The Depth of an Emotional Affair.

Last month I discovered what I now consider to be my new “go-to” television channel for that ethnic programming balance I fiend for at times—Aspire TV. Aspire was created and launched by legendary NBA player and entrepreneur Magic Johnson back in 2012. In my discovery, I found a golden nugget of a television show called ABFF Independent. For those who are not familiar with ABFF, it’s an annual event that showcases the talented African American content creators on the independent circuit. Aspire has created a show based on the festival to bring some of ABFF’s best work to the tube.

While I was deep into my viewing pleasure, I became immersed in one of the shorts that premiered. The premise of the short film revolved around two individuals who developed a friendship, dated and a proposal pursued. At the apex of the excitement of the proposal, the young man was immediately deflated as his plead for the young woman’s hand in marriage was rejected. Through context clues, the film displayed that the reason for the young woman’s dismissal was due to her emotional attachment she still had to her ex. To make a long story short: they broke up, the young man then moved on, found someone else and ironically he couldn’t give his all to her, because he was still emotionally tied to his “now” ex (I know it’s a lot of ex’s, but I’m sure you can keep up). The film concluded by confirming that emotional bonds can be as powerful, if not more powerful than physical bonds.

So this brings me to this article. I began to think more in depth about those who choose or somehow find themselves in emotionally driven affairs. I know you’ve heard, witnessed or experienced one of the following scenarios:

  • Someone creates a bond within the workplace that develops to what some term as “work” husband/wife.
  • Someone finds outside “shoulders” to cry on when issues arise.
  • Someone meets somebody unexpectedly in an awkward setting and that person seems to complete their sentences and make their heart dance with glee. (The grass is greener ideal)

Most of these can be defined as temporary moments of emotional bliss. However, I think it goes much deeper than that. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the mental and emotional aspects of a relationship have to trump the physical. It’s bound to happen. So with me coming to terms with this, I now understand how having an emotional affair with someone can be just as detrimental and crippling to a relationship/marriage than actually having sexual escapades.

When you give yourself emotionally (some refer to it as affairs of the heart) to someone else other than your significant other, you’re creating the space for an emotional distance to occur. Conversations become shorter. You may become more irritable. The distance between the two of you in the bed becomes wider. If you’ve seen the movie, I Think I Love My Wife, then you saw an example of this. Richard (Chris Rock) was lured into an emotional affair with Nikki (Kerry Washington) which in turn left him questioning his happiness he felt with his family. It got to a point where he sought out any excuse he could muster to pick an argument, just to vent and seek the attention/affection from Nikki. These are all the elements that can and will occur if you find yourself emotionally attached to someone else.

So, why does it happen? In my opinion it happens for some of the same reasons why people cheat physically—the false need for something more: the urge, the drive, the temptation. However, many people use emotional cheating as a “cop-out” or they try to rationalize it by making statements such as, at least I’m not sleeping with them. Everyone has their own interpretations when it comes to cheating. Some believe receiving fellatio is not considered cheating per se. However, cheating is cheating—no matter how you scale it.

As we get older, we understand that sexual urges come and go. That’s why it’s hard to build and grow a relationship solely on the physical aspect. In my opinion that’s why it’s considered easier for the cheated on to forgive and the cheater to move on when the cheating offense is physical. Notice, I didn’t say it was right or a forgivable offence—it just seems like an easier pill to swallow for some.

Honestly, I’ve witnessed more relationships be restored when it was just sex as opposed to when “real” emotions was involved. That’s why you tend to always hear this question from the cheated on, “Do you love them?” This question is asked because we instinctively know that once “emotions” enter the equation, the path to a repaired relationship/marriage becomes a lot harder.

That’s why we have to be careful as to who we allow to enter our emotional space. That “work” husband/wife, shoulder to cry on or that person whose grass seems greener can potentially be the chink in the chain that will end your relationship/marriage.

I think the group H-Town said it best when they stated, “Emotions make you cry sometimes, emotions make you sad sometimes, emotions make you glad sometimes, but most of all they make you fall in love.” That’s the point I’ve been trying to get to. Sex doesn’t always equate to love. However, in most cases, emotions always will. That’s why the depth of an emotional affair will always be a dividing factor in your relationship/marriage.

We would like your feedback to this topic. What are your thoughts on emotional affairs?

Peace and Love!


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