"Turn off the sun, pull the stars from the sky.
The more I give to you, the more I die.
And I want you. And I want you. And I want you.
And I want you…without you everything just
falls apart." Perfect Drug - Nine Inch Nails
So many chats, talks, conversations. So many topics covered. So, what is the one that I think about to this day? The conversation when Tina first said the "A" word: Affair.
It surprised me when she mentioned it because we had been so careful to avoid the circumstance and the term. As the attraction between us grew, we were even more careful about what we did or - more accurately - didn't do. We didn't touch, we didn't kiss, we didn't engage in any physical contact because there were lines we didn't want to cross while she was married. Plus, Tina hadn't made up her mind to leave her husband so we didn't want to complicate things for her if she decided to stay with him. Having an affair was on my not-to-do list and I was doing my best to stay true to the list so you can imagine my confusion when Tina lamented us having an emotional affair.
We were seated on my couch when she said it. The words didn't have time to hang in the air before I replied: "A emotional...what?"
Tina looked at me with a little bit of a smirk knowing how naive I was about relationships. I figured an affair happened when there was physical intimacy or sex. None of that had happened between us but yet Tina was saying that we were having an affair. Tina patted me on the knee and said, "Because I'm letting you fill my emotional needs and not my husband." She got up and left without another word leaving me even more confused.
Tina informing me I was satisfying her emotional needs was not news...I knew that a long time ago. But did that really mean we were having an affair? We were just close friends, weren't we? My curiosity was not going to wait for my next conversation with Tina so I fired up my laptop and started searching the web. What I found was enlightening but also damning.
I found an article by Kathleen Kelleher called "Is It Cheating?" The more I read, the more I knew that lines Tina and I had been supposedly trying not to cross had been left behind long ago.
Here's the section that really put the nails in my rationalization and denial coffin:
"Friendships, whether they are hatched over the Internet or in the flesh, begin and develop
quickly when someone connects with a person who appears to be empathetic and who
shares common interests. The first transgression of an emotional infidelity is when two people share information about problems in their primary relationship that their respective partner would feel was a violation. Suddenly, the emotional intimacy in the friendship is deeper than that of the primary relationship, drawing the two people closer to a sexual affair. A primary relationship is even more threatened when marital troubles are discussed with someone who has no vested interest in the marriage."
The article didn't get any more encouraging from there. It brought home the fact that there was no denying that Sunshine and I were having an affair, even though we hadn't done so much as kiss. I remember leaning back in my chair but not taking my eyes off the words on the screen. Now that I had this knowledge what was I going to do with it? Ignore what I knew and continue my relationship with Sunshine? Walk away from Sunshine? Tell her to leave her husband and start a new life with me?
I'd already crossed the line so there was no sense in retreating now. Had to see where this path took me. So I ignored what I knew and continued forward. See where that path took me in Sunshine: Diary of An Affair http://amzn.to/11K07iD
Eric Simmons is one of the two essential figures of The Sunshine Affair series. His journals turn his real-life experiences into a novelized version of the events Simmons lived. This blog provides insight on The Sunshine Affair series from this unique perspective.