we’re not supposed to say that we’re “just friends.” What else am I supposed to say? We are just friends. My best friend is a guy. He was my best friend, like my big brother, for years before my babe and I got together. I have every right to keep him as my best friend. I shouldn’t have to give that up. He is my friend. We are “just friends,” despite what anyone says. Looking at him any other way just grosses me out. I just always hated hearing that I shouldn’t say we’re just friends, ’cause when I say it, I’m telling the truth. I don’t know what else people would want me to say in place of that.

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  • July 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I totally agree with this article. I had a close relationship years ago with a man that became emotional infidelity and my current SO had a relatonship with a woman that was emotional infidelity. It is too easy to say men and women should always be allowed to be friends. I have lots of male friends but I don’t share with them the problems in my current relationship. I don’t talk to them all hours of the day and night. I don’t choose them over my guy. I did all of those things with my affair partner.

    My SO had an old girlfriend that he chose to keep as a friend after we got together. I was fine with it until she started suggesting that they should get together for sex and saying negative things about me. She has never met me by the way. It ended when every communication with her concluded with her asking if he was still trapped in his relationship with me. I blame him as much as her because every little problem we had he would go to her and tell her. He was not loyal. We survived this but it has definitely hurt us.

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  • July 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    While I found your article useful, I was a little dismayed by the heteronormativity of it. This happens regardless of the type of relationship and especially in committed non-marital relationships.
    I also have to disagree with items 1-3, because while your partner is your obvious confidant, i’d be up a creek without my closest friend as would most people.
    I did find your article helpful however, my only request would be to make it more inclusive of both gay and straight relationships.

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  • July 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I agree with this article, I am currently seperated from my husband for the primary reason of his “just a friend” relationship he had.This “friend” occured during the marriage. People can have friends of the opposite sex but boundaries are crossed with the “just a friend” friendship when there is lying involved to keep the spouse from finding out about the friend.

    The “Just a Friend” phrase is loosely used in some inappropriate friendships as in my case. It was not right for my spouse that I trusted to give complments,money,advice,and mass texting between them yet I being unaware of all of it for him to say she was “just a friend”.

    The amount of lying to hide this “just a friend” took a toll on the marriage.You cant give to a “friend” everything you are denying your spouse when the spouse is giving 100% assuming the same from my husband.

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  • July 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

    For someone who has experienced this with my husband, it is very painful. Although he kept telling me there was nothing between them, it was growing. The lines were crossed from texting, then talking, then meeting each other. Maybe it started innocent, but I could see how the communication was changing how he treated me, and that was a danger sign! I’m not against him having a female friend/acquaintance,but not an intimate relationship.

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  • July 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    This whole post seems to be written fundamentally to justify jealousy, even if the spouse isn’t having a sexual relationship. It’s perfectly normal to be jealous of anybody who is getting attention that you expect, whether there’s a sexual relationship or not, but it isn’t very reasonable to want somebody to prefer you over everyone else, always and for everything.

    The truth is, you have very little control over what your spouse, or anyone else, prefers. You can, of course, discuss matters with them, and you probably should. But at the end of the day, people tend to spend their time in whatever way and with whoever they are happier with.

    If your spouse doesn’t seem to be as happy with you as with somebody else, you have two realistic options: (1) Make an effort to make your spouse happier in your company and (2) Accept the situation and deal with it. Also, not every instance when somebody enjoys the company of somebody who isn’t their spouse will end up in sexual infidelity, or even in a permanent situation where the spouse is starved of attention. It can well be a temporary thing.

    But accusing a spouse of emotional infidelity, to their face or in your thoughts, is highly unlikely to improve the situation, I think.

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  • July 30, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Good work. Thanks for bringing this to the forefront. I see many similarities to this and my walk with Jesus. Our need to focus on our love for our mate is important.

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  • September 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    This is really a great summary of the warning signs. Any one element by itself would not necessarily be cause for concern. But seeing all of these warning signs or most of them, tells you to pay close attention.My SO showed every single warning sign with his emotional affair.He bought her chocolates when he went to Europe. He met her for drinks when I was out of town. He told her not to tell me about it “because I would freak” and she giddily hid it from me. If they were just friends, I would not have freaked.Now I think as lowly of her as imdomof him.I hope it was worth it.

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  • October 21, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I’m a single man in a relationship like this with a married, female co-worker. I feel like I need help. Our friendship intensified and became, over time, an emotional and somewhat physical (to a limited extent) love affair soon after she married her long-time boyfriend two years ago. She started confiding in me, telling me about problems in their relationship and that she wanted out, and we started having long lunches and meeting outside of work. I revealed a lot of intimate stuff about myself and we both felt a special, unique bond. She is still married. At times, she has said that she wanted to find a way to just accept it as a “marriage of convenience” but lately has said she is miserable and has definitely decided to end it and leave him. However, she has a son and is now saying she still has feelings for his father after all these years and might want to make another attempt at seeing if she can “get her family back together.” She also wants another child and would prefer that it be with him so that her son would have a biological sibling.

    I’ve developed strong feelings for her, and I thought when/if she ever divorced, she and I would have a chance to be a real couple and not “just friends.” Obviously now I’m not at all sure about that and it hurts – a lot.

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    • October 21, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Just also wanted to say thank you to Dr. Staik for the article. It gave me quite a good insight on my situation and what has happened in this relationship. I appreciate any thoughts on what I should do.

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    • August 11, 2015 at 5:09 am

      I hope this had a happy ending. If you were to draw this woman’s current and desired relationships as a pie chart, would you realize there is no room for you? Because that’s what I got.
      I’m sorry, I know this stings and stings. I had something like it myself.
      What I did was to recover from the hurt was to read the everlovin’ hell out of this website, get some counseling, journal, get into a couple 12-step programs and start asking myself what I wanted and listening to my replies, until it became second nature to value that voice. Just as much as I wanted a partner to value it.

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    • August 2, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      Steve, it’s been a while since this was posted. How are you doing now? I emphatize with you. I understand how it feels although maybe not to the magnitude that you are describing. Hope to hear from you.

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  • October 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Wow, I express my condolences to those who have been so deeply hurt by emotional infidelity. I congratulate, appreciate, and respect so many who have gained knowledge and been able to access the internal fortitude that is necessary to move on and proceed with developing healthier relationships with family, friends and loved ones. One is a lonely number but two or more is sometimes toxic and permeates heartache and dispare. Love, peace, and prayers to all.

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  • November 17, 2012 at 12:26 am

    This is both helpful and disturbing.

    I caught my wife in an emotional affair this May. At first she said it was only one person nearly 16 years ago and she never told the guy she had a crush on him. then she admitted there was a second guy who she fantasized about having sex with. Again, she said there was no physical contact and she never told the guy.

    Eventually, she admitted to at least nine such affairs, five of which have been in the last ten years. All involved fantasies about sex. The last one went on for four or five years with a local body mechanic who she saw on a regular basis. More than that, she admitted to dressing provocatively for him when we went to church, and was going to early morning exercise sessions because she knew he worked out at that time.

    She even admitted to having fairly detailed fantasies about marrying him and what kind of sex they would have on their honeymoon.

    She claims that none of these were physical, but I don’t believe her. There was ample opportunity and she admits that she considered leaving the gym with him on several occasions – but says she did not. Like I said, I don’t believe her.

    What I wonder is this: she has plausible explanations for all my suspicions, but frankly, considering the intensity, detail and opportunity in at least this last affair, I can’t believe it did not turn physical. Could I be over-suspicious, or is it more than a little likely that she is lying to me (she has proven fairly adept at lying, although I can usually get her to tell the truth eventually – she IS sticking to her story on this, however).

    Input appreciated.

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  • November 26, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Appreciate the article. As someone who is in a 9 year affair with a co-worker, I am torn between confessing to my wife and ending the marriage, or just keeping quiet and living a double life. The other woman is now divorced and is ready to move on, so it may not be my choice any longer. I’ve read ‘Not Just Friends’ by Sharon Glass, very good read but she doesn’t address my question of confession. Especially if the other woman is no longer available and she ends the affair, do I just take it to the grave. Wife is suspicious of this woman, but has not gone detective on me yet. FYI, I am seeing a therapist. Been married 28 years. Empty nest.

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  • February 7, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Thank you so much Dr. Staik for the article. I fully understand and agree with all 12 warning signs as I lived them totally for almost a year. I didnot know what was going on with my husband. When I realized something was wrong, I investigated, I searched for answers,I cried alot and experienced a vast range of emotions including anger, sadness, shock/disbelief, regret, feelings of betrayal and distrust and guilt b/c I was told I was to blame. I looked up and read alot of information on emotional infidelity but none of it answered the questions I had. I wanted to know how something like this could happen. I wanted to look deeper into it. There had to be a reason b/c I believe that everything that happens happens for a reason. It wasn’t until I ran across your article that it all made sense to me. I had my answers as to the “dynamics” of these affairs.It made perfect sense (in my situation).All 12 signs were experienced. It has been almost 3 years since this happened. We managed to stay together and work very hard on our marriage. It still hurts though.Just wanted to say thankyou.

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    • February 7, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Searching, and thank you for sharing your experience, the ongoing hurt that surfaces, yet also (and perhaps most of all) the triumph of your heartfelt SEARCH to understand, grow and stay empathically connected to your compassion (especially for yourself). Thanks again for commenting.

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  • May 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I cannot & would not want to share any of the stressful tensions of relationships described here. I think western culture applies destructive pressure that encourages *co-dependence* between partners &/or spouses, of a painful kind, not the loving trust or real friendship of free adult minds. There is no partnership worth the name, where one or other partner has the kind of power sufficient to destroy the happiness & confidence of the other. That is not a partnership, it is control. In order to be happily married, or even just happily adult and single, it is essential to be able to be all that entails, *inside ones own skin* not to seek for happiness from outside, via marriage or any other life event
    I have lived with three partners, the first and easily worst, was in emotionally dependent relationships with his mother & sister. Both of whom were incapable of functioning without him to call on. Many marriages are as easily wrecked by closeness of that kind, than by romantic ‘others’. It was as if he was still an infant, depending on the approval of mother & sister. The next two partners were far easier, for if they each had the kind of faults that led them into any kind of infidelity or trust breaking, they also had good qualities that made it possible to live with them (one after the other, not at the same time) in peace, and go on sharing good things, so both were good experiences that I can remember with some contentment. But I had already learned to be very happy, all by myself, through the experience of first. Do not accept the role of ‘half’. To be whole – is the only way to keep your mind and heart at peace.

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  • May 31, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    POWERFUL article – just about broke me into a cold sweat.

