Emotional Affairs

Emotional Cheating: Are You Guilty?
.By Marianne Wait
WebMD FeatureReviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH
Like many women, René (who asked that only her middle name be used), a writer from northern New Jersey, had two husbands: a regular spouse and a “work husband,” a man — interesting, smart, funny — with whom she spent 9 hours a day. The chemistry was obvious, but nothing ever “happened.” Or did it?

They made a beeline for each other every morning, and their chats became more and more personal. “I definitely talked to him about things I didn’t talk to my husband about, including my husband, because my marriage was so unhappy,” René says. He sat a little too close at meetings. She admits she fantasized about a relationship.

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Was she cheating? Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell School of Medicine, says “probably.”

“Many of these emotional affairs do move into a sexual affair,” Saltz says. “If they don’t, it’s easy enough to say to yourself that you’re not doing anything wrong.”

The problem, she says, is the attachment to this other person impacts the marriage. “Ultimately it ends painfully one way or another: Your marriage ends, or you’ve got to give this person up.” René’s marriage eventually ended in divorce, but this doesn’t have to happen to you.

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Often, people who become involved in emotional affairs feel something is lacking at home. “It makes them feel good to feel understood, to feel desired. It’s like candy. You go home and have your vegetables, and you go to work and you have candy.”

For some spouses — more often women, Saltz says — learning of an emotional affair can be worse than discovering sexual infidelity. “Everybody understands a sexual act need not necessarily contain affection or intimacy. It could be literally about a sexual act. Whereas the emotional affair feels like it’s much more about being connected, about loving or liking.”

Signs You’ve Crossed the Line
According to Saltz, these seven red flags suggest you may have entered into an emotional affair:

1.You spend a lot of emotional energy on the person. “You end up sharing stuff that you don’t even share with your partner — hopes and dreams, things that would actually connect you to your partner.”
2.You dress up for that person.
3.You make a point to find ways to spend time together, and that time becomes very important to you.
4.You’d feel guilty if your partner saw you together; you are doing things and saying things that you would never do or say in front of your spouse.
5.You share your feelings of marital dissatisfaction.
6.You’re keeping secret the amount of time you’re spending with the person (including emailing, calling, texting).
7.You start to feel dependent on the emotional high that comes with the relationship.

X-CHEATER’S spouse’s story


Never did Rose even dream of she and the Cheater getting back together, after all this was even the second time! Rose came to DivorceCare in September of 2008, so angry that she would have paid a hit man to kill both the husband and the girlfriend! But then she didn’t want to go to jail for them either! She had a pet name for that girlfriend. WTW! (white trash whore) And that is exactly what she call her, to him. This apparently drove her husband a bit crazy and one night they came nose to nose in a verbal confrontation about the name. Matter of fact even the state police were called out to the house there was such a scene. (Do you want to hear her favorite song? Go to right side link and listen to Before He Cheats song)


Rose, who hadn’t gone to church in years and years, decided she was going back to church. She must have heard the Holy Spirits voice and followed because she was there every week, and on top of it all, she began praying for her son to come, she wanted him to know God too. Her prayers were answered one Sunday when her son arrived on Mother’s day in the sanctuary and surprised her as he knew it was a gift she would easily appreciate, and it only cost him a little time. I remember she had tears in her eyes.


As far as the ‘X’ was concerned, When he left, he said all the usual things, including, “I don’t love you anymore.” …I want a Divorce, and when are you going to put the house on the market. After that he simply kept asking when the house was going to put on the market. He wanted it put up for sale and he wanted the money. Rose, a strong and stubborn girl said, “No Way! This is MY home, and if he wants out of this marriage he is going to have to pay!”  When he left, he said all the usual things, including, “I don’t love you anymore.”


 Rose found herself a friend in DivorceCare and these girls got together fairly often and did things together. Rose and her new friend laughed a lot together, they went to ball games together and took the courses together, they grew emotionally healthy within themselves and grew in their relationships with the Lord.


Time trudged on, Rose took all the Relational courses we offered. ‘Safe People’, ‘The DNA of Relationship’, and ‘Love and Respect’. Some of these in fact were marriage classes but she was interested in getting married again, however, this time, things were going to be different. This time God would be first in her world, front and Center!

There was one really big impact on Rose in particular that is worth mentioning. In the Love and Respect class, Rose took, she listened to Mrs Eggrich speak to the perfectionist woman. What she heard blew her mind. “Oh my! I have to apologize to Jeffery! That is me what she is speaking about, I had no idea how that affected him!” And you know what, she did. I don’t know when, but she did it. She recognized her failure/unlovingness as a loving wife in a certain big deal area and took responsibility for that.


Apparently Jeff saw something happening in Rose. (When you truly grow and it isn’t an ‘act’, most of the time you aren’t even aware of the nuances of change within.) You may wonder how that happened with so little supposed interaction, but in fact they did go to their sons’ ball games together and her soon to be ‘X’ even sat with her because there wasn’t anyone else he knew! Thus he seem to notice a change in her. She was kinder, didn’t quite act like she did before, and didn’t quite talk like she did before… So he asked her what was different about her. Well she said she was going back to church and she wasn’t putting God on the back burner anymore. Matter of fact she told him, that’s what you should do, get going to church! Matter of fact that wasn’t all he needed, he should go to get some counseling as he clearly had issues big time and the only way she saw any help for him, was that he find God and a counselor.As time went on Rose loved being alone. She saw the benefits of it and went Jeff wanted to come see her one night, she told him “No”, because she wanted to be alone.



