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The 'Other' Infidelity
(Infidelity can take place without a touch)

By Russell Irving

We hopefully realize that infidelity is an incredible breaking of the marital vows and can destroy not only your marriage, but greatly impact any children whom you have. And, then there are the other victims, the collateral damage.
But far less often, do folks seem to realize, intentionally or not, that there is another, equally devastating form of infidelity. The type where you don't have sex with the other person. You might not even touch them. Yet, they are your lover in so many other ways.
This vow-breaker can take many a form. So let' talk about a few of the most common ones, shall we?

There is the Work-Spouse. You've seen them, even if they were not your own. -- The guy or gal to whom you have a verbally intimate friendship. You often begin by working on a project together. Or next to one another on the assembly line or in adjoining cubicles. You discover that you have similar views on the workplace. Then, as you begin to feel more comfortable with them, you share news of what happened on the weekend. Then, the night before.

Conversations can evolve into feeling comfortable in that very common task of criticizing your wife or husband. Not really bashing. At least not at first.
Sometimes your conversations are done in quick, short spurts. Other times, they extend for perhaps, hours. Then you might share lunch. Or, a quick drink before heading home.
All the while, there is still no sex or physical contact.

"But that's normal, isn't it? And, healthy? Shouldn't we have friends at work? And, what's wrong with having a friendship involving a co-worker of the opposite sex, if it's totally platonic?"
Great questions. And, your points are valid. Except, that your marriage is (was) more than simply sex. True? You dated before becoming sexual? (Maybe... ) You do/ did spend some quality time with your life partner that did not involve sex. -- Fact is that our spouse is also supposed to be our friend, as well as our lover.
So how do we know when we have crossed that fine line and are having an emotional affair?
Well, one tell-tale sign is when you can't wait until you see them at work to share great news, your weekend, some complaint about your spouse... You find yourself thinking of them and not in work-related ways. Perhaps, you even fantasize about them sexually. Playing that 'what it might be like if we... ' game.
We confide secrets or hopes & dreams with them, which we do not share with our life's partner.
We decide that we enjoy being with that co-worker more than we do with our wife or husband.

"Okay. Now, what about one of the other types of non-sexual affairs that you said would be discussed?"
Well, I didn't say that it would be a non-sexual one. I simply said an affair without touch.
Look, we know just how enticing the Internet can be. And, this can easily lead to problems for your marriage.

First, there is Facebook, MySpace and similar social media. Far too many of us decide to check out how an old girlfriend or boyfriend is doing. Perhaps, even a platonic friend of the opposite sex from high school or college days. So we find them. Get to be a friend of theirs. And, so the emotional affair can begin. -- Actually, many divorce lawyers state that much of their business is a result of this behavior. (See the related articles here.)
Then, there is the use of pornography. Folks do debate the merits or lack thereof for it. But, the fact remains that if either spouse (yes, that includes women) spends too much time and emotional energy on these sites, then there will likely be a serious problem in your marriage.

Bottom-line is that we can do as much damage with an emotional affair, as with a physically sexual one.

If you are involved in one of these situations, then you need to work on your marriage. Whether that involves counseling, therapy, sessions with your clergy, or even working on the advice offered in a book such as IMPROVE YOUR MARRIAGE - DON'T OVERLOOK THE OBVIOUS, please do something. Before it becomes too late.

'Nuff said!