Reply
Thread Tools
Emotional affairs emotions, infidelity
Old 03-05-2011, 07:38 AM   #1
rika
Member [22%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 902
 
Recently there have been several threads on
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
on this forum.

People are asking for advice as to what to do after finding out that the person they are attracted to is actually in an ongoing relationship.

There are in general three types of responses here when asked to provide advice for people caught up in love triangles:

1) People who have been left behind in such situations recommend not to trust anyone who has been or is unfaithful since there is a chance that the person will behave like this again.

2) Some posters admit to being unfaithful in a love triangle situation when younger. But then they assert that they have learned from this experience. This suggests forgiveness can be possible.

3) Some people have left a partner for a still ongoing long term relationship. They claim that they have been able to form a better relationship and maybe apologise to the person left behind. This is used to justify the initial emotional unfaithfulness.

First is there a way of defining when one has crossed the fine line between friendship and emotional affair?

Can there be a generalised answer as to how to deal with emotional cheating?
rika is offline
Reply With Quote

Old 03-05-2011, 09:06 AM   #2
Fishism
Member [42%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,699
 
hmmm.....

With the complications created by modern day excessive communication (Facebook, MSN, texting, e-mail) I think it's safe to assume that there will be lines crossed in terms of the exchange of "words".

I believe it has to be simply a "do unto others as you'd have done unto you" situation. We all have personal ideas as to what is "appropriate" in terms of how our significant others are communicating with people outside of the relationship. If you feel that what a significant other is doing is wrong, then regardless if it would meet some socially accepted standard of wrong or not, it's going to eat at you, create resentment and must be addressed.
Fishism is online
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 09:59 AM   #3
karenann33
Member [31%]
 
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,279
 
For me it's easy I am not friends with other men nor is dh friends with other women. Acquaintances yes friends no. If we were to be friendly with people of the opposite sex I think the line would be crossed when we began to share deep personal things more with them than with each other.

This is something dh and I agreed to a long time ago.
karenann33 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 11:14 AM   #4
AnaK
Core Member [142%]
MBTI: inFp
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,716
 
This guy and I at work were talking about this. He's married. He said if you can't be friends with someone of the opposite sex without it affecting your marriage, your marriage has major problems. The "emotional affair" means nothing except it tells you that your marriage has problems.
AnaK is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 11:39 AM   #5
zibber
Core Member [508%]
2nrcssst
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 20,355
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Can there be a generalised answer as to how to deal with emotional cheating?

Trying to be less emotionally possessive.

zibber is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
Bluesummers
New Member [01%]
 
MBTI: INfJ
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 27
 
My two cents:

It's going to be difficult trying to find a general answer on dealing with emotional cheating because you'd have to know a lot of information about the couple in question to make a good judgement call.

For example, one of my best friends is a female, and in every relationship she's been in, I've been met with some form of jealousy. We have friend dates all the time, because thats how our friendship has operated for the past 10+ years. (It's been strictly platonic) She tells me things that she keeps from many people, including her boyfriend; does this mean she's been having an emotional affair?
From her boyfriend and their friends point of view, it would seem so. From my point of view, I've done nothing wrong, and it's something they'll have to work out as a couple.

  Originally Posted by zibber
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Trying to be less emotionally possessive.

This is great advice. You can't help what other people are attracted to, and people will seek out similar connections. You're in a relationship because you trust your mate not to hurt you and sometimes, you have no choice but to rely on that trust.

tldr: The only general answer I can give is that the world's a big place; some people will cheat and some won't, some learn from their lessons and some don't. All you can do is understand not everything will work out, try and deal with issues the best you can, and move on if necessary.

Bluesummers is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 01:30 PM   #7
cannotseethe
Core Member [309%]
Miss Stomp-On-Men, a.k.a. Dr. Marxist-post-modernist-feminist-heterodox-economics-prayer-circle-vodoo-priestess
MBTI: eXXX
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 12,385
 
A relationship that requires cutting oneself off from a space of potential friends based on gender strikes me as unhealthy. A relationship is not a cult. Doing so seems to be a fear-driven reaction to past trauma or inexperience. If my SO has friends of the opposite sex, their friendship might deepen to the point that it threatens ours! Can't have that!

This fear is unreasonable because no measure is draconian enough to prevent this possibility. It's a fact of life. In my opinion, part of approaching relationships in a mature manner is accepting this possibility. Doing otherwise is as unreasonably constraining as never leaving the house for fear of being hit by a car.


  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
is there a way of defining when one has crossed the fine line between friendship and emotional affair?

The third party is nearly irrelevant, in my opinion. Either your relationship is satisfying to you--in which case what your SO does with their friends is beside the point--or it's not. If it's not, who cares why; do something to rejuvenate it, or end it.

cannotseethe is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:07 PM   #8
rika
Member [22%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 902
 

  Originally Posted by cannotseethe
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
The third party is nearly irrelevant, in my opinion.

