Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed: “Well I’m not having a sexual affair!” The Emotional Affair.

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Emotional Affairs occur when the primary relationship has become dead or cut off in some way. Often these affairs start up in compensation for some real intimacy at home.

Many big life events trigger these affairs as people feel more needy than usual. A death in the family, children coming or going, turning big marker ages 40, 50, 60, job reentry, school reentry, financial stress, illness etc……… can all be triggers for a change in the primary relationship and an opening for an emotional affair.


1- Your friendship has secrets
2- You confide in your friend more than to your spouse
3- You have more excitement to meet/talk with friend than spouse
4- You feel more your self and freer with friend
5- You take better care of yourself before contact with friend
6- You have sexual fantasies about friend
7- You hide the amount of contact you do have from spouse
8- You give your friend special gifts and treats
9- You get into fights with your spouse about your friend
10- You want exclusive time with your friend and you keep your spouse separate from your friend
11- When you think of getting away or taking a day off you think of doing it with your friend and not your spouse
12- You are defensive about your friend’s faults to your spouse and get extra heated about any criticism
13- You are feeling more and more distant from your spouse and don’t want to deal with it
14- You start talking more to your friend about your problems in your relationship
15- You are much kinder and more forgiving with your friend than your spouse
16- You find yourself telling more and more little lies to your partner

If you can say YES to more than 6 of these signs then odds are you are on the slippery slope to an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR. The best remedy is to fully acknowledge the lapse in your primary relationship and turn all attention to repairing the primary intimacy. Everyone needs close friends and close friends are not ever a threat to a truly intimate relationship.

Dr. Jennifer Freed, Psychotherapist and Educator in Santa Barbara, California, is the author of “Lessons from Stanley the Cat,” radio show host for “Freed Up,” on Voice America, & a professor.

Read “Attractions outside the Marriage.”

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4 thoughts on “Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed: “Well I’m not having a sexual affair!” The Emotional Affair.

  1. Bec

    This is all good and well in a primary relationship that has potential to fullfill tge emotional intimacy gained in other friendships. What if you acknowledge your partners limitations either short or long term, why is the intimacy with a friend wrong? Consider the intimacy of David and Jonothan who were ‘one in spirit’ and were more in love than David had been with any woman? So long as its not sexual is not intimacy with multiple people ok?

    1. Alison Post author

      Well, I would agree that some intimacy and deep friendship with other friends is not only fine but wonderful. Yet, in Jennifer’s article, she points out that if six or more items on the list are true about the way you behave or feel about the other person, then the intimacy would be labeled an “affair” and harmful to the primary relationship. Perhaps check if you can pick six of those items on the list and think the relationship is benign to the main relationship. It’s possible. And if so, I’ll send the comment on to Dr. Freed. Thanks for your comment.

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