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How long before a cheating spouse's emotional affair becomes a sexual affair?

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Depends on the situation. If the affair is happening where both parties are within physical proximity, not long at all. If there is distance (like far away places or within hundreds of miles) it may take longer, but, will become more of a "phone sex" scenario. If phone sex occurs, it is the same as physical sex because they are talking and fantasizing about (usually self stimulating as well) what they would be doing if they were together. So basically it is just used to close the distance, but the outcome is the same. Given time, as tension increases and phone sex becomes not enough anymore, both parties will figure out ways to make the physical contact happen regardless of distance.
When you are in an emotional affair, the next step is a ticking time bomb that is going to go off. It is never a question of if, but when, where and how.
Does it matter?An Affair is An Affair. Hard to accept but it is what it is, and you need to find a way to move forward with your life.  
There is obviously no one size fits all answer. I would like to comment on a lack of understanding of what an emotional affair is. An emotional affair is secretive. It is not a friendship shared with both husband and wife but a relationship where only one person in the marriage is involved. It consists of conversation and possibly other activities that would not take place in the presence of the spouse.  
I'm awake, I realize it's an affair. But my spouse claims that her year long affair never became physical. I have my doubts, she met him on more than one occasion and I don't understand how they just sat around a talked. Especially since they were talking daily at work and on the phone.  
Emotional, sexual, it's an affair! Your spouse is cheating! Wake Up!  
They are talking at work and on the phone? Boy oh boy, You've got to nip this in the bud. It's obvious by your message that they work together, and you know the co-worker. Do you realize that you are in a sense allowing this to happen. First off you should give her the alternative that it is you or the co-worker. If you have any chance of saving what you have with your spouse, she is going to have to look for another JOB. Most companies do not allow this type of activity to happen in the work place. Surprising she and he are still working at the same place. Your spouse is having an affair whether it be emotional or physical. Once the trust is gone, there is no marriage. Things will never be the same between the two of you, even if you reconcile. It will most likely take years for you to fully TRUST your spouse again. If you and your spouse want to save your marriage, it is suggested that the both of you seek some professional marriage counseling immediately.  
TALK WITH YOUR WIFE, and tell her how you feel. Tell her how you are having a hard time dealing with this. Ask her if she would be receptive to some canceling, because the BOTH of you need to do this together. Seek out a GOOD MARRIAGE CONCELLOR. Maybe you will find all your answers there.
Your hurting to much.
Good Luck!  
Not long if they have the opportunity to be sexual. If they let themselves be have an emotional affair, the sex is not much different, nor is it not far behind it.  
I don't think it is long either. If it is an emotional affair this can and will most of the time lead to a sexual affair.  
Fifty percent of emotional affairs turn sexual. Your spouse is getting something from the other person that he/she isn't getting from you.  
DOES IT MATTER? ITS ALL CHEATING AND NO ONE WHO IS IN A RELATIONSHIP SHOULD PLACE THEMSELVWS IN A SITUATION WHERE SOMETHONG COULD HAPPEN  
An emotional affair isn't always an affair. Two people of the opposite sex can be very close friends without it being any more than that. I go to movies with my male and female friends both, i don't think of either as a date and neither do they, only my spouse does! My partner believes that anyone i talk to that isn't built the same as me sexually is trouble and is wanting nothing more than to break up our ten year marriage. Give your spouse some room, ultimately this shows that you aren't trusting them and that is one of the big things in a relationship. If they are really in cheating mode you can't stop them anyway now can you? Constantly badgering your spouse about who they talk to, where they were, what they did will destroy the marriage faster than anything else.  
What the heck is an emotional affair? I've had physical affairs...those are pretty simple. There's a line (whatever you and your spouse agree on), and once you cross it you're cheating. But speaking as someone who's always easily and naturally formed close friendship bonds with men, the concept of an emotional affair is hard to fathom. Is it cheating just because I go out with my male friends? What about if I hang out alone with my best friend? Where's the line?
