Woman's Husband Cheats Only by Text but Emotional Affairs Are Just as Devastating

Love & Learn 62

love message on cell phone

It's easier than ever to have what some might call an "emotional affair." Perhaps these things used to belong strictly to the province of a good friend or coworker -- but now, given technology, it can be pretty much anyone. Doesn't matter if they live in another city or country. Doesn't matter if you've even met that person. It's easy to find someone online, and begin the onslaught of emails, text messages, and IMs that lead to ... something. It's not physical. But it's not innocent either. One woman describes her devastation and struggle with finding out about her "perfect" husband's "affair" that wasn't quite an affair.

In her 40s, Lucy Hawkins describes what she felt like was the perfect husband and marriage -- she calls her spouse, "dependable, loving and the least likely man in our circle of friends to betray his wife." But then some instinct made her check her husband's phone.

When she discovered he had password protected it, her suspicions grew. So she tried password upon password until she finally got in -- and there discovered a series of texts with someone named Lorna. The texts were numerous, flirtatious, and always ended in a string of "xxx" kisses. They would write things like "Sweet dreams" and "We have a deep connection."

Yet the texts were never obvertly sexual. There was no talk of what they wanted to do to each other, or what they had done to each other, no dirty words, and no naked photos. Just a lot of baby talk. 

When Lucy confronted her husband, he eventually admitted that he'd met Lorna at a work conference in Boston. (The couple live in the U.K.) To Lucy's mortification, Lorna is an attractive 26-year-old woman -- almost half her age. But Lucy's husband swears up and down that he never slept with Lorna -- and Lucy, given that she can find no evidence that they did, and their messages never mention any sexual trysts -- believes him.

So -- eventually -- after a lot of fighting, sleeping in separate rooms, and password giving over -- Lucy decided not to throw their marriage away, and forgives him.

I wouldn't even say this was really an emotional affair. It doesn't sound like Lorna and Lucy's husband discussed anything of any consequence. He said he was just a stupid guy lapping up a young woman's attentions -- and that sounds about right. But that doesn't make it any less hurtful.

I think this type of affair IS a form of cheating. And, unfortunately, a lot of spouses wouldn't see it that way. Confront a partner over something like this and his or her attitude might be, "Oh, it was just harmless flirting." "We never slept together or even met, so what's the big deal?" "I was just bored and having a little fun. I wouldn't care if you did it," etc.

Yet the trust has been betrayed just as it is in a physical affair. In fact, I think a lot of women would prefer their husband have a meaningless one night stand rather than a long drawn-out emotional affair, sharing tender words and deepest thoughts. I say if you want to divorce over it -- that's your business. Only YOU know what you can live with.

For a marriage to be repaired after something like this, I think it first takes the person who conducted the emotional affair to admit that this WAS cheating -- whether there was sex or not.

Do you consider flirty messages an affair? Would you divorce your husband over this?


Image via Julia.Lamb.Fear/Flickr

cheating, commitment, love, marriage, lying

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nonmember avatar NoWay

I was talking with my husband recently about something like this. I said it would be less painful to find out he had a drunken one night stand than it would to find out he was emotionally involved with someone else. Sex is just sex. (not that I approve of a one night stand ... I would be very hurt and livid) ... but sex is not the same as love.

nicol... nicolemead91

i would deff consider this form cheating.. i dont want my man texting another woman telling her that they have a deep connection! thats for me & him..we're the ones married you idiot man!! if i found my man to be doing something like this i would totally be flipping shit. he sure as hell dosnt want me talking to some guy about my feelings n how much i miss him or whatever. if ur married stay true to ur man and take care of him! Dont be out there looking for another guy just to talk to. Thats what ur HUSBAND is for!!!

doodledo doodledo

Flirty messages are a type of infidelity, I would say it's a kind of emotional infidelity that could turn into sexual infidelity. There is also financial infidelity. And all of these are a betrayal based on deception and lies. None of which result in good marriages. Sexting, porn,strip clubs, excessive spending and then hiding that spending, romantic emotional attachments are all a type of cheating. A lot of husbands think its ok to go to strip clubs, for example, but they do it and lie to their wives about it. Its one thing to do it with consent from your partner but when it involves lying it becomes a betrayal and cheating.

nonmember avatar Samantha

Idk about a lot of things considered cheating, but i figure if it feels like a betrayal of trust then it is cheating.if they feel like they are lacking something in their marriage, they should bring it up to their wives. Sexual, emotional, intellectual.. It doesnt matter. What matters is you turned to someone else & hid it from your partner. Lying & decieving hurts much worse than bringing up a topic that might hurt someones feelings. My partner kissed another woman, and finding out was painful, but he came to me with a confession and felt horrible about it, knowing it was a momentary lapse of judgement, he came to me honestly, and he was mortified by his own actions gave me the strength to forgive him. It wasnt easy, but im glad i did. We have a much stronger relationship than ever. It opened his eyes to not only how much i care for him, but to how much kindness & strength i possess, and hes completely devoted to being with me. As much as it hurt, it was worth it to move past it.

nonmember avatar blue

Yes I do, and yes I would.

Miche... MichelleNYC

this has been on my mind lately. About a year ago, I met one of my husband's friends (the friend was single at the time) and we really clicked. He started up with me on facebook, turned into texting and phone conversations. We didn't sext or anything but he flirted with me A LOT and we really liked each other. What made it feel like an emotional affair was the fact that I did this behind my husband's back. Eventually, he got married and dropped me sooo fast. I felt like I was going through a break up. Eventually I came clean to my husband and he somehow still trusts me... But I feel really awful about what I did. 

weird... weirdgothmom

my bf did this not to long ago and it made me feel worthless and i still cant get over this

nonmember avatar dug

My wife did that, and what started as nothing turned into something. At a time when she was distant, aloof, and our sex life tailed off, she was very close to another guy.

I found out, we battled, and got over it. But, I hurt, to this day, as she had with him the EXACT thing that was missing from our marraige.

nonmember avatar ken

I think if he is going to be blamed anyway, he should hook up a real affair before admitting anything.

nonmember avatar Howard Roark

Emotional Affairs- people who say an emotional affair is as devastating as a sexual affair are simply possessed of a victim mentality and are seeking a dramatic way to use guilt to beat up the offender or are disappointed others won't see them as real victims.

People have emotional affairs because they don't or can't connect to their partner. Those saying that an emotional affair was just as bad don't want to face their own responsibility for the distance from their partner.

Playing victim and over- dramatization are not a responsible way to address actual problems.

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