Listed below is a letter written to “Dear Margo” (one of the original “Dear Abby” daughters):
DEAR MARGO: Does having lunch and/or drinks every week or two with a friend of the opposite sex mean you’re having an affair? My friend and I are both married and have known each other for over a year now. Our professional lives cross quite frequently. We constantly e-mail each other throughout the day, just to make the other one smile and laugh.
He insists he loves his wife, and I know how much I love my husband. We’ve been with our spouses for approximately 18 years. It’s just lunch or a few drinks after work.
Neither of our spouses knows about this. We don’t think they would understand. He is a gentleman and has never made an advance. We do talk sexually, but it’s just talk.
My sister-in-law insists this is an affair. So, is this, or is this not, an affair?
— WHO’S RIGHT AND WHO’S WRONG?
DEAR WHO: An affair, my dear, is when two people, one or both of them married, meet secretly to engage in a sexual relationship. Your situation may well develop into an affair, but right now it’s a flirtation.
The only part of this definition you can lay claim to (forgive the infelicitous phrase) is the secret part, and even that is not exactly what “secret” means in this context. (Your deal is more the sin of omission.)
As for deciding your spouses wouldn’t understand, perhaps the reason you have both chosen to keep it quiet is that they might, in fact, understand perfectly. Careful, hon, you’re swimming in deep waters.
— MARGO, CAREFULLY
I, personally, could not dissagree more. Yes, in my opinion, this IS an affair. An affair does not only mean that you’re having sex. To me, an affair is when you look to someone of the opposite sex to provide something that you should be getting from your spouse. She can have girlfriends send her e-mails to make her smile, girlfriends she can talk about sex with and have dinner and drinks with. I understand that people need other people, friends and confidants in their lives, besides their spouse but you need to keep the boundries very clear.
Here’s why I think what they are doing is wrong:
* the woman says they constantly e-mail each other throughout the day to make the other smile
* they meet for drinks after work and/or lunch every week or two so this is happening quite often
* they talk sexually
* their spouses don’t know
The fact that they’re hiding it from their spouses demonstrates to me that they know it’s wrong. Yes, I think this is an emotional affair, although before long I expect it will turn into a physical one too.
A married woman has no business spending this amount of time with someone of the opposite sex, who is not her husband, for social purposes.
How would she feel if her husband was doing this with another woman? How would you feel? Me? I’d be pissed as hell! I live by a rule – if I wouldn’t do it or say it with my husband standing right next to me – I shouldn’t be doing it or saying it at all.