Is An Emotional Affair Really An Affair?
Dear GG (Girlfriend Guru),
“All the signs were there; late nights at the office, muffled phone calls made behind closed doors, computer screens quickly exited when I approached, a sudden interest in meticulous grooming, an uncharacteristic obsession with hole-free socks and stain-free boxers, a newfound dedication to cross-fit and low-carb calories. Somehow when I wasn’t looking, perhaps when I was busy caring for our two small children, running our home and working part-time to save up for the vacation he so desperately wanted my husband had traveled to a distant shore without me. An ocean lay between us. He could no longer hear me, even when I told him he was breaking my heart. He could no longer see me, even when I wore his favourite red push up and lacy thong. When he finally admitted he had a ‘special friend’ he swore he had never cheated on me, that nothing, not so much as a kiss, had ever been shared between them during their long conversations over bottles of wine and morning lattes. I guess I should have been relieved, right? So why do I feel so betrayed? Did my husband have an affair or do secret, ‘special friends’, not count? Does NO SEX = NO CHEATING?
~ Dazed and Confused.
Dear Dazed and Confused,
When your partner is hiding a deep, dark secret, unless that secret is wrapped in a little blue box marked Tiffany’s, it’s wrong. Some people some of the time can forgive a physical indiscretion, be it a drunken kiss or grope at the office Christmas party or even a trip and slip into someone else’s panties. Those cheats cross a line for most of us, but many of us can still see a way back home.
On the other hand finding our way back after falling in love is far trickier to navigate and virtually impossible to forgive. “No sex” does not equal “no cheating“ rather it usually adds up to one of two things - either a lack of courage or a lack of integrity. Most times it’s the latter. In other words, the sex almost always did happen. Don’t kid yourself. It’s basically a given it’s just that the cheater doesn’t have the guts to admit it. Traitors are already liars so a quasi-confession is within their comfort zone.
Still unsure if you were officially cheated on? Test it out yourself. Take a poll of any your friends or family members to whom you don’t mind airing your partner’s dirty laundry (although in most cases they won’t be surprised, as they probably knew what was going on long before you did). Ask first if they think a grown man and woman spending copious amounts of time together in secret settings, sharing intimate details of their difficult relationships, laying bare their wounds and unburdening their deepest desires to an understanding 'special friend' with the listening skills of Sigmund freaking Freud, are capable of not falling into bed.
Secondly and more importantly ask them if question #1 matters. Most of them will press a hand against your forehead to take your temperature, as you will present as being extremely unwell. The ones who truly love you may give you a harder knock on the noggin. Wake up and smell the musky odour, where our minds and hearts go our genitals follow.
The weight of the matter shouldn’t be measured only by sex. Intimacy is what tips the scales. Sex doesn’t = Cheating: Betrayal = Cheating. An emotional affair is the most serious betrayal there is.
Can this relationship be saved? In my experience the patient is usually DOA at this point. Sure you can make monumental efforts to keep the life support equipment chugging along for years, but usually you’re left with an unresponsive body, soulless and joyless. The quality of life sucks. Do yourself a favour, pull the plug on that emotional cheater and find the devoted partner you deserve—one who’d never dream of giving his heart to anyone but you.
GG (Girlfriend Guru).