We know that these days – where there are more females in the workforce than ever before, where they take more equal job positions than men – the parameters of male-female friendships are constantly being redefined to fit our modern world.
We’ve come a long way since Mad Men.
But even so, the parameters for platonic friendships are still are fuzzy for now – especially when one half of the friendship is already in a romantic relationship.
No matter how evolved we think we’re being, there will probably at some point come suspicion and jealousy when your partner starts spending time with a new friend of the opposite sex.
Adding to the grey area is the latest buzz-term in the world of deception: the Emotional Affair.
These are affairs that you may not even realise you’re having, because technically, you’re not breaking any rules.
There’s been no swapping of saliva, no one’s seen anyone naked… you may tell yourself you’re just good friends, even though you know you’re thinking about this person perhaps just a bit too much, talking to them more often than is appropriate, and sharing with them things that you would normally share only with your partner.
If this all sounds familiar, and you think you’re not doing anything dangerous, you’d be wrong. Emotional affairs are a little different to your regular run of the mill friendships.
Not only are these affairs the precursor to a full-blown, adulterous kind, but even if you never get to that stage, you’ve already broken your partner’s trust.
You are getting your emotional needs met by someone else, and in the process you are probably lying to your partner about the nature of this “friendship”.
I’ve been guilty of an emotional affair before – and yes, it turned to a between the sheets romp.
The “emotional” part of the affair was wonderful at the time – it’s flattering and exciting to have someone encouraging and supporting you, someone who thinks you’re fascinating and listens to every word you say, even if your boyfriend back at home has heard it all before.
My “friend” and I would walk down the street holding hands, flirt outrageously, hug often and spend long nights just talking – often about my frustrations with my boyfriend at the time.
While I told myself we hadn’t “technically” crossed any lines, it was not a friendship my boyfriend at the time would have approved of. I was certainly betraying him.
At the time, I wanted to believe I hadn’t done anything wrong but in hindsight, I know better.
And of course, the second my boyfriend and I broke up, I fell into the other guy’s bed.
The sex wasn’t nearly as good as the years of “emotional foreplay” we’d had before it and the relationship – in all forms – quickly died after that.
If you have a certain friend you think you may be getting a little too deep with, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth risking your relationship for.
Are you pushing your partner away? Confiding in your friend about relationship problems? Talking to them all the time? Fantasizing about them?
The good news is, it’s not too late to stop it now. Find out what you’re missing in your own relationship and go looking for it there, before you make a huge mistake.