This time last year I almost had an (emotional) affair.
It started innocently enough I suppose… I meet a new “friend” on Facebook. We’d never met in real life although we were both local, with over 40 mutual friends. My new friend is quite funny, and cute too. A few months into our friendship, JD (name changed to protect the guilty) sends me a private message with a link to a love song and the note, “Check this out.”
I was born in the 1960s and recently celebrated my 21st wedding anniversary. That makes me 40ish— late 40ish, actually. I lost my virginity one month before my 17th birthday to a boy who had given me both a promise ring and a promise of eternal love. (sigh) Ten years and more than a dozen toads later, I kissed my Prince Charming at the altar. I want to tell you that youth does not have the market on great sex. Forty-something love-making with my husband is the best sex ever (thank you Jesus!). And it just keeps getting better. You need to know this. You don’t have to wear yourself out sexually in your youth. Don’t. Believe. The. Hype. Sex doesn’t get better with quantity of “lovers” and experiences; it only gets better with the quality of long-term committed (married) love.
Now there is a long, sordid backstory, but when JD came fishing, I was not a lonely-hearted, sex or attention-starved woman. His inbox message confused me. Still fairly new to Facebook, I assumed it was merely spam. I did share the message with my husband—which (I would later learn) put my husband on high alert.
After JD inboxed me, his Facebook statuses began declaring his “love” for a mystery woman. He laid it on hard about how he was longing for this special girl, but couldn’t let her know. My husband was keeping an eye on JD and mentioned to me that he thought JD might be referring to me. I was still clueless… until the day JD sent me another inbox message. By then it seemed clear that he was after me, but I wanted to be sure. I pulled his cell number from his FB page, blocked my number and called him. Over the next few weeks, we talked briefly three or four times. It was a fun little cat-and- mouse game. I think JD loved the thrill of the chase; I definitely enjoyed being pursued. I kept my husband in the loop, but eventually asked a few people to pray for me, because I was starting to be drawn in. I was chatting with the snake… and taking a bite of that apple was beginning to sound interesting.
The term “affair” has come to include such a broad category of behaviors. I’ve heard of people having “affairs” with their work or hobbies. Shoot, I could be guilty of having an affair with chocolate. I believe emotional affairs–emotional infidelity– are the result of bowing at the altar of our FEELINGS. This is the root of all “affairs.” Our feelings become the central, all-controlling, most important thing in our lives. But our emotions (and needs) make awful gods. From the second conversation, JD was talking about sex. If there was any emotion involved, it was straight up lust. (Love is so much more than an *emotion* anyway.)
Emotional affairs are a mind game that Must. Be. Mastered. (Romans 12:1-2) All affairs are a form of idolatry that falsely believes there is someone (or something) out there that can give your life (more) meaning. My personal philosophy is that, “Life is 89 % knowing who you are and whose you are.” (The remaining 11 % is about just walking it out.) When we get that part straight we don’t need to look for someone to “complete” us and give us an identity.
At the end of the day, I remembered who I am. JD was soon unfriended and I went on with life. I’m a married woman—a happily married woman. More importantly, I’m a blood-bought (1 Corinthians 6:12-20), dearly and eternally loved, child of the Most High God. It doesn’t get any better than that.