There is a thin line between plain ol’ friendship and emotional infidelity. With many of us having friends of the opposite sex, either through work, casual acquaintances or friends, it is so much easier to cross the line. Add technology to that and you can have a full fledged clandestine affair, with no one the wiser. But unlike sexual infidelity, it can be even more intense and lead to passionate sexual encounters, if not curbed.
What started out as a simple work place friendship threatened two homes. Although the other partners had no idea what went on. Deola and this particular colleague of hers, whom, I will call James, had resumed at the work place on the same day, although in different departments. James was also a senior officer in the organization.
However, the fact they were both new in the office bonded them, as they learnt about the culture of the organization. At the end of the day, they would say good bye to each other and go off home. But soon, they grew closer. James would check up on her during lunch break and invite her to lunch and if Deola had had lunch, he would ask her to keep him company anyway.
Then, they started to call each other at home, to find out if the other person had gotten home safely. Over the weekends, James would also call her to find out how she was doing. If she had eaten, hope she was not stressing herself too much with household chores. If her baby was fine and other chit chat that he managed to spin to ensure he stayed longer on the phone talking to her.
When the work week resumed, if she had a new hairstyle on, or dressed nicely, it was compliments galore. Far from being one sided, Deola also looked forward to his calls; she liked the way he paid her compliments, not minding who was looking. She liked the way he checked up on her and asked if she was fine.
If she so much as hint, that she was not fine, James was willing to drive down to find out how to fix it. He always bought her call credits, separate from the data, which he loaded on her credit, as the affair progressed.
There was never any sexual encounter between them, not even a hug but the amount of sexual innuendo flying between them was pretty heavy. Both Deola and James had stepped into the emotional adultery zone.
They both looked forward to spending time with each other, even if it was just at work. They would find reasons to go to each other’s office; even their colleagues raised eyebrows at their closeness and wondered if they knew each other before outside the office.
When Deola, who was asked, replied in the negative, eyebrows were raised even higher. One of the people who had asked her the question later called her and advised her to stop dating her boss, as it was misdemeanor that could get her fired.
Deola was embarrassed but stated vehemently that she was not having an affair with anyone in the office, as she was married and the other party, she had been linked with was married, hence nothing of sort could come up between them. After apologizing to Deola, for her presumptuous statement, she left and the first person Deola went to was James.
Naively, she told him people were suspecting them of having an affair; James feigned surprise but later asked her if it was such a bad idea. Deola was aghast that he would even suggest that to her. But the truth was, James wanted Deola like a dog in heat. He had no idea, how the feelings grew, he just knew, he had come to love her a lot and he was always thinking about her all the time, regardless of the fact that he had a wife.
For Deola, she never thought she was being unfaithful to her husband, despite the fact that she had come to see James as a man who was always looking out for her interests. He cared about so many things about her that her husband never thought about. He liked to find ways to make her life better and that had endeared him to her.
Did it count that she had started to lock her phone and her husband did not know the password? Yes, she had several chats on her phone with James, which might be misconstrued but there was nothing really to it. Besides, was there anything bad with wanting to spend time with a person, who made you feel good about yourself?
While Deola thought about all these things, James broke into her thoughts and told her to wait behind after work, as he would like to speak with her then. At the close of work, she went into his office and sat down for their discussion. There, James told her, he had not intended to fall in love with her, as he had his own wife and she her husband. But it happened. He was in love with her.
Deola was shocked at his admittance of falling in love with her but she was even more shocked by the fact that she could relate with it. She was in love with James. She felt alive and like a woman, something she had forgotten to feel like. But they both knew it was not right to do anything about their feelings.
So side stepping the issue, they spoke about other things but before they left that day, James dropped the bombshell, “I will not pressure into having sex with me, it might come in the future, 5, 10 years from now but I will not pressure you.” On hearing this, Deola rushed out of his office and headed for home but she was unable to leave the words behind.
When he called her later, they spoke and he begged her not to take the words he had earlier spoken against him, as he had spoken from his heart; or withdrew from him, as that would literally kill him. Deola was caught between the ocean and the devil. She knew the whole shenanigan was wrong but her heart was involved. She wanted to continue to see him as much as he wanted to continue to see her.
In the end, Deola had to resign from her place of work. James had infiltrated every aspect of her life. She was spending more time thinking about him than she spent on her husband. She loved him but guilt weighed on her heart as she thought about what his wife might be going through as a result on their emotional affair. She also cut him off on all their communication channels after leaving a message for him, “A few years down the line, you will thank me for doing this.” But he immediately replied, “Not even 50 years from now, will I forget you. I love you.”
Deola wiped tears from her eyes as she read that message, her heart broke over the man, who had showed her so much love and none of it had involved sex. But she was not married to him.
For months, she was morose and depressed, pining after her lost love, not even her husband could cheer her up. He, however, attributed her sore mood to her resignation from her job to stay at home with their daughter, as he had wanted. Deola recovered but she never forgot James, the man who was always in her corner, no matter what.
And the memories become stronger whenever she had issues with her husband. But she moved on and consoled herself with the fact that she made the right decision for her marriage.
The only way to stop an emotional affair is to let go, no matter how hard it is, otherwise, the affair becomes the mainstay.