If A Man Has An Emotional Affair, Does He Have A Crush On The Other Woman?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who have found out that their husband has been having an emotional affair. Much of the time, the husband will insist that there was nothing physical and inappropriate going on.  He may even tell you that he is not attracted to this other woman.

But of course, wives have their doubts about this.  Many wives worry that an emotional affair is actually the precursor to a physical affair.

A wife might ask: “does my husband having an emotional affair with a coworker mean that he has a crush on her?  I saw an email between them that made me feel uncomfortable, so I went back through all of the emails between them.  It is obvious that this was an emotional affair.  There is no indication that they ever got together physically or outside of work.  But they clearly depend on one another emotionally and tell each other things about their families, their marriages, and their hopes and dreams.  There are some very personal things in these emails. When I confronted my husband, he said that they were just good friends.  I insisted that it was more than that.  And then I quoted from some of the emails and my husband turned bright red.  He was clearly ashamed and embarrassed, and I finally got him to admit that this was essentially an emotional affair and inappropriate. So I asked my husband if he had a crush on the other woman and if he wanted something more.  His answer was that no, he just enjoyed their friendship and that he’s not even remotely attracted to her.  I looked her up on the internet and frankly she is not even that pretty.  So I want to believe my husband.  But it is hard.  Why would he invest all of this time and effort into the relationship if it is just going to be a friendship?”

I understand your concern.  I agree with you.  If a man is getting his needs met by someone else – even if these are not physical or sexual needs – this is going to damage your marriage.  And if these needs are being satisfied in secret, it erodes the trust.

By no means am I an expert.  I can only tell you what I see and hear based on correspondence and research.  Many affairs do begin as emotional attachments.  The two people don’t intend to cheat, but get closer and closer until there comes a point where they have an opportunity or desire to take it even further.  This doesn’t always happen of course, but even once is too much.

Understanding The Difference Between The Appropriate Work Relationship And The Inappropriate One:  I can’t tell you that there are no emotional affairs that remain strictly emotional in nature.  There are.  Sometimes, as time goes on, one or both of them realize that they really aren’t compatible.  Or the relationship eventually stops providing the emotional pay off.  These relationships generally will end naturally and not progress.

And it is possible for two opposite-gender coworkers to just be friends.  I’ve had male mentors in the past.  And there was absolutely nothing inappropriate about these relationships. In today’s workplace, people are required to work very closely together in order to do a good job.  But it is sometimes obvious when this crosses the line.  And the fact that your husband became embarrassed about the emails could be a signal that it has definitely crossed a line.  If your spouse is not welcome to listen to phone calls or to read emails between you and work colleagues, then this a red flag.

Here’s another thing to consider.  Sometimes, people who have had physical affairs will fully admit that the “other person” is not their type.  They will admit that the other person is not as attractive as their spouse, but that it was not physical attraction that drew them to the other person – it was something else.

People will sometimes recount a connection that isn’t all about sex.  Or they will tell you that they felt understood and appreciated by the other person.  The truth is, people cheat for emotional reasons as well as physical ones.  So his not being wildly attracted to the other woman doesn’t always mean that no physical relationship is in the future.

Safeguarding Your Marriage: So how do you make sure that this relationship doesn’t turn physical?  You work on your marriage and you try to make sure that your husband feels connected to you.  And you try to make sure that he understands what is inappropriate about the relationship and why.

This is not always possible, but it’s ideal if your husband can work in another department or with someone else so that they aren’t always required to be together.  If this isn’t possible, try very hard to meet your husband for lunch, and drop in from time to time.  Allow the other woman to see you and know that you are very much a reality. And encourage your husband to come straight home after work.

Counseling can also be very beneficial here.  Anything that you can do to make your marriage his preferred place to get his emotional needs met is important.  I can’t stress this enough.  You can’t control what happens between your husband and the other woman while they are both at work. But you can control what happens between the two of you at home.  You can fight for your marriage if that is what you want.

But to answer the original question, an emotional affair doesn’t always mean that your husband has a crush on the other woman.  But I think that most people would agree that it’s a very legitimate reason for concern.  It is not something to ignore.  Because sometimes, it is the precursor to a physical affair if it isn’t stopped.

There are plenty of things that you can do to shore up your marriage and to heal this.   You can read more about some methods that helped me on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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