Almost all of us have experienced relationship problems related to jealousy before. For many of us, this jealousy problems may be misplaced, though. At other times, this jealousy is not misdirected, but rather an understandable response to our significant other’s relationships with other women and/or men that seem to cross a boundary.
While the boundary may sometimes be a physical one, it may not always be that he or she is actually having a physical affair with another person. It may be that he or she is in the habit of getting too emotionally involved with other people. For some of us, emotional affairs such as these can sometimes be even more hurtful than a physical affair.
In either case, whether it is an emotional or a physical affair, when our spouse is not open with us, it can be hard to salvage the relationship. To get a better idea of what unfaithfulness might look like, we are going to take a look at the fictional experiences of Ashley and her husband Paul, whose marital woes related to emotional infidelity may look somewhat similar to those that we have experienced in our own relationships at some point in the past. Here are just a few of the people that “Paul” has been just a little too involved with.
15. Nicky the Nasty Nanny
It began when Paul started to spend a little too much time with the nanny. Ashley noticed he seemed to want to be at home a lot more often, and he started to offer to do more things around the house.
It was really nice at first, but when she came home after a long day at work to find him chatting up the nanny with that look in his eyes long after it was time for her leave. Ashley knew it was time to take action.
For starters, we imagine she might have ended the contract with her nanny — and rightfully so. Next, we think she would probably be wise to let Paul know that he had come close to crossing a boundary, and that he had better be careful not to violate her trust in the future.
14. Kate the Cute Cousin
Most of us have that one family member who has always held the status as the cute one in the family. In our imaginary situation, it is Ashley’s cousin, Kate. Ashley always came in second place to Kate in school activities, and she always noticed that their Grandma would give Kate more attention than she gave the other grandkids.
Even though her cousin was probably very aware of her status, Ashley eventually learned to be confident in herself — even if she never was better than Kate at anything. Then, she caught her man giving Kate a little extra attention at family events — despite the fact that he knew their history. Not cool. We imagine that she took this in stride but was sure to let her man know what he had done — especially after she saw how Kate enjoyed stealing the attention (again).
13. Sonya the Seductive Secretary
After Ashley had cut out the nanny and started spending much less time with her man-stealing cousin, Paul started to seem a little bit more invested in their relationship. At least, he did for a little while.
Then, he started spending more time at work. That was okay at first, especially since they really did need the extra money. However, when Ashley showed up at his work to surprise him with his favorite homemade dinner, she found that his secretary — whom he had never mentioned before — had apparently been going out to buy them dinner every night for the past month while he stayed late in the office.
The big issue here is that Paul failed to mention the secretary — especially since Ashley had asked him why he had not been as hungry after work lately. Even if his secretary was clueless, we think this situation looks pretty bad on Paul. Honesty is always the best policy!
12. Vicky The Handsy Hairstylist
Ashley did not want to seem like a nag. So, she didn’t say anything when she noticed Paul started to get so happy every time he would go see his new hairstylist. She remembered that he had always felt like going to the salon with her was a bit of a chore, though. So, she got a little curious about the time he spent there after the fifth or sixth time he went.
We imagine she figured something was up when he became uncomfortable about her having taken the day off to go with him to the salon. She thought it was really odd when Vicky mentioned that she didn’t know her client was married, but it was clear that he was crossing a line when he let her give him that free neck massage that seemed to last for just a little too long. We imagine that was his last time to get his hair styled by Vicky.
11. Tina the Trampy Tutor
Ashley was proud of Paul when he made the effort to start doing better in college. He had really committed himself to bettering their future by continuing his education so that he could move up in the industry.
He even got himself a tutor to help him with the more difficult aspects of an accounting class. She was okay with him meeting the tutor three times a week in private — that is, until she saw the selfie of them with her making a kissy duckface a little too close to his kissy duckface.
Ashley knew her suspicions had been correct. She let him finish out the semester with Tina the tutor without saying anything, but she was sure to help him pick a different tutor for future subjects. We can’t say we blame her.
10. Pamela the Personal Trainer
We imagine Ashley thought it was weird enough when she found out Paul had chosen to weight train with Pamela — a petite personal trainer. She knew their buff gym owner offered training sessions on a nightly schedule that matched Paul’s schedule almost perfectly. It certainly matched his schedule better than Pamela’s early morning routine that made him have leave home extra early in the AM.
Things got really weird, though, when Pamela decided to end the training sessions and suggested that he continue with the gym owner. Paul attributed it to her not being able to help him reach his fitness goals, but we imagine that that there was something a little more to the story — especially since Paul lost interest in the gym pretty soon after this.
9. Tristan the Taut Kindergarten Teacher
Ashley thought it was pretty weird when her kid’s extremely attractive kindergarten teacher took so much interest in the work that Paul did. We really don’t know why a kindergarten teacher would care so much about the work of an accountant. Seriously.
We suspect she probably ignored it, though, until a few months into the school year when Paul started acting uncharacteristically interested in their daughter’s education. Ashley was happy at first to let him take more responsibility, since she had usually done most of the work.
But then she found out that a lot of the extracurricular activities he was helping their daughter with involved lots of hands-on interaction with Ms. Tristan. When he acted sheepish about being around her so much, Ashley thought it would be best if she resumed her position as the volunteer parent — which Ms. Tristan didn’t seem to like too much.
