Define the word "affair" for me.

Avatar for pater_familia
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Define the word "affair" for me.
2
Thu, 05-06-2010 - 6:18pm

My spouse and I have had a disagreement about what exactly is an "affair." The dictionary usually narrowly defines it as a "sexual" situation. And yet on this list we often consider internet relationships and flirting as affairs.

Can anyone help me find a good reference for defining the term: "Affair."

Thomas

I have 5 kids ages 16-10. Our D Day was August, 2008.

Thomas

We have five kids. Our D-Day was in August, 2008.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2008
Thu, 05-06-2010 - 7:16pm

Extramarital affairs are relationships outside of marriage where an illicit romantic or sexual relationship or a romantic friendship or passionate attachment occurs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affair#Extramarital_affair

&

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidelity

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2009
Thu, 05-06-2010 - 11:45pm
bingo, you hit it the nail right on the head.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Fri, 05-07-2010 - 2:56am

Oh, it absolutely doesn't NOT have to involve sex at all.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 05-07-2010 - 11:53am

Why is it important to agree on a label and then to agree on how to define the label?

DH and I had had the "it is an A, no it isn't an A" argument several times because I thought it was important that he define it exactly as I defined it. I needed him to admit to having an EA. I let it go for a long time, but revisited it two years after Dday #1 and a year after Dday #2. Almost exactly a year after Dday #2, xOW visited DH in his office and he didn't kick her out. This incident forced us to dig deeper and deal with all of those issues we had not dealt with yet. DH was ready to do that and he had additional motivation because I very calmly told him that I would have her out of my life one way or the other. He was scared.

Anyway, we both were ready to put this whole thing to bed and knew we weren't going to be able to do that until we dealt with residual issues. One of those issues was the definition thing. DH did not consider it an EA. He knew by then how badly he had screwed up and he understood how much he had hurt and damaged me. He identified the behaviors that led to the situation he got himself into and was actively setting preventative boundaries so he never got there again and he was a total open book. Basically he "got it," and was taking responsibility for it. That was what was really important, not the definition. So, I let it go. As we say here, actions are more important than words because actions you can believe.

So, why have this argument at all? It is like dancing around the big, stinking, dead elephant in the room while arguing whether it is an elephant or a mouse. You both know what it is and what needs to be done about it. Arguing over what to call it only delays doing the real work. Just agree to call it Ethel and get on with it.

Your W really hasn't OWNED her responsibility for her As and the state of your M. That is why you are still having this argument.

Avatar for pater_familia
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Sun, 05-16-2010 - 1:18am

"DH did not consider it an EA."

Yeah, this is tricky. My spouse knows that I consider all four men affairs but I don't know that she considers them all affairs because she only had "sex" with one of them. In time she recognizes that three of them were affairs, but I think she holds out on the fourth one because they never "touched."

I consider flirting an affair of sorts now and will not put up with it at all. But I wonder if she fails to tell me when men flirt with her now because she knows I'm sensitive to it.

Thomas

I have 5 kids ages 16-10. Our D Day was August, 2008.

Thomas

We have five kids. Our D-Day was in August, 2008.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 12:34pm

This guy who does deliveries told me today told me in a round about way that I had nice legs. I will tell DH because he did not tell me this morning that I looked good, and I do look good today. The guy has flirted with me before, and sometimes I tell DH and sometimes I don't. It isn't an issue for me because the guy doesn't want anything from me. If he did, I would tell DH and keep him apprised of this guy's activities, for lack of a better word. DH can trust me to do that. I certainly don't flirt back. DH does the same thing when a woman flirts with him. This is what healthy boundaries and communication look like.

I don't think your W knows this. I don't think she knows what healthy boundaries are. Maybe something to talk about in MC.

I looked up checklists for EAs and DH's EA made the grade on some, but not others. Certainly after the first couple of months it didn't, but it was over the line just the same. I call it an EA because it best embodies how it affected me and our M. He knows it was over the line, and why it was over the line and that is good enough for me.

It sounds like your W is trying to get a pass on at least one of her Rs. That might be OK if she at all understood that no matter what she calls it, it was over the line. This understanding is important because you don't know where her line is otherwise. She could be stepping over it all of the time, or will once you begin to trust her not to thinking you both agree where on the line is. As long as you agree where the line is, it doesn't matter what you call it.

So, the discussion should be about where the line is. When is it when the guy is pissing in your territory, to be crude about it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-03-2009
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 8:53pm
...just curious...why do you tell each other when someone flirts with you...?...I guess I understand that your husband feels responsible to keep you informed...but, it just seems that someone flirting with me is so unimportant that it's not worth mentioning...as a matter of fact, it would as though I were flaunting that someone else found me attractive...

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-04-2009
Wed, 05-19-2010 - 8:57pm
Right.

"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop."  Herb Stein

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 11:50am

Oh, we don't tell each other every time, but if one person consistently flirts with either of us, we talk about it. This is especially important with DH because this is how his EA started in the first place and he has always had a bit of a boundary problem with women who flirt with him. As he learned how to set appropriate boundaries, it was part of being an open book and building trust. One of the major things he says he would have done differently would have been to talk to me about xOW coming on to him and he would have talked a lot more about me and let her know that I knew about everything that she did or said.

I tell him because I am teasing him, and, yeah, I am letting him know that other men find me attractive. I guess it is my way of reminding him that he is darn lucky to have me and he better appreciate me.

We were talking the other night about how much we tell each other. He said he didn't need to tell me everything, but he made sure to tell me significant things that changed how he saw the world because it was important to him that I know these things about him. For several years, flirting was a big issue that had a significant impact on who he was and who we were together and neither of us are naive enough to believe that can never impact us again. So, we talk about it, we tease each other and have fun with it.

The not talking was one of the most significant factors that led to his EA. We will not make that mistake again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 05-20-2010 - 12:00pm

Yeah, that would be a problem for me, too. Maybe ask her how she would feel if you had a similar relationship she has with OM before it went physical with another woman. Describe it for her. Ask her how she would feel if you spent hours locked in a room alone communicating with an OW, telling that OW everything you would normally tell her, and talking about her and all of her issues while shutting her out totally, not acknowledging how she feels about it, not talking to her, not having sex with her, making her feel selfish for having a problem with it, leaving her to deal alone with all of the day to day affairs of the household, and treating her like furniture. Ask her if she would be OK with that.

Yeah, the sex part was really bad, but the EA part was pretty bad all on its own and the issues surrounding that need to be dealt with, too.

And, would the PA happened without the EA? If she doesn't deal with the EA bit, if she doesn't think it was wrong, when will she have another one that will probably turn into a PA? She doesn't get a pass just because she did something worse. It is all of a piece.

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