I receive many letters and emails each month and more and more the letters and emails are from married men and women (and men and women in committed partnerships) who are becoming involved in office romances.
Here’s a recent example:
Dear Dr. Jackie:
I have been married for 12 years. I have fallen deeply in love with a co-worker (though she says she only wants to be friends). Though we don’t have sex, we spend a lot of time together and we have become very close. I cannot see enough of her. She is funny, intelligent, sexy, and I love being with her. For a while I pretended that everything was okay in my marriage. Then I told my wife I was feeling confused, trapped, and needed some time to work some things out. I know she is devastated by the sudden change in me. I offered to move out and she said no. I feel badly about all of this. On one hand I am loved by someone who would welcome me back in a second. On the other, I am totally consumed by someone else. This is not like me. What should I do?
The late Dr. Shirley Glass, author of NOT “Just Friends” spoke about “the new crisis of infidelity.”
By her definition, infidelity is any clandestine “sexual, romantic, or emotional involvement that violates commitment to an exclusive relationship.”
“The crisis is that … men and women are working with people that they respect, people that they have intellectual interests with, people that they share excitement over projects, frustration over deadlines. And so the relationship begins as a platonic friendship that’s very deep and rich. And what happens is that, over time, they begin to share more and more of their personal lives together.”
This type of intimate sharing of personal thoughts and feelings is, Glass asserts, more detrimental to marriage because, unlike casual sexual encounters, these interactions create strong bonds between the people.
And once this level of personal intimacy grows, the dreaded sexual affair is just on the horizon.
Please be aware that personal and professional friendships between men and women have become so prevalent and accepted that, according to Glass, even “good” people in “good” marriages can be swept away in a riptide of emotional intimacy more potent than sheer sexual attraction. Even strong, nurturing marriages can be rocked by office romances.
NOT “Just Friends” is the first book to shatter popular assumptions about infidelity, including: a happy marriage is insurance against infidelity; the betrayed partner must have ignored obvious clues; and the unfaithful partner was compensating for emotional or sexual deprivation in the marriage.
I enthusiastically recommend this book to all my readers and clients. Don’t hide your head in the sand. Don’t be scared. Be smart and be proactive.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!