    Nine months ago, this was my wife – step by step by step. While I found similar articles on this, this is by far the most concise in terms of what it really involves.

    I’d love to read something about – “Months later – it happened – it’s over – now what??”

    Thanks again!

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  • June 22, 2013 at 2:36 am

    I was the “other woman” before entering into a relationship with my current SO, who was married at the time. I hadn’t meet his wife, but

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  • August 20, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    There is nothing bad in having a close friend of the opposite sex (especially if you are unmarried), but when you are too close to an opposite sex, it might lead to ‘what you never expected’…it is an open door to temptation. Do have friends of the opposite sex, but try to be cautions and keep some ‘reasonable distance’.

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    • August 27, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Tom – it may be OK in theory. But once you are married, you have to be willing to let your spouse have a say in the comfort level of what that friendship becomes – and trust that your spouse is being both loving and realistic (as opposed to controlling) when she sets that level.

      I am a serious believer in shared friends, and couples finding other couples their own age for social interaction. But as for an opposite-sex friends, even a co-worker, the lines have to be drawn exceedingly carefully, always leaning on the side of caution, and always keeping the spouse in the loop.

      I was drawn to this site because my wife, who had always advised me on where to draw lines with what I had to do in my own profession, made some exceedingly poor choices during a very vulnerable time for her with a (much younger) male co-worker.

      It must be noted that she had, up to a year ago, generally made the right choices in her life (the only one in her family to ever do so). But this innocent seeking out of additional friendship with a member of the opposite sex ended up being a dead-ringer for ALL 12 of these warning signs – and would have proceeded to the “next step” in short order had the necessary discovery and confrontation not taken place. Our marriage has barely survived it.

      So rather than saying, “DO have friends of the opposite sex, but …” you need to be saying, “Before you consider becoming friends with members of the opposite sex, make sure you are …”

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  • October 26, 2013 at 6:54 am

    I found out on September 7, 2013 that my husband was having an affair for over a year with someone we do business with. To find out that he had been talking, texting, emailing and on occasion meeting this person behind my back was devastating. I feel like such a fool for not seeing the signs. But, he has been struggling with depression since he retired four years ago and most recently believes he has PTSD from Vietnam. I just thought he had a lot on his plate, add an “emotional affair ” to that
    and it’s overwhelming. At first I wanted a divorce, but 29 years and two children together made me consider counseling. The problem is he won’t see a marriage counselor together. He goes alone, I go alone, I am eager to sit down the three of us but he refuses. I am at the end of my rope, any suggestions?

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    • October 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Rene – my heart absolutely bleeds for you.
      When things are not going well, sometimes people are drawn towards whatever it is that they don’t currently have, even if it is small compared to what you have been able to give and share with him. So along with what I have already said, the other suggestion I have is to find ways to remind him of what he does have with you – both the small things and the not-so-small things. There is a reason he got on his knee and asked for YOUR hand in marriage vs. somebody else. Even if his actions have rent that asunder recently, a wife is still in a surprisingly strong position to make a difference in the life of her man.

      Remember – if we are reading this, we also have been through this same issue (you may wish to read my previous posts)…each of us who have faced this reach out to you with the most heartfelt love and support we can. I wish you (both) well.

      Reply
      • October 31, 2013 at 6:44 am

        Thankyou so much for your thoughtful reply. I did read your earlier post and agree that we are barely surviving, especially me. It is easier for him because he knows all the details of his relationship with her, while I am in the dark. What hurst the most is I hate
        how what he did makes me feel and act. I hate that he talked to her about me and I have the cell phone records (just one month) but I hate all the times her number comes up. Who texts someone 70 times in one day? Thankyou for your support.

        Reply
  • October 31, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Found out today that he’s still in contact with the other (married) woman , why did I bother with counseling . Waited 8 weeks to find out he can’t give her up. I guess 29 yrs and two grown children, can be erased by one younger (9yrs) women he’s known for a little more than a year, go figure?

    Reply
  • November 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I am at the breaking point. I am young looking and pretty 47 yr old have been involved with the “love of my life” for seven years after a horrible divorce (I discovered that my ex, who was also my best friend from childhood, was gay after 16 years of marriage and 2 children). He looks great for his age. Found out that he’s been getting secretive and talking to an old friend & coworker, age 63 (who is kind of ugly and gross) who I did know about before. Now, over the last 6-8 months they have started talking increasingly more and I found out about it when she called and I heard a woman’s voice on the line saying “is this a good time?’ and he says “hey Joe! No it’s not”. So I confronted him and he says he lied about who it was because I am the “jealous type”? Yeah, only suspicious and jealous if I am lied to about a female! He says he will stop and I see in the phone bill he is now calling her from the home phone. It went from every 6 months to every month to every 2 weeks to now every other day. As far as I am concerned he is having an emotional affair. Now he has locked his phone so I can’t see what he is doing and we are not speaking. I am done with him. I am falling apart over this!!!!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Great article. All 12 warning signs apply to me. I have been divorced for 15years.Six months ago I started an emotional relationship with a co-worker at our lunch table. She is divorced but in another relationship for less than a year.
    The difference for me is that I did not have a relationship (platonic or sexual)in 15 years. Three months in we “got together” for an evening and as a result of being nervous and worrying about my ability to perform, it did not go well. next time went better but the relationship was on the slide before I could get oomfortable with having sex again.
    End result is she is still in her current relationship and we still remain friends although it sometimes feels awkward at the lunch table. I keep her secret of infidelity and she keeps my secret of terrible in bed. Of the 12 warning signs all still apply to me or her or both. Number 10 is the worse as I know the sex will get better if given a chance.
    The reason I posted this is to inform everyone that from my perspective I am not cheating on a partner and still suffer from the effects of a workplace relationship. I am receiving help in dealing with these emotions but it is not easy.

    Reply
  • August 4, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Very good article, and also some very interesting comments. I ended up here whilst trying to figure out what is going on in my situation – I’m married with kids and having what could probably be described as an almost-consumated emotional affair with a married colleague. The article has clarified a lot of things for me, and the references to addiction really struck a chord. It’s not too late for me to sort this out before anything “real” happens (however much I may be craving that), so thanks.

    Reply
    • August 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

      Think man Think. The fact that you read this article indicates you are thinking. NOT ACTING on an impulse. There are other articles which will help you connect with your bride, your wife, the mother of your children. Ask her to read the articles with you. Let her know you are on the fence of a difficult situation. Don’t run from it. Face it and be clear. Be mindful of your daily practice. Breath man. Think. An emotional affair is dreamland, not real. Be kind. To yourself. Do simple things with your partner. Buy her an ice cream cone. Comb her hair. What did you two do together that caused you to get down on your knee and propose? Ask her for help. Just be in the moment. Please celebrate family. Good luck.

      Reply
  • November 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    This article is wrong. It’s telling people that once your married or in a committed relationship, you can’t have close friends. More infuriating, that these close friends can’t be of the opposite sex. To save time, I’m going to replace “opposite sex” with “gender you’re attracted to.” This further supports jealousy issues that someone might have, blaming the partner who has a friend outside of the relationship. There’s nothing wrong with having a deep platonic relationship with anyone. There’s also nothing wrong with being attracted to another person. (There is something wrong with lying about it, obviously.) If someone has jealousy issues about there partner having a personal friendship with another person, talk about it. If someone is having thoughts about sleeping with a close friend, talk about it with your partner. Healthy relationships stem from honesty, not jealousy and blame. Also, to expect one person to fulfill all your emotional and physical needs is unrealistic. Sometimes people need other friends to talk about ideas, emotions, or just to unwind with. It’s not a personal attack on their partner, just a human being a social creature.

    Reply
    • November 3, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Thanks for commenting, and sharing your views on this topic; I can tell you feel strongly about this, perhaps based on past or present experience. I respectfully stand by the recommendations outlined in the article, however, finding in my research that most all couple relationships benefit from taking action to protect their relationship. The idea is to err on the side of caution.

      Yes, we do need to talk, however, discussing “issues” with a member of the opposite sex, wittingly or unwittingly, sends emotional “rescue me” and “I’m available” signals to another person; and sadly, there are too “needy” partners out there.

      The person partners should be talking to is their partner, otherwise it amounts to “gossip” and that is a habit that always destroys relationships, causes unnecessary pain, confusion, drama etc.

      Even discussing “relationship issues” with same-sex friends and family members is often counterproductive — friends and family tend to take sides, and this can turn them “against” their partner, in addition to helping them “build a case against their partner” and so on. Thanks again for commenting.

      If partners cannot talk about their issues without reactivity and withdrawal patterns, this is indication they need professional assistance, at minimum to learn to “talk” and “listen” without getting triggered. Venting to someone other than the person concerned more often makes problems grow in size and complexity …

      Reply
    • December 3, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Oh, “livid”… You must not have understood the article. Or perhaps you’re that “friend” who has been hidden? The article is clear and accurate in regards to signs of an emotional affair, not the characteristics of an honest friendship. This is about a friendship founded on lies and secrecy. I trusted my spouse with my life, and he was excellent about covering his tracks with his multiple emotional affairs. It started so innocently and at a time when we didn’t have any problems. He had female friends and male friends. He always told me about them, we all hung out together.

      Some people just *can’t* be friends with the opposite sex (insert gender of your choosing if course) and be in a committed relationship at the same time.

      His extramarital friendships grew in intensity until he had a sexual affair with one, tried to put moves on another and was suicidal before telling me the (devastating) truth.

      Before you go there, our relationship was great before all this started, and that wasn’t an illusion. It started slowly and gained momentum with the first couple little white lies and one predatory woman who would not leave him alone…

      I guess I wanted to clarify things somehow.

      Sorry you are livid, but hope you can step back, take a breath and see that for some people this is a very real and tragic thing.

      Reply
    • May 30, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      I don’t think the article support jealously at all.. I think the point made is that male female friendships can be tricky and yes some people with good boundaries who don’t have other issues can do it successfully particularly if they are not attracted to the other person.. my H has a good female friend who I know and he is not attracted to her at all and its all good never bothered me but he then started a “friendship” with someone who he had romantic feelings for.. and that turned out to be a disaster for our marriage..it blew me away because we were so so good and so tight ..to have this happen –lying just increased his time with her increased anyway.. the point I am making is ..this particular relationship was a danger to my marriage and relationship and so I have a legit reason for saying I am not comfortable with them being together. I think if you love someone and don’t want them to worry or feel uncomforatable with a situation they you do whatever you need to do to help them not to worry… in the case of the emotional affairs .. these partners cannot do that.. because there is something to worry about but the partner is in denial and is saying we are just friends.. well there are “just friends” sometimes but there are times when that just is not the case.

