(Part 3 of 3)
(Continued from Part 2)
In my first post, I talked about the reason for this series. In my second, I touched on healthy platonic friendships between the sexes (or, what emotional affairs aren’t). Finally, I’d like to talk about what emotional affairs are. My definition of an emotional affair is as follows:
Any type of recurring non-romantic contact with a member of the opposite sex  that is excessive, lacks boundaries, and/or makes the faithful spouse uncomfortable or upset when s/he finds out about it
Working from that definition, let’s break down those pieces for clarity:
[Harry was funny. But he was WRONG!]
(Part 2 of 3)
(Continued from Part 1)
Platonic Friendships & Relationships
Let’s touch first on platonic friendships and other types of relationships between the sexes that can be intimate and even affectionate, but are not meant to be romantic or sexual. Doctor-patient, professor-student, lawyer-client, and mentor-disciple are some examples of types of potential platonic relationships between the sexes aside from good old-fashioned “just friends.” What is the difference between platonic relationships and emotional affairs (EAs), and are platonic relationships between the sexes healthy and desirable?
On some level, I am surprised when I find Christians advocating that married Christians should not engage in platonic friendships with the opposite sex. These are usually the same Christians who will readily argue that God is male and proceed from there to some kind of conclusion about male superiority because of it–yet if platonic relationships between the sexes are not possible, if they are not healthy and desirable, then how is it that Christian women are called to have an intimate relationship with this male God? Incidentally, I think the question of God and gender is a lot more complicated than “God is male,” and very much reject that notion. But I think there is little question that, in regards to his human nature, Jesus Christ is male.
(Part 1 of 3)
I’m a Christian woman. A feminist. And a person whose marriage ended in large part because of my ex-husband’s emotional affair with another woman. When I try to explain that last part to people, I generally get a lot of confused looks. “He had a what type of affair with another woman?!”
And therein lies the problem with emotional affairs (hereon EAs). Everyone knows that the regular type of affair means that a married person has entered into a physical or openly romantic relationship with someone who is not his/her spouse, without the spouse’s consent (and usually, without the spouse’s knowledge). The boundary was clear and the fact that the boundary has been transgressed is undeniable, which is why these affairs usually start out in secret. But what exactly is an emotional affair? Do emotional affairs really exist? And if they do, how are they different from platonic friendships between the sexes?