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Guest post | Holly Shumas, author of Love and Other Natural Disasters

January 15, 2009

loveandothernaturaldisastersjpgToday I’d like to welcome Holly Shumas to The Printed Page. Ms. Shumas is the author of two women’s fiction books. Her current release, Love and Other Natural Disasters, is the subject of today’s guest post. Welcome Holly!


In my new novel, Love and Other Natural Disasters, Eve is 8 months pregnant when she discovers her husband has been having an emotional affair for the past year. While she’s devastated, the people around her have more mixed emotions. Some wonder if she’s taking it all too hard; after all, he didn’t sleep with the other woman. So what’s the big deal?

It’s a legitimate question. What is an emotional affair, and what’s the big deal? In addition to being a writer, I’m also a marriage and family therapist so it’s a question I’ve helped couples confront. One person is in my office saying, “But I didn’t sleep with her (or him)” and feeling truly misunderstood, and the other is saying, “It doesn’t matter! You shared everything else!” and feeling truly misunderstood. With sexual affairs, we all know where the line is; with emotional affairs, it’s much fuzzier.

Here’s my definition of an emotional affair: It’s having a relationship with someone outside of your committed relationship that involves some degree of secrecy (i.e. your partner doesn’t know how much time you spend talking to, e-mailing, or thinking about that other person), and the level of intimacy is high enough to threaten the connection with your partner. It doesn’t necessarily involve sexual attraction, though usually it does. Even if the other person didn’t initially seem that attractive, all those long talks and the feeling that you’ve met someone who “really gets you” can push it into the arena of fantasy. The other person starts to seem like a respite from any issues or problems in your committed relationship. One of the biggest dangers is that because all that energy is going into someone else, things in the primary relationship never get resolved. Instead of going back to a partner and saying, “You know, I’m unhappy about x, y, and z, let’s work on that,” the attention is going to someone else so the problems just fester; disconnection grows and the relationship falls further into disrepair. Emotional affairs, like sexual affairs, distract people from the hard work of a long-term commitment.

It was a great subject to get to explore in my novel, which I hope you’ll enjoy. I could say a lot more on the subject, and I do, over at my website: Holly Shumas. It’d be great to see you there.


Thank you Miriam for arranging this guest post and tour stop. Be sure and stop by Hachette Book Group and check out all the great books they offer.

Today’s other tour stops:

  1. January 15, 2009 9:08 am

    I’d never really thought of emotional affairs until I read this book, but now I see they can be just as hurtful as sexual affairs.

  2. January 15, 2009 10:41 am

    I have thought of this before the book. One thing I can really sense from Eve is that sharing of the little things with each someone besides your best soul mate. And carrying on for so long in secrecy. OUCH. Happy Blog Tour day! Great post.

  3. January 16, 2009 11:15 am

    Great guest post. I think this book would generate lots of discussion at a book club!

  4. January 17, 2009 10:50 am

    Terrific guest post. I really enjoyed reading the author’s thoughts on emotional affairs. I’ve always felt that they are as hurtful, if not more than a sexual affair. Sex can be used as a meaningless escape, however sharing your mind with someone almost has to involve trust, or some other deeper feelings.

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