Curiously, they are the ones asking though as to what to do on this forum.
The responses they are getting seem to be quite variable and this made me wonder about the whole issue.

rika is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:10 PM   #9
AnaK
Core Member [142%]
MBTI: inFp
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,716
 
I think when you are the third party, your role may be as a catalyst for change in their relationship. I think there may be a danger if you think you are more than that.

??? That's a guess. It will be interesting to see other's opinions.
AnaK is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:15 PM   #10
cannotseethe
Core Member [309%]
Miss Stomp-On-Men, a.k.a. Dr. Marxist-post-modernist-feminist-heterodox-economics-prayer-circle-vodoo-priestess
MBTI: eXXX
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 12,385
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Curiously, they are the ones asking though as to what to do on this forum.
The responses they are getting seem to be quite variable and this made me wonder about the whole issue.

I think the third party can be a trigger, or a signal; that is, their presence illuminates issues in the relationship that might not have been otherwise apparent. So they are relevant in that sense. It's more that I don't think the third party is causal, most of the time anyway. It's not that perfectly happy and healthy relationships are routinely destroyed because SO meets a third party. I suppose it happens, but I'd guess the overwhelming majority of the time the relationship is already in trouble.

cannotseethe is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:23 PM   #11
rika
Member [22%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 902
 

  Originally Posted by cannotseethe
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
I suppose it happens, but I'd guess the overwhelming majority of the time the relationship is already in trouble.

So, let's say the relationship ended.
Under which circumstances can the third party now trust the previously conflicted person sufficiently to enter a relationship with him/her?
Can this be answered in a general way?

rika is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:28 PM   #12
karenann33
Member [31%]
 
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,279
 

  Originally Posted by Bluesummers
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
For example, one of my best friends is a female, and in every relationship she's been in, I've been met with some form of jealousy. We have friend dates all the time, because thats how our friendship has operated for the past 10+ years. (It's been strictly platonic) She tells me things that she keeps from many people, including her boyfriend; does this mean she's been having an emotional affair?

From her boyfriend and their friends point of view, it would seem so. From my point of view, I've done nothing wrong, and it's something they'll have to work out as a couple.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm too insecure to handle a situation like this. If I met a man that had a 10 year close friendship with a female I'd have to pass (dealbreaker) because I'd be jealous. So I agree you've done nothing wrong it's the other person's problem.

karenann33 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:31 PM   #13
AnaK
Core Member [142%]
MBTI: inFp
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,716
 
I had a friend who married a guy she had an affair with. He left her for another woman. She told me "If they'll do it for you, they'll do it to you." But, I wouldn't really be afraid of that myself. I think I'm a decent judge of character and I could tell if someone was a serial adulterer. Every relationship is different. If you are afraid that people constantly repeat their mistakes you would never marry a divorced person. And like cnst said, there are no guarantees with anything. You could do everything right and still get your heart broken.

Still, the person who was in the relationship needs to know if he was just emotionally involved with someone because of a void in his relationship, or if there was more to it than that. That might take time to figure out.
AnaK is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:48 PM   #14
rika
Member [22%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 902
 

  Originally Posted by karenann33
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm too insecure to handle a situation like this.

In principle I agree with cst.
But what about fearful and insecure people. They can't have relationships then?
Telling them to just get over it probably won't be helpful.
It surely must also valid to agree on limits for whatever reason. This does not make a relationship necessarily poor. Or does it?

rika is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:57 PM   #15
Ilara
Veteran Member [95%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 3,836
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
But what about fearful and insecure people. They can't have relationships then?

I think that the main point on this is that it's unfair when those fearful and insecure people impose ridiculous restrictions on potential partners because of that fear and insecurity. It's not that they "can't have relationships", but that perhaps some mental readjustment is in order.

In response to the OP: an emotional affair is a symptom of something wrong in the relationship and is essentially a side issue. The material point is always going to be that something's fucked up in the central relationship and not that emotional cheating is something that just happens. I certainly wouldn't be pleased if my partner were undertaking an emotional, romantic relationship with another woman in lieu of me--but my concern would be for our own relationship rather than for the other one, really. He has friends, male and female; that he talks to them about things that he doesn't bring up with me is a given, and I'm fine with that. It's only a problem if he's substituting somebody else in for me, rather than simply having a friendship with an interesting person.

Ilara is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 02:58 PM   #16
Insomey
Member [05%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 200
 
I think in a larger scope, it all depends on the core reason for cheating---regardless of emotional or physical.

