A client I’ll call Sharon knew that something was missing in her marriage. She and Robert used to be passionate about each other, she said, but after 12 years and two children, she felt removed. Robert never asked her about work or what she was worried about or felt like doing.

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She was no longer attracted to him, and they rarely spent time alone together.

If friends confide more to each other than to their spouses, they are having an emotional affair, expert says.

Instead, she threw her energy into raising the children and her job as a paralegal. Life had become bland.

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Then there was Todd. He’d been at the law firm longer than Sharon and showed her the ropes. They would discuss complicated cases, and Sharon found his enthusiasm engaging. They’d grab coffee together, and soon coffee became lunch, and lunch led to phone calls and e-mails as their conversations went from professional to deeply personal.

Sharon thought about Todd all the time, and told me she hadn’t felt this alive since she and Robert had started dating. While she recognized a crush, her excitement about seeing him, her pleasure in his jokes, her relief in confiding in someone who got her — she told herself there was nothing wrong with what she was doing because they weren’t having sex.

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