      Reply
      • June 4, 2018 at 10:47 pm

        I tried to point out to my husband that his female work college should not be calling him and complaining about her relationship for 2hours at a time. He told me was jealous and they were JUST FRIENDS and nothing was going on. The calls kept coming but only while I was a work and then the texting started. And then the covering up started. Deleting the txt messages. He didn’t want to hear my complaints so it all went underground. Then she left her partner and ran off with another man. I thought thats good, she’s gone and I don’t have to worry any more. Big mistake. Don’t ever let your guard down. The man she ran off with lasted about 6 weeks. She came back, but I didn’t know. It all started again, only with more intensity. I noticed he was very cold towards me and everything I said or did was wrong. After 6 weeks or so of this cold shoulder, I couldn’t take it any more and I confronted him. At first he didn’t want to tell me what the problem was. Then he blurted out that He didn’t love me any more and he was in love with her. They were Soul Mates.! You could have knocked me over with a feather. Didn’t see that coming! Then he proceeded to tell me how perfect she was and pointed out all my faults. I said, who are you and where is my husband? Then I said if your not happy here, go and be with her. He tried to tell me, he thought it was me who was unhappy and he thought I was was going to leave him. I can’t work it out. Did she plant ideas in his head that I was unhappy, or was he hoping I would leave so he could move her in. I said off you go.! It won’t last. ! You don’t know her.! She has issues.! She is changing her men like she changes her underwear! But you go if the grass is greener over there. He must have thought about what I said because the next morning he rang me from work. He said, I do love you! I was wrong! Then he said he couldn’t cut cut ties with her because he was worried about her. I said your not having your cake and eating it too. Its either her or me, your choice. It was like he was in a trance and then woke up. Yes you can have Friends of the opposite sex but if your partner feels its not right, Listen to them. Believe me they are getting bad vibes.

        Reply
  • November 29, 2014 at 6:20 am

    I would just like to say that I do not consider a person who believes he can and should control who I am friends with and how I spend my time with them a person who should think about marrying anyone. It reminds me of elementary school.

    Anyway, I don’t think that gender of the friends is important. I have never viewed my male friends as guys and my female friends as girls. A friend is a friend. Their gender is something distant and vague. It is there, of course, but it’s not on my mind. The moment you start to be interested in what kind of anatomy is present is the moment when they’re not being only friends anymore – and at that point it may become a problem and probably IS best to get a bit of distance until things calm down if you’re in a relationship.

    I wonder what kind of relationship is so fragile that it can be destroyed by talking to friends, however… and if it’s really a relationship worth having. Also it may be better to er on the side of caution at the first signs of manipulation, because as we know, the first thing a potentially abusive partner wants is to achieve social isolation.

    I actually know about an emotional affair my partner had with his friend. I knew I’m better for him, anyways :D. I had faith that he wants to be with me (otherwise the relationship dosen’t have a point, does it?) and let him sort it all out. He talked a lot about his feelings when he realized that he can, it didn’t hurt me because he was very respectful about it. I didn’t limit the time they spent together and made it obvious that I trust him. Sure enough, they soon were seeing each other less and less and in the end it opened up areas to improve in our relationship, which we did. And she found herself a real boyfriend. She’s my good friend now.

    Reply
  • December 28, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I can relate to this all too well. Though I never went as far as developing actual relationships, I have obsessively thought about fantasized, and daydreamed about other ppl while in a committed relationship. I’m so glad to have come across this article because I’ve been going through my very own personal hell which I’m too scared to talk to anyone about. I recognize the pattern in myself knowing it is wrong. As a matter of fact, I’m presently going through it again over another person and just reading this article alone and sharing my thoughts already helps a bit.

    Reply
  • February 12, 2015 at 11:59 am

    This article has been a wake up call for me. I see myself in it totally and I have been kidding myself that the liaison I have been in is anything other than emotional infidelity. Thank you so much for writing it! Now how to extricate myself from it! Can an emotional relationship with all the indicators described ever become something healthy and purely platonic? Can it become a true friendship or is it necessary to cut ties in order to save one’s marriage (and sanity!).

    Reply
  • February 16, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    It’s over, and I believe him. All 12 signs were in place, but I was unaware because there were things going on with me – depression, empty-nest, work stress, etc. and we had pulled away from each other for a very long time.

    We are working on our marriage using an excellent self-help book, and things are getting better between us. He has some contact with his “friend” that is out of his control, and I know there is still some phone/text communication but not nearly as much. I don’t know if they had a sexual relationship, and soon will work up the courage to ask. I will show him this article to bring up the conversation and to ask. I wish I had come across this several months ago when we started talking about this. Due to some detective work on my part, I know that they felt like they were/are “in love” and they still “love each other” but he has made his choice to stay with me and work on our marriage. She is married, but not happy and they are seeking counseling as well.

    I believe that he wants to work things out because when I asked why he decided to work to save our marriage, he said what he was doing “just wasn’t me”, meaning he knew it was wrong.

    My question is… if there was a sexual relationship, what is the likelihood that we will be able to recover? I’m willing to try… Will it be possible for them to remain “just friends” or should I give an ultimatum that there be no contact other than what is strictly necessary for work? Does anyone have any suggestions for articles or books to read about this topic – recovering from a sexual affair?

    Reply
  • February 21, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    I find some of the recommendations in this article dangerous, especially #2 and 3: Not talking to others about what you feel, who you are, and what upsets you in your relationship? Seriously? This sounds like serious co-dependency more than anything else. You cannot and should not center your life around one person, even if that person is the love of your life.

    Reply
    • February 22, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Thanks for writing, Anon. I agree that it’s not healthy to center life around one person, and that we all need friends to talk to and express our feelings. Two things to note however.

      First, in most cases, talking to another person about a concern we have with our partner is simply venting, and a form of gossip. It may make us feel better in the moment, however, it’s not going to resolve or work on our relationship with the person involved. The person we need to talk to is our partner. If we “cannot,” get couples therapy. If your partner will not work on their part or get therapy, let them know that you either get therapy, or the most loving thing to do is end the relationship, rather than watching it get slowly destroyed by both.

      Of course if we talk to another occasionally, and only do so with a “safe” friend (who won’t gossip, take sides, etc.), it’s not likely to cause any harm. However, if we make a habit of this, it is simply venting, and venting trains our brain to get addicted to “holding onto” certain problems — not really interested in resolving them. (This in itself is a key issue in couples therapy, by the way.) Also, if the person we talk to “sides” with us, rather than offering neutral support,the more we “think” we have a “good case” against our partner, and the worse our feelings, lowered options for possibility thinking and solutions, and the more negative impact on our love relationship.

      Second, if the person we’re talking to is a member of the opposite sex, witting or unwittingly, we are sending a message that we are “available,” that we have begun to (unfairly) “compare” our love partner to someone we don’t have to live with, or experience the day to day mundane, etc. With so many people hurting craving love out there, not knowing how to create healthy long term relationships, thus ever ready to go for quick fix feel goods (like junk food cravings) — in my opinion, wow, it’s way too risky. And a waste of energy.

      Reply
  • March 15, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I always believed that persons of opposite sex could be friends. I now however have changed my opinion due to discovery of his LONG term affair (emotional and i believe physical). Sure we had our problems ( he is a narcissistic, stealth emotional abuser, and i tried to leave him, twice only to be lured back in. Seeing no way out I basically down and just existed for many years. Finally deciding if I was staying in this marriage (20 years this year) I had to do something to improve it. So i became the loving, sexually fun wife from the beginning (except hasn’t worked in many years from raising children). Thought things were truthfully improving (both of our families had commented). Only after him showing me a video on his phone (woman doing herself, we had looked at porn together before and was fine with it ) until he is standing by back door jacking off wanting me to watch him. (Likes to mastarbate frequently) that I asked if he was contacting women on internet his answer was no only looking at pics & videos. Just didnt feel comfortable with answer… so that night late looked at his phone and found the text message that basically want to play with you in person or the next best thing. Confronted next morning turns out its a woman (married) he used to work with that before meeting me was good friends with (he even took me & boys to a bbq at their house years ago. Then when they were in contact again sharing how both unhappy well i think you understand the rest. He always said never met in person (big lie) and i was devastated(really bad). Fortunitely he never throws any thing away and i found phone bills going back TEN frickn years – that was actually worse than the original discovery. When he and I were discussing this he said that I hadnt been there for him for along time and he is right. But when I asked if he knew WHY I hadnt been there for him?and he replied NO. Narcissist can never see how they are wrong, blames me totally, never really apologized or owned it (just a little). We are still together working our way through this last year and a half walking nightmare. The reason I stay (for now) is I do love him and he loves me as much as a narcissist can, and I see some changes but have long way to go. I dont want old marriage back that one sucked. If he wants to stay married to me (says he does) then he will need to continue to improve. In all honesty he fits the description of a sex addict and I do worry this might be just the tip of iceberg. I really don’t trust men or really anyone totally and may never again. But I realized that whether stay together or not, I have to “let it go” or end up bitter, resentful, untrusting old woman, always miserable. I’d rather never be with a man again ever than end up like that. So it’s last chance baby or when you see how much I will get in divorce (I love CA laws) the tune may be a bit different than status quo. If it weren’t for smattphones he never would of been able to hide it for so long. Hope I dont ever find out he’s seeing her again, I might not be responsible for my actions. So I no longer believe that men/women or whomever gender you like, in this new age of technology should consider themselves immune to said effects technology has brought us. That and a job that gives complete freedom to come/go, utilize phone I cant see, that is 1 -1/2 hours from where we live gives him TOO much opportunity to jump off that slope again. Sad, but i’ve learned reality bites. Okay one more thing; for younger couples where wife staying home to raise children (we decided this together) – I say DO NOT give up working all together for your family, you loose that outside interaction that keeps you vital (more than just kids to talk about) it gives him all the power and you end up uninteresting without a network of contacts and un upkept job skills. Not the best time to happen considering how fast things can change in technology. I have learned so much with or without him – i will survive! I hope this nightmare never destroys your life so completely as it has done mine. It was a lesson very hard learned. Hugs to you all! Thanks for listening

    Reply
    • March 15, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks for writing, Chely. I hope you are getting professional help, or will consider doing so. The behaviors you describe will not change on their own. Your best guarantee is that your partner seeks sex addiction therapy. Otherwise, the present is the best predictor of the future. Thanks for writing and sharing. Wishing you the very best in healthy and healing outcomes, strength and courage to free yourself to live your best life.

