Shuba (name changed) is a 27-year-old Research Associate in Bangalore.
She recently realised that her intense friendship with an ex-colleague was turning into an emotional affair. “I didn’t know there was a word for what I was doing,” she says.
Shekhar and I used to work together a couple of years back but he had moved to another city. A year back he sent me a friend request on Facebook and we started chatting. It started with general conversations about work but slowly we were talking about movies, books, our families and even our relationships. I thought it was great because we really had so much in common!
We started messaging each other constantly and though there was no sexual tension in any of our interactions I have to confess that I was flattered by the attention.
We had really honest discussions about the things that weren’t working in our relationships and our uncertainty about where our careers were heading. I had never talked about these things with my boyfriend and it felt nice to have someone who was interested in listening.
If I had a bad day at work I would tell Shekhar, if I saw a good movie I had to message him about it. I don’t think there was anything wrong about it.But I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was doing something illicit. So I put a lock on my phone and changed the passwords on my email accounts. I instinctively knew that my boyfriend shouldn’t find out about him.
Our interactions never went beyond messaging and emailing but Shekhar and I were closer than ever… I was feeling more and more disconnected with my boyfriend. Somehow the secrecy of my relationship with him was becoming exciting.I think he felt it too because his messages were becoming a little flirtatious. It was nothing outrageous, just little things like ending his messages with “I miss you”, “hugs and kisses” etc. I was drawn into it because honestly it made me feel good.
But I figured that my harmless emotional affair was slowly leading me towards full-blown infidelity. When Shekhar told me he wanted to come to Bangalore to meet me I freaked out because our connection had been limited to the virtual space so far. In almost eight months of ‘talking’ to each other through messages and emails we had never once spoken on the phone. So his proposal of meeting up suddenly made everything real. Despite my issues with my boyfriend I still wanted to make things work and if something physical happened between Shekhar and me then there would be no way to fix it, so I made up an excuse to get out of it. It's been a few months since and I know it’s a bad idea but I’m still addicted to messaging him.
To protect the identity, the person in the picture is a model and names have been changed.
Is Shuba cheating on her boyfriend, or is it just a friendship? Tell us your thoughts here or on Facebook! If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum. We are also on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.