Five Types of Affairs

marital affair emotional affairsFew things in life hurt more than being betrayed by some one you love. When a spouse cheats either emotionally, physically with a sexual affair, or with infidelity through pornography the devastation is crushing.

Five Types of Affairs

  • Low rent rendezvous
    This is your typical one night stand and may be a one-time betrayal. These often occur in conjunction with drinking and anonymity. The core of the betrayal is based upon bad choices, poor boundaries, lack of integrity, and the opportunity to act. This exercise relational quiz can help you gain understanding about the destructive emotional dance you dance when fighting with your spouse.

    • An affair of convenience or opportunity. It is not something sought out, but rather occurs as the result of an opportunity that is presented.
    • The betrayer does not want to leave the marriage.
    • There is not an ongoing relationship.
    • Does not necessarily indicate more severe problems in the marriage.
  • Lonely hearts club
    Characterized by two individuals who believe they are “in love”. The betrayer believes he or she has “fallen in love” and feels powerless over powerful emotions. The betrayer may feel guilt, but feels they are unable to be happy in their marriage and therefore must / should / or deserves to be with the affair partner.

    • Unlike low rent rendezvous this type often does indicate a deeper problem in the marriage.
    • Betrayer wants out of the marriage.
    • Betrayer seems incapable of making decisions as to what they are going to do.
  • Looking for love in all the wrong places
    These affairs are committed by those with an ongoing patter of sexual betrayal such as frequenting topless bars and/or adult bookstores, viewing pornography, compulsive masturbation, prostitution, repetitive encounters with sexual partners, and other behaviors that are destructive to both the individual and to the marriage relationship. Interestingly, this category of affairs is not about the marriage, and often the betrayer will state they do not want their marriage to fail. Betrayers often feel hopelessly trapped by their behaviors.
    This type of betrayal is especially difficult for the spouse because their suffering is not just from the betrayal, but also from their inability to understand their mate’s behavior. What the addict has done seems so foreign the spouse cannot comprehend it. Or they are in shock when they discover the sheer magnitude of the compulsive behavior (like the man who visited more than 300 prostitutes).

    • It is common for the betrayer to have made past efforts to stop the behavior, and to have actually been successful for a season, only to relapse after they believed things were better.
    • Typically the betrayer wants to save their marriage, but has a compelling drive to look elsewhere to meet their needs.
    • Often these behaviors began before marriage, stopped after marriage, and then began again after the addict realized the marriage couldn’t meet the need met by the addictive behavior.
    • This article discusses the difference between porn-related sex and healthy sex
    • This article discusses the hazards of pornography
  • Having your cake and eating it too
    This is an affair where the betrayer is involved with a single person, but at the same time he or she does not want to leave their marriage. To them, the affair partner is a “soul mate”. These affairs frequently spring from relationships where two individuals share something in common they don’t share in common with their mate. It is as if this person develops two lives.

    • Individuals want to stay married
    • However, betrayers do not want to give up the affair partner
    • The betrayers life is divided into two very distinct parts; the relationship with the affair partner and their relationship with their spouse
    • You’re not my lover; you’re my friend
      This relationship is commonly referred to as the emotional affair. Although some would not consider an emotional entanglement an affair, this type of relationship can be just as devastating and destructive as a sexual affair. If a mate is closer to a friend than to their spouse, then it’s already an affair.

      • Boundary issues are a factor
      • Betrayer keeps secrets with their friend instead of their spouse
      • Betrayer wants to stay married but does not want to choose between the friend and their spouse

 

Adapted from Rick Reynolds 5 Types of Affairs.

While the pain of infidelity is devastating it doesn’t have to equal divorce. It is possible not only to heal from an affair, but also to have a stronger marriage after than before.

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