      Reply
  • March 16, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Excellent article, very accurate. We spent most of our day at work and is very easy to let one self go into this romantic, yet dangerous activities.
    What helps (sometimes) is to have definitely strong family oriented values and KNOW that we can lose our family and everything we have worked so hard to built. If we stop, think, and consider consequences to our behavior is easy to develop some form of “healthy” paranoia about being caught.
    Having a hobby, hopefully sport related, also helps due to the release of energy, considering that some love affairs come from boredom. Always be in touch with your feelings, but also know that not everything is ruled by the pleasure principle.

    Reply
  • March 17, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I really disagree with this. I have male friends, I always have. I’ve always had to justify our friendships and say ‘we’re just friends’to get people to leave us alone.
    I only have one close female friend. I have a strong bond with a friend of many years and think of him as family.
    Also, as a bisexual, this would mean that I couldn’t have friends of any sex, which is absurd.

    Sure, maybe sometimes, you’ll have a quick thought and think ‘hmm maybe we would be good together’ but you know you wouldn’t want to be with so you never think it again.

    Reply
  • March 17, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Just reading through the comments about the article. I must agree with it for it has happened to me after 44 years of marriage. I saw all the signs but kept saying I must have done something wrong for this to happen. He has always had female friends but I just told myself he was more outgoing. I knew most of them. We raised 2 beautiful, successful kids (who are grown now). Most of my time was spent raising them, working, keeping a house and being exhausted. It was a wrong priority that pushed us apart. I figured he didn’t want to enjoy me, for me, so I didn’t try. I was told “I wasn’t like I used to be”. “I didn’t try to do what he wanted”. So “his phone betrayed him”. I saw a message from just a friend who explained how much fun she had when he stayed at her place (while I thought he was home repairing house problems – I was at our sons (at his insistence) watching their pets). I kept reading and found out he had not told me the truth because he knew I would “get upset”. Many text messages and calls have been done and I finally confronted him and he told me yes He needed her friendship. She was his good friend for many years. He feels I can’t meet all his emotional needs. I’ve asked him to stop texting her, no contact at all. His reply is “it’s not fair to ask this of him”. Am I wrong? This was discovered 6 months ago. I have “caught” him 2 more times contacting her. Many tears later and counseling (only by me) have I learned he may never stop. She has now sent him an email wondering why he has not contacted her. I said to tell her the truth – that I don’t want him to give away things to her that I feel in a marriage should be for a husband and wife. He says nothing is sexual just emotional and he enjoys her company. His last email was to tell her why. I saw it too – it only said he was worried about his mom, and things have been happening to our email..he would contact her in the spring and have coffee. He did not tell her that I was upset and felt betrayed. Now what should I do? I want our marriage back but he feels that “he hasn’t done anything wrong” – “it’s how I’ taking it. I don’t think I’m wrong Thanks for listening

    Reply
    • May 30, 2015 at 9:51 pm

      sounds so much like my situation.. and i think you are right … they never stop.. it is unresolved issues they have.. its not about you.. its important you know that.

      Reply
  • March 31, 2015 at 8:07 am

    So I have to ask….just how many times can a spouse *forgive their mate* for having these *emotional affairs*…..does it ever stop and just continue with the *friend* or perhaps even another friend?

    Several years ago my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married. This was only after I found out that he was having an *emotional affair with a married woman*…(at the time though I have no idea exactly what it was called). I ended up sending an email to this woman, whom I have never met and did not know. If seemed that my husband met her through his work although she does not work for the same company, but is a outside service that is used.

    When my husband left he was only gone for 6 months until he moved back. I *assumed* everything was ok. (big mistake on my part) So last year he starting playing golf with supposedly a person he worked with. (which I found out recently was a LIE and only 1 of many) The 2 men started talking about taking another cruise. (the other man and his wife had been on several) OK….so my husband decides that we should also book a cruise (the same one that his golf buddy was going on).

    RED FLAGS begin to appear on lots of *issues* I had. I could NOT exactly figure out why though. The golf buddy’s wife made all of the *cruise reservations* which included several of their relatives as well. She sent my husband several emails about how things were progressing. In February my husband and I met this woman so that we would not be *strangers* before cruise time. (or so I thought this was the case) Again there were more red flags.

    WELL, I found out that the woman was the woman from years ago and the golf buddy was her husband. I also came across some emails between this woman and my husband. My husband had asked the woman for a picture of her in a swimsuit just for the 2 of them. (WTH?) He had also sent her several emails telling her how much he missed her while she was on vacation and was anxious for her to get back and signed the emails with xxxx and oooo. OMG…..DECEPTION….SECRETS and LIES******all of it. SO I confronted my husband about this……little by little. HE swore that she was just a *special friend*….really…..so how many married men would ask a woman for a picture of them in a swimsuit….the woman is 11 years younger than my husband. In the beginning I did NOT reveal to my husband that I knew about the emails. I wanted to see what he would tell me. HE LIED…and LIED AGAIN and AGAIN about it all. Well, it was a good thing….as I had PROOF of what I had found. (I guess he did NOT believe me). To be on what he *considered the safe side though, he deleted all of the emails – TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE)…..doing so just confirmed me that indeed he was GUILTY. I have some health issues and I got stressed out over all of this….got sick and was sick for over 10 days. In the middle of this I ended up having tooth problems as well and had to get a root canal. AND YES….I do think all of this was due to *stress from all of this crap*.

    I refused to go on the cruise….(it was a blessing that we have purchased travel insurance)….(we did not lose all of the money that we forked out).

    NOW let me say this much. We have been married over 40 years. This is the 3rd time that something like this has happened. So I have to wonder….is this kind of behavior a sickness or what? I do know that the *modern day technology has allowed lots of *secrets* to go on between people these days easier than every before.

    My husband had been texting this woman all the time and he was lying to me telling me that it was his golf buddy (the woman’s husband)….when in fact, it wasn’t.

    HOW do people *abuse* their mates like this? I am having a very hard time trying to *overlook* this. Not sure that I will ever *recover* from it.

    I can now understand why some people just *SNAP* and do *stupid things*. I think I came really close myself.

    Reply
  • March 31, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I will be interesting in knowing if anyone has any comments about this. How does a mate survive?

    Reply
    • April 4, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      I am asking myself that now. Double standards run rampant and my spouse would be devastated if I were doing what he is doing on the computer. He has wasted thousands of dollars on dating sites and has sent money to a “friend” overseas on multiple occasions. He is clearly having emotional affairs.

      Reply
  • April 14, 2015 at 6:23 am

    So, all of this describes what has happened to my husband with a co-worker. But then he crossed the line and it developed into a full-blown affair and huge deception. He is now living with this woman, both of them having moved out of their homes, putting their relationship before both marriages and all the children: hers and his.

    What will happen next? Will the relationship survive? Does the removal of the clandestine nature of the relationship make it less exciting?

    The effect is devastating to all of us left behind. Emotional affairs are dangerous and I wish I had seen the warning signs and put a stop to it.

    Reply
  • May 29, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I agree with all of the above comments. God Bless and love yourself!

    Reply
  • June 6, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I agree whole heartedly. Friendships are toxic and we shouldn’t have them.

    Reply
  • June 9, 2015 at 10:26 am

    i am going through the discovering of an emotional affair. it is so painful right now. my wife slipped about it while drunk, and showed me pictures she had shared with the person. they meet at the gym every morning, it is her release of stress. i am trying to cope with this, she sees it as nothing wrong and innocent. prior to her slipping she and I had a discussion on what we constituted as cheating. why would she engage in this conversation? i told her at the time that an emotional affair was just as wrong as a physical one. we have 2 children and have been married over 17 years, and all I can think about is ending it. i made the mistake of following her to the gym and saw the 2 of them chatting and laughing. can this marriage be saved?

    Reply
  • June 16, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I do hope you will go to your local library or order you a copy of the book *NOT JUST FRIENDS*….I know that it sure helped me
    to understand what happened better than I did. It is sad that sometimes people just *THINK they can find something better on the other side, but then they are really very disappointed. Good luck.

    Reply
  • June 20, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I was caught by my wife after being in a 3-month long twitter-based affair with a woman on the opposite side of the country, I find this blog post to be dead-on correct and quite insightful as to the effects of these relationships on the marriage, family and job. The feel good, they seem so innocent (after you get past the initial sexual attraction). But they are painful for all concerned. In addition, I have to wonder about my long-distance partner’s truthfulness about so much. So much sickness and death seems to surround her. I have heard that sickness and death are a common cover for emotional entrapment. Sexual need too, I suppose. Again, thank you.

    Reply
  • August 9, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I do not have friends, and feel very lonely. I can’t have friends because of the 12 signs mentioned above. It’s an addiction indeed. I have a very addictive personality altogether.

    I really want and need a friend, but I don’t know how. I am bisexual and pretty much every close friendship I’ve had in the past has turned toxic. Every relationship goes down that way. ANY person close to me becomes fodder for my mind.. so I have to keep people at a distance. I have social anxiety too, so it’s an annoying double edged sword. I’m very uncomfortable around people, and when they’re nice to me and make me feel comfortable I attach myself too much, immediately. I suspect I have Aspergers (my son is diagnosed autistic), which I believe to be part of the issue.

    I’m pretty miserable about it.. as I said, very lonely. My husband is a wonderful man, but I have trouble talking about it with him. His self-esteem is not the greatest and he instantly thinks it’s something he’s doing wrong and then will try to overcompensate. He has caught me emailing my ex boyfriend before, when I was very depressed and just wanted to escape from reality. I felt terrible.. my husband was very hurt and became jealous and suspicious of everything I did. I severed a friendship with a female friend, because it had turned into to more than ‘just friends’.. My husband was happy about my decision, and I was too at the time.

    My ex-husband is the one person I seem to be able to talk to most about my issues.. because he knows my struggle and it is one of the reasons we separated. I have zero attraction to him. But, I feel really awkward around him. We talk online occasionally, but not in person. Never about my husband, just about the mess in my mind. He always warns me not to screw up and cheat, that it’s not worth it. To find another way to deal with the perversions in my mind. It is comforting to talk to someone who knows everything about me. Like I don’t have to hide myself.

    I don’t know how to have normal, healthy relationships.

