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Affair of the Heart: Worse than Sex?

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Is your husband having one?


Yankees star Alex Rodriguez's relationship with Madonna was "an affair of the heart"--not "sexual infidelity," according to wife Cynthia Rodriguez's lawyer. "The correct analysis is a relationship," he told People. "Some people categorize an affair as...sexual infidelity. We're not claiming that. It's an affair of the heart."

According to the New York Post, A-Rod's obsession with all things Madonna includes listening only to her music while driving, dumping his longtime sports agent for her manager--a kabbalah practitioner--and the three of them enjoying private Friday-night Sabbath dinners together, sources have said.

The divorce petition reads: "Alex has emotionally abandoned his wife and children and has left her with no choice but to divorce him."

"Many women feel more betrayed by an emotional affair than a physical one," family therapist Shannon Fox tells momlogic. "They'd rather a guy say, 'I had sex, but I didn't love her,' than have their husbands admit that they are in love with or have an emotional bond with another woman."

But if they didn't have sex, why does an emotional affair cut women so deep? "For most women, marriage has always been more about the emotional connection than the physical," Dr. Fox continues. "When a man commits emotional infidelity, it's as if something has been stolen away from his wife."

In his book, Emotional Infidelity: How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage and 10 Other Secrets to a Great Relationship, M. Gary Neuman says emotional infidelity occurs when someone fails to put most of their focus into their marriage. If your husband puts more of his focus on something other than you, Neuman writes, he's committing emotional infidelity--and he's draining your marriage of the energy it needs to be great.

According to Dr. Fox, here are some additional warning signs to look for:

- He talks about a woman a lot, and often peppers her into conversation for no apparent reason.
- He frequently has lunch, coffee, or even dinner with the same woman.
- He dresses up or pays particular attention to his appearance when knows he's going to see her.

If you suspect your husband is having an "affair of the heart," Dr. Fox says you need to talk about it. "Tell him how it makes you feel when he talks about her or sees her," she advises. "And explain what an emotional affair is--he might think that because he kept his pants on, he did nothing wrong. But if you're not OK with this other relationship, then it's not OK--no matter if they had sex or not."

But when it comes to emotional affairs, Dr. Fox says prevention is the best medicine. "When someone has an affair of the heart, the person usually feels their emotional needs are not being met, and they have a foot out the door, anyway. So pay attention to things before they get to that point. Are you happy in your relationship, or are you just getting by? Is your marriage emotionally fulfilling for both partners? If not, do something about it. Go on a date. Listen to each other. Respark that connection."

If there's one good thing to come out of the A-Rod-Madonna scandal, Dr. Fox says, it's that it proves men have emotional needs, too: "Men want to be paid attention to and listened to, just like women do."

What would you do if your husband had an "affair of the heart"?

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24 comments so far | Post a comment now
Deja Vu July 8, 2008, 5:50 PM

Certainly a lot of celeb men have followed this same pattern, like Brad Pitt. I think when the those first pictures of them on set came out, most people could tell from their body language that SOMETHING was going on even though they weren’t sleeping together yet.

I feel really bad for all the wives who have to go through this sh*t in the public eye :(

Anonymous July 8, 2008, 6:22 PM

i think the scariest thing is that for the most part you feel emotionally connected to your boyfriend or husband and then all of a sudden its gone b/c he has found it with someone else. what do you do if you still feel emotionally connected but he just doesn’t?

Ewww Madge! July 8, 2008, 6:29 PM

I’m all for sexual freedom, but OMG…Madonna is disgusting!

Seriously…why do people put her on some pedestal when underneath her fame and wealth, Madonna is just as pathetic as any of those mistresses shown in your investigation video…she just has more glitz than they do, that’s all!

She doesn’t respect anyone, even herself.

Kabbalah this and Kabbalah that…just goes to show you that all that really matters is YOUR ACTIONS, not some trendy beliefs.

FallenAngel July 8, 2008, 7:23 PM

It would be fair to interject that many married women also have emotional affairs with men because they feel their husbands are not meeting their emotional needs.. for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with another woman. Interestingly enough …while it is about the emotional connection and/or attention that is craved…sex is often used in exchange for the attention given..unfortunatly when the emotional needs are just one sided the sex gets old seems like a vicious cycle because it is..

sensovi July 9, 2008, 4:33 PM

Emotional connections are very powerful - which is why people need to make sure they are connecting emotionally with their partner. Sharing a life, family, house and even sex won’t necessarily keep a couple together if there’s no emotional intimacy.