Honestly, I think the whole concept is ridiculous. Your spouse or partner is not only allowed but *entitled* to social interaction with people other than you and the kids. You cannot and will never satisfy all of his or her needs for social and intellectual companionship. And if she's not attracted to her friends, their gender is totally irrelevant. There is no reason you should be okay with a close same-sex friendship (which nearly everyone is) but call it cheating if the friend is of the opposite sex.  
Usually pretty soon. Think about it, If the two of them are attach to each other on the emotional level, then why not jump into the next level (become physical) while the chance is given.  Friend or Lover? I do agree with the one poster that it's possible to have a male friend because I have several (my husband has female friends) we have them for dinner, or one of us may have a drink or coffee with our friend.
To explain what an "emotional affair" is .... it's two people of the opposite sex who continually titillate each other by constantly flirting. Some people feel flirting is OK, but sooner or later one or the other is going to begin to take it the wrong way, or perhaps it's simply playing with fire. It happens! I have five words "One doth protest too much!" When this happens one or both people start to tell others "we're just friends" every chance they get and it gets rather tiring. People of the opposite sex that are really friends don't have to keep reminding everyone they are just friends.
Right now I have a girlfriend that is going through this. She has her marriage problems, but nothing communication wouldn't resolve. She has since met a married man whose wife lives in the States and isn't here in Canada. They started by bike riding together and going for coffee. That's fine and no one cared one way or the other. Suddenly she was protesting a little too much and seeing this fellow too much. Going over to his apartment or having him to her place on occasion when her husband was out of town. Sometimes her so-called male friend would come over while her husband was there. Still no one has said a word and it's no one's business, but now the two of them are protesting yet once again. This is usually an indication of guilt whether it's the thought pattern of an possible affair. It happens a lot! My friend has lost weight, is argumentative with friends, moody and a plain pain in the butt. It's that old guilt hitting her!
If you have nothing to hide then there is no reason the friend who is of the opposite sex can't come over for dinner and sit with you and your husband and enjoy the evening. Meeting in out of the way places creates suspicion by not only the spouse, but friends. Going to a movie or an occasional drink or a cup of coffee is fine, but when you're spending more time with your so-called friend then your mate there IS something wrong and it's called AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR!  
Usually after an emotional affair begins, the affair may last up to several weeks or months before sexual contact begins. The emotional part of it almost seems like the first time a husband and wife met. In other words, if it is done in the fashion a marriage begins, then the people committing the affair will "Get to know" each other, spend time with each other, and then eventually fall in love. The conclusion of this is usually some sort of sexual contact. It may begin with kissing, and then gradually lead up to more intimate contact. Emotional affairs are extremely dangerous! This is why if one believes their spouse may be "Drifting away" please seek professional help immediately! this is usually what destroys a marriage!  
Recent statistics state that emotional affairs are more difficult for the "cheatiavang" spouse to leave, even if not physical contact has yet taken place, than the "classical" sexual affair.  
I am dating a women that is married to a verbally abusive and controlling man I can tell you that we began an emotional affair and we fell in love soon after it became physical.


ANSWER:
I'm amazed with all of the answer here, even it's different the meaning are all the same. Emotional affair is the most dangerous affair a person can have and it does ruin the bond of marriage. When I caught my husband, first thing he told me was "were just friends." Friends who talk on the phone every single day until early morning for over two months.Just friends who never cared if he only sleep 2-3 hours every night. And they are only friends who spent time with her at her home, visiting her at work during night time, going out on a date, and if my husband can't be with her, his Friend will drive more than 100 miles so she can see him while he was working at night.
It took my husband at least 2 weeks before the emotional affair turned to more than a friend. When I got all the evidence, that's when I found out how quick my husband become addicted to this woman. He admit that they are not doing anything wrong because they haven't slept together only making out at the beach, her home, and inside the car. That is why we have separated life.
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