    Reply
  • September 1, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I have a question. My husband and I have been working through what I call an emotional affair. When I found this article it all made so much sense. This article made it possible to connect all the dots. It has been over two years and just last night he said again they were just friends. He admits he still has her contact information on his phone (that I still am not allowed to see.) She is still on her on his FB friends list.(which I am not allowed access too) I feel like it is an important step that he admits to the emotional affair. Is it? It’s not like I beg him, force conversations or I am a drama queen about it. I just have been working on myself and have separated the emotions from the actions ( if that makes sense) and realize that as long as he never admits it to himself he will never understand my level of pain, or appreciate me for staying. I almost get the feeling that he will always harbor feelings against me long-term that will never be discussed. Every time I try and sit down for a conversation about our relationship he shuts down. I have a hard time finding ways to be successful in dicussing these issues. He refuses to talk to me, or a councelor, he will not talk to a pastor, he will not read a relationship book or even take a class. I am a stay at home mom of three so I use the internet to help me and feel like I am progressing well. I feel like he is skipping steps to getting better. Some days I feel lost as to what to do next?

    Reply
  • September 2, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I have been married for 16 years and for the last two have been battling his emotional affair with several different girls/women. To begin – he is an alcoholic – a high functioning one. You would never know to look at him since he can carry it well. Along with that he has depression and anxiety – which he takes meds for. I’m listing this since he uses all of these things as excuses as to why he seeks attention elsewhere. I myself am a co-dependent that wants to fix him.

    Anyway – it started 2 years ago when he was coaching our daughters 12u team. Unknowingly one of the girls mentioned how she had a crush on him…that’s all it took. I noticed he would text and i would as who and it was always someone not to worry about. I eventually looked at the phone bill to find it was her. Several texts back and forth all day everyday for months. He told me it was due to no father in her life – wanted to be there for her. I was told to quit being jealous of a 12 yo. It later came out that they were indeed inappropriate texts. No physical contact but still very disturbing. It all ended with her and he moved on to another young girl – that too was caught and ended. At the same time he was FB old girl friends from his HS days. Very dirty texts – pictures included. During this time i had asked him to stop or the marriage was over. He would talk suicide and I would back off. He did stop for a while but then picked back up with FB people and actually met one when he went to visit family. Always lying – telling me these were just platonic friends/conversations. He could never tell me what they talked about or why he couldn’t stop. He feels that he is not cheating since no sex has been involved.

    We are separated now and he feels if he quits drinking we can get back together – since he only texts these other women when drunk. Which is not true.

    All 12 of these steps are spot on for me – all 12. I do not know how to end it without the fear of him killing himself. How can I get him to realize that what he is doing is cheating and that our marriage cannot survive that.

    Reply
    • September 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Thanks for commenting, and sharing your experience and what you describe as disturbing patterns of not only infidelity, perhaps sex addiction. What is most unhealthy for both of you however is that he’s holding you “hostage,” so to speak, by threatening to commit suicide if you don’t “accept” his terms. Please seek help, with a professional therapist as soon as possible, someone who can support you emotionally to leave and protect your sense of self and sanity. Otherwise, your unwilling “participation” is unwittingly “enabling” him to get more and more addicted to high risk sex encounters. Keep us posted, thank you again.

      Reply
  • September 12, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I have been married for 19 yrs. My wife often talks with men in her line of work. She is a frieght broker and talks to a lot of truckers. Well one day we had to travel to Tenn. for her brothers wedding. Shortly after planning this about 4 mnths in advance, she began talking about a customer of hers that lives and works in Tenn. the same city we were going to for the wedding. Shortly after talking about this guy, she talked about meeting him. she said she told him her husband and two children were going to be with her. then he wanted to meet at his job. Which is in her line of business and is a regular business that her company deals with. As we get closer to the day, she talks about him more and more. til finally the day before meeting this guy, she and I were in a conversation. Dont really remember what it was about, but it was about us adn or the kids. Out of the blue, she starts talking about this guy. She interupts me to say something that he told he he wanted to go visit with her in Tenn. During this entire process of wedding planning and the discussion of meeting him, She became distant with me. She used to be the one to initiate sex. Meaning she would always kiss me, as we passed by each other in the hall way in our house, she would grab my you know what. I worked 3rd shift so I would often lay down at 9 or so to get a quick nap for 2 or 3 hours. She would often come to bed and wake me to oral sex, or just initiating sex. All this came to an abrupt stop. Now, she doesnt even look at me like she used to, she hardly touches me any more, and sex has become once every other week, even though I intitiate it. Could this be something like emotional cheating with her and him? If so, how could I find out?

    Reply
  • December 20, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I’m a woman in a relationship with another woman. 12 year relationship. We have some major relationship issues. Recently on my birthday weekend I made a bad choice and did something my partner was bothered by and asked me not to do. It was a bad choice on my part. We had a huge fight. Upon her trying to hurt me she told me she was attracted to another woman she works with. She has since recanted that statement and said they are just friends but has told me she shared intimate details of our relationship with this other woman. She has hidden all text messages phone calls, even has this woman’s Facebook page blocked to make it look like they are not friends. She continues this friendship knowing it’s broken my heart and continues to share our secrets, problems, and issues with this woman and tells me she is allowed to have friends and ones that are good looking. She continues to hide there conversations.
    Help me I’m literally devastated

    Reply
  • March 26, 2016 at 3:22 am

    I am a 16 year old sophomore and remember that a friend of whom I had a unpleasant experience with and I was avoiding at the time because of fear (being chased down by him) in the past, who is usually optimistic, came to class looking sad almost as if without hope (like he was bullied) and reminded me of how we became friends before breaking down and made it seam like I was his only good friend at the time. So I got him a gift which made him happy and seam a lot less suicidal but also made him be around me more… In hopes that I could get him to soften and not hurt me when the time came for me to tell him that I was very fearful of him ( because he could have killed me a few years back) I gave him more and more gifts, but then we got closer in communication and long story short he gained my trust by hugging and comforting me after I told him the fact that he made me fearful… I’m guessing that oxytocin reacted because I had much less seizures after that event… And i got inspired to get straight A’s in the process I started to get obsessed on how it happened and it been going on for almost a year. I barely started to gain insight on what was happening or happened through researching oxytocin and Stockholm syndrome… Which made me rather scared… and stop with the help of a psychologist.. I was giving and giving relentlessly, I even had a powerful emotional stress reaction when I felt betrayed by him back in November, which was suicidal thoughts (that ironically I’ve been helping others fight for half my life and suspicion of him having them was what started all of it because even though I felt like I was in danger of being hurt by him he’s been a good person and I didn’t want the world to lose such potential, I didn’t want to lose my friend under any circumstances especially in teenage years) a reaction I never had when any other friend betrayed me. This is more of a close friendship like brothers thing, however if you could share some more tactics on to avoid this type of connection again it would be greatly appreciated, because I don’t want to feel… Controlled again… And I know that type of attention should be put into my girlfriend, so please help with extra advice if you can, thank you.

    Reply
    • March 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Thanks for commenting, Isaiah, and sharing your experience. As you described, this can also happen in friendships, and it’s a good to know your instincts activated you to understand this problem and the help of a therapist.

      The best protection from this type of trap is to appreciate (and write down) what you already learned and how you rescued yourself — and to (continue to) develop your inner core, sense of self, confidence, well being, strengths, etc., which always involves learning to replace and identify certain limiting beliefs, in this case, that persons with “codependency” have that makes them susceptible to the schemes of narcissists.

      For example, to replace a limiting belief, such as that “it’s possible to emotionally rescue someone from pain” with the belief that “the only person that can emotionally rescue another is themSELVES … and that every single human being has this capability, and the same inner equipment. In the same way, that we cannot nourish a starving person by eating a healthy meal, we can NOT emotionally nourish them by doing the work they need to do to feel their painful feelings, learn how to process them, develop a way of thinking that protects their happiness, etc.

      In short, in order to avoid suffering, we each must be willing to handle the full range of our painful emotions.

      In the words of one of the greatest psychologists of the 20th century, CARL JUNG:
      ‘Neurosis is the natural by-product of pain avoidance.’

      I hope this helps, thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • April 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I came across this article by chance but it simply shattered me. I am 39, I am in a very long (19yrs) and very problematic relationship with the father of my son (6). We went through infertility problems, very tough pregnancy, premature birth and diagnosis of cerebral palsy of our son. Our relationship had a lot of ups and downs even before all this happened in our lives. I fell in love with a colleague about 8-9 yrs ago. I was on the bring to end my relationship then.At the time it was really a friendship, we never flirted and he didn’t even realize that I had other feelings till I told him one day, just because I had a car accident and I thought I would die. We were not working together anymore and didn’t have daily contacts, so we managed to keep the friendship and I eventually got over it. Our contacts became relatively rare during the years but we kept in touch especially in hard moments. Some months ago we began to communicate more on-line (we live in different cities) and gradually he shared with me very personal things. He is single , he is in deep depression, he tried to commit suicide an year ago. Hetold me that his father was an alcoholic. I was very worried and wanted to help. In about a month we were chatting for 3-4 hours every other day during the night. My old feelings were creeping back, I denied it in front of myself but in the end they were so overwhelming, that it was impossible to stop them. I really thought about him as my soul mate in the old days, but then I managed to keep the barriers. Now I experienced more or less all the 12 signs above. I would never allow myself just a sexual relationship with him, because he meant so much more. There was flirting and dirty jokes, even if he stated again that he thinks of me as “just a friend”. It all ended in a nasty way 2.5 months ago. I feel like a wreck, I am still in “cold turkey” period and don’t know how to get out. My relationship was very compromised before all these started and I was actually craving for both emotional and physical intimacy, especially the first. I do feel guilty because I am not OK with infidelity and lies in a relationship. I would appreciate very much any advice how to pull myself out of despair and go on. I am still thinking too much for this person and I miss him. I know I will never be in a relationship with him, I am even convinced he is not the right choice for me and my son. At the same time I know that my current relationship is at a dead end but first I should become more stable emotionally before I can take the tough decision to separate or give it one more chance.

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks for writing, Annie, and seeking help. It may “feel” like love, yet do you notice that it’s impossible to separate our feelings of anger and hurt, unfulfilled expectations within your long term relationship? Your statement that, says everything.

      Advice? Please consider seeking professional help with someone experienced in this area, and also here’s a book that may also help by Howard Halpern:

      “How to Break Your Addiction to a Person”

      Best wishes, and thanks again for commenting.

      Reply
  • April 4, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I read this article hoping to answer my questions about whether or not I’m being too jealous or being gaslighted by my on-again-off-again boyfriend. Long story short, he is overly flirtatious with women to the point of texting about desiring a much younger woman to have sex with her. He always uses the phrase “we’re just friends” and his banter is normal between he and the female friend.

