Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friendship

Friendship is very important to me.  I believe that everyone has a short list of qualities that need to have in a friend. We don't build friendships with random people. We meet. we have things in common. Is this person trustworthy? Do we have similar interests? Can I be honest with this person?  Does this person understand me?

I had a friend, who met all these qualities. My friend was easy to talk to, encouraging and a great listener. My friend showed me support and truly understood me.  My friend loved the same type of music, loved the same movies. I could open up and share my dreams and desires with understanding and acceptance. I enjoyed the times that we were together; shopping, watching movies or football. I looked forward to spending time with my friend or talking on the phone when we had the chance. I would say that this friend was my best friend and a very important person in my life.

Friendships can be hard to find, so when you do find a friend who meets the list of qualities you are looking for it feels good. I found a friend who I could trust and open up to.  My friend was a boy. As a child and throughout high school my closest friends were boys. I have always thought that being friends with the opposite gender is okay. However, as my friendship with this boy grew stronger and stronger, my relationship with Scott began to fade.

The friendship I had developed with this guy was innocent at first. I was not looking to hurt my husband or break my marriage vows. My friendship with the other man crossed the line into an emotional affair. An emotional affair is defined by David Moultrup author of  Husbands, Wives & Lovers: The Emotional System of the 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 quality of my marriage relationship took a dramatic turn as my friendship with the other man grew deeper and deeper. I was knee deep into an emotional affair.  Scott was working hard and supporting his family in the evenings and I was finishing my college classes during the day. We didn't see each other much, which also played a role in my affair, but you will hear more about that later...It is important to mention it now because the changes in my relationship with Scott were not noticed by Scott or myself because we weren't together much. It wasn't until about year into my emotional affair that my actions were bold as I would leave the house at random times and not return for hours.

I learned the hard way that friendships with the opposite gender are dangerous when you are married.
I am sure that it can be done for some people, but there is a chance that the friendly relationship can wander into grey areas.That is exactly what happened to me. I began to connect emotionally with my friend and down the road those emotions grew into physical attraction.  I hope that you take the time to cultivate relationships with the opposite gender carefully. I hope that you keep the lines of communication open with your spouse. I hope that you can evaluate your friendships honestly and if you find any level of emotional connection within that friendship that has an impact on your marriage..please RUN!


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