Cynthia had a special friend, Frederick, with whom she had deep conversations about life, love, and often, her relationship difficulties with her husband, Garrett. She felt too ashamed to tell her husband just how fulfilled and excited she felt from these often secret conversations. Frederick was Garrett’s friend long before he had ever met Cynthia. It was not unusual for Garrett to get home from work late and, instead of dinner being ready, Cynthia was on the phone with Frederick. Cynthia would end her phone conversation shortly after Garrett came into the room. For a long time, Garrett rationalized that they were just friends. They barely even hugged when they saw one another. Still, he felt increasingly uncomfortable with their relationship.
This is an emotional affair.
Hal worked with Marta. He enjoyed talking with her. She understood him in a way that his wife, Sally, didn’t. Marta was an empathic sounding board for his problems with Sally, but Hal also felt excited to be with her. He found ways to arrange private meetings or lunches with Marta. Confident that she was “just a good friend,” he felt it was unnecessary to mention this “relationship” to Sally.