I recently heard Dave Carder present on "Close Calls", 19 signs that a friendship will potentially lead to an affair. It was at the 2009 Smart Marriages Conference in Orlando. I have never heard anybody articulate how well meaning people wind up in affairs as well as he did. Affairs are often the result of a dangerous partner profile, an old flame "the ex" or platonic friendships that become close call friendships. Here are the signs to watch out for on friendships:
1. You save topics of conversation only for this friend
2. You share spousal difficulties with them - a form of criticism towards your spouse "you are a woman, help me understand how this works"
3. Your friend shares his/her relationship difficulties with you
4. You anticipate seeing your friend more than your spouse (we tend to see our spouses at the 2 worst times in the day - the morning rush and the evening exhaustion)
5. You begin comparing your spouse to your friend
6. You show more concern about your friend than your spouse
7. You provide special treats for your friend
8. You fantasize about marriage with this friend
9. You spend more time alone with this friend than your spouse
10. Your spouse does not have access to all your conversations (cell phone, texts, social media etc)
11. You spend money on your friend without your spouse's knowledge
12. You begin having conflicts with your spouse over this friendship
13. You lie to spend more time with this friend (go to work early, stay late, Bible study, praise band etc)
14. You hide interactions with your friend from your spouse (don't smile at me at the get-together, church cookout, etc my husband/wife is watching)
15.You accuse your spouse of being jealous when he/she brings up the friendship
16. You develop special rituals with your friend - which you both highly anticipate
17. Your friend shares feelings or touches you and you inwardly response - inner shiver
18. Sexual content becomes a part of your conversations
19. You do corporate dating - you are both participating in business travel for your company, church ministry etc where you get entertained, eat, drink and stay in the same hotel.
Dave Carder also shared that the dangerous partner profile is an individual who's personality, character and interests fit with our own needs or something lacking from our marriage. The 'old flame'/ex-factor is a problem because we already had feelings for them in the past. Calling them to meet a current need e.g. financial difficulties can lead to an affair. Lesson in all this, value your marriage and start talking to your spouse about any unmet needs in your relationship. Seek help through attending marriage enrichment workshops or a family therapist. If you need to find a relationship class or a marriage enrichment workshop in Palm Beach County or Broward send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about Relationship Classes & Enrichment Sessions. If you live elsewhere in Florida or outside the State, I will try my level best to direct you to a nearby resource.