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Line between close friendship and emotional affair

(15 Posts)
Dottie39 Tue 07-Nov-17 08:59:09

So, assuming men and women can be friends, where does the line blur between best buddies and emotional affair?

If two friends of the opposite sex (one married and one single) become best friends and meet for coffee, chat about their relationships, single person discusses people they are dating, they text for advice and support and are generally as any close best friends are, does that sound ok? If neither admit any romantic feelings to the other and they just enjoy hanging out, should it matter that they are of the opposite sex?

The friend who is married, is emotionally close to someone of the opposite sex. If the friendship was with someone of the same sex it would be seen as great, but because of gender it is seen as a threat to their marriage and terms like emotional affair are banded about. But is it an emotional affair?

I often see threads where a partner is discovered messaging alot/being close to someone and the posters all tell the OP it is an emotional affair, even without anything sexual.

So, what I am trying to get at, is can a man and woman be close/best friends? Where is the line? If you are the partner of the person in the friendship, how can you distinguish whether your partner has a best friend or is having an emotional affair??

SandyY2K Tue 07-Nov-17 09:08:43

One of the testers could be .... would you be comfortable if your own partner had these conversations with a member of the opposite sex.

SemperTemper Tue 07-Nov-17 09:12:32

I have a close male friend that I met through OLD. We've been friends for six years. We meet up sometimes without our other halves. We are both married to other people now and have children. We can be friends quite easily and happily, and even though we once had a sexual relationship, neither of us are interested in each other sexually or romantically anymore.

ShatnersWig Tue 07-Nov-17 09:13:05

I'm a man in his 40s whose best friend is female. In fact, my five closest friends would be female. Two are single, one is married, two in long term relationships. I get on very well with the partners/husbands but my friendships pre-date them being "on the scene". I have never slept or kissed any of them and I've known two of them for over 20 years and three of them for nearly 15. My best friend and I have been on holidays and shared a room - twin beds - but only when we've both been single.

Some people think it is odd. It isn't for me, because it's always been like this. At infants school, there were only 5 boys in a class of 21 and three of those boys lived in outlying villages. So it seemed perfectly normal to me to have female friends and it has always remained so. In my main hobby, there are far more women then men and this has been the case in several of my workplaces. In fact, I've had female managers/directors more often than men.

I've only had one partner who had an issue with my female friends. Even though they pre-dated her, she didn't like it. She never wanted me to socialise on a one-to-one basis with any of my female friends, only collectively. She became my ex-partner.

In my opinion, you either trust someone or you don't. This is me. If my having female friends is an issue, then don't date me. I once dated a woman with a male best friend. Not a problem at all, I never expected them never to socialise without me.

SemperTemper Tue 07-Nov-17 09:14:14

I think the test would be - are they happy for you to join them when they meet up.

Ttbb Tue 07-Nov-17 09:16:23

You say don't confesses romantic feelings...if it's a case of feeling being there but not confessing them then yes it's an emotional affair but so what? I never understood why people are about emotional affairs.

yetmorecrap Tue 07-Nov-17 09:19:29

I have had this exact situation, twice to be honest with my DH. The key for me is secrecy, all the texting was never mentioned, nor the odd coffee meet up. In the first case I genuinely think the EA was all on my DH side, she indeed did see it as ‘friends’ she was 21 when he was 42 and I think naive as to the fact that texting a married guy all the time was not ok

MsHarveySpecter Tue 07-Nov-17 09:23:35

I have a good male friend and the last time we met I did two things that made it not ok. 1. We talked about sex 2. I found myself redoing my lipstick while was was in the toilet.

Nothing happened but I haven't seen him since, deliberately. We are both happily married.

Nannyplumbrocks Tue 07-Nov-17 09:23:46

No I wouldn't like it if I was the wife. May not be pc to admit it but I wouldn't.

AnyFucker Tue 07-Nov-17 09:32:27

Can't you write your own articles ?

