Skip to content

    Health & Sex

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    The Affair You Don't Know You're Having


    WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

    By Heather Johnson Durocher

    Redbook Magazine Logo

    An e-mail here, a smile there. Maybe that "innocent" friendship with your guy friend isn't so innocent after all....

    I'll call him John.

    The first time we met, he actually struck me as a bit arrogant. He irritated me enough that I mentioned him to my husband in a "Can you believe this guy?" kind of way. But I interacted with John only occasionally, always through work and mostly over e-mail, so it wasn't a huge deal. He's just one of those people who gets under my skin, I told myself.

    But a little over a year into our working relationship, something changed. One day, John let down his guard with me and I responded, I suppose in part because I couldn't help but be curious about his mostly hidden soft side. Our conversations turned to easy banter and later — I have a hard time admitting this even now — flirtation. Our e-mails, which could number several in one day, never included outright expressions of affection toward each other. Instead, our notes were mostly business peppered with friendly sparring. We shared a similar sense of humor. I felt that he got me.

    I told myself I wasn't doing anything wrong. I had to talk with this guy for work, after all. And couldn't I have a friend who happened to be male? I also told my husband about him, even sharing when we'd meet for coffee or lunch (always scheduled with the intention of discussing business). My husband, busy with a demanding job, trusted me completely.

    In the midst of working part-time and caring for a preschooler, a toddler, and, later, a new baby, e-mailing and talking with John felt like an innocent escape. I never would have said at the time that I was in a bad marriage — my husband and I got along well; we just didn't have a lot of quality alone time together — and I had no intention of crossing any physical line. But I increasingly found myself sharing more and more of my hopes and dreams with John instead of just with my husband. I anticipated my regular interactions with John in a way that was all too consuming. And it was John — not my husband — who was beginning to fill a key emotional need in my life. I was, in fact, unknowingly cheating on my husband; I was having an emotional affair.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

    Today on WebMD

    couple not communicating
    How to tell when you're in one.
    couple face to face
    Get your love life back on track.
     
    couple having an argument
    Turn spats into solutions
    couple in argument
    When to call it quits.
     
    Life Cycle of a Penis
    Article
    HIV Myth Facts
    Slideshow
     
    How Healthy is Your Sex Life
    Quiz
    Couple in bed
    Video
     
    6 Tips For Teens
    Article
    Close-up of young man
    Article
     
    screening tests for men
    Slideshow
    HPV Vaccine Future
    Article