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What makes an EA?

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ziganska posted 2/6/2014 14:44 PM

It's fairly obvious to me what a PA is but I'm more unsure of what an EA is and am worried that my H may have had many of these, as he could not delineate healthy and appropriate boundaries with female friends. What's your definition?

I also got to thinking....have I ever had an EA myself and didn't know it? I have several male friends, mostly coworkers and ex-coworkers, whom I occasionally have dinner or drinks with...we talk about work gossip mostly, but often we share childhood stories and some struggles we're going through. It's never gotten to the point where we reveal too much, certainly never intimate details, but sometimes I need advice on things from a male's perspective. I don't rely on them to support me emotionally, come to them when I'm in a crisis or look to them to make me feel special or loved, but I have to admit that sometimes the attention is flattering. Again, I would never let it go anywhere and now that my H's A has been revealed, I'm going to cease this kind of friendship because I just feel icky about it in general.

BAB61 posted 2/6/2014 14:50 PM

If one partner of a committed relationship shares something with someone outside of that relationship that they would be unwilling to allow the partner to hear,it might be an EA.

If something is said that crosses the line from casual to involved, it might be an EA.

If sex is hinted at, brought into the flow of conversation and reciprocated, it might be an EA.

If feelings, and thoughts that are beyond simple friendship are exchanged, it might be an EA.

If the partner that is not involved is denigrated or degraded or discussed in any negative way, it might be an EA.

I'm sure there are more ways that would fall under EA ... there are just some that are off the top .... check out the book "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. She discusses how you should have walls between your committed relationship and the world and windows between the partners in a relationship.

[This message edited by BAB61 at 2:51 PM, February 6th (Thursday)]

stunnedin12 posted 2/6/2014 15:01 PM

I don't rely on them to support me emotionally, come to them when I'm in a crisis or look to them to make me feel special or loved, but I have to admit that sometimes the attention is flattering.

I think the bolded part is important. I have a couple of dear male friends. I know both of them would have pounded wh into the ground had they known what happened. BUT, they are not my emotional support system and I would never let them be.

The attention is flattering? Sure - we're human. It's that we don't pursue that attention. I know wh is a good-looking man. I get that, but he PURSUED (and let himself be pursued) one specific woman once she let it be known that she was interested.

Wh crossed the line into an EA long before the PA. The EA was a deliberate hiding and lying about a woman. The day he chose to lie and hide her is the day she became more important than me and that is an affair, in my book. That he set out to change me into her was a bonus for him.

PhoenixRising88 posted 2/6/2014 15:04 PM

It is my opinion that ANY activity that pulls a married person's focus away from their spouse and toward a third party is cheating; at the very least an EA.

cl131716 posted 2/6/2014 15:17 PM

I've struggled with this concept too. WH has always been very adamant he had no feelings for OW2. He says he just liked the attention. She on the other hand, definately had feelings for him which became obvious after the last NC letter. For months she complained about her marriage, told WH she missed him and "love ya", called him pet names, flirted, and there was quite a bit of sexual innuendo in their exchanges. He considers it an inappropriate conversation (generally only acknowledges the really bad one) but I consider it an EA.

steadfast1973 posted 2/6/2014 15:29 PM

FWH actually had at least 3 other EAs. Female friends who used him for the emotional support their actual boyfriends lacked before we got together. And didn't change the dynamic of their friendship once we got together. Until after dday1. Only the main EAP crossed over into sexual talk and love talk. But they all took from our marriage, by way of intimacy. Unfortunately, he replaced them with porn, which led to much worse...

ziganska posted 2/6/2014 15:34 PM

All great food for thought. I'm wondering...could one definition of an EA be a relationship that has the potential to become a PA?

