3. WHY

TYPES OF AFFAIRS 

Relationships are complicated and no two affairs are exactly alike. That is why you need a therapist to help you customize treatment that fits you. Nonetheless, there are some categories of affairs that are helpful to understand and discuss as a way to shed light on the motivations underneath the affair. Understanding these motivations can help in the healing process.

We ask couples to review the types of affairs and discuss which one(s) fits you the best.

EMOTIONAL AFFAIR

  • Starts as “just a special friendship”

  • Often with a co-worker, a neighbor, or a parent at one of your kid’s activities.

  • Feels closer to the other party than spouse.

  • Often complain about shortfalls of spouse.

  • May experience increasing sexual tension or chemistry

  • Frequent Contact

  • Constant Thoughts

  • Feeling Understood

  • Inappropriate Sharing

  • Unfair Comparisons

  • Secrecy

  • Spending Time Together

  • Because physical sex is not involved, tell self that an affair is not really happening


ROMANTIC AFFAIR.   

 

Emotional affair PLUS

  • Intense attraction to another person

  • “Love at first sight” accompanied by instant infatuation.

 

CONFLICT AVOIDANT AFFAIR. 

  • One partner lacks the ability to stand up for themselves Marriage deteriorates due to ongoing conflict over

  • unresolved differences.

  • Emotions suppressed.

  • Feelings of anger or annoyed but avoid the issue to avert conflict.

INTIMACY AVOIDER AFFAIRS

  • Partner(s) is frightened of intimacy.

  • Anger dominates relationship.

  • Verbal or physical violence used to avoid vulnerability.

  • The affair reinforces disdain for dependency.

  • More “fight” than “flight.”

  • Mirror opposite of conflict avoiders.


ONE NIGHT STAND

  • Justified by temporary insanity, the heat of the moment, lots of alcohol

  • Compartmentalize as “just sex”

  • Secrecy
     

SEX ADDICTION

  • Compulsions and obsessions which are centered on sex.

  • Sex is used compulsively to numb their inner pain and emptiness.

  • Secrets kept.

  • Sex acts as self-medication.

  • Acting out partner seeks constant reassurance and approval.

  • Acting out is an attempt to fill emptiness.

  • One partner engages in the addictive behavior and the other enables the behavior. 

  • Compulsive use of affairs (want to stop but cannot).

(For more our Sex Addiction vs Infidelity discussion)


LOVE ADDICT AFFAIR

  • Compulsion and obsession are centered on the relationship

  • Looking for “the one”, soulmate, or Mr. or Mrs. Right. 

  • Spends inordinate amounts of time also obsessing over what their affair partner thinks of them.

 

MIDLIFE CRISIS OR EMPTY-NEST AFFAIR

  • Search for someone to care for one’s needs after a lifetime of sacrifices and caring for others.

  • Self-sacrifice patterns rooted in childhood.

  • Unfaithful partner puts aside his/her own needs but blames partners. 

REVENGE AFFAIR

  • Objective is to cause pain to spouse.

  • Want to be desired by someone after feeling rejected.

  • Not enjoyed by either party


CYBER AFFAIR

  • Often anonymous

  • May be emotional and/or sexual

  • Fantasy is central to experience

    
EXIT AFFAIR

  • Way to end marriage by self-sabotage.

  • Believe married to the wrong person.

  • Usually affair is unsatisfying.

  • Find justification for leaving the marriage by engaging in affair.

  • Build up to affair over many years.

  • Usually leaves no room for reconciliation