I had hoped to re-publish here a blog post by musician, writer and artist Carsie Blanton titled “Emotional Affairs Are Not a Real Problem.” But I have not yet heard back from her to see if Planet Waves has permission. So instead, I’m going to direct you to the piece here on Blanton’s own blog.
Here’s how the piece begins:
I’ve been coming across a lot of articles about emotional affairs, and they give me the heeby-jeebies. I find the “emotional affair” to be a vague and unhelpful concept, whose primary function seems to be introducing an extra helping of paranoia and guilt into our relationships.
Articles like this one (and this one) remind me of articles on fad diets: they start by convincing you that there’s a problem (“Are you having an emotional affair?”), and then they offer you a solution that is vague, unscientific, and likely to create more problems (“You need to work on your marriage!”).
So, no. I don’t think emotional affairs are a real problem. If they seem like a problem, I’d wager that you probably have bigger problems – and probably not the problems you’d expect.
What follows is Blanton’s description of five real relationship problems, and her philosophy of continual communication, negotiation and, if necessary, recognition of when it is no longer healthy and enjoyable to be partnered. That these thoughts are coming so articulately from someone on the cusp of turning 30 strikes me as a genuine bright spot in a landscape populated with Millennial generation hookup culture and fears of being vulnerable and intimate. I’m curious to hear your thoughts here on Blanton’s full article.