Guarding Against the 5 Most Common Types of Affairs

Betrayal is one of the most painful emotions that we experience in the context of relationships. It can happen when your partner is unfaithful. 

But do you know that an affair doesn’t have to be a sexual relationship in order to cause pain to our partner? For Daniel and myself, we make it a point to guard against platonic friendships that can potentially cross the line. We believe it’s not about being paranoid, but being proactive at protecting our marriage. 

In this post, we hope to elaborate on the different types of affairs so that you, too, can fortify your marriage against them. 

An emotional affair usually starts off as an innocent friendship, that escalates, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, into an intimate emotional connection. Many times, a strained relationship in the home may make one spouse more vulnerable for this.
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The 5 Most Common Types of Affairs 

Here are some of the most common types of affairs and how we can avoid them: 

The “Accidental” One-Night Stand 

One night stands are common events in movies and books, and we tend to brush them off as trivial. In real life, when they happen to a married person, it still carries a tremendous blow of betrayal. 

Many one night stands occur during business trips, when a lonely traveler looks for comfort in another person, sometimes with a paid professional sex worker. Other times, intoxication with alcohol may be a culprit, or an impulsive quest for pleasure. 

Although some married persons attest to the one-night stand being purely “accidental,” it may not always be as unplanned as it seems. In fact, a person who engages in a one night stand several times may become a serial one-night-stand-er, living for the emotional boost of the moment. 

 One way of guarding against this type of affair is identifying when these unhealthy desires take place: is it more common after a stressful day at work? After a fight with your spouse? Finding healthier ways of dealing with difficult life circumstances can help prevent the fall into a clearly unhealthy one-night stand. 

The Emotional Affair

The Emotional Affair is dubbed so because it can be a non-physical relationship, but an emotional connection is there.

It can happen between co-workers who “just understand each other,” or with a neighbor, or even another parent at your child’s school or extracurricular activities. It usually starts off as an innocent friendship, that escalates, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, into an intimate emotional connection.

Many times, a strained relationship in the home may make one spouse more vulnerable for this. For example, if one’s partner is always nitpicking, having this other friend always overflowing with praise and appreciation may cause a clear comparison.

But just because there may not be any physical intimacy does not mean it won’t be devastating when your spouse finds out. The problem is, if you are not aware that infidelity can be a purely emotional affair, you may not be ready to identify the danger signs.

But now that you know, it’s crucial to evaluate the state of your friendships apart from your spouse. If you see any signs of an emotional closeness with someone that you don’t get from your spouse, it may be time to set healthy boundaries. If you need to cut off the ties, do so, as soon as possible.

The Romantic Affair

The romantic affair is when the married partner believes he has fallen in love with the other person. Most of the time, when we think of affairs, this is the kind of relationship that comes to mind: where a married person is attracted to a third party and chooses to be with her rather than his spouse.

The presence of strong emotions makes this a very difficult relationship to end. Sometimes, the intensity of these feelings may be used as a justification for the unfaithful partner’s actions.

Purely Online Cyber Affair 

Born in the Information Age, the online affair, also known as cyber affair, is a relationship cultivated through online means, such as chat, email, text, or video calls. It may be between people who have never met in person, sometimes even anonymously, or it may also happen with someone that the married person knows in real life. 

When a relationship online comes to include unhealthy emotional attachment, with or without sexual undertones, it can be considered a cyber affair. Even though the third party is not present in person, the intensity of emotional intensity, with or without the possibility of sexual innuendoes, can put a strain on the marriage relationship. 

Just like in an emotional affair, one way to steer clear of this kind of affair is to remain open with your spouse about your emotional needs. It will also be important to evaluate your intimacy with friends you communicate with online, in order to make sure you stay clear of certain boundaries. 

The Revenge Affair 

Sometimes, when couples are unable to deal with conflict, anger, and bitterness, one or both spouses may resort to having an affair as a way to “get back” at their partner. 

One unique characteristic of this kind of affair is that instead of keeping it under wraps, the cheating partner goes out of his way to make sure his spouse knows about it. Someone who struggles with narcissism may even opt to cheat with someone close to his partner in order to cause even more devastating trauma. 

This kind of affair can compound an already shaky marriage, and lead to ugly divorces or separations. 

If you feel like you or your spouse has a tendency to exact revenge in whatever way, we encourage you to get help in finding alternative ways of dealing with intense feelings. Learning healthy communication may be a good first step, as you will find tools for expressing your feelings in a healthy way. 

Keeping Communication Open

One of the most important foundations of a healthy marriage is to keep communication lines open, and it also serves as a safeguard against one or both of you falling to the temptation of an extramarital affair. 

 If you feel like you and your partner could benefit from learning healthier ways of communicating, we encourage you to enlist in seminars, workshops, or even book a coaching session with us. We want to help you fortify your marriage against infidelity and the pain it causes. 

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