Infidelity destroys marriages because it violates the bond that was meant to hold a couple together forever.
In your search for why affairs happen, you must know that not all affairs are the same.
Different people go into affairs for different reasons.
Some people who enter into affairs have an emotional need or lack of self-esteem that can lead them to cheat.
Others may be looking for a thrill and the excitement that comes with having someone new in their life.
Whatever the reason, it is important to understand that infidelity greatly affects a marriage.
And with this knowledge, it might interest you to know that there are various types of affairs.
Let’s see some of the most common types of marital affairs.
6 Types Of Marital Affairs
1. Emotional affair
This type of marital affair is not physical.
It can begin as a special friendship with a neighbor, work colleague, or a parent in your child’s school.
As time goes on, the friendship can develop into a more emotionally intimate friendship.
For instance, you must have heard of the term ‘work spouse.’
It basically means someone at work who plays the role of your spouse away from home.
An excuse people use for having a work spouse is that relating your problems with them helps you do your job satisfactorily and with a clear head.
Most times, a work-spouse relationship develops due to spending many working hours together between work colleagues.
In the case of an emotional affair, you might be vulnerable if you’re not getting enough emotional attention at home or if there’s chaos in your marriage.
If your spouse is always quick to point out your flaws, you can unconsciously seek an emotional affair with your friend, who showers you with compliments and talks about your good character.
Because sex is not happening in this type of affair, many people don’t regard it as one.
Emotional affairs arise from a need for admiration and affection.
And although sex is not in the picture, it doesn’t make it any less of an affair.
It can be just as damaging to a marriage if it stays unresolved.
2. Romantic affair that involves being attached
Generally, this is the type of affair people can relate to whenever affairs are mentioned.
This romantic affair begins when one spouse starts having an intense attraction to someone else who is not their partner.
The attraction is so heavy that they think they’ve fallen in love with this person and can’t seem to control their emotions.
The intense emotions will make the person believe that there’s no way the affair can be bad.
Some friendships grow into romantic affairs with time, or it can be a case of ‘love at first sight’ together with immediate infatuation.
Someone can be willing to trade a romantic affair with some guilt at the expense of a marriage that makes them miserable.
These problems in marriages are the justifications some people need to continue a romantic affair.
Also, there may be an internal conflict going on with the erring spouse, and they’ll be torn between continuing the affair and trying to fix their marriage.
The problem in their marriage can be emotional or physical separation that has gone on for a long time.
The indecision on which step to take can be caused by some other factors in the marriage.
Most times, they know that the marriage is technically over but will not want to go their separate ways due to their children, financial security, or other valid reasons.
3. One-night stand
There’s nothing accidental about a one-night stand if you consciously decide to indulge.
But in most cases, you’ll find the erring spouse acting surprised that they cheated.
Often, they convince themselves that they have no idea how it happened.
For this type of people, when describing an affair, they usually say, ‘It just happened.’
Although it’s wrong on all levels, they can excuse impulsive one-night stands on excessive alcohol intake, the heat of the moment, temporary insanity, or a belief that they can get away with it.
One-night stands are usually born out of opportunity or convenience, and there’s no emotional attachment.
Business trips, lonely travelers, and workers in a shared office setting are mostly caught up in the convenient settings that one-night stands present.
Most people who engage in one-night stands remain in their marriages but live with the guilt and fear that what they did will be out someday.
And in their marriages, there are often no problems or dissatisfactions.
In fact, spouses in this type of affair go to great lengths to keep it a secret because they don’t want to hurt their spouses.
Curiosity can also make someone have a one-night stand.
Perhaps they were sexually inexperienced when they got married or married at an early age.
The curiosity about what it feels like to have sex with someone other than their spouse can be the driving force behind the affair.
4. Sex addict affair
Sex addiction arises when one-night stands graduate into extended affairs with different partners.
The compulsions of a sex addict mean that no matter how many times they cheat on their spouse, they might never be truly fulfilled.
They are caged by their obsessive needs and often feel helpless to control their desires.
Just like one-night stands, most sex addicts don’t want their marriages to fail.
But then, they realize that their marriage can’t meet all their sexual needs.
It can even extend to sexual behaviors like masturbation, prostitution, visiting strip clubs, cybersex, or pornography.
Sex addicts usually attach themselves to behaviors and people who meet their insatiable needs.
If left untreated, this internally destructive addiction can cause severe problems for them.
Sex addiction is actually a thing and needs treatment for the patient to recover fully.
It is important to seek professional help as soon as possible if you think you or your partner may be a sex addict.
With proper guidance and support, it is possible to get over this addiction and still have a successful marriage.
5. Online or cyber affair
An online or cyber affair is an entirely modern type of affair.
Although it takes place strictly online, a cyber affair is not less damaging or dangerous than any other type of affair.
While it can be anonymous in most cases, it’s the same sexual and emotional undertones that are present.
You’re taking energy away from your present marriage when you’re invested in an online affair by a webcam, email, or texting.
But instead of ending up in a hotel room, you end up in a chat room.
Some people still ask if cyber affairs are valid affairs since there’s no sex or physical contact.
No matter how you want to turn it, cheating remains cheating.
Filming sex acts with a webcam, cybersex, having intimate chat sessions, or similar actions will set off the same feelings that would be triggered in a physical affair.
The same emotional betrayal is present and it can still be a huge blow to the self-esteem of the betrayed person.
It can create a wedge of mistrust between spouses that will take some effort to repair.
6. Exit strategy affair
The exit strategy affair happens when you want to initiate the end of your marriage.
It can come from a build-up of distrust, resentment, and tension over a long time.
Notwithstanding the marriage vows, some marriages are meant to end before death parts the couple.
You might discover that you married the wrong person for the wrong reason or that you’ve grown apart from your spouse.
Having an affair becomes your exit strategy.
You might see it as a window to start preparing yourself emotionally and mentally for the next phase of your life.
Most times, this type of affair makes up for what may be lacking in a marriage and can last as long as the marriage dies a slow death.
The affair partners can often dream of and discuss starting a new life together after the end of the marriage.
Also, this type of affair can hinder the success of all efforts to save a dying marriage.
In the end, however, this type of affair leaves the partners unsatisfied, and a partner may grovel back to try to make their marriage work.
There are many types of affairs, and we’ve seen some of them in the list above.
For different people, there are different reasons for having affairs.
When you understand the reasons for their actions, it’ll help you heal from the trauma, strengthen you, and help you remain in the relationship.
Or it can help speed up your healing after you leave the marriage.