All the vows premised on the idea of an unbreakable bond stands broken in light of affairs and infidelity. However, like everything, the idea of affairs is far from being black and white. It’s difficult to decide who the perpetrator is and who the victim is. Similarly, it’s challenging to overcome the aftermath of such instances.
Like every other aspect of relationships, affairs are coloured with a layer of nuances that make it difficult for us to understand why people do it. To overcome the aftermath, knowing why things happen the way does help us as it answers some questions and gains some closure. To understand the “why”, we need to establish that not all affairs are similar. There are different faces of affairs, just like the diverse faces of infidelity. Let’s delve deeper and find out about affairs, the different kinds, and the motivation.
8 Different Types of Affairs to Know about
1. Emotional Affairs
This kind of affair is usually non-physical at the start. It develops from a friendship with a co-worker, a neighbour, or a parent at one of your kid’s activities. Eventually, it morphs into something more than a friendship- an emotional escape of sorts.
A survey by Simply Hired revealed that 50% of female employees and 44% of male employees admitted to having a “work spouse” at some point in their careers, and the not innocent kind. It can be due to various reasons: to release work stress, increase job satisfaction, proximity for long hours, lack of emotional intimacy in existing relationships etc. These reasons can make a person emotionally vulnerable, making them seek emotional validation outside the marriage/relationship.
In these kinds of an affair, physical sex may or may not be on the table. At the core of these affairs lies the human need for affection and admiration. Such affairs, however, may lead to physical affairs(even though this may not be the case). Like every other affair, the person in an emotional affair also tries to hide their relationship and interaction because personal emotions lie at the core of their marriage/relationship. Offloading it somewhere else may destruct the sanctity of the relationship.
2. Romantic Affairs
This is the most traditional form of affair that people acquaint themselves with. It emanates when one person is intensely attracted to another person. It might lead to guilt, but such affairs are rationalised in various ways. Those in these relationships believe that since their love is so intense, the right thing to do is honour those feelings, no matter how dishonourable the act itself is.
Marital/relationship defects and instability may lead to such affairs, primarily because the person seeks stability, love and sexual attachment. However, this can lead to a personal conflict where the person would want to go back and fix their current relationship. Ending a relationship or marriage can be a tough decision given various other factors such as children, financial security, failure etc. These relationships never really work out and only cause distress in the existing relationships.
3. Accidental Affairs
In other words, the affair involves a “one-night stand”, a “drunken mistake”. It’s accidental because they don’t intend to start an affair; they give in to the momentary lust. The phrase “it just happened” is majorly used to describe this kind of affair. It can be due to temporary loss of judgment, alcohol consumption, the heat of the moment etc. There is no emotional attachment involved. It can happen on business travels or in an office setting where workers work close and spend a lot of time, between neighbours and close friends.
Those involved in an accidental affair often want to stay in the existing marriage because they feel guilt and fear. Nobody ever does it on purpose. Sometimes, it can happen out of curiosity or boredom. Those who are married to the wrong person or are sexually inexperienced may want to explore. Once again, an affair like this, like all affairs, only stands to harm existing relationships, with no one being the winner.
4. The Sex Addict’s Affair
This affair emanates from sexual addiction: when you get into one night stands with multiple partners or excessive sex in general. There are a lot of famous examples of such behaviour: Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton etc. Sometimes, sex addiction and infidelity emanate from it become a legacy where the men in the house are committed to their family and have numerous affairs out of it. The one cheating often is chained by their own obsessive needs and is unable to control them.
Addiction is not a choice; it’s something that requires extensive treatment and therapy. Sex addiction is like an internally destructive pattern where you don’t want to leave the marriage, but you aren’t sexually happy in it. Spouses of sex addicts find it hard to understand this behaviour, and they aren’t open to empathising with it. Despite the requirement to show empathy and understanding, it is essential not to put up with behaviour that harms you mentally.
5. The Love Addict’s Affair
This affair involves love addiction which is different from sex addiction as the centre of this is relationship and not sex. This may be called the ultimate road to finding “the one”. However, many emotions are at play at the start of the relationship that can cause frustration, depression and even hope.
A love addict may cry about how their existing marriage lacks love and affection. Moreover, the love addict may spend a considerable amount of their time trying to read their partner’s feelings. Love addicts hold high expectations, and when their romantic fantasies are not indulged, they break their romance by finding love outside their relationship.
6. The Revenge Affair
The phrase “don’t get mad, get even” ring a bell? This pretty much sums up the essence of revenge affairs. A revenge affair generally takes place intending to get back at your spouse or partner. It can be dangerous because most of the times, the partner purposely lets their partner know of their affair. It can lead to separations and divorces. In some cases, the person is more likely to have an affair with the close ones of their other partner so that the damage is traumatic when the affair is known.
If self-esteem has been compromised, then a revenge affair is a reliable way of making the partner pay in pain. However, these affairs don’t have the intended effect because, as the saying goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Moreover, revenge affairs don’t just impact the person and their partner on whom the revenge is sought but also the one with whom the affair is going. They are used as a pawn in this plan when they did nothing to deserve such treatment. In a few cases, when partners, primarily men, find that their partner was involved in an affair, they may resort to domestic violence.
7. Cyber Affairs
This classifies as the modern type of affair which generally takes place online. It may or may not be anonymous but involves all kinds of emotional and sexual overtones. You invest in these kinds of affairs the same as other kinds. Some people do come up with the idea that since there is no physicality involved, it can’t be an affair. But that’s the thing; it is an affair because cheating is, after all, cheating.
Cybersex, filming sex, intimate chatting triggers the same