Cakedoesntjudge Tue 07-Nov-17 09:33:20

My best friend is male and married. As a PP said about his female friendships, our friendship pre dates his wife, we’ve been friends just under a decade and nothing sexual has ever been initiated or suggested by either of us. We just don’t see each other like that.

I think another PP is right and it’s more a question of secrecy. When my best friend met his now wife, we all hung out together as well as him coming over to mine after work for coffee and a catch up some nights. We also speak on the phone a few nights a week and she’s usually there and I end up on speaker phone with us all chatting. I also am good friends with his wife now and we do things without my best friend too.

Some people have always found our friendship odd and have always seemed cynical as to whether it is purely friendship driven on both sides. Around the time they married I spoke to his wife and asked if our friendship made her uncomfortable at all because so many people had said if it were them they’d find it weird. I made it very clear to her that I’d understand if that’s how she felt and pull back the friendship. She laughed and said she knew us both, knew our friendship and trusted us both implicitly.

We’re all really good friends and it isn’t weird. It’s definitely not an emotional affair. In my opinion there is a line and if someone is secretive about what presents as a platonic relationship, that would be an issue for me. I would personally also struggle with my SO having a close friendship with someone they were once sexual with (I know it happens and it can be innocent I would just find it difficult). I think you can pick up on the tone between two people pretty easily and know whether or not it’s inappropriate.

ReinettePompadour Tue 07-Nov-17 09:52:18

So, assuming men and women can be friends, where does the line blur between best buddies and emotional affair?

Men and women can be just friends we don't need to assume, its a fact that lots of people fail to understand

To me an emotional affair is when the parties have feelings for each other that are sexual/love but don't act on it but do continue their friendship possibly prioritising this person over their own partner/spouse with the intention of progressing that relationship.

I've had a long standing friend of the opposite sex since I was 4 years old. We have always discussed anything and everything together and some ex partners have been really insecure and demanded I stop seeing and talking to my life long friend. hmm
I have on occasions failed to mention my meet ups due to my (ex) partners jealousy. Initially I've told them who I'm meeting but their behaviour has been so dreadful I've stopped telling them then dumped them I've even gone to text my friend only to find my (ex) partner has deleted his number so I cant contact him confused

I can only assume those people who vehemently object to their partner being friends with the opposite sex are that way because they know they wouldn't behave themselves if they were to meet up with a friend of the opposite sex. hmm

Dottie39 Tue 07-Nov-17 09:52:21

Anyfucker I am not a writer, just looking for advice... Perhaps I was a bit vague but just wanted to not be outing....

mindutopia Tue 07-Nov-17 12:38:42

I think the term 'best friends' implies that you are closer friends than you are with anyone else. I think it becomes an issue if someone who is married has a 'best friend' who is not his wife/her husband. Like I consider my husband my 'best friend' who is a guy. I have other good friends who are guys, but none of them are as close to me as my husband is. Now that's really just semantics, but basically I think it becomes a problem when one person becomes closer to someone else, seeking them out more for comfort, nurturing, attention, intimacy (I mean of the non-sexual kind) than their partner. I think that can be the case whether the friend is of the same or opposite sex, but most men, for example, don't tend to form those sorts of deep emotional bonds with other men the way they do with women. So I think it's more likely to tip over into being something that is inappropriately close when it's between a man and a woman, rather than say, two men, especially when everyone involved is heterosexual. I think it's problematic with a friendship comes to displace an existing romantic relationship with a partner, e.g. going out with the friend instead of the partner, staying up late to talk with the friend and not the partner, putting more care and attention into gifts for the friend than the partner, etc. Then it becomes an emotional affair, if that makes sense.

PNGirl Tue 07-Nov-17 12:55:49

I think within an EA you know it in yourself. You think about the person more than anyone else, compare them to your spouse, hide the amount of contact. The spouse themselves though I believe have to rely on gut and noticing their partner's change in behaviour.

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