I guess I'm still a bit unclear on an EA and just a platonic friendship. My H has (or rather had, thanks to me) female friends at work. They often go for drinks after work to shoot the shit about the work day. I can't know what they talked about because I wasn't there, but even if the intent was to bitch about work, I can't imagine that the conversation never progressed to personal issues, just like I find when I go out with male coworkers. At this point, knowing what I know about my H, I am not comfortable with him having any female friends without me knowing them myself, but I'm sure in some marriages, it's okay for spouses to have friendship with members of the opposite sex with no threat to the marriage. I guess that's what trust does...and certainly I wouldn't be talking about this if there was blind trust.

steadfast1973 posted 2/6/2014 15:39 PM

I don't believe there is such a thing as a purely platonic friendship. Acquaintanceship, perhaps... Anything past that is an EA.

stunnedin12 posted 2/6/2014 20:40 PM

I'm sure in some marriages, it's okay for spouses to have friendship with members of the opposite sex with no threat to the marriage.

For sure wh has other female friendships in his line of work. The difference is that he and chickie crossed the line LONG before the PA. I knew/know the other women. I was a part of those conversations. If I ran into them, they KNEW me.
Chickie and WH liked it best if I was not a part of their lives. Wh kept chickie 100% a secret. The phone number was under an alias. Everyone else's number/name was brought up and talked about. Company Christmas parties were a breeze. There is just a difference. These other women have never been a problem. I like most of them in fact. They are friends of the marriage.

Scubachick posted 2/7/2014 00:53 AM

I think any friendship with a member of the opposite sex that you keep a secret from your spouse is an emotional affair.

scangel3 posted 2/7/2014 05:26 AM

What scubachick said, any secret friendship with the opposite sex is an ea in my book. If you feel the need to delete their messages so not to be found out by your spouse is an ea. Also getting your emotions taken care of by them rather then your spouse, is an ea. Also caring more about your time with them then your spouse,putting them before your spouse, even if just texting them during your time with your spouse, and making them the priority, is an EA, or at the least on a very slippery slope to an EA.

However if you know your boundaries and pay attention to them and respect them, I don't see talking to the opposite sex for advice on something or talking about work isn't an EA until/unless you add on the above paragraph to your conversations with them.

But obviously our WS don't fit into the lines of having/knowing appropriate boundaries, so any type of relationship with the opposite sex could very possibly be an EA or at least the starting of one.

I also think one person in the friendship could be in the EA or on the slope towards one, without the other person realizing it, at least at the beginning, especially those that have never dealt with this crap before.

That's my opinion at least

[This message edited by scangel3 at 5:28 AM, February 7th (Friday)]

steadfast1973 posted 2/7/2014 07:21 AM

Again, I knew about my fWH friendships with other women, i was trying to be a "liberated wife". But all of em took away from our relationship. All of them, even the ones I was privy to. All of them took from our intimacy, and caused problems.

One of my BFFs in the whole world is a man. I've known him almost my whole life. But... Since I've been married, he's been demoted to acquaintance. I no longer share intimate details of my life, nor he his. We say hello, share big news, and exchange pictures on FB. We no longer go to coffee/dinner alone when he is in town. We no longer have long phone conversations. He is no longer my BFF. He is just somebody that I used to know.

cl131716 posted 2/7/2014 07:28 AM

This thread has been validating for sure. I've realized that my WH was very much involved in two EAs, if not more.

shatteredapart posted 2/7/2014 08:04 AM

What scubachick said. If its kept secret and its taking from the marriage it's an EA. They're looking for some additional support outside the marriage. Eventually it replaces what the WS was getting in the marriage.

My WH denied having an EA with a COW for so long claiming it was never sexual and they were never going to leave their spouses. Ummm...ok. Where the second part of his claim came from I don't know. Guilt perhaps? It's taken a long time but (we were in false R for months) but he finally gets that it was an EA. Though he claims they never talked about their marriages/spouses they hide their relationship. They talked about family and I know he leaned on her for work issues. Thousands of texts, several long daily calls and secret meet ups for lunches. Ummm, at the very least an EA. I still believe it may have been a PA to but he hasn't admitted to that yet and possibly never will.

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