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Does anyone know what an emotional affair is?

(92 Posts)
Delia22 Mon 19-Feb-24 12:42:13

I'm hoping someone on gn,s can enlighten me on the meaning of "emotional affairs"!Surely an affair is just" an affair ".The reason for this question is this. My younger sisters husband( my brother in law) obviously,went to a school reunion recently.There he met an old girl girlfriend.Apparently they went out together for approximately a year. Anyway to get to the point they decided to stay in touch, by texting eachother occasionally.They do live about 50 miles apart. My sister is not comfortable with this at all.She has said as much to her H.However he maintains it is completely innocent and they are not doing anything wrong just keeping in touch with news of eachothers lives etc.The" old "girlfriend has a partner and grown up children.My sister is of the opinion that they are having an emotional affair as some of the messages are borderline intimate.For example,complimenting eachother on how good the other looked at the reunion. Also how well they had done in life! She is quite upset at these,also the messages are frequent( at least once a day)as far as she knows. Is this an emotional affair and do they ever become physical affairs? Any advice would be welcome. Thankyou!

Theexwife Mon 19-Feb-24 12:51:20

There doesnt seem to be any secrecy about it as your sister sees the emails, how would she feel if it was a male he was emailing?

It doesnt really matter what label you want to put on it, I would think that all friendships without a physical connection are emotional relationships.

Katie59 Mon 19-Feb-24 13:02:14

Staying in contact with old girl/boyfriends is a bad idea because however open you are it makes your partner insecure.
Then the issue of “trust” gets involved and it can spiral down very quickly

Lovetopaint037 Mon 19-Feb-24 13:09:17

Well I wouldn’t like it. Especially if the communications are frequent. I mean keeping in touch might mean the odd bit of news about her family etc.

keepingquiet Mon 19-Feb-24 13:13:38

It is possible for some people to have 'friends' of a different sex outside marriage especially with the technology available now.

Three things can happen here:

This 'friendship will fritter out after a while once the initial high has worn off

The texting on a low level will continue with no detriment to either party.

This will turn into a full blown affair instigated by either of the 'friends' for whatever reason but probably because either relationship is under some strain.

If this were my sister I would stay out of it. She needs to be honest with her husband about how she feels and he will either respect this or carry on what he's doing.

Getting involved in other family members relationships is never a good idea, and worrying though it may be for you, I would step away and let them sort it out.

Galaxy Mon 19-Feb-24 13:16:43

A emotional affair is having feelings for the person beyond friendship, lots of texting/contact (more than you describe), discussions about problems in the persons marriage, flirting, possible discussions about how they feel about each other 'if circumstances were different', and so on.

M0nica Mon 19-Feb-24 13:36:18

An emotional affair is one where the couple become emotionally close and dependent on each other, even though thy do not meet up, or very infrequently.

Either way it is a sign that there are problems in the primary relationship and these need to bethroughly talked through, possibly by counselling.

Ilovecheese Mon 19-Feb-24 13:37:18

An emotional affair is for people who lack the nerve to commit adultery

Katie59 Mon 19-Feb-24 13:42:00

Ilovecheese

An emotional affair is for people who lack the nerve to commit adultery

Or havn’t yet been caught.

Doodledog Mon 19-Feb-24 13:43:36

I would say that things are in dangerous territory if messages, phone calls, meetings or whatever are secretive, eg a text that someone wouldn't show their partner, or a meeting the partner doesn't know about.

Otherwise, it's just a friendship. I have male friends who aren't my husband's friends. He knows about them, and has met some of them, but we don't live in one another's pockets, so if I meet one for lunch or chat to them online he's fine with it. Half the world is the opposite sex, and it would be stifling if we had to rule out being friends based simply on that.

paddyann54 Mon 19-Feb-24 13:59:59

I'm still friends with old boyfriends ,always have been .Before Covid I would have an odd lunch with one or two of them.My OH was never worried that I would have an affair.We were friends...thats all...had things in common and got on well together and like to keep in touch.I dont think its strange or tempting fate or whatever I didn't marry any of them so obviously they were never more than friends .I dont understand why some women make a big deal when their OH has friends of the opposite sex

SporeRB Mon 19-Feb-24 14:35:23

If she is my sister and I can clearly see than she is upset, I will encourage her to try to get hold the contact details of the old flame’s husband and contact him and blow their cover.

