My best friend and I have been close for about 20 years. We’re both artists in our 40s who sometimes collaborate. There has never been anything even remotely sexual or romantic about our relationship. I am happily single, and he is very unhappily married, with toddlers for whom he is the primary caregiver. His wife is brilliant and has a very high-pressure, time-consuming job. She and I are friendly but have never been especially close. I socialize frequently with him, regularly with the whole family, and sometimes just with her.
He’s very unhappy in their marriage (as is she, I think). He talks about it with me a lot. A LOT. I try to steer the conversation to other subjects, but it seems like it helps him to talk about it, and he’s so very, very sad all the time now. When I’m with her, she sometimes talks about it, but not as much. If it matters, I have never thought they were well suited—they do not share core values. While they are both beautiful people whom I adore, I have no desire to date either of them, even if they were single. I would not even consider being involved with either while they’re still married. But are he and I having an emotional affair? If yes, am I morally obligated to stop?