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where is the line betwern friendhip and EA

(66 Posts)
baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 15:00:17

To be honest before MN I had never heard of the concept of emotional afairs. I do understand why they can be painful now, but I always used to think cheating involved actually doing something whether that be a kiss or something more.

What I would like to know is from both sides where that line is. People can be friends with people the same sex as their partner. But where does friendship start looking like something more to your partner and when does it cross that line to you?

dequoisagitil Sat 08-Dec-12 15:32:25

When there's more emotional energy put into the friendship than there is the primary relationship, when it's kept secret or apart from the relationship, when emails/texts/conversations between the friends couldn't be shown/seen by to the partner without them being uncomfortable about what's being said.

ohfunnyface Sat 08-Dec-12 15:34:17

To me, an emotional affair is where you love/care deeply for another, but have not physically acted upon your desires.

meditrina Sat 08-Dec-12 15:35:16

When you are not telling your DP about the frequency/length of meetings, and/or you are saying things you would not want them to hear, or writing/texting things you would not want them to read.

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 15:44:06

That's ok then. I found myself questioning my own actions. I would never do anything with another guy. But I do have guy friends. We never discuss anything inappropriate but we do have a very good relationship and in jokes. I would not alter my behaviour if we were in front of my husband as we don't do or say anything that would make him uncomfortable. Texts are rare and are never more than "that program we were talking about the other day is on tv"

Someone has said to us "its ok if you want to be alone" and its just so not like that. I was wondering if someone else could jump to that conclusion have I crossed some kind of unspoken line.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 08-Dec-12 15:47:29

I think its a combination of a few things. I agree with the secrecy element. You're allowed private conversations with friends of course, but if you're keeping that friend secret from your partner that's usually not a good sign. If the private conversations include fantasising, flirting, getting too personal etc... and neglecting your partner as a result, that also crosses a line.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 08-Dec-12 15:49:47

"It's OK if you want to be alone"

Maybe your in jokes came across as flirting to the other person? Obviously, body-language is important, not just the words.

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 15:55:59

It was a response to us talking about grabbing lunch one day when this other person was off. She was jealous of something going on without her. Anyway, lunch never happened because she had made it weird when its not something that really occured before.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 08-Dec-12 15:57:56

Then the person was probably just shit-stirring. Do you think she might be putting round rumours?

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 16:02:16

I don't know I hope not. I really don't want to have to back off massively from my friend as that's like saying there is something going on when there isn't.

Abitwobblynow Sat 08-Dec-12 16:04:57

'What is cheating? Ask your spouse!' - Frank Pittman

'If you don't think it is an affair, ask your wife' - Shirley Glass

'If you wouldn't do or say it with your partner in the room, it's cheating' - Dr Phil

An EA is developing an emotional relationship with someone, keeping it a secret from your spouse.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 08-Dec-12 16:05:06

Obviously don't back off from your friend. If your partner is OK with your friendship and knows you meet for lunch etc. then theirs is the only opinion worth taking into consideration. However, if Little Miss Gossip is trying to make something out of nothing, you have to tell her stop being so stupid and to wind her neck in.... smile

Alittlestranger Sat 08-Dec-12 16:20:05

Good thread, it's a question I've been pondering lately. I think some definitions of an EA are a little too restrictive. I've had friendships that come pretty damn close to the criteria some people are putting forward and I'd have found it alarming if partners had insisted this was untoward.

I don't think "would you say this to your partner" is a good check at all. We all need space to sound off about our relationships or explore issues with a third party.

I'm more inclinded to define an EA as something closer to a non-consummated affair. An emotional relationship is fine, an emotional relationship that causes you to check out of your primary relationship, and is combined with constantly stressing how unhappy you are, putting down your partner etc is not.

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 16:32:19

Oh I don't know. This friendship has made me question how free flowing the conversation is with my husband. It has made me recognise that I need to try a bit harder with my husband and to put a bit more effort into keeping our relationship strong and not falling into a rut. so it has made ne check out my primary relationship but ons positive way. That's a good thing right. But it would fall foul of your criteria.

However I would not have any conversation with my friend that I couldn't have while standing next to my husband. I personally think having personal conversations with another guy is pushing the line more than I would be happy with.

Lavenderhoney Sat 08-Dec-12 16:50:01

It's having a friend of the opposite sex who is demanding of time, expects emotional support and expects secrecy. In short, the emotion relationship you have but so far without the sex.

It is insidious, destructive and i would be very fed up with my dh if he he allowed it. An ex of my dh had a go at this, as " he was the only one who really knew her" and tried to keep him emotionally involved in her decisions, putting responsibility his way for her. He has no time for this, as he told her. You have to make a conscious decision not to start it.