People do this sort of thing because of their ego. Your sister’s husband loves that a member of the opposite sex is stroking his ego, in this instance, on a daily basis, even though his behaviour is upsetting your sister and making her insecure.

Really selfish of him.

Madgran77 Mon 19-Feb-24 14:39:44

To be honest it doesnt matter what it is. What matters is that your sister is not comfortable with it and her husband is just trampling overland dismissing her feelings. That is not part of a loving relationship!

Madgran77 Mon 19-Feb-24 14:40:00

...over and .....

Oreo Mon 19-Feb-24 14:49:36

keepingquiet

It is possible for some people to have 'friends' of a different sex outside marriage especially with the technology available now.

Three things can happen here:

This 'friendship will fritter out after a while once the initial high has worn off

The texting on a low level will continue with no detriment to either party.

This will turn into a full blown affair instigated by either of the 'friends' for whatever reason but probably because either relationship is under some strain.

If this were my sister I would stay out of it. She needs to be honest with her husband about how she feels and he will either respect this or carry on what he's doing.

Getting involved in other family members relationships is never a good idea, and worrying though it may be for you, I would step away and let them sort it out.

Just what I think too.

Redhead56 Mon 19-Feb-24 15:49:34

My partner some years ago started receiving messages via a Friends meet up website. Knowing full well he was in a relationship as she had been told by another friend. I can only say that we discussed it 😡 and my partner at the time chose to ignore the messages.
This issue is about your sister listen to her concerns but let her deal with it. It’s best to not get involved as it needs to be addressed by your sister and brother in law.

MayBee70 Mon 19-Feb-24 15:51:27

I always had male friends because they used to take me to sporting events that my husband wasn’t interested in. They were all pure friendship. Then my husband started seeing someone he was engaged to at uni. I trusted him but then my daughter saw an email she’d sent to him saying he couldn’t visit again in case he tried it on again. I’m afraid it was the start of his male menopause stuff that resulted in him having a full blown affair.

MissAdventure Mon 19-Feb-24 15:59:25

The rule of thumb is, apparently, that people who text exclusively with a work colleague or whoever it is, should be comfortable with their partner seeing all the texts, if it came to it.
I just think some people are fishing... fishing, and testing the water before taking the plunge.

I wouldn't like it at all of it was my partner.

BlueBelle Mon 19-Feb-24 16:06:16

There is nothing wrong with a male/ female friendship but to be texting each other everyday is way out of the comfort zone of an old school friend !!! I don’t even text or ring my best friend every day
No I wouldn’t like it and can see trouble on the horizon

silverlining48 Mon 19-Feb-24 16:07:09

The much younger partner of a friend in a term relationship developed a crush on a female work colleague , his boss, and became very off hand and dismissive of my friend.
As far as she knew there was no physical relationship, it was a one sided emotional affair but they very nearly broke up because of his behaviour towards her. They are still together but my friend no longer feels the same as she did. The betrayal destroyed her trust.
There is every chance an emotional affair can progress to a physical one. Your sister is upset by this and her husband carries on regardless.

silverlining48 Mon 19-Feb-24 16:09:58

Long term relationship

VioletSky Mon 19-Feb-24 16:19:30

It is more than possible for men and women to just be friends... Even after dating

It would cross the line if:

It was secretive

It was flirty

If the marriage has become more distant

If the partner was less emotionally available

They spend a great deal of time talking about the other person

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 19-Feb-24 16:22:58

Complimenting someone on how good they looked and how well they have done is hardly ‘borderline intimate’.

pascal30 Mon 19-Feb-24 16:27:26

Germanshepherdsmum

Complimenting someone on how good they looked and how well they have done is hardly ‘borderline intimate’.

I quite agree...

MayBee70 Mon 19-Feb-24 16:28:16

VioletSky

It is more than possible for men and women to just be friends... Even after dating

It would cross the line if:

It was secretive

It was flirty

If the marriage has become more distant

If the partner was less emotionally available

They spend a great deal of time talking about the other person

That’s what I had thought. If I’d wanted to turn my friendships into something more, even though my pals had happy marriages, I think I could have done. Men can be very naive sometimes.