    Each time he would cross my boundary of comfort for how much flirting I can tolerate, he would come back with accusations about how I’m too jealous and asking sarcastically “so now I can’t be friends with women?” But it’s not friendship. I broke up with him three times already because I can’t tolerate him ignoring my clearly stated boundaries and accusing me of being a prude. Just recently, he texted that he was having margaritas with his neighbor (but they made one for me). This is after I showed up for a visit and she called into his apartment that she made him dinner and he replied, “OK, babe!” He said that he let her sleep in his apartment when her electricity was turned off (while he was visiting me). He also has ongoing issues with his toxic ex-girlfriend who had a key to his home up until she had him arrested (they stay in contact because they share custody of her dogs together). I’ve already determined he’s not husband material because he doesn’t honor my wishes when I tell me it makes me uncomfortable that he’s so chummy with his female friends. He calls me insecure. I’m just curious what a psychologist would say about his behavior and if I actually am over-thinking things. What is your professional opinion?

    Reply
    • April 4, 2016 at 6:06 am

      Thanks for the message “were just friends”; from what you describe, he’s been using “gaslighting” tactics to “train” you to second guess yourself, think you’re “crazy” — and ultimately stop bringing up and “ever” questioning him about any of his actions to include (intentional) “emotionally cruel” ones and what sounds like blatant lying, from your description. The pattern to look for? The way he totally excuses whatever boundaries he’s crosssed, to make himself look innocent, and turns the focus on what is “wrong” with you instead. It’s a con-game …. This sounds more like narcissism and a sex-addiction pattern than mere “overly flirtatious with women” (this may be a smokescreen, i.e., to get you to think it’s “flirting”).

      Please see my articles on “What It Means When a Narcissist Says ‘I Love You’” … and “Gaslighting” for more info — and continue the soul searching track you’re on… your gut instincts have been solid, the problem has been not trusting them! Develop wisdom in this area, keep “learning,” and mindfully become aware of clear “signs” of deceitful behavior, and the significance of your choices. A person tells you who they are by their actions from the start (not just words, the actions must align with words). For your sake and well being, never second guess your self … This is the biggest mistake partners make, to think they can “change” the other; You will always be the ONLY one you can change and shape. Your choices each day shape your life. Believe it. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
      • April 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm

        Thank you so much for that, and I feel empowered now to continue on my personal journey. I will not compromise on moral compatibility, so no use wasting time wondering if he will morph into someone more faithful like me.

        Thanks again and I’ll be sure to read your other articles.

        Reply
  • April 10, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    All you described is so true. I just wondered how would you comment the role of the third person? Her/his usual profile and motivation, especially when they do not aim a physical/romantic relationship?? As I already mentioned I am just trying to recover from such emotional affair, being the one with a long other relationship. At the same time the person I had the affair with kept saying I was only a friend to him, given that he confided to me things he never told anyone else, we chatted for hours during the night every other day and there was a lot of flirting, initiated by him. He really seemed stunned when I confessed I am in love with him.

    Reply
  • April 13, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks so much for this enlightening post, it’s just what I needed. No hyperbole intended, but it may very well have saved my marriage and maybe my life. She’s agreed to go to counseling with me so that I can work on my anxiety about the situation and so we can work on making sure that this kind of thing never happens again. I hope this ends up being a happy ending, but, honestly, I’m still not sure it will be, but at least I’m optimistic about trying. Again, sorry for the long post, and anything you want to say would be appreciated.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Whether in a marriage or developing a relationship (love) with someone who enjoys a special friendship with someone of the opposite sex, it is emotional infidelity. This is the situation I found myself in of late. I became involved with a man who continued to nurture his special friendship with a woman, 20 years his own age,.dining out, going for drinks, texting, chatting, including her in family dinners because she happened to be in town, being a benevelant friend and gifting her 6000.00 to advance her whims as an artist because the poor thing didn’t have the money,, the list goes on. What finally opened my eyes, is this man cancelled a dinner date with me, to join her for dinner. We had planned on entertaining his children for dinner at my place. That fell through and he informed me, he was meeting her for dinner instead. He never thought to invite me along….”just a friend”. He claims I am being unfair in my assessment and his emotional infedelity….obvious lack of integrity, as he himself proclaims, he would not stand for it, if the shoe was on the other foot. This wasn’t the first red flag…just two weeks prior, he had a Ned to put me down in front of his children, not once but twice. His claim was Pleading ignorance and that it was meant to be a joke. My point, emotional infidelity pertains to lovers, as well as, spouses. Moving on….

    Reply
    • May 23, 2016 at 12:55 am

      In my haste to compose my experience, I forgot to mention that at the onset, I too had a gut instinct. He vehemently clung to She’s just a friend.” I too had male friends but when they recognized I was embarking on a relationship, they stopped calling or inviting me out. This younger woman would call and text frequently, on a Friday night to invite him to meet her for drinks and despite him telling her we were watching a movie they would continue texting back and forth for a few minutes. The real shocker…1 a.m. calls/chats after we had shared an intimate session…in which she states “that’s not fair, you are having sex and I am not!” I was mortified…he was sharing our intimate moments. How long had that been going on…he quickly covered my shock up with a nervous laugh and a sheepish “oh, that is just who she is.” Clearly she had no boundaries and he was allowing the calls….naturally, he discounted the issues I was voicing. He apologized for my hurt and pain when I finally ended it but I am not sure he is truly capable of it when this type of infidelity is determined an addiction. The following day, he was up again on a dating site. Not sure what to make of that…I would have thought the door was now open for them to explore their intimacy….

      Reply
  • June 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I am separated from my husband of 20 years after he said he was not sure he wanted to be married any more. He quit wearing his wedding ring five months ago, we have been separated for 1 month. He has a history of not telling me the whole story about his feelings over the years. He has a close female friend of six years or so, an ex-colleague. I thought they were just running buddies until I got curious after his announcement of his unhappiness and checked phone records and email. I was shocked to see the volume of texts that had been going on between them for the kast year or so (oldest records available) and the familiarity in their email exchanges. From the emails it was clear he had shared his feelings about our marriage with her, how distant he felt, etc. Among her comments were “life’s too short to be unhappy” and “you deserve to be happy” etc. All during this time he was giving me the silent treatment and generally acting annoyed and impatient with me. Now that we have separated he says he wants to reconcile. He dismisses my concerns and anger about the closeness of his relationship with her, and still continues to see her and text her. He says I am “rewriting history” and blowing the friendship out of proportion. I don’t think I can reconcile with him if he continues this friendship, but he makes me feel petty and old fashioned for being upset about it. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • June 7, 2016 at 7:12 am

      Thanks for the message, G. If a lifetime of the same is okay with you — that is, infidelity, denial, AND blaming you for his “unhappiness,” infidelity and everything else wrong with his life — that would be the only outcome if you accept his invitation to “reconcile” on his terms at present. You need help from a professional to learn to stand your ground, hold him accountable for doing the work to learn how to self-soothe himself, stop his inner blaming patterns, stop looking for easy “fixes” and possibly relating to other women (and you) like drugs there for his comfort and happiness.

      Only consider “reconciling” after a minimum of one year in which you both see a marriage therapist who can also work individually with both of you, and who has expertise with infidelity and love addiction (evidence of that in the “volume of texts”)

      In the meantime, read the following two books … start with the “manual” … as this gives you specific guidelines of what you need to expect from him — and what he needs to expect from himself — as evidence that his intentions are to heal himself as KEY part of healing your relationships, and partnering with you to do the same.

      I’d be glad to do a consultation session with you, or both, to clarify the process … contact me via my website http://www.drstaik.com.

      Best wishes, and let me know how it goes!

      How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful BY Linda J. MacDonald

      Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity BY DR SHIRLEY GLASS

      Reply
  • July 9, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    How many of them would my wife need to be considered ? She is showing 8 of the 12 with 3 don’t know for sure and one maybe. She is blaming me for cheating on her , I didn’t as wanting a divorce, her “friend ” is a contractor she hired to build our new house , she used to date him when they were 14 and 15 respectively, I was wanting to save our marriage but after seeing them together last night( she asked me to move out a month ago) I had to stop by the house to pick up my mail and he was visiting. any information would be greatly appreciated . Thank you.

    Reply
    • July 11, 2016 at 7:45 am

      Thanks for the question and comment, Thimas. The answer is not a simple one to address here, and I’d like to recommend seeing a professional counselor, someone who is experienced in working with infidelity and love/sex addiction, who could also advise you on how to best address this issue with your wife, possibly invite her to attend therapy together. Let us know how it goes, if you wish. Thanks again, and best wishes.

      Reply
      • July 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

        Thank you for getting back to me. I have brought up counseling ands she refuses , I even suggested with talking to the minister that married us, he went to see her , and still nothing. I even brought her brother in to see if he could talk to her. I was asked to leave to give her space , that’s what she said, tried to call and text to no avail, was talking with her best friend who said she need more time , when I called her brother who in turn called her , she texted to quit calling her brother , I called her and spoke she made the comment then “Why don’t you just move back in and I can continue to be miserable and wait for you to do it again , her actions doesn’t speak to her being miserable i.e. in early June my cousin asked her to do her flowers for her wedding , and later that week we ordered another ticket to St. Louis Cardinals game for her best friend . A week later still not talking with her but still talking with her friend , she says that she hasn’t had time to think about things because too busy and her friend hasn’t approached the subject because she is angry all the time , again new behavior , I posted some things on Facebook about doing certain things with my daughter minature golf , go karts and posted on Facebook that it was fun but I missed my wife and son, her best friend called and told me to quit posting and tagging her in stuff like that because it was just making her even more angry . I sent my wife a text basicly telling her to talk to me or move on to the next step. I sent more texts and face book request to call me if she was awake. I admit there were several , but I was wanting to save my marriage . Was called by her best friend the next morning and told if I contacted her in anyway that she would get a restraining order on me. On June 8th I went to go to see my daughter play a softball game and text her friend to have her put my mail in one of the vehicles so I wouldn’t bother and told her the time I would be there. When I pull up to the house the man that I believe she is having an Emotional if not physical affair is there. I don’t see the specific piece of mail that I want so I knock on the door and ask about it , when she answers the door , she is a natural brunet ,her hair is completely blond , she normally does highlights, because when I asked her to go full blond she said no that she didn’t like it. On the way home from the game it occurred to me that she wasn’t needing time to think or whatever reason she was using , she was waiting for something else, I talked to my family and it was pointed out that she knew what time i was going to be there , and she had him there ,knowing he was an issue. I am angry that she is flaunting it in my face but accuses me of cheating and the double standards and hypocrisy if she just wanted to move on then tell me or whatever reason she sees fit , she is telling everyone over where we live I cheated .There is more to the story but that’s the jist of it. I am calling an attorney today to set up an appointmen. Any further guidance would be appreciated. Thank you . and its Thomas .

