I briefly touched on the issue of emotional affairs earlier this month, but I feel that this is just such an important topic to address. Especially after a comment I received yesterday.
What do you do if you find yourself in an emotional affair?
First of all, call it what it is: an affair! It’s cheating your mate out of what he or she RIGHTLY deserves: your emotions. It can be easy to give this “friendship” a rose-colored glass view, but you need to examine your own motives and heart. If you find yourself looking for a chance to be with this person so that they can fill an emotional need: it’s an affair. If you want to tell this person something that you don’t share with your mate, it’s an affair. Live in reality.
Second, cut it off! Do whatever it takes to be done with the emotional aspect of the relationship. I understand that you may work with or be in ministry with someone who you have to have contact with on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean when you get them on the phone you chat for longer than it takes to deal with business.
Third, find real accountability! Let someone know your struggles, when you the most vulnerable, and how this relationship is effecting your marriage. Set up boundaries, guidelines, and restrictions. Then let your accountability partner know what they are. Having someone holding you accountable is a step in the right direction.
Finally, seek forgiveness from whomever may need it. Look back over the course of this “friendship” and ask the Lord to show you who you’ve hurt along the way. …your mate, your children, your other friendships, your work, your ministry. Take an honest look at the destruction a friendship like this can cause and seek to repair what you can.
Several years ago I was riding the train down to Chicago. My sisters and I chose to sit on the upper deck where you can look down and see other passengers. This man got on at our stop, took a whole bench, and anxiously kept the spot next to him filled with his things so no one else would sit by him for the next few stops.
Then about five or so stops down this young, pretty gal gets on, and this man’s face lights up! He moves his brief case and newspaper to allow her to sit next to him. The rest of the trip they talked, laughed, and did the friendly pat on the knees at different parts of stories they must have been sharing.
Was this an emotional affair? You tell me!
Please share any comments you may have because we will be addressing this issue again tomorrow.