Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   General Poly Discussions (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   emotional affairs (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14264)

Wiseacre 09-06-2011 03:11 AM

emotional affairs
What's the definition of emotional affair?

My coworker said something about a friend of hers discovering her husband having an emotional affair around the same time as my GF and I were struggling with some pretty heavy-duty discussions over my non-sexual involvement with someone else.

I remember something from Sex at Dawn (awesome book!) about a study of emotional vs physical affairs, and how most women answered they would be more bothered by an emotional affair, while men generally answered they'd be more upset over a physical one. The study, of course, didn't give them an option to choose they'd be equally upset, if I remember correctly.

It makes me wonder what constitutes an emotional affair, not only in the poly community, but society in general.

What do you feel the standard is? How do you differ from that (if you do)?

Hardison 09-06-2011 03:46 AM

I can't say what it is in the poly community, but the general jist of it as I have been able to ascertain, is that an emotional affair is:

When you develop a very tight emotional bond with another person whom you find attractive in some way, usually it is only considered an affair once it hits a point where this bond is to the detriment of the bond with your partner.

It is more than a simple crush.

Signs it might be an emotional affair:
You prefer to talk to that person over your partner about emotional problems/issues.
You talk to that person about relationship problems you are having with your partner and NOT talk about them with your partner.
You spend time with that person when your partner would have liked to spend time with you. (and don't address the issue and correct it)
You are ignoring your partner's needs in favour of this friendship.

I'm no expert, I just Googled it a while ago because I wasn't sure.

AnnabelMore 09-06-2011 11:56 AM

I don't know, I think you can have an "affair" without it being of detriment to your partner (except for the whole dishonesty and trust breaking thing). I would define it as passion with another person that's not sanctioned and/or known about by your partner. What would passion look like? Sentiments like I love you, I want to be near to you all the time, it blows my mind the way you understand me, I feel so connected to you, I never want to lose this.

To me, a good measure of a relationship is intimacy. Physical intimacy is, well... I don't really need to explain, do I? :) Emotional intimacy is getting to know someone deeply, sharing things with them that you wouldn't share with just anyone, etc. So, if you're developing that with someone else behind your partner's back... there you go.

Hardison 09-06-2011 03:16 PM

I think lying or hiding something like that from your partner is damaging. I suppose that should have been mentioned in my previous post under signs it might be an emotional affair: You lie about or hide details of the relationship with that person from your partner.

I didn't think that needed to be said, but that would be the #1 sign.
I never intended the Signs list to be a comprehensive listing of all signs. :)

AnnabelMore 09-06-2011 03:31 PM

Oh, I agree that lying to your partner is extremely damaging. My point was just that all of the things you listed were about doing stuff with the other person instead of with your partner or otherwise to the detriment of your partner (ignoring their needs, taking time away from them, etc). And while it's certainly possible an affair could work like that, the whole idea of poly is that you can have more than one relationship without them being detrimental to each other. So, couching an affair solely in terms of things it takes away from your relationship is somewhat anti-poly, I think.

Like, your connection and time with your partner might not suffer at all, you could be conducting an affair during the time you'd normally spend playing online games. It would still be an affair because it was a secret and the lying would still be damaging. But I don't think that any other aspect of it needs to be damaging or detrimental to your relationship in order for it to be classified as an affair, if you see what I'm saying.

River 09-07-2011 07:23 PM


As defined by this Wikipedia article, I find the concept, "emotional affair," absurd, foolish and ridiculous. What is basically at stake is loving and intimate friendship, and to wish to restrict one's partner such that he/she should not have loving, intimate friendships seems to me quite perverse. >ick<


Oh, then there is this (from that article):

David Moultrup has broadly defined an extramarital affair as

a relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse (or lover) that has an impact on the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage. The role of an affair is to create emotional distance in the marriage.

This is a distinct issue or topic from a mere intimate and loving friendship with someone other than the lover/spouse. This kind of "affair" signals a serious problem in the initial relationship. One can have loving and intimate friendships with others without this condition present.

All times are GMT. The time now is 10:33 AM.