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An Emotional Affair Is Still An Affair

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,  

My husband recently took over a squadron command position that keeps him in constant communication with his co-workers. I appreciate how busy and stressed he is trying to do his best.

However, since taking command, he has stopped communicating with me like we used to do. He stopped answering my text messages and phone calls and excuses this by saying "I was busy" or "My phone was on silent." 

Over the holidays, our relationship kept getting worse, and a friend suggested I check our phone bill. I did and saw that there were a few numbers that appeared many times and then I spotted the one

I could see that the times I called and he didn't answer, he was on the phone with this person. I did an internet search and found that the number belongs to a woman, one of his co-workers. 

Ms. Vicki, they were talking all the time, for hours. The text messages were rampant up until 10 o'clock at night.

I confronted my husband, and he denied anything other than a professional relationship (he's an officer and she's enlisted) and asked how I could even imply that he would jeopardize his military career that way.

He told me that she's married, too, and said, "she does everything I need her to do" and "she carries a burden for me." He told me that I was creating drama and needed to stay out of his business.

Since the confrontation, communication between the two of them has subsided, and it seems like he has put some boundaries put in place. But Ms. Vicki, how do I move on? Our relationship is still extremely strained. How can I stop obsessing over this woman and what I perceived happened?   

P.S.: I've started counseling due to all of this.   

Thanks,
Command Affair
             

Dear Command Affair,

While, I don't mean to gas you up, I do think you should be concerned. You busted your husband. He was obviously having some sort of relationship that had crossed the line emotionally. Maybe it hadn't become sexual, but he was definitely enjoying the relationship with the other woman.

Here's the deal: He may never admit what really happened, which is why I'm glad to know that you are receiving therapy. You need all of the support you can get to help you handle what you just learned.

You feel betrayed, and your husband is trying to make it seem like you are "cra-cray" -- like this is all just your imagination working overtime.

You have every right to expect your husband to be faithful. This means not being involved in an emotional affair, too. People, especially men, often think it's not an affair unless there is sex involved. This is false. Emotional affairs can be even more intense. There is a big build-up of sexual tensions until one day ... it happens. Some people regret it -- and some people don't.

Now, your husband is human. Even more, he is a sexual being. All women and men have to accept this about their partners. When we can be honest about our sexuality and our sexual needs, then we can be open with each other about how affairs happen in the first place.

Right now, your husband could be ashamed -- or he could be figuring out another way to keep his romance going.

But you can't become the checker, either. You can't keep spying and watching him. This will emotionally drain you and even lead to depression. You should continue in counseling and urge him to join you in marriage therapy.

He has to get to the bottom of this affair or it will happen again. He is playing with fire and right now he's willing to put not only his marriage in jeopardy, but his career, too.

I'm listening,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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