A Word About Emotional Affairs

June 2015
I have another friend who is going through a divorce. I will call her Bobbi Sue and her ex-husband Jerk Face. I reached out to her tonight to tell her how sorry I was about everything going on and that I could only imagine how difficult it must be with everything that’s happened in the last year. They pretty much remodeled their house in order to sell it, packed up everything, and moved across the country, much like me. She said about 2 months later he informed her he didn’t think he could remain married to her, and she later found out he has been having an emotional affair with another woman.

I think I’m beginning to hate that term. Why not just call it an affair? Why differentiate? An emotional affair is every bit as damaging as a physical affair, sometimes more so, and honestly, it’s just an affair that hasn’t gotten physical yet. I look at what happened to me and Zack, and now Bobbi Sue and Jerk Face. 2 emotional affairs and 1 divorce. I suppose it could have been 2 if I hadn’t been so damn stubborn and if Zack hadn’t come to his senses. I’m not trying to fool myself into thinking that I alone held things together. I think people add the qualifier because somehow not having sex with another person makes what you’re doing ok, at least in the guilty party’s eyes. Bobbi Sue said she called the OW and she insisted everything was platonic but does it matter? Jerk Face is still giving up his wife and 4 kids to follow his fantasy. He calls her every day, texts her, goes to dinner with her, works with her. But it’s ok because they’re not having sex. BAER

I also shared with Bobbi Sue the fact that Zack and I had gone through a rough patch and I thought we were headed for divorce and talked about his anxiety now and how he checked himself into a psychiatric facility. She said she never realized all that was going on and commented about how you just don’t know what all is going on by reading FB statuses.

There is also huge attention being paid to this young girl, a student athlete, who committed suicide last year. Everyone talks about how her social media made it look like she had a wonderful life and people were so shocked when she killed herself. I mean, it went a little deeper than that, but they did go on to talk about how she herself would see postings and think, “That’s how life is supposed to be but it’s not for me.”

I just always want to shout: Of course you don’t see everything! As one meme famously put it: When you compare yourself to someone else’s life on FB you are comparing their highlight reel to your behind the scenes. That’s so true. And part of why I about blew a gasket when a FB friend made that asinine comment about first world problems. Maybe younger kids haven’t learned how to filter yet (and to be honest some adults haven’t either) but as an adult I don’t air my dirty laundry on FB. Maybe that would make it a little more interesting. Instead of cute updates on what the kids did, or what fabulous vacation someone is taking they could post something like: I think my husband is having an affair. Or: My SIL hates me and I don’t know why. Possibly: I don’t know if being a mother is something I want to do anymore. My kids are driving me crazy and I just don’t think I can take another minute. Let’s try: I just found out my boyfriend likes to wear women’s clothing or I got so drunk last night I blacked out and have no idea what I did. No one is posting about their kids’ failures or faults in relationships. Kids aren’t posting about how they feel like they don’t fit in or they’re scared of the future or they have an overwhelming sense of anxiety and way too much pressure to succeed, or even that life sucks right now and it feels like everyone else is living the life you want to live. You generally stick to happy stuff. Sometimes there may be health scares or someone has died but you just don’t find people talking about their daughter’s DUI hearing or how their son lost custody of his kids because of his drug use or my teenage daughter is pregnant or my teenage son got his girlfriend pregnant or my kid got suspended from school, my mom and I haven’t talked for 6 months, and my sister hates my guts because her husband got drunk and hit on me at Christmas. It’s just not done and those who do that are generally looked at as though they’re crazy, or at the very least, immature.

So, no, you really don’t know what all is going on in a person’s life just by reading their FB page. Most people post the good and discuss the bad with close friends or relatives. They don’t post the really ugly stuff on social media.

One thought on “A Word About Emotional Affairs

  1. I agree that an emotional affair IS an affair and I hope your friend is starting to find true happiness now, as you are 🙂


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