        Reply
  • September 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    I was introduced to boltnethacker@gmail.com because i really wanted to know what my husband has been up to lately as I seem not to be getting his attention.
    Bolt was able to hack into my husband’s Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram and above all gave me full access to his mobile phone remotely. I couldn’t help but to introduce him to those who have their spouse cheating on them and want to spy on them. boltnethacker@gmail.com will help you out with any hack related issues.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Ok I read a lot of the comments and maybe I can share from a 1st person view.
    I have had many emotional relearionships and always labeled them just friends.
    I am trying to understand my motivation and why I try to deceive myself and my spouse.
    Is it truly an addiction?
    I know I justify them by saying we are helping each other. Just another excuse.
    How can I break the cycle and focus on the most important person my spouse?

    Reply
    • October 4, 2016 at 8:14 am

      Thanks for the message Mk. Good questions, and that’s a start. Please consider seeing a professional counselor with experience working with sex/love addiction. In the meantime, here’s a link to one experts love-sex-addiction self-assessments to look over. Thanks again.

      Reply
      • October 4, 2016 at 2:31 pm

        Thank you for your reply.
        The article was very interesting and I have lots to think about.
        I guess as in any addition, recognizing and wanting to change is a first step.
        I did pick up you book and have been reading it. Our situation is one of emotional affairs not physical but I see a lot of correlation in your book that will help.
        Thanks
        MK

        Reply
  • October 25, 2016 at 10:52 am

    I had an emotional affair and it was the most profound intense and spiritual experience that changed my life and helped me find my true path in the world. And it didn’t ruin my relationship, it made it stronger as weird as it sounds….. I’m full of love, what can I say……

    Reply
  • December 26, 2016 at 2:49 am

    I don’t know where to begin. 12/28/16 is my 25th wedding anniversary. On 12/23/16 I accidentally came across notes and cards written by the HR lady (as early as Jan 2013) in his company to my husband thanking him for necklaces, earrings, and chocolates saying he is a “4ever rainbow” to her and that “best of all is that it is a reminder of my very special and dear friend,” a photograph of her daughter holding her 2 hands together to form a heart shape, thanking him for being a wonderful friend + family, and seemingly secret code words. I saw some bed time texts back in 7/13 that just said good night zzzzz and stuff so I did not think much of it. A bit after that he bought a second phone and started charging it next to his side of the bed. I did not think to ask why or to try and snoop.

    He has been very very critical and cold with me in the past. Before we were married he told me I needed to “get over my feelings” because no one cared about them. So as you can see, we had our problems but I just thought we were not perfect. The criticism, defensiveness and general shut down of communication has gotten much worse recently. Anyway, our children are in their teens and I fear for how this will affect them. I can see him saying I had no business finding this out. I did not go looking for it. In fact, the brief case that he had these papers in has sat next to my desk for 3+ years and I never once looked in them. He told me to find a copy of a document and that is why I looked in there. He is away this week and I am not sure what I should say when he gets back. I did take photographs of the cards and notes and I also put them away safely. I am not tech savvy so I feel it is possible that he saw that I had taken these pics bc it ended up on my photo stream (I did not even know that I had it or what that meant).

    I feel like in retrospect, this will have been the best Christmas and anniversary gift for me. I am not sure what/how I should say to him when he gets back Jan 2, 2017

    Reply
  • March 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Good Lord…I was exhibiting all 12 of these warning signs in an emotional affair that ended recently as my friend returned to her husband. I can’t believe how this experience turned me into such a liar also willing to betray my wife and our deepest secrets. No marriage is perfect, but I have a perfectly fine marriage…I just have to turn all of my emotional energy back to my wife and do the hard work of cultivating our love. She has no idea. I am in personal counseling learning why this affair began and why I was susceptible. There is a pattern to the affairs I have had in my marriage. I am learning to recognize this pattern and to begin working on boundaries. A most useful article and it’s dead-on accurate.

    Reply
  • June 12, 2017 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for your indicators out of them some are matching with my situation.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I also can relate the majority of the list to my husband, however not with just any other woman, but with his 20 year old daughter(not sexually though).

    Is this normal in any way? He claims they are really close,however other people mistake them as a couple!! He goes out of his way to do whatever she wants even if it means jeapordising our time alone (and our sex life is dying fast). There are very loose boundaries. He caters to her every whim because as she told me “daddy will never say no to his little girl”. I told him that she said that and he just laughed. He is NOT like this with his 17 year old son, he will not cater to him at all. His son has to do everything for himself.

    He stopped opening the car door for me after a month or two. Yet he opens all doors for her. I feel like I’m being constantly disrespected by both of them.
    He is killing our marriage with his inappropriate behavior, making me feel as though I don’t exist except for a paycheck. I’m wondering how much longer I can take this? Why have I stayed the 2 years that I have?

    Any advise? I could really use some good advise.

    Reply
  • September 21, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    So this just happened to me. My wife and i always have trouble communicating so we have issues. But we always made it through. Lives get busy and we dont make time for us. We knew something was wrong this year but neither one spoke up. I was pushing the family away but was ashamed to tell her why. She is always good with advice. So one of the vendors at work was having problems in his life and she offered advice to him. She finally got the courage to tell me she wasnt happy. I had already started trying to do what she asked but it wasnt working. She asked me to move out she wasnt in love any more. The thing is that i dont think she realised what was happening. She was emotionaly empty. So we he offered help in return she didnt realise the emotion she was getting from him. There were some innapropriate names thati found out about. I blew up i pushed her further away. Neither one of them see it as more than a friendship i believe it has reverted to a friendship. What gets me is she still cant see thateven if she didnt intend it when she start recieving the emotions from outside the marriage any chances of us reconcileing went out the window. I pushed her to it. But she wont realise that she missed the signsthat the feelings she was looking for were not coming from me. It was the final nail in amarriage with alittle work could hhave been repaired.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    This article hits the nail on the head. What many people are objecting to is the “can’t be friends with other people” mantra.

    It’s really not about allowing your significant other to control what you do. The idea is that you need to respect them and your relationship enough not to put yourself into a compromising position where you could start an emotional affair.

    Let’s say you’re at an after-work celebration for a coworker, and you and a member of whatever gender you’re attracted to are sitting next to each other. In a group setting, it’s fine to chat and be friendly. But if you and that person start talking about how badly her ex treated her, or what a terrible dancer your SO is, then you’ve slipped over a line. If you’re the last person at the lunch table with them, then the conversation could easily move into personal territory. If you’re talking to someone about anything you wouldn’t normally talk about in front of your SO, then there’s a problem.

    Now let’s say you get home and your partner innocently asks you if you talked to anyone interesting at the party. What are you going to say? That little niggle of guilt before you say, ‘Oh, not really,’ is your warning sign. Your SO isn’t trying to control who you talk to. But you should have enough respect for their feelings that you wouldn’t want them to ever have cause to doubt you.

    A family friend has a rule that he and his wife will never be alone with a person of the opposite sex. This is difficult, since they both travel for work and have an extensive network of friends. But, they want to ensure that they won’t be tempted to engage in any inappropriate behaviour. They also want to be completely transparent if anyone ever questions what might be going on since they travel so much. So they make sure that they ask another person (or their spouse!) to join them if there’s a meeting over lunch, or a car trip. There are no secrets, no temptations, and no worries. They love each other enough to make sure that an affair just can’t get started.

    Reply
    • September 19, 2018 at 3:40 am

      Great thoughts! I would certainly agree with you. Emotional infidelity can also be dangerous and with that, it’s great to read such an article that addresses the matter.

      Reply
  • October 6, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Please help me figure it out what my wife has had.
    She has been talking to her ex husband.
    Shee swears in her life that, since she met me she never loved him and she never wanted any sex with him.
    Thr story started ,by my wife, 2 years ago. She would share with him, all of our issues. My wife and her ex have 2 children, so she said we have to communicate.
    What bothers me, she would tell him every time we have argue ,or every time “I am mean to her”.
    He, on the other hand, would talk to my wife about his girfriends failure. The problem is, I am not sure if he has had any girlfriends in the last 2 years.
    My wife tells me he called her and explained his unsuccessful relationship, which again was 2 years ago. Then comes my wife, ater dropping off our daughter to school, she would call him. Sometimes on the way to school wth my daughter in the car and listening, sometimes, agter she dropppes her off at the school.
    They woukd talk 3 to5 x per week, sometimes they do t talk for 1 week.
    One day she told me, he calls her “hi baby”, I did not like that. And I was irritated when she told me he knows abt our ups (less) and downs (more).
    So, Isaid ,pleaseask him to call you and please you call him only if there is urgency.
    My wife did not want to follow my request, so she kept talking to him, and “because I would be upset”, she would depete the phone calls and also delete txt messages. After I found out, I thought thats is, its over. The must have had sex. I was allowing her both to go to their daughter’s concert in the same car and coming back in midnights, after al.ost an hour of driving. She, once again, swears that she ” never touched him, never loved him”,it is just good relationship with her ex fr the sake of the kids.
    I am still with my wife. But I feel hur ex got the best of my wife, while I am “the left over”.
    I dont know if she is addicted to him or not. Dont know if she is comparing us (I would assume yes).
    I dont know if she is eager to see him and to be beautiful in front of him. I dont know any more info.
    I must add here that my wife and him were “just friends” for aince I met my wife, over 15 years. But lately, “my gut” started worning me about somethong more like EA and less than “just friends”.
    Any comments on that?

    Reply
  • November 14, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Ok. This article couldn’t be more correct. So hold on my story is long.
    Me and my Bf been together since 2003, in 2007 I started acting not like myself, moody, depressed, unhappy, stressed, just suicide.
    Slowly we lost touch as our communication didn’t exist we both started to lash out anger. Even if try anything my interest wasn’t there I was in physical pain since although he saw the change he didn’t try to help. He use to say you’ve changed and I didn’t see it.
    Needles to say I started to seek attention elsewhere someone that wouldn’t judge me and land me a hear.but But each time they wanted more I ran and start another one. But bf notice those new changes confront me but I didn’t defend myself I wanted him to think and believe I sexual involved to make him jealous so he can get his life together with me. Years has pass with no intimacy what so ever like we both were dying while still breathing. We were just there but not with each. Later I got diagnose with SLE lupus and premature menopause with a bunch of stuff Dr claim I was sick for over a decade. And finally put on the proper med finally got out of my depression last year… Got my sex drive back. And I’ve been dropping hint for a year now.. I just realized he was even trying but he was happy.mood improvement start being himself again too. Here’s the kicker he’s been talking to this girl from his job for over 3 months . at 20 call a day and about 5000 texts in a month all I see in my phone bill it’s her number. He said they just friend but he enjoys talking to her and she gets and he gets her. She’s separated but in the house with her husband. I called her and appear to her as a woman and trying to understand what’s going on. She claim friends to. But couldn’t hide her true feeling. Nevertheless they still talking at the frequency with no sign of stopping.