Jeff and his girlfriend broke up, he moved back with his parents, apparently in verbal spat the girlfriend told Jeff he was the problem… and that stuck him as he had hear this somewhere before! Life just wasn’t going very well for him. In a chat with his Rose, she had told him that he had a lot of issues he really needed to work on and furthermore, he should try going to church! So, one Sunday morning he went for his usual coffee and newspaper, took a drive past the church of his choice and went home, dressed up in his suit and off he went, to a church where he knew an old friend who he also knew was the pastor. That man answered a lot of his questions, (he had thought God was just about rules, and no fun.. He had been a man that loved fun!


It came time for their son to go to college, and he needed to be driven down to the airport. Her soon to be X asked if she wanted to ride together, and she had no problem with that. On the way home, Dad took mom to breakfast. They sat and began to talk. We aren’t talking surface talk here. they talked.


Jeff continued going to his church, and Rose to her’s. Their son didn’t want to see mom get hurt again, and was rather upset when he learned they were “seeing each other”. Mom knew this was her relationship to manage and she ignored but appreciated her son’s concerns. They started to date. Eventually they came to the Love and Respect class (again for her) together.

Rose was not taking any chances. This man had lots to prove of himself. She let him sleep over on on the weekends, but not in her bed oh no she didn’t! It was four years till she let him move back in! Count them people… FOUR LONG YEARS of watching his walk, from leaving till back to cleaving! She had a list she wrote up of things that had to change. No, Jeffrey did not know of the list, nor did he ever find out! (smart ‘card’ player Rose, never show all your cards, never.) That whole list to this day is Rose’s secret. I don’t even know what all is on that list! She will tell you, however, that she expected him to get tested for AIDS and STD’s. He humbly complied. No argument, no snottiness, no questions why…he knew why, and no demeaning attitude or words towards her for her answers.


Rose never lead him down the “correct” path, she didn’t “parent him”, she didn’t treat him bad or like a child. Albeit she did tell him You need God and counseling. She watched his walk, and saw for herself a new and different man emerging. She watched, listened and took his behavior in. and after several YEARS, people, (no lack of wisdom in the woman) And so, in 2012, they renewed their vows, bought new rings. It is a beautiful sight to see, God’s love in these wo delightful people. They are a new and very loving warm, couple.


I know that what Rose says is true because Rose came to our DivorceCare in  the Sept. of 2008. I saw her pain, I heard her anger, I/we have had the pleasure of watching her grow, hearing of Jeff’s presence back in her life and met him in class. At no point did I feel that he was unsafe nor that I needed to caution Rose. As previously stated, they renewed their vows and they are a delightful couple to listen to. Neither one controls the other, they are on a New Adventure in Life, seeking God’s purposes, relationship with Him, friendship in the family of God as well as a service to Him. One cannot deny the peace,  love, and contentment in them now that God through Jesus Is their Center.


We are proud to know them!


The Other Side of the Fence

As unique as a seashell
As deep as the sea
As eternal as the waves
Our love was meant to be.
When we became one
And said our vows on the sand
It was certain, we believed
That this was part of Godʼs plan
But I received a letter today
From my beautiful bride
Who promised at one time
To always stand by my side
I opened the letter quickly,
And when I peered inside,
I learned her unfailing love
Will now be cast aside.
It was then that I realized
This letter by my side
Was not one of love
But one full of pride
I then walked outside
And leaned down on the fence
Prayed to God above
Because it didnʼt make sense
I looked up and over
To the other side of the fence
The enemy was standing there
Laughing at my expense
He saw I was alone
And his face had one big sneer
He won the battle for this marriage
Because it didnʼt persevere.

I then dreamt back to the day
When we said our vows by the ocean
Our new covenant life together
Was excitedly set into motion!
It was a moment of joy
When we both stood on that beach
Happiness and joy
Was now within reach!
Hardships and difficulties
We could surely traverse
Because we decided long ago
It was for better or for worse.
So we commenced our marriage
Sweetheart to sweetheart
But then slowly but surely
Our love drifted apart
Now itʼs my turn to write a letter
Because I wish youʼd hang in there
For neither of us is perfect
I know we are both aware.
Itʼs so frustrating to me
And I just want to exclaim
That itʼs not just one or the other
Because weʼre both to blame!
If youʼve been married a while
You donʼt need any proof
To know itʼs just two sinners
Living under the same roof.
How hard marriage can be,
Thereʼs just no way to explain
But there can be so many blessings
When you both work through the pain
I canʼt help but wonder though,
The blessings that we missed
All because we gave up
And our love didnʼt persist.
So the enemy won this battle
You can hear his laughing now
He found someone was willing
To forsake their marriage vow.
He wants me to blame God
Because we failed this marriage test
But I refuse to be bitter towards her
And I really do wish her the best
But I canʼt help and wonder
Whoʼs turn will be next
Will there be another one in the future
Looking down and reading this text
So I wish her Godʼs blessing
And I mean no offense
But the grass of life isnʼt always greener
On the other side of the fence.
JL 2012