Struggles and Scars

Why did I need so many emotional connections outside marriage?

She kept making connections over online chats with strangers and old friends but does that qualify as infidelity or cheating? Or was it something deeper?

Am I straying when I find my emotional connects outside my marriage? Can your spouse fulfil your every need, be it a friend, a bestie, a dance partner, a jogging partner, therapist, a life partner, a soul mate? Frankly ‘soulmates’ are overrated and one person can never fit every bill, unless you married a robot designed to take orders exclusively from you.

Whenever I chat with a new friend or a lost old buddy, who are all apparently men, I start to doubt my emotional fidelity.

Invariably I end up latching on to friends to talk about matters which my husband doesn’t have the time to talk about, or he is not available on that level. These people have been great friends to me, and are mostly online, so I don’t cross any boundaries and I feel safe, as there is a physical distance at all times. Why do I need so many emotional pillows, to fall back upon and am I all alone in seeking these options?

guy friends
‘why do i need so many emotional pillows?’ Image Source

Growing up, books, movies and stories fed me the idea of one person to love and to cherish for a lifetime. But my urban confused mind was already playing games with me. I would confide my feelings in one, go on a trek with another, and be romantically attracted to the third.

The 90s gave us chat friends. You met them online and kept them online but sometimes, you met a few. And often, many spent a lifetime with them too.

Related reading: Next time you log in on social media, remember you are spoiling your relationship

Chat rooms were in. In one such room I found a man who had a great singing and speaking voice and he was happily married.We became thick friends and over time I started sharing with him umpteen details of my life. Once I got married, he became the agony aunt of my love life and sex life. He would call me a soulmate from another life. The red signal was flashing but I refused to see it.

We attended a fantasy music concert and he started imagining me as a lover. I didn’t indulge him, but embarrassed at my own doing, I exited the chat room and never went back.

Then I found myself chatting with an old colleague. He was across the globe. We had a lot in common and a shared working past. Soon he became my new anchor and I started listening to his advice and sharing a lot of intimate details, about what was working and what wasn’t working in my life.

girl texting
‘i found myself chatting with old colleagues’ Image Source

Again, I woke up to reality, when out of the blue he told me how hot I was. He would constantly joke about going on a holiday with me, and I would love the attention I was getting. I would take it in good spirit, as he was a dear friend.

Meanwhile I started seeing a therapist.That’s when I realised, all I was looking for is a person to talk to, someone I could confide my deepest feelings and emotions in. I was looking to be guided and looking to be held emotionally. It was during this time that I really found some sanity in life. From knowing nothing, to ‘I think I will figure it out’, I had come a long way.

struggle and scars

Together we discovered that I suffered from anxiety and mild depression. Through integrated talk and body therapy, she worked on the body and mind connection; she took me through sound and breath work, which helped me anchor myself within my body and not in my thoughts.

Most of us associate ourselves with our thoughts and forget that we have a body, which is highly intelligent, which we underestimate and ignore. It was through therapy I went deeper and found that the answers lay within me.

My online friends took a back seat and I had a mind as a fresh slate as my therapist took me through myself for more than a year or two. I was completely unhooked and a de-addicted ‘chatter’. I felt capable of making my own decisions and choices.

Related reading: Is social media to be blamed for poor couple relationships?

monica and chandler
‘my husband gradually became my best friend’ Image Source

I always had difficulty articulating my thoughts andlived more in my head. My therapy helped me to voice what I felt and I was more open in expressing things. My husband stood by me through my journey like a rock. Apart from paying for my expensive sessions, he never judged or questioned the process. On the contrary, he was very humorous and supportive. He gradually became my best friend and still is.

(As told to Malini Misra)

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