When we talk to couples about improving their intimacy, we refer to “3D” Intimacy - which includes physical, emotional and spiritual connections. It’s not easy, but it’s essential.


sabrina July 10, 2008, 8:20 AM

I think with her she has that sexual nature,remember all the vidoes Erotica,and always wanted to be known as the Free Spirited woman” Supposingly making women come out of the male dominated 80’s She did things her way wether we liked it or not she didn’t care ! I think he did it” To Validate he’s a player and has that “side” to him. He wanted that I AM WITH THE MADONNA side. Publicity big time! And she probably thought that this was appealing, A sports figure wanting her, wanting to know more about her, It’s the all about me stigma ! And this is Madonna wether we like it or not ! She will always have that attitude, I really am suprised she still is married.

Sylvia July 10, 2008, 9:38 AM

Another family hurt! That is the real point, Children. Madonna does not respect herself but should she she got her start with Satan. Satan will never leave her and she will take whatever she wants and whoever is in arms length with her. What a shame for that Stupid Man! His family will never be the same. He got caught in Satan’s web.

hmm July 10, 2008, 11:09 PM

don’t judge an emotional affair until you’ve been there - emotions are hard to control - and if you’re not having a sexual relationship with the emotional affair it’s probably because you love the person you’re with too much to cross the line - but you still are missing something in you’re life — and you only live once, right? days are numbered, right? life is hard and emotions aren’t easy - i feel bad for anyone in that situation because i don’t think people “ask” to be in an emotional affair - they just allow it to take its course - which isn’t right - but emotions do their own thing - if we had complete control over our emotions — well, well life would be a lot different I think

devasted April 20, 2009, 1:18 PM

My husband had an affair of the heart after 16 years of marriage. I am devasted. THere was kissing and touching but no sex. It was short only 4 days with someone he met on a mission. I found a love letter he wrote to her when he got back but never sent it. He tells me now that he has been unhappy for a long time, but never expressed these feelings to me. We are now in marriage counseling.

Judge not April 22, 2009, 1:03 PM

If you have not been there, do not be so quick to judge. You may find yourself there one day. Only then will you understand. I am in one now. Ironically, it happened in my attempts to keep myself happy in my own marriage - finding a “safe” way to address needs not being met by my wife; needs she was not open to discuss or address. In the course of this “harmless” activity, I connected emotionally with my soulmate. We love one another. I cannot let her go. Ever. I do not love my wife any more or any less than I have over the past 26 years. That love has simply been eclipsed by a love and intimacy - a level of sharing - that I could barely have imagined, much less believed could exist.

been there July 15, 2009, 12:56 PM

My husband had two affairs of the heart in the last year. After 27 years of marriage. I was devastated, some advice for all you cowards (men and women) If your not geting what you need at home, speak up or END IT. Nobody wants to waste their life on someone who doesn’t want them. They too will be able to find someone to put the wind in their sail. So don’t be selfish! “My emotional needs aren’t being met” is the same bullshit my husband said, I can’t believe I actually tried to make dates, buy exciting sex games ect…and then he had another affair. It is hard to compete with someone who is new and mysterious. So I will find someone new myself!!!!!!!!!1

Diana August 5, 2010, 6:34 PM

This is a interesting subject. I’ve been divorced for eight years, after thirty two years of marriage. Infidelity.. NO, substance abouse YES. Now that I look back on life I realized that my husband killed our marriage long before the divorce. I can see why partners have affairs of the heart. Some people stay in a marriage through thick and thin, even though life is not satisfying, be it for money, health insurance, life insurance, alot of reasons (a roof over your head). Everyone wants that emotional feeling when thay were a teenager. Fantacy! Let’s face it we can’t achieve fantacy after twenty or so years. Ther is nothing new about the two people. That’s what makes it so appealing. New! Exciting!
There is also no constant commitment to a emotional affair. It can be spontainious. I know a couple (who are single) that are doing this and thay are very happy. Thay dated for two years and broke-up. But never stopped communicating togerther. And thay are still not married to anyone, but still date other people. If this is happening to you and your partner is telling you that the spark is not in the marriage anymore, face reality and move on. If you did not have a pre-nump when you got married, get a good contract in your divorce. If the unhappy one wants out, thay will work it out.

Pole Dancing Kit October 21, 2010, 10:51 AM

Hey there Does any one know if Kylie Minogoue can pole dance ? My partner and i guarantee she would most likely be actually good.

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