Sunday, October 11, 2009

Emotional Affairs

I was just over at Kerro's Korner and she has posted an interesting issue that I've not read about yet (whether you are DID or not - watch out for this one)

Just before I went into therapy, I worked for a man who was so good to me. We both worked in a branch office of the company we worked for. He was V.P. of that certain department and had asked me to work for him when the company changed names and became part of a larger company. It was great. I had near carte blanche authority within my job description and he was a wonderful boss.

We hit it off and we had great conversations. I love a guy who can articulate and likes to be involved in conversation. He was always the gentleman, and always proper.

Then things changed, he wanted to talk more often about personal stuff - nothing sexual or even hinting at it. He often asked my advice about "women" and would often tell me that he's glad I helped him because he just didn't understand women and that he and his wife were getting along better.

We went on trips, always work, always during the day, and always he behaved like a gentleman. And then he began calling me at home to share exciting news about himself or his family. It was like having a friend of the male kind, no big deal.

Then I had to quit my job and I ended up in therapy. The phone calls were still going on as were emails from my ex-boss. In therapy one day, I mentioned that I had talked to Ex-boss and Mr.S began asking questions about him, and how often he called and emailed. It just so happened that the previous Sunday, he had called at 8 am and after talking to me, he talked to my husband for nearly 30 minutes.

Mr.S was thotful and then he explained to me what emotional affairs were. They are when one or both parties pursues the other to provide the emotional part of an intimate relationship, tho he or she is married to or involved with another person  I was not to blame and I really don't think Ex-boss had that in mind when it began but I NEVER called him, he was the one who always made that phone call or email. He was married, it is wrong. Mr.S advised me to end the friendship, which I did. Truth is I miss our conversations, but, shortly after I stopped working for Ex-Boss, he got a divorce, and about a year after that, my husband walked out on me. Want to hear the kicker?...  ...

Shortly after my ex-husband moved out and filed for divorce, I found out that he had an affair with Ex-Boss's wife BEFORE he left me. Wow, what a putz I am. I never saw it coming.


Kerro said...

Wow... oh wow, oh wow, oh wow... Thanks for the link and the post. I'll pop back to see what others have to say! ;)

Ivory said...

You're welcome! After reading your post I realized that no one has addressed this and it is important because those of us who have been so badly hurt are vulnerable.

Just Be Real said...

Emotional affairs, interesting....thanks Ivory for sharing.

Michael Finley said...

Oh so that is what is going on. Good to know.

This is the way it typically works with me as a male. I think everything is fine and dandy. As far as I am concerned the husband can walk in at any time as nothing is going on.

Then the female gets angry at me for reasons I do not understand. I am not engaged in the sexual thing.

It is not unusual for me to have someone else tells me the female that is mad at me thinks I am gay.

I don't happen to be.

I have known forever that I am clueless about such things. Actually I am not clueless I can keep it all separate. I am capable of having platonic relationships. They are just hard to find.

Ivory said...


I think emotional affair is how people notice each other and become infatuated with each other. There is that period of time between meeting and dating regularly that might fall into this category - as long as sex isn't introduced into the mix too soon. Just my perception of it.

I do better with platonic relationships, too, keeps things less complicated.

Kate said...

Hi Ivory,

I think that it is an important topic to bring up. It is easy to get enmeshed in someone else's stuff, especially when it seems to be non-sexual. You aren't a putz.

Good and healing thoughts to you.


Ivory said...


Thanks to Kerro for posting her experience that made me think about it!

I sure feel like a putz, especially every time hind sight reveals another indiscretion of his, but I'm very happy and thankful for your support.

Kerro said...

Hi Ivory

You sure aren't a putz, coz you got away from all of that mess!

This really is an interesting topic... I hadn't thought about my relationship with my boss as an "emotional affair", but I guess it fits the bill pretty well.

Thanks for sharing your own situation.

((safe ones))


Ivory said...


Thank you. I am praying that this doesn't end badly for you. My T suggested I either talk (in a safe place) to my boss or email him. It really is NOT easy. My ex and I had gone on vacation and when we got home there were several msgs from Ex-Boss. I already knew he wanted to tell me he was a new Grandpa. I emailed him instead and told him I'd listened to the msgs but... and I told him for my emotional well being, I couldn't have him in my life anymore.

My situation was different because I no longer worked for him but be very careful how you handle this so you don't loose your job. Maybe, don't say anything outright about sexual harassment just tell him it isn't right because he is married and then don't take his off-work calls. I don't know, he may not have anything sexual in mind and he may not realize that it is an emotional affair. I wish the best for a good outcome for you.

jumpinginpuddles said...

wow now this is spooky go read my blog

Kerro said...


Don't worry, I'm being cautious - more so than every before. Thanks to you, and others here, I now see this situation very differently. My warning lights go on as soon as he rings me, texts me, says something. Like when he rang me last night to say he was running late from work and in trouble with his wife.

I can also now "hear" the comments/"read" the texts etc without taking them on, if that makes sense. I'm just letting them sit out there - I'm not owning them. That doesn't make sense, does it?

Thank you again for your advice, and for sharing your own experience. It's helping me to deal with this differently.


Hillary_C said...

I recently read about emotional affairs on the BeliefNet site, very interesting.

I realized much of my discomfort in the therapeutic relationship comes from the fact that it shares elements with an emotional affair (in other ways it does not). I have always felt a bit unfaithful to my husband because I "loved" my male T. Of course my T does NOT engage with me in that manner - does not share personal info, no hugs, etc. I also find that telling my husband how I feel about the T also helps mitigate the discomfort.

The emotional affair is a very powerful trap - and it often does lead to the physical affair. I'm glad to know the warning signs and some prevention techniques (visualize a STOP sign over the other person's face).

Ivory said...

This is a broad subject and it falls into the "perception" group. I still shake my head when I think of how I actively engaged with my boss because I loved his company, really loved that he looked at me when I spoke and he actively engaged in conversation. No boundaries were ever crossed, unless they were in his mind.

As for my T. I think he understands the capacity in which I love him. It is as the small still voice on my shoulder. No boundaries are ever crossed and they never will be. I was ranting and wailing once about my poor self and in the middle of it, I stopped and asked, "You will never forget me, will you?" He slowly shook his head "no", and then he said, "No, I will always remember you. I will remember you for who you are and how you taught me all about DID." I cried. And then I sent him home to his wife. {smiles}

Hillary_C said...

I'm really stuggling with these feelings. Took a break from therapy to see if it would help. Miss the T. Miss the good listener.

He and I were reading a book on Trauma and Recovery. I wanted to be sure that he learned something from me; it's not an interactive relationship so I wanted to know, for certain, that I had an impact on him. Kind of like your T learning about DID from you, mine learned a bit about the traumas that women experience.

Ivory said...


How do you feel around him? Could it be that you have a great connection and it's nothing more? Sometimes, I also go thru "re evaluation" with my T and I become afraid my emotional self will cross a boundary, but it has never happened. I hope you find your way thru this and you can go back to therapy. I believe every T is changed in some way by a DID person. How could they not be, we change their entire perception on the disorder. Mr.S has often told me I should go public and agree to do talks at conferences and groups. Maybe, but for now, I'm just fine doing what I'm doing.