Slippersox Sat 08-Dec-12 17:15:38

Your DH is so lucky you have questioned this,and even if nothing untowards has been said or done with your friend, and it sounds a healthy open friendship to me,then it's great that you are looking at your primary relationship and working to improve that too.
My DH had two female friends at work.I knew of them both, had met both occasionally.Friend 1 was platonic in the truest sense.Would text when she knew I was most certainly with DH .They share a love of the same sport.He would laugh at her jokes/ comments and share them with me.She would enquire about me and send her regards.She didn't overetext,or invade our space as a couple.Her DH knew about her friendship with DH.When I met her she was open and friendly,easy in DHs company obviously but not in an overly flirty manner.
Friend 2 would only text DH when she knew he was highly unlikely to be with me.Texted way too much.First time I met her she was gushing and very touchy / feely with my DH.I was subsequently told her body language and her extreme flirting had been noted by many.Texted 'are you alone?Can you talk?'Which then surprise, surprise progressed into confidences,then into sexual banter and suggestions.She told him she loved him.Thats when her DH found the texts.Thats when I feel it tipped into an EA.My DH had kept all this secret from me.
Almost 3 years on Friend 1 is still a valued friend of DHs and I have got to know her well too and as two couples we meet up socially. 'Friend' 2 I despise.Apparently she had got herself in this situation before.Sorry not nice to admit.DH and I almost split but with a lot of heartache and hard work are back on track.Frienship 2 evolved over many months and tbh a physical indiscretion like a kiss or a one night stand could not have been more painful.You sound like your boundaries are healthily in place.All the best and enjoy your marriage, and your friendship.

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 17:16:04

Right from the considered answers on here I am confident I am in the clear.

The thing that bugs me is that on here, people can read into the smallest things and insist it looks like a dh is embroiled in a ea. Things like reading a text that says "goodnight xx". I know xx is supposed to mean kisses but in real life it isn't how it is meant most of the time. I send texts like that to female friends after a night out all the time and I have to think about it and make sure I don't do that to any male friend. Then because I have to think about it it makes it weird!

Also things like dh shared a cab with a woman. Or dh bought a woman an Xmas present.

Sometimes even when you KNOW you are in the clear it can look like you aren't. I hate that I have to think about these things it makes me feel like I am doing something wrong when I am not.

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 17:20:07

Thank you slipper. I really hope I am like friend 1 in your situation.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 08-Dec-12 17:25:02

It's all about context. None of us operate in a vacuum. Like it or not we all have to one eye on how our actions are being perceived. If you have a good relationship with your partner and you trust each other then his is the only opinion that is genuinely worth worrying about. But gossips are everywhere and, as the old saying goes, 'a lie is half way round the world before the truth gets its boots on'. So you have to exercise some judgement.

Feelingemotional Sat 08-Dec-12 18:54:10

I'm there. I am feeling insecure and jealous for the first time ever in my 34 year marriage because my dh has a recently "new friend" (work colleague) who he has clicked with. Yesterday he told me that she just "gets" him which has hurt me massively.

I know that nothing is going on in a sexual way but I feel betrayed almost by the fact that he talks to her about things that he doesn't talk to me about. It feels like a massive slur on our otherwise happy marriage.

He doesn't understand why I feel this way and thinks I am overreacting. He has never done anything to make me doubt him before - we both have friends of both sexes but this feels different.

Its causing me a lot of heartache right now and I am not sure of how to get past it.

baremadness Sat 08-Dec-12 19:19:37

I am so sorry you are going through this.

But if sex is not an issue with them how come you feel so strongly? Would you feel the same if his new friend were male. It is there, as I suspect with everyone, that overhanging issue that 1 day sex may be an issue?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 08-Dec-12 20:01:35

"this feels different."

Trust your judgement on this because it's what I mean about context. When there seems no tangible reason for doubt but something is different enough to make you uncomfortable then you should have faith in your ability to pick up on subtle signals rather than dismiss it as irrational jealousy.

Slippersox Sat 08-Dec-12 23:02:14

But that's the point Bare it's not just about sex is it? if my DH had had sex on a one night stand of course I'd have been devestated.But when he allowed his secret friendship with the OW to develop at a time when we were struggling with family illness and business problems and I felt I was struggling with liitle support from him I felt as if my heart had been ripped out.Betrayal comes in many forms.
Feeling emotional- like you we had a very long and solid marriage behind us,and I trusted my DH implicitly.But in hindsight the very first time I met OW there was a feeling of distrust about her deep down that I had never felt before. He had never let me down before but he well and truly had his head turned for several months.These things are insidious and as Cogito says you should trust your judgement.Im also so sorry you feeling this way and that your DH doesn't seem to listening to your concerns.That must make you feel lost and lonely if you have always been close.I hope he starts to hear and reassure you asap.It's not great to feel insecure about your marriage at any age, but especially when middle aged and menopausal I found !x

Feelingemotional Sun 09-Dec-12 00:25:32

It's not so much about sex though Bare it's about intimacy. I could almost bear physical intimacy more than this. DH sharing thoughts and feelings that he would normally share with me is very hurtful.

legojunkie Sun 09-Dec-12 07:53:09

Are close platonic friendships ever possible if you are married?

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