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Emotional Infidelity

I was watching Dr. Phil last week and the show’s topic was on emotional infidelity. The lady on the show was married, but regularly flirted with other men, including her husband’s friends. She thought there was nothing wrong with fantasizing about other men or being flirtatious. Her husband developed feelings of insecurity because of her behavior and their marriage was suffering.

Those of us in relationships, whether it is a marriage or an exclusive dating relationship, have to be very careful. Emotional infidelity can sneak up on you. It often starts with a harmless thought, such as, “Oh my goodness that man is fine!!!” But later, your thoughts can progress to, “I would love to get to know him better.” Then you find yourself looking for opportunities to interact with him. Before you know it, you are emotionally involved. Military spouses have to be especially careful with this, due to frequent separations by way of Uncle Sam.

Matthew 5:27-28 in the Message Bible says this:

You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

Now don’t get me wrong. Naturally, we like to admire God’s handiwork. God is the ultimate creator. For some people, it seems like he took an extra bit of time and effort to craft them as his masterpiece! However, if you are in a committed relationship with someone, it’s best to channel your energy into your mate, versus lusting and thinking about someone else.
We have to guard our thought life. The Message Bible gives us directions on how to guard our thought life in Philippians 4:8:

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

If I see a man that I think is handsome, I have trained myself to think, “Yeah, he looks good, but not as good as my husband!” Immediately, I start thinking about my husband and how God blessed me with the best husband in the world.
Think about this too. Looks aren’t the only thing that makes a person attractive. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Take time to guard your thought life and the heart of the one who loves you.
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  • GardeniaGal February 6, 2012, 10:29 AM

    Your Emotional Infidelity article confirms what’s been on my heart recently. The Holy Spirit is definitely alerting me.

    As a new cancer survivor, I often receive hugs on Sunday mornings from lots of people. There are a guys whose wives I’m friendly with who give me a warm hug every Sunday morning. Nothing wrong there, but I notice I lay my head on a couple of their shoulders for a brief moment, as I would with my brother. Yesterday I purposely did not lean on a shoulder – told myself NOT! I have no intention of threatening 47 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, but I am mindful of the Spirit making me aware. My husband does not attend church. That makes me doubly sensitive to what the Spirit conveys about how I behave toward my brothers in Christ. I love their wives too much to make them wonder about whether friendly is become too friendly.

    Thank you for your discerning perspective:)
    🙂 GardeniaGal

  • Grace @ Ruby Moon Designs February 4, 2010, 1:17 PM

    Hello, I found you from SITS…sorry, I missed your "day"…but I'm here now! I really liked this post. So many people have the mindset that only actual intercourse is cheating…but it started way before then, and the emotions are always the first stage! I did a wonderful Bible Study a few years ago called every woman's battle…it dealt a lot with the emotional infidelity just like you wrote about. Thanks for this good reminder to focus on our husbands!

    Blessings, Grace

  • MOMSWEB September 18, 2009, 10:45 PM

    Hi there,

    May I use this post in the upcoming Momsweb e-newsletter? I'll link the title directly to your blog. Let me know!

  • Martha May 19, 2009, 6:01 PM

    I caught* myself daydreaming, I had to make it past tense LOL. Sorry for the confusion 🙂

  • Martha May 19, 2009, 5:59 PM

    Growing up, I disliked men and I never drooled over their looks. In fact, I avoided eye contact as much as I could. When I first met my husband, I never looked at him. I looked at my sidekick and gave him the cold shoulder!!

    When I found out that my husband suffered from an addiction to lust, well.. truth be told, I catch myself daydreaming about being beautiful and having men chase me. Even though I never lust over men, I shouldn’t be wanting men to lust over me!!! The guilt became too much for me and I had to confess this to the Lord (and my husband).

    Let me tell you, I became free as a bird when I banished my daydreams and I thank you for posting this. It struck a chord with me and I hope to see more posts like this 🙂

  • Christian Mommy Writer March 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

    @ Anonymous – I’m sorry that this has happened in your marriage. I’m glad that the two of you are willing to work it out.

    I’m praying that you and your husband’s relationship will be restored and that the two of you will be in tune with each other like never before.

    I pray that nothing or no person will ever come between you two again and that you both will be able to move on to a deeper and stronger relationship together, leaving the past in the past.

    I pray that the two of you will have joy upon seeing each other again and that your adjustment to your husband being back will be easy. I pray for your husband that he will not have to deal with PTSD and that he will be able to adjust to being back home. I speak peace, unity and harmony over your family.

    From one military spouse to another,

  • Anonymous March 28, 2009, 7:39 AM

    I too am a military spouse. I found out, in the last couple of months, that my husband had an emotional affair with a woman from his hometown during this deployment. We are both at fault during this- I didn’t give him enough attention when he was online, and he didn’t tell me that things were progressing. We have decided to stick it out and make things work- not for our two children, but out of love for each other. He has since broken off contact with her…and he comes home on Monday. Please pray for our marriage.

  • Christian Mommy Writer March 11, 2009, 11:49 PM

    Personally, I choose not to dwell on how good another man looks outside of my husband. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When I add up my husband’s looks and how happy we are together, no other man’s looks can come close.

  • BiggyPauls March 11, 2009, 10:33 PM

    But there is always someone in this world who will look better than you or your spouse. Why not acknowledge that fact and just move on rather lie to yourself?

  • 3L March 11, 2009, 7:21 PM

    You have great posts. This is topics that we need to read. I have only been married for 1 1/12 years so it is easy for me to not look at other men. I want to be prepared with good tool when I do feel tempted. Thank you for not bong judgmental and presenting practicals that can prevent bad thoughts.

  • Terie March 9, 2009, 3:34 PM

    I love your blog and this last article has so much truth to it. I do the same thing when I see a handsome man – I think but mine is mine and he’s here with me. Besides I do think how bad I would feel if he was having romantic or sexual thoughts about another woman. It would really break my heart–so I don’t do it to him.

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