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Emotional Affair

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Emotional Affair

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Dear Miss A,

I recently discovered that my boyfriend has been engaged in an emotional affair for nearly the entire duration of our relationship. We have been together for about ten months. We are in our mid/late 20s.

The affair developed over the internet with a woman who has known casually, but never sees. He spends his time online telling her intimate details of his life and mine and about his relationship with me. He has voiced complaints to her that he never confronted me about, and aspects of my life that I have not shared with others.

Further, he has attempted to talk with this woman about topics that are sexual in nature and completely, utterly inappropriate.

From what I gather, the conversations took place fairly regularly.

I have felt more betrayed and hurt from this situation than I have ever felt before, and even moreso than if it had been a one-time physical type of cheating. I confronted my boyfriend about this. He has been deeply apologetic; he admitted and accepted his wrongdoing, he immediately cut off contact with the woman, and he has assured me that he will take whatever steps necessary to fix our relationship.

We have been together for less than a year, but we have talked about serious issues such as marriage together on a regular basis. I wonder whether such a premature relationship is worth salvaging and whether emotional affairs are commonplace. I would also like to know if this is something you or a friend have experienced and what steps were taking.

Thank you so much for your help,

Traumatized 

Dear Traumatized,

Some people don’t understand emotional affairs, and many of the cheaters don’t have guilt, as they feel they are simply conducting a platonic relationship.  An emotional affair is different than a platonic friendship in that the relationship is kept a secret. A platonic friendship crosses the line and becomes an emotional affair when intimate thoughts, feeling, and details of their romantic relationship are devulged. In an emotional affair, the cheater gets emotional support, and invests more time and energy into this relationship than his romantic relationship. Half of all emotional affairs escalate into sexual affairs, as the closeness often creates sexual attraction. Even though there is no sex involved, this type of affair can be particularly damaging to a relationship.

I know that you’ve discussed marriage, but I don’t think that this relationship is “worth salvaging”. You will never be able to go back to the unspoiled relationship you thought you had. Truth is the relationship you thought you had was all a lie. I know that’s hard to comprehend and you will still have great memories of what you thought you shared with this man. I was in a similar situation once, and had to force myself to accept that my fond memories were all an illusion. Love isn’t the giddy excitement we feel at the beginning of  a relationship — love is a verb. It’s action, and I feel this man’s actions are what you need to focus on — not the fun talk of a wedding and marriage. You may still be in love with the man you thought he was — but he’s not that man. He is the man who doesn’t have the courage or maturity to discuss your relationship problems with you, and instead found someone online to whom he beared his soul. What’s worse is that he not only beared his own intimate feelings, he devulged of YOUR life with someone who is a complete stranger to you!

I know you spent ten months with him, but that is NOTHING in terms of a marriage. Life is too short to settle for this nonsense, Honey! The amount of time invested in him isn’t as important as the quality of his investment in your relationship. Dump this fool!

I wish you the best, and hope you find a real man who can truly be in a relationship with you.

– Miss A

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In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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