The Affair — The Bump
May 2016 Moms

The Affair

So this show is one of my guilty pleasures. Anyone else? I don't know why haha. Tonight reminded me of a radio talk show I heard last week where the topic to call in was: Is an emotional affair worse than a physical affair? Obviously they are both terrible and for me inexcusable. The host said women voted emotional affairs were worse that physical affairs bc most women assume their spouses can't help themselves. WTF?! Umm for my household my DH had better help himself and I don't mean to other women. I agree emotional is worse but not bc physical is ok. I feel like emotional feelings go way deeper than physical. Also, it takes some time to get emotionally attached...There's a line I think everyone comes to when in a situation with the opposite gender (I hope I said that politically correct bc I first put sex) and you make the decision right then to cross it or don't. What do you ladies think?
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dshannah

Re: The Affair

  • I, too, am obsessed with this show! 

    As to affairs - I am not sure which I would consider worse ... I would feel betrayed by both, since it would be a betrayal either way. I guess emotional affairs are harder in a way because they're difficult to define (where is that line?) and they speak of some deeper connection that I automatically think is my property, you know?  
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    doozer1345
  • I think physical is worse! (Though I've never seen The Affair!)

    Because an emotional affair builds on the types of relationships you build every day — colleague relationships, friend relationships, and family relationships — and you can't really control how deep those get once they get going. If it gets to the point that you are ignoring your spouse's feelings, then we have problems.  But if it doesn't detract from the primary relationship, what harm is done by it?

    A physical relationship means initiating a whole new category of intimacy, one that should be categorically excluded if you and your partner have agreed to be monogamous.  And some part of your conscience should have stopped you before it got physical. We have more control over our conscious physical actions than we do our emotions.

    Also, no two people can be everything to one another (life partners, sex buddies, best friends, work peers, parents, children): humans need multiple relationships to have a rich life, and couples need separate lives so they can come back together and enrich the relationship.  If some of those emotional relationships are intense, affectionate, loving, and fruitful, there's nothing wrong with that.

    I particularly don't like the way that people talk about emotional relationships being affairs because they seem to only count as affairs when the object of one's emotional affection is a member of the gender to which the "cheating" party is attracted.  So, it's not an emotional affair when you put your mother's feelings above your spouse's, when you are obsessing over a tiff with your best girlfriend, when you (heterosexual here) are constantly on the phone with your work colleague who is the same gender as you, even though any of these scenarios can be just as damaging, for the very same reasons, to a relationship as a friendship with someone you could be construed to be attracted to. It's like a denial of the possibility of platonic friendships! 
  • @dshannah I don't look at emotional relationships and emotional affairs in the same way. Years ago DH had an emotional affair with his ex. They were never physical (we have several states between us) but I found all the texts between them (as well as pictures) and saw how much they were talking on the phone bill (he had told me he hated her and hadn't had anything to do with her since they broke up years before I even came along...that was a lie). He was saying things like, "I love you, I always have, I always will." She text a picture of herself in lingerie bending over and he text back that she had a sweet ass (yes my morning sickness seems to be coming back as I type this). At the time and as I look back I still think that hurt worse than if I found out they had met up and had sex. Now, if I found out that both happened I wouldn't have DD or be pg right now. Somehow I was able to get through that part of our lives. Emotional relationships are different to me in the fact that I had 2 very close guy friends when I started dating DH and NOTHING would have EVER happened between us in a sexual way. I had an emotional relationship with my 2 friends but not an emotional affair by any means while dating DH. I always go by the rule of would I be ok if DH was behaving this way or saying this? I think  that's what differentiates an emotional affair vs relationship. Being aware of your behavior and making sure it's appropriate and respectful.
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  • @doozer1345

    I'm sorry that happened, and I'm sorry your husband lied, and I hope you guys are all solid now!

    But I think my take is a bit different: I count sexting as sex. It's like mutual masturbation just remotely, right? So in my book, your husband didn't have an emotional affair, it was a physical one (sorry).  They still took their emotions to a level that included physical things.

    I think you're right about emotional affairs being marked different from emotional relationships by their impropriety. But most of what we'd call impropriety would count, to me, as a physical affair. To be improper, an emotional affair would have to result in the exclusion or marginalization of the primary partner. Also bad, but something that human fall into without thinking and can easily stop doing once they notice. Anything physical (even sending a sext or a response to a sext) is a conscious action or a result of conscious actions, imho.

  • @dshannah I agree. I mean really when all is said and done it's all just bad and hurtful. I think for men they tend to have less feelings with their physical (sexual) need than their emotional needs.
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  • @doozer1345 I could've written that entire post! I am so sorry you were put through that and so glad that you guys were able to work through it. I found out 3 months before our wedding that MH was having a sexting relationship with his ex on and off during our entire relationship. It destroyed me. I honestly would've rather he had a one-night stand with some random chick. Then at least I would know it was just one stupid decision than multiple texts/emails/pics. To say it broke the trust is a huge understatement. And what I think made it worse was he would text her when he was feeling down (like when he got laid off or after we had a fight about some stupid wedding planning stuff like the guest list or his crazy mother). To think that getting pictures from his ex would somehow make him feel better about something that was stressing him out in our life together was just devastating. We went through extensive couples/pastoral counseling and even still I feel a slight twinge whenever his phone goes off. If I am being honest, we probably should've postponed the wedding, but if we had, I doubt we would've gone through with it. But, we pushed through and he did a LOT of work to try to build back up the trust. I consider it like a bank account. Instead of taking one huge withdrawal (like the one-night stand scenario), he took multiple medium-sized withdrawals (the texts/sexts) until he was waaaay in the red. Now, he needs to make some major deposits and even after almost 3 years, we are not back to what we were before. He is out of the red, but he still has a lifetime of payments to make up. I have asked God for the grace to forgive him and I am getting there, but I am just a human so I know there will always be a small part of me that harbors some anger and hurt. I honestly don't think I would still have this open wound if it was just physical.

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  • @laurenmdrn16 DH also did this throughout our whole relationship. To all of my friends and me he was the one that would never cheat. My best friend literally fell out of her chair when I told her. We went through counseling and it helped some but after the initial "I caught you" talk DH has developed a denial that the interaction they had was innocent. I went through years of IF and I had actually called her (at 4AM...didn't care lol) and she said he had talked to her about me and she knew all about my IF problems. SHOT IN THE STOMACH. Had I been home when I had THAT conversation I would have killed DH. I prayed a lot and went week to week wanting him to leave then not. I asked for some sign I was supposed to stay with him and after 6 years of IF I found out I was pg with DD. I know DH doesn't have contact with her anymore and he's adopted a no irritation policy for himself when I get a little too inquisitive about people. I still get flashes of the texts and pictures I saw and it hurts like I just saw them and it chips away at the trust I've rebuilt. DH begged me on his knees and cried for me to stay. I told him to go take a week and be with her (this was when it first happened) and if he decides that's where he would be happiest then stay and don't come back. He refused to even try it out. He said he didn't need that to know where he wants to be. It's no longer a day to day struggle but can still be a month to month struggle.
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    Been married since 2009.
    Unicornuate Uterus (yes I menstruate glitter)
    Several MCs
    DD born 2013 (our miracle "you can't have babies" baby!)



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