To me, there's no black and white in "cheating". Most of the time it's not exactly "the act of cheating", but rather, a mental/emotional state. Cheating is simply a breaking point or externalization of how one's desire(s) in a relationship is not fulfilled and commitment/respect is already out of the question. With that said, I am not talking about people with emotional and sexual addiction....but even if they cheat out of being an emotion or sexual addict, it's a reflection of their state of mind.

Now this state of mind COULD be temporary or permanent. So it takes some discernment for the 3rd party (or the one being cheated on), to determine why the cheater wanted to attach to a new relationship so to speak. Sometimes people change and they don't realize it. The existing relationship could be severed due to not acknowledging the difference from the get go. So it boils down to this:

- If the couples were not compatible in the first place and they find themselves living completely different planets, there MIGHT be a chance where 3rd party and cheater COULD enter a functional relationship.

- If the 3rd party could offer the cheater everything the cheater was dreaming of in a relationship, then it would work as well

- If the cheater doesn't know what they want and always wanted something "different" and "fresh", there's probably a slim chance of the 'new relationship" working

- If the spouse in the old relationship was abusive (physically and emotionally), then
I COULD see why emotional cheating would seem like a sanctuary for the cheater go to. In that case, again... it depends on if the cheater is clear about what she/he wants.

Oh right one more thing, if the person is looking for external locus of validation (including security), then frankly, no relationship would ever satisfy them. They will continually be leeches and can never offer the "balance" that's needed in most functional relationships... unless they are in the D/s kind relationships.
Insomey is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:00 PM   #17
rika
Member [22%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 902
 

  Originally Posted by Ilara
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
I think that the main point on this is that it's unfair when those fearful and insecure people impose ridiculous restrictions on potential partners because of that fear and insecurity. It's not that they "can't have relationships", but that perhaps some mental readjustment is in order.

How do you decide on what's ridiculous?

rika is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:01 PM   #18
cannotseethe
Core Member [309%]
Miss Stomp-On-Men, a.k.a. Dr. Marxist-post-modernist-feminist-heterodox-economics-prayer-circle-vodoo-priestess
MBTI: eXXX
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 12,385
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Can this be answered in a general way?

No, I don't think so. People are bizarre.

Personally, I view the prospect of starting a relationship with someone who just ended one with extreme skepticism. I may be of interest to them because I am things their ex- was not, not because they appreciate me for who I am. What I've read about affairs, even that wikipedia article on emotional affairs, suggests this is frequently the case. I'm fine being friends, with limited emotional investment, on that basis, but not in a deeper relationship.

I also believe that people benefit greatly from remaining single for awhile after a breakup, as that time allows for a processing of what went wrong that they might not be able to do effectively in the context of a new relationship.

On the other hand, every circumstance is different, and some people process better with people than in solitutde. So who can really say in general? My ideal desiderata have to do with how well I'm interacting with the person, whether it seems like we're building up something new together vs. playing out something old, whether that process seems likely to continue vs. burn out. I can't know those things from a single event like an emotional affair. I tend to interact with people and see where it goes, keeping an eye out for behaviors, rather than histories, that strike me as problematic.

cannotseethe is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:03 PM   #19
Ilara
Veteran Member [95%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 3,836
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
How do you decide on what's ridiculous?

Harder to say, but I tend to think that anything that restricts a person's basic freedoms is ridiculous. Trying to bar a person from social interaction with a member of the sexually attractive sex fits under that category.

Ilara is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:03 PM   #20
plotthickens
Core Member [862%]
Don't stick beans up your nose.
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 34,491
 
Wow.

Seriously, you guys?

A close friend/sexy friend is worth a wall of text?

Dude.

Ditto Zibber's, with much head-nodding.
plotthickens is online
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:08 PM   #21
Bluesummers
New Member [01%]
 
MBTI: INfJ
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 27
 

  Originally Posted by karenann33
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm too insecure to handle a situation like this. If I met a man that had a 10 year close friendship with a female I'd have to pass (dealbreaker) because I'd be jealous. So I agree you've done nothing wrong it's the other person's problem.

Well, it should really depend on the person. I try to make it quite clear when I'm romantically interested in someone, and how I exhibit this is completely different from how I treat friends. It comes down to a situation by situation basis.

Obviously you can walk away from situations you're not comfortable with, but it shouldn't preclude you getting to know someone. (I used to be guilty of this all the time; I would sabotage myself constantly based on nothing. Actually, I still do this from time to time.)

Insecurity, fear, and jealousy are natural, imo. I get flashes of insecurity at times, like you wouldn't believe. But I try to take a step back and mull over why and if it's warranted. It's how you deal with these emotions that dictates how your relationship operates. I'm a personal fan of talking through problems like these, but everyone has different coping mechanisms.

Bluesummers is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:21 PM   #22
cannotseethe
Core Member [309%]
Miss Stomp-On-Men, a.k.a. Dr. Marxist-post-modernist-feminist-heterodox-economics-prayer-circle-vodoo-priestess
MBTI: eXXX
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 12,385
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
It surely must also valid to agree on limits for whatever reason. This does not make a relationship necessarily poor. Or does it?

