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The Affair You Don't Know You're Having

Too Close for Comfort continued...

Nurturing your relationship is the emergency care it needs to heal. But for long-term marital health, you also need to nurture yourself. Trying out a new hobby, getting involved in your community, or tapping into your spiritual side can help you recover from — and prevent you from having — an emotional affair. "When you have more interests in your life, you have less of a desire to find something exciting and taboo to intrigue you," says Stosny. "Plus, you'll lead a richer, fuller life with less emotionally needy gaps." After cooling things down with Lyle, Rebecca decided to refocus those energies on her guy and the other people close to her. "I can't expect that my husband is going to meet every emotional need in my life, so I'm reaching out to my girlfriends and spending more time with my family." She also recently signed up for a handwriting-analysis class, something she's always been interested in learning about, "just for fun and to get my mind on something else," she says.

For me, my emotional involvement with John ebbed and flowed for nearly two years. It reached a tipping point when I could no longer ignore the fact that my husband and I were fighting more often, no doubt in part because of my refusal to focus on my marriage and on how my own actions were adding to our growing friction. Like Toni, I eventually decided to share my struggle with my husband, who handled it with incredible grace. The conversation wasn't only about me turning to someone else; we also spoke, perhaps for the first time, about what we really expected and needed from each other. It's a discussion that continues to evolve between us. I still think about John sometimes — and how my relationship with him could have destroyed everything I hold dear. Each day, I make a conscious decision to nurture my bond with my husband first and foremost. And as our relationship grows stronger, I realize I'm getting as good as I give.

82% of affairs happen with someone who was at first "just a friend," according to noted infidelity researcher Shirley P. Glass.

Are you in an Emotional Affair?


YOU'VE PROBABLY CROSSED THE LINE IF YOU...

  • Touch your male friend in "legal" ways, like picking lint off his blazer.
  • Pay extra attention to how you look before you see him. -
  • Think crush-like thoughts like, He'd love this song!
  • Tell him more details about your day than you do your partner.
  • No longer feel comfortable telling your husband about this person and begin to cover up your relationship.
  • Experience increasing sexual tension; you admit your attraction to him but also insist to yourself that you would never act on it.

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