An "emotional affair" is an affair excluding sexual intimacy but including emotional intimacy. It may be a type of chaste nonmonogamy, one without consummation. When the affair breaches a monogamous agreement with one or another spouse the term infidelity may be more apt. Infidelity tends to exclude one or both spouses of the affair's partners. Citing the absence of any sexual activity can neutralize the sense of extramarital wrongdoing by one or both partners of an emotional affair.
Emotional affairs can be portrayed in fictional writing or drama as life changing experiences (good or bad), subjects of racy romance stories that teeter on the edge. However, they can also be catastrophic for all concerned when it is clandestine, unsanctioned and unintentionally exposed.
Sometimes an emotional affair injures a committed relationship more than if it were a one night stand or about casual sex. The initial interpersonal attraction may have been the result of propinquity (physical or psychological proximity), physical attraction or a perceived lack of interpersonal chemistry in the primary relationship.
David Moultrup has broadly defined an extramarital affair as
a relationship between a person and someone other than (their) spouse (or lover) that has an impact on the level of intimacy, emotional distance and overall dynamic balance in the marriage. The role of an affair is to create emotional distance in the marriage. The critical principle to consider is the possibility of unconscious emotional benefits gained by the uninvolved spouse. The goal of therapy is to resolve the intimacy problems in the couple relationship so that an affair will no longer be 'needed.' This model does not consider the possibility of accidental affairs nor those that arise out of individual pathology or habit rather than relationship difficulties.This viewpoint does not require sexual play or sexual intercourse in order to define the presence of nor the impact of an affair on a committed relationship. Moultrup is the author of 'Husbands, Wives & Lovers' and has contributed to 'The Handbook of the Clinical Treatment of Infidelity' Piercy FP., Hertlein KM., Wetchler JL. Editors 'The Handbook of the Clinical Treatment of Infidelity' Haworth Press\">en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Lupin/navpop.css&acti... 2005.
Chaste and emotionally intimate affairs tend to be more common than sexually intimate affairs. Shirley Glass in her study, reported in 'Not Just Friends' 'that 44% of husbands and 57% of wives indicated that in their affair they had a strong emotional involvement to the other person without intercourse.'
In University of Chicago surveys conducted by NORC between 1990 and 2002, 27% of people who reported being happy in marriage admitted to having an extramarital affair. What infidelity means depends on who you ask and the statistics are of course, misleading. Sexual feelings in an emotional affair are necessarily denied in order to maintain the illusion that it is just a special friendship. Affair surveys are unlikely to explore what is denied. Many people in affair surveys are not honest with themselves nor with the interviewer .
On the romantic friendship page there are a number of 'special friendships' in popular culture. Each is an example of one form of human bonding or another. Some can be distinguished from emotional affairs by the absence of an apparent third party or spouse. Each may be synonymous with platonic love or spiritual friendship. Some may exist alongside or in support of a spiritual marriage, a sexless marriage or a marriage of convenience. Any of those terms may just be a cover for what is hidden from public gaze.
This type of affair is often characterized by:
This article is based on "Emotional affair" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Emotional+affair&action=history