I think we all have insecurities we at times suffer poorly. In some idealized sense it'd be great if we could get over them; realistically, though, doing so is a process that can take a considerable amount of time. It's difficult to imagine what an insecurity-free person would look like.

So I think there's a balance to be struck. Clearly it's unhelpful for one partner to trample all over the other's insecurities and expect them to keep their mouth shut. They may have every intention to, yet find the repeated re-opening of wounds or twisting of thorns to be too much to bear. On the other hand, it's unreasonable for one partner to expect the other to make every effort to coddle their insecurities. Where that balance falls depends on the couple.

Speaking for myself, I would find a requirement that I stop having opposite-sex friends to be unacceptable. I'd also find limits on what I'm able to discuss with my opposite-sex friends or how much time I spend with them unacceptable. It takes me an inordinate amount of time to meet and establish friendships with people; I'm not going to give up the ones I have nor short-circuit potential new ones because my SO is uncomfortable with the gender.


  Originally Posted by plotthickens
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Ditto Zibber's, with much head-nodding.

So, anything--anything at all--goes in your relationships?

cannotseethe is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:46 PM   #23
AnaK
Core Member [142%]
MBTI: inFp
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,716
 
Everyone will have different boundaries. I know for the married guy I talked about who I worked with, this is what happened.

We had lunch together maybe once a week
Went to get coffee together often.
Talked mostly about our job, boss, career, but also our families, etc.
Didn't really get together after work except once in a group.
Rarely talked on the phone after work or on weekends.
He rarely complained to me about his wife.

I think that is clearly a coworker relationship and should not be considered a threat.

However, there was another married guy who invited me for beers after work, and other things with him on the weekend, and I thought he was coming onto me. (I never went, btw.)
AnaK is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 03:48 PM   #24
rika
Member [22%]
MBTI: INTJ
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 902
 

  Originally Posted by cannotseethe
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
So, anything--anything at all--goes in your relationships?

Indeed. Let's ask this the other way round. What distinguishes a monogamous relationship from a friendship? Physical and sexual intimacy. Or is there more? And if so, what is it?

rika is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 04:51 PM   #25
larkin
Core Member [174%]
MBTI: ENxP
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 6,961
 

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
So, let's say the relationship ended.
Under which circumstances can the third party now trust the previously conflicted person sufficiently to enter a relationship with him/her?
Can this be answered in a general way?

Every response of mine would probably echo a lot of what's been said, by CST especially, but I did want to add the point about the importance of communication, however cliched. Good communication is the key factor in trust.

Relationships end not because of third parties, but because the relationship has become unsatisfying and they don't see a way to "fix" it. (I put fix in quotes because it's really a stand in for "resolve," but you get what I'm saying.) Sometimes there are outside factors involved - distance, different priorities, for example - but I'm guessing the overwhelming reason they don't see a way to fix it is because they don't see a way to communicate about it. Either they've tried to communicate about it and it's failed to resolve, or they haven't tried to communicate about it at all. It's the latter scenario where I bet most emotional cheating arises. The person in the relationship who's "cheating" may not have even realized they had unmet needs or issues, and when they did they found it easier to look elsewhere than deal with it directly.

So for that relationship (or any, really) to work, without being worried the same thing might happen again, I would have to feel like we both were willing to raise issues in a way that was honest, direct and considerate. Then, hopefully, we can deal with issues that need to be addressed together, instead of looking elsewhere.

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
In principle I agree with cst.
But what about fearful and insecure people. They can't have relationships then?
Telling them to just get over it probably won't be helpful.
It surely must also valid to agree on limits for whatever reason. This does not make a relationship necessarily poor. Or does it?

Limits are helpful, I think, as long as they're shared boundaries and not dictates. I would volunteer them myself to my SO - look, I'm not going to communicate with my exes without telling you. If I know you feel uncomfortable, even if we both acknowledge it's not reasonable (especially if you acknowledge it's unreasonable, and don't tell me what I should or shouldn't do about it!), I'm going to at least be respectful of that. I would do those things because I care about my SO. I'd be less likely to do them if they were demanded of me.

---------- Post added 03-05-2011 at 04:53 PM ----------

  Originally Posted by rika
To view links or images in this forum your post count must be 2 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Indeed. Let's ask this the other way round. What distinguishes a monogamous relationship from a friendship? Physical and sexual intimacy. Or is there more? And if so, what is it?

To say nothing of the agreement to be monogamous!

What distinguishes a friendship from something more? Interest.

larkin is offline
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
emotions, infidelity

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Myers-Briggs, and MBTI are trademarks or registered trademarks of the
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.