8. Sister Sarah from Sunday School
Ashley took the initiative to try to improve her marriage. She and Paul had been raised in Catholic homes. So, she suggested that they look into attending Mass at the local cathedral where her friend Rosa had been a member for more than a year.
We envision that Ashley didn’t think anything of the otherwise suspicious sparkle in Paul’s eye when he hugged Sister Sarah during the time to meet and greet other Church members before the sermon on their first Sunday.
She even thought that his interest in Sunday school led by the Sister was a sign that he was repenting for his emotional infidelity. When she overheard him talking about the sexy Sister in the confessional, she thought it would be best to have him skip Sunday school sessions with her from then on.
7. Phaedra the Freaky Best Friend
If you think for one second that Paul hasn’t thought about Ashley’s longtime roommate from college turned bestie, think again. He’s thought of her many times — and in many fashions. He’s always thought of Ashley and her BFF as a dynamic duo, and he’s fantasized more than a time or two about what they’d be like — ahem — together.
Phaedra was the wild side to Ashley that Paul always loved. When they first met way back, she was the temptress that lured him onto the dance floor before he bumped into his future Mrs. While he totally understands that college roommates are off limits, it doesn’t stop him from imagining all of his wildest college girl fantasies come true once in a while. Hey, what Ashley doesn’t know won’t hurt her, right?
6. Sheila the Shady Sister-in-Law
Ashley isn’t alone here. No one wants to think about their sister jumping on their man. Most certainly, each of us would hope that our man has never entertained such a thought about his family member. While some men like to bend the rules, and some states will even let you marry your cousin (*cough, cough* Maryland) — we can’t fathom the thought of our dudes wanting to dip their toe into our sister’s lady pond.
What’s worse is that this scenario ends up playing itself out far more often than we care to admit to. It’s par for the course in some small towns — or small families. Sometimes, Paul thinks about what it would be like to be married to Ashley’s sister — Sheila — instead of Ashley. Would she nag him, too? She seems so laid back. How is it they were raised under the same roof and turned out so differently? How can he get a little more Sheila in his life — I mean, wife?
5. Nina the Nasty Next-Door Neighbor
Look, Paul gets lonely sometimes. Ashley might be working late. She might be out with her girlfriends. She may have the kids at dance class and soccer practice. It’s not really important to Paul where Ashley is in times like these. Rather, he’s just looking for the next best thing that can satisfy him until the kids are in bed and Ashley is by his side again.
Unfortunately, this is the way it works for a lot of men in Paul’s position. When he’s lounging by the pool on his day off and no one else is home, how is he supposed to resist Nina? She pops up on her tip toes and peeks over the privacy fence, and he finds himself wishing things were a little more transparent between them. Is she really reciprocating his flirtation, or is that wishful thinking on his part?
4. Isabella the Interior Designer
It starts out pretty innocent. Ashley wants a new master suite, and Ashley always gets what she wants, right? It sure isn’t shaping up to look that way. Paul has heard Ash talking about the decorator for months, but their meetings always seem to take place when Paul isn’t around. To his surprise, now he knows why.
Why is a woman that looks that good spending her time on the inside of people’s houses? She should be on a billboard somewhere. Upon first meeting her, Paul was taken aback by how well Isabella carried herself. Her Italian accent made him swoon, and he’s pretty sure Ashley caught onto that. Hey, what’s a guy supposed to do when a Nigella knock-off is sitting in his bedroom? You know, minus the cocaine and all.
3. Karen the Home-Wrecking Housekeeper
There’s something to be said for a clean house. It takes real effort. In a perfect world, women really would be able to do it all. We’d raise the children while also working. We’d birth them, bathe them, feed them, homeschool them, and teach them discipline while Daddy is at work. This is Paul’s perfect world, though — not Ashley’s.
In Ashley’s perfect world, she has a cleaning lady. It never occurred to her that she would need to find the ugliest gal on the block. She looked for good reviews and affordable prices. That came in a package named Karen — and she came with organic cleaning supplies and not-so-organic breasts. In Paul things Ashley hasn’t noticed him checking out Karen’s Kim-K booty every time she chases those dust bunnies under the sofa, he’s sorely mistaken.
2. Pete the Pool-Cleaning Guy
Ashley decided that maybe Paul deserved a taste of his own medicine. She thought she would hire an attractive young man to come clean the pool on her off days while Paul was at work. Every Friday, Pete tended to the chlorine — that would never be powerful enough to sanitize Ashley’s thoughts of him.
Ash had scheduled it so that Pete the pool guy would be packing things up just as Paul was getting home from a long day at the office. She had enjoyed an entire summer of sipping piña coladas by the pool.
Of course, that was until she came home one day to find that Pete working on the pool on a Wednesday. She figured he must have confused the days he was supposed to be there, but then she found Paul sitting poolside enjoying the view just a little too much. She forgave him — again — and decided to give him one last chance. Pete got the axe.
1. Camille the Marriage Counselor
As a last resort, Ashley decided to sign herself and Paul up for marriage counseling. She was not very comfortable with the fact that it would be an attractive woman leading their sessions, but she really liked the doctor’s credentials.
She gave it a try, and Paul seemed to be pretty enthusiastic about the sessions. He was talkative — the way he used to be when the two of them first met. Then, she noticed that familiar look in his eye that he always had just before he would start another emotional affair.
She tried not to show how uncomfortable it made her, but it came off as if she was not participating — at least, that is what Dr. Camille told her. Of course, Paul agreed wholeheartedly. That was the last session they attended, and it was the last straw for Ashley.
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