Your partner having an affair is a painful experience of betrayal. The road to repair is often long, emotionally draining, fraught with ups and downs, but can ultimately lead to healing. Often times, one of the first questions we hear a hurt partner ask, is “why?”
There are many different types of affairs, each with their own reasons “why.” The goal of this article is not to cause more harm, make excuses for, judge, or shame anyone; only to lead to a greater understanding of the characteristics of each type of affair, with the hope that a greater understanding will help you on the journey towards healing.
Six Types of Affairs
The one night stand
This type of affair is a one-time situation often due to a lack of good boundaries, drinking or anonymity. There is not an ongoing relationship with the affair partner and most of the time, the betrayer will keep that secret to not hurt their spouse. In this type of infidelity, the betrayer often wants to stay and make their marriage work since there is no emotional attachment to the affair partner.
Fallen in Love
The unfaithful spouse believes that they have fallen in love with their affair partner and they are convinced that they will not be happy unless they can be with this other person, their “soul mate.” The betrayer will re-write their marital story in their own way to say that they were never happy in their marriage to begin with. However, they also feel guilty about being in the affair. Many times, they will decide to stay in their marriage due to the feeling of guilt or thinking it is the right thing to do.
This type of betrayal consists of ongoing extramarital, sexual behaviors such as frequenting strip clubs, watching pornography, compulsive masturbation, prostitution, multiple sexual partners, etc. Often, this type of affair is not about the marriage and the unfaithful spouse will want to save their relationship. Typically, they are enslaved by their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors to meet and satisfy their sexual longings. These behaviors usually have been going on for longer than the relationship and would have happened no matter their marital status. Often, the sexual addiction must be treated before the marriage can be fully repaired.
Wanting the Marriage and the Affair
This type of infidelity is when the affair partner (AP) is integrated into the life of the unfaithful spouse. There is a notion that they can have their marriage and the AP…it’s the infamous “have their cake and eat it too” situation. In this arrangement, the unfaithful spouse has no intention of leaving their spouse or ending the affair to the point where at times they may financially support the AP. They often will report having high marital satisfaction and will choose to stay in the marriage over the AP after discovery is made. The level of betrayal and lies in this type of affair is so great that it is difficult for the mate to feel any hope of ever trusting the unfaithful spouse again because they have kept an entire portion of their lives from their partner.
There are times when being friends or co-workers go too far. In this scenario, the affair partner provides emotional support to the unfaithful spouse that is then hid from their mate through a web of lies. A lack of sexual involvement may allow the unfaithful spouse to try and justify the relationship with the AP. The betrayal felt by the hurt party is just as real as if sexual activity were involved. You can read more about emotional affairs here.
This is characterized by the compulsion to move from relationship to relationship to feel a love that never ends, however unrealistic that may be. This type of affair is most frequently committed by females, in a desire to continue to find “the one.” The unfaithful spouse appears ambivalent to their marriage and will attest that their AP is their soul mate, not seeing any of their flaws. This cycle will continue until the unfaithful spouse seeks help for this obsession and compulsion for that feeling of being in love.
No matter the type of affair, all affairs hurt. It may seem hopeless that there can be recovery. However, with professional help, dedication, and work, you and your relationship can be healed.
We specialize in infidelity recovery and are here to help. Schedule an appointment today to begin the healing process.
Also, check out our other related articles: Nine Initial Steps to Move Forward After the Affair, and The Seven Dreadful Actions: What Not To Do After An Affair.