    Reply
  • November 14, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Quick background: Wife and I, married for over 12 years – now have 2 kids – 7 and 2. We love each other tremendously, and I think no matter what, at some level that will never go away for either of us.
    So – for months now (maybe starting feb/mar of 2018 is when it started to hit me) I have been feeling us getting distant and i feel her getting disengaged from everything – including me and the kids, anything home related, avoidance of any ‘normal’ day to day stuff you would think happens in a normal household where both parents are working and have two little kids.
    The distance keeps on growing and growing, and finally, about a month ago – i kind of exploded and told her how i feel. I told her that I even thought that she’s having an affair, and that this is not just usual doldrums relationship problems of a long marriage with kids.
    She’s said she’s not sure what happened, that she agrees to some extent, and that she’ll try working at all of it again, that she’s been going through some funk and she promised she’ll start working at all of it again. I have never had any reason to not believe her, and i honestly think it’s helped us talk through a lot of it and helped us kind of see what is happening and to work on it. That’s great.

    Now, here’s where it gets more interesting. End of September, wife starts texting with a new friend she made at work – a much younger girl. From there on out, throughout whole October they’ve been texting each other literally 200 to 600 times a day, EACH DAY, perhaps even more. I consider myself a non asshole and not one of those controlling types at all – i am a big believer of everyone having friends and having their own things and circles and what not. But this particular relationship between her and this new friend – for some reason, it all started screaming RED FLAGS to me from all direction. I dont know why, but i think because of the previously mentioned issues, I have been on ‘high alert/over analyzing everything’ mode to begin with. That being said – within matter of 6 weeks, they have become so close and like i said, the texting just will not stop. It literally happens at any and all times of the day, everyday. hundreds of texts are exchanged.

    About 10 days ago or so, i told her that I am concerned about this, and i think you might be having an emotional affair with the person. And that it is devastating and soul crushing for me to see this happen, and I haven’t even yet recovered from you disengaging yourself from me! That none of this felt ‘normal’ to me, that something was just off, and that it didn’t feel or sound like a normal friendship, and that every single cell in my body is screaming RED FLAG and i don’t exactly know why.
    I mean – within matter of 4 to 6 weeks, you become so close that you have to text each other hundreds of times every day, and that is all on top of when you see her at work every day, and then i am sure you are texting her on weekends, nights, evening, morning and all the other time in between? Just something doesn’t feel normal about any of this. I know for a fact that for ex. at nights, she would say ok i am going to bed and stuff, then head to bed and be up another hour or three, texting with her!
    She agreed that the friendship happened real fast and yes, it is weird. but she continues saying that they r just friends. She says that they have a lot of playful bantering going back and forth, etc etc and that they r just friends, and that they have just connected and that i have nothing to worry about at all. She gave me all indications that she’s gonna work on cutting down the texts and things like that. She continues ensuring me that she is committed to our relationship, and that she’s continuing to work on things – and yes, i do see her try and actually making efforts to do things she hasn’t done in months.

    but here’s the thing: i am having problem trusting her. I suspect it’s because I have been so traumatized over the past few months just from feeling so emotionally disconnected from her, from feeling so distant and lonely from her. I know she’s trying, but i don’t know if she really is trying hard? This relationship with her new friend – i can’t seem to come to terms with it. I know she’s still texting her and stuff, but to what extent i don’t know – i feel like she’s kind of ‘avoiding’ doing it in front of me or when i am around and things like that. which in itself is even so more hurtful. I know she loves me, but I just can’t help but shake this nagging feeling that something is off with their relationship.
    I am hurt, devastated and in some ways ashamed of myself because of what this has made me like (paranoid? overthinking? not able to move on and stuck in this thought?), but i know, i FEEL, that she’s so connected to this new person all the time, and i feel so hurt and low in priority and just all these negative emotions are constantly in my head now, i can’t get rid of any of them. Having a real hard time in general, with life. I think i have made it clear to her how much this relationship with her new friend has been bothering me, and I don’t want to continue bringing this up with her all the time either cos then i’m afraid she’ll just totally shut down and keep on doing whatever she wants to do without talking to me at all, and that’s the only last thing i feel like i have left with her, that i can do.

    If i was in her position, and if i knew that my not exactly normal friendship with someone is bugging the hell out of her – right or wrong, i would do everything in my power to try and alleviate her concern and make sure she’s aware of what I am doing and things like that. I would do that because i love her and i know how much it would mean to her. Is it not normal for me to have similar expectation from her? How can i make her realize that a new person who came to her life barely 7 or 8 weeks ago is ruining my mental sanity and totally breaking me down? How can i i make her realize that the fact that she says she’s working on it, but at the end of the day is still probably doing the same thing, is absolutely killing me? How can i tell her that while she thinks what she’s doing is good enough for me to shut up, it’s just not working for me?
    Am i too jealous, overthinking things and an absolutely asshole for thinking this obsessive/excessive relationship of hers with her new friend is absolutely destroying me? Should i wait longer to keep on reminding her ‘hey remember, you said you were working on certain things and this is one of them?
    I am absolutely distraught about this and can’t live like this much longer. i feel there’s a lot of unsaid things between us surrounding this new friend, that we are both avoiding for the sake of sounding like assholes all the time.
    Your thoughts/comments/concerns? looking forward to it.
    thanks for listening.

    Reply
    • November 20, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Thanks for the comment and sharing, Mak12. You are describing a situation in which you list all the flags, and alarms. Believe what you see. For your peace of mind, and to prevent the situation from getting worse, please consider seeking a professional therapist with experience in the area of infidelity however. The more you try to “micromanage” and control this situation, the worse it may get. Thanks again for commenting.

      Reply
  • November 22, 2018 at 5:20 am

    Here’s a little background on us. We’ve been together for 7 years and my boyfriend recently got a job at Intel, about 2 years ago. This happened once and I thought it was odd and then it faded. Now it’s happening again. This is describing what is going on with my boyfriend of 7 years to a T. It all started off when he would talk about her non stop. When I called him out on it he got angry at me and yelled at me for not trusting him. I felt horribly guilty for bringing it up and apologized. A few days later he came home with information that this girl confided in him that she wants kids and that her fiance doesn’t want them yet and that she was miserable in her relationship. For some reason this didn’t bug me much then. Then just a few weeks ago, a mutual friend had a birthday party for her 1 year old and both this girl, her fiancé, my boyfriend and I were invited. During that whole party, the fiance and I were excluded from the conversation, making us both feel absolutely miserable. I had to leave early that night for a flight down to California so we bailed early. So due to my misery, I brought it up in the car on how I was being treated and again and the fact that he was texting her every day from the moment he woke up to when he went to bed, my boyfriend got angry at me saying that this girl was making an effort to get to know me and that I’m being crazy. And this is not the case at all. So we went home and I broke down because of all this anger towards me, yet at the time I didn’t know what was going on. So when I left to California, I still felt like something was off and I was wondering what was going on. Then the wild fires hit. I was in Malibu and had to evacuate. When I told my boyfriend this, the first person he told was this girl and even made an interactive map on it with her. When I realized it was inappropriate for me to remain with my family down there due to the fact that they possibly lost their house, I came back. Then less than two days later, my boyfriend organized a double date with this girl. And the whole day he said repeatedly “you can always cancel” knowing that I don’t like this person. But feeling guilty I gave in and committed to the double date. Again I was completely excluded from the conversation and he even went out of his way to do things for her! When she walked in, she acted like our house was hers and Instantly sprawled out on the furnature, to which my boyfriend was fine with, and then began to talk about how much she wanted my cat to be hers. So I left miserable, called my mom and told her I may need to come home, and then went back and confronted him. Again he got pissed and then said I’m crazy and have PTSD from the fires, which I never even saw the flames. I tried defending myself, but he kept denying what I was saying and what he was doing. He then used I “deserve to have friends” line on me and the “why don’t you trust me?” just the other night. At this point I’m at a loss on what to do. I feel that this relationship is lost. I confide in him, I’m honest, I tell him how much I love him, I go out of my way to do things for him, and I always seek his opinion and we had a good sex drive until this girl came into the picture last week. I don’t know what is driving this affair or if it can even end. When my family hear about him calling me crazy and the PTSD they went ballistic on him and he said he’d take ownership of what he’s doing and that he would stop. He said he’d stop but he had a text conversation open last night and as soon as he heard me coming down the hall, he bolted out of it and deleted it, and then said it was a work email, then brought up the trust again. I’m at a loss as to what to do. This Hurst so much and I’ve broken down so many times.

    Reply
  • November 30, 2018 at 2:37 am

    My husband of 18 years is displaying all of the signs, made worse by the fact that he introduced the ‘other woman’ to me as he “knew we’d get along”. He was right about that – she is very much like me and we are both a little more “odder” than the average person in our thinking & so we hit it off well. Now the problem arises when I know he has feelings for this woman who I know has no interest in him (believe me, if she WAS interested in him I’d know – nothwithstanding that however, I’m not naive enough to believe that something *COULDN’T* happen; I’ve lived long enough and made too many mistakes to think that naively again) – not only does he compare her to me – “Why can’t you be more like XXX?” “XXX and I have more in common than you and I” or “If I called XXX, she’d go to such-and-such” with me and there are numerous other responses he’s made.

    All of this is on the backdrop of a marriage that has been in trouble for a few years with both of us suffering depression. Whenever I mention something about her, he gets angry with me and tries to say that “It’s just in your imagination – it’s your depression”. No matter how I try to word it with him, inevitably he blames it all on my depression and gets angry with me. We can’t talk at all anymore without it turning into a finger-pointing game which I’m frankly, far too old, sick and anxiety-ridden to contend with.

    At this point, I’d be happy if he left her for me. I don’t even care if they were together, I just want some peace from the anxiety and drama of it. It’s killing me! 🙁 🙁

    Reply
    • January 6, 2019 at 8:25 am

      Thanks for commenting Anonymiss. If you have not already please seek help from a professional with experience in infidelity, sex addiction, possibly narcissistic personality disorder. Sounds as if this guy is both tearing your sense of self and esteem down while also gaslighting you to make you feel like the “crazy one” doing wrong for bringing up his wrongful actions. If you have children you need to take care of yourself and sanity for them as well as you. Disengage from conversations with him. Contact me via email if you think some additional suggestions would help .. All the best to you, you deserve much better. Dr S

      Reply
 

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