Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | June 30, 2007

Adultery of the Heart

Matthew 27-28“You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.” (The Message)

A lot of people think that adultery can only be performed in a sexual way.  Some who are married even go so far as to believe that anything said over the Internet to someone other than their spouse is okay as long as it never morphs into sexual contact. Compare this thinking with the words of Jesus above, however, and there is a significant  difference.

<>Here is one family’s story of the pain that emotional infidelity causes. Names and some personal details have been changed. This concerns a common-law couple named Jake and Hannah, Hannah’s daughter Nuala, and Diana, the other party in Jake’s emotional affair.

<>Jake, who had previously been a loving husband and stepfather, started to go through a serious depression. Almost overnight, he changed into someone Hannah and Nuala didn’t know. He became very verbally abusive and started leaving home anytime Nuala and Hannah were home, and even went so far as to tell them they were the reason he wouldn’t stay home. This was especially hard on Nuala, who had been walked out on by her father.

<>Jake then started searching for an ex-girlfriend, Diana, that he had dated as a teenager, spending long hours doing searches to find her whereabouts. He became convinced that only she could “save” him from whatever he was going through. Hannah was, of course, rightfully concerned, especially knowing a bit about what the relationship had been like. It had been largely sexual, very emotionally charged, and she had manipulated and controlled Jake for the several months that they dated.

To both his wife’s and his stepdaughter’s dismay, Jake got in touch with Diana, started sending her gifts, and chatting online via instant message. Diana was a housewife who spent most of the time online when her husband was at work, claiming that she helped him with his business paperwork. The conversation was often very intimate and became suggestive on several ocassions.  He kept his door shut tight when talking to her, minimized his screen when someone came in the room, and seldom spoke to his family other than to scream at them.

<>Diana knew how to push his buttons. She’d guilt trip him into eating at his computer instead of eating with his family, berate him if he didn’t make himself available to her several hours a day, and started calling him at all hours. He always spoke to her in very intimate tones when she called.

<>Diana started making overtures at friendship toward Hannah and Nuala.  Jake even planned a two-day trip specifically to see Diana and intended to go himself. However, Nuala offered to go along on the drive as she wanted to see some friends in the area. After promising his stepdaughter that she “wouldn’t be left out”, he left her at a hotel to spend a day alone with Diana. He had also promised to visit some family in the area, and delayed his visit to see them because of the time spent with Diana. This strained the family relationship for several months. After spending a  day with Diana to talk about whatever was bothering him about the relationship, he had intended to end his contact with her. However, she would not allow it to end.

She played both sides against the middle in her contact with Hannah, trying to cause trouble between her and Jake. When Jake got a membership to a game site and told Diana about it, she tried to alienate him from his friends & family members by private chatting with him on the game site, often for  7-8 hours at a time. He became very angry and snappish toward anyone who spoke to him while he was chatting with her. He very nearly became physically abusive on one ocassion. Nuala nearly stopped speaking to him after he’d promised to attend a church function, then refused to go at the last minute because Diana had come online.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came when the family had to move on short notice. He had disconnected his computer early on. Even though they had to commit to getting moved, Diana berated him for not putting the move aside and talking to her online all day. This put a strain on the “friendship” and Hannah finally confronted him about Diana’s accusations.  Jake and Diana finally had a falling-out, and they have not been in touch since. Jake has been his old self again since cutting ties with Diana.
The moral of the story: just because someone says a relationship is “innocent”, doesn’t mean it is. Sometimes emotional affairs can  do more damage  than sexual ones.

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