It happens all the time. A husband discovers a woman at his workplace, gym, or a waitress at his usual restaurant, with whom he has much in common. Usually she is at his work. And often, the only thing they really have in common is boredom or a restlessness that makes them connect—and an attraction. Since this connection is secret, it relieves their boredom. It also can end their marriage.
Of course, boredom can also be relieved by taking a wife out to someplace new, going to a resort area for just one night, or pursuing a new hobby with a spouse. The lure of secrecy is so appealing, though, that it is too often the chosen route. It somehow offers excitement.
The wife will find that he is coming home later than usual from work. She thinks nothing of it, of course, until it becomes a pattern. She then might question him, but he has a reasonable explanation. She then notices other things. He starts wearing more stylish shirts or cologne, he keeps his car very clean, he approaches the house after work from a different direction, he’s concerned about his weight/bald spot/gray hair. You get the picture. Of course, if he has always kept his car clean or worn cologne to work, there is no cause for concern. But sooner or later a wife might notice little signs that could be indications that he is becoming emotionally involved with someone.
I’ve known so many couples that have been hurt by emotional affairs. Some have divorced. So, how do you know if your husband is becoming involved in one? If you are upset because your marriage has turned into a roommate situation where he tells you little about his life and seems to want to hide the facts from you in regards to where he goes or what he does, here are some things you might want to check:
Some husbands give it away by spending more time on the computer. Are there any secret passwords? Has he changed the cell phone bill by making it so that the calls are no longer listed on the bill? Does he guard his cell phone, not wanting you to use it? Does he go outside to make calls, or to a private room? Does he delete recent calls or texts? Is he distant, not interested in talking? Does he make up excuses not to go out with you? Has he become short with you, giving abrupt answers, perhaps even looking away as he speaks, not meeting your eyes? Is he preoccupied? Does he spend more time away from home? If some of these are recent changes in your husband, you may be wondering what’s up.
Talk to him. Insist on it. Choose a time when you look your best, when he is not busy or too tired, and be resolved not to argue. Take the phone off the hook and turn off cell phones. Before you even begin, accept the fact that he may not admit to anything. This is not a conversation in which you are out to force information from him. Just ask a few questions concerning what you are curious about. If he answers in a satisfactory way, take what he says at face value and voice your concerns, letting him know that you just want to spend more time with him. If something is brewing, perhaps he won’t tell you about it, but he may decide to drop his secret interest before you catch on.
If he is evasive, doesn’t want to talk, falls asleep, becomes angry at just a few questions, or makes excuses for his recent changes and then tries to change the subject, you may want to check some things. Like his pockets, his wallet, his cell phone, his vehicle. Take him lunch at work or put an “I Love You” card in his lunch if he packs one, and see what his reaction is. If he discovers it while lunching with his secret pal, he may not appreciate the gesture. If he doesn’t mention it, that lunch might have been in a trash can at the local gas station before he ever arrived at work, because he goes out for lunch. Call him at work during his lunch hour and see if he answers. If he does answer, is he short and abrupt? Does he reciprocate when you tell him you love him?
Perhaps you are already aware that he has someone at work that he’s spending too much time with. He talks to her on the phone, they send texts back and forth, they communicate on the computer. He might spend time with her after work or take her to work and back.
When a man sees a co-worker before work, during work, and after work, that gives them a lot of time to become close. They discuss work related issues. They discuss little Johnnie’s grades at school, the spouse, and, before you know it, marital problems or complaints about their spouses. This provides an emotional connection. By the time he gets home, he has little to say to his wife. He’s all talked out. There isn’t much more he needs to get off his mind. Besides, if he begins a real conversation with his wife, he might let it slip that he has spent time talking to his secret friend. If you want to know who she is, many times all it takes is just listening to his idle conversation. Her name will come up, believe it or not. He may even deliberately tell you about her so that you won’t mind him spending time with her. After all, she is a co-worker. He may even admit that she’s a friend.
And that’s all she is, he insists. Just a friend. How do you tell if it is truly just a friend, or if it is an emotional affair? Well, if she is a person that he feels he has to keep secret from his wife, there’s a red flag. If he lies about anything concerning her, such as how much they talk, how much time they spend together, what they talk about, rides they share to and from work, or to lunch and back, or if he lies about the fact that the two of them share lunch, that’s a red flag, too. If they talk after business hours, if he thinks about her after work, if he is paying special attention to how he looks to go to work when he never did before, beware. Also, does he know her birthday? Why? Does he know the birthdays of other co-workers? Before you know it, he’s sharing things with her that he doesn’t with you. He smiles when he talks to her, but frowns when he talks to you. He spends money on her, but doesn’t bring you little surprises anymore. It’s called emotional cheating because he gives to another woman what rightfully belongs to his wife. Conversation, time, pleasant interludes.
All too often, it leads to an extramarital affair. This is how extramarital affairs begin. They are just friends. Then it turns to something more. There are women who make the same mistake. It isn’t always the husband who has these emotional affairs. Wives do it, too. If your spouse responds to a complaint you have about a co-worker, saying that they are “just friends,” respond with, “Oh, you mean the two of you are in the first stages of an extramarital affair?” Be calm when you say it, not combative. After all, a person does not usually have an affair with a stranger or a mere acquaintance. Is that person a better friend than other co-workers? Why?
If a husband (or a wife) refuses to give up this special friend, he is putting her above his wife, and the connection is already at the danger point. After all, if he claims that she means nothing to him, why would he object to cutting the strings that attach them? To save her feelings? What about his wife’s feelings? Who will he put first?
There are other, more aggressive ways of checking. If the interest warrants it, I’ll publish a Part Two.