We all know the definition of an affair, don't we? But wait! Go ahead and try to define it and it may not be so black and white. Behavior that might be seen as an affair by one couple or even one individual may not been seen as an affair by your own definition or vice versa.
For example, is an affair when a spouse engages in sexual intercourse with another person outside of the marriage? Sure, okay, but what about if there is no intercourse, but there is kissing? Does a quick peck on the lips count? How about a back rub? What about emotional affairs? Is it an affair if you spend every Friday night with your ex playing pool? And if both spouses agree to an open physical relationship than does anything constitute an affair? I knew one couple in an open relationship where sex with other people was accepted, but kissing another person on the lips was a betrayal. You see, it isn't as simple as it might seem.
In marriage, it is important to define what an affair is. While most of us may have standard definitions, you can't ask others to define this for you. Understanding the definition of an affair to you both can help prevent marital infidelity down the road, or if it has already occurred, understanding what parts of the affair did the most damage can help heal the marriage and prevent the infidelity from happening again.
Here are some basic definitions of an affair, to help aid you in your own definition as a married couple. Within these four definitions are many shades of meaning.
Sexual intercourse with another person
Sexual contact with another person
Emotional attachment to another person.
Emotional attraction to another person
At the end of the day, my best definition of an affair is however the offended spouse defines it. And chances are if you feel guilty doing something with someone else who is not your spouse, then you may be having an affair.
What do you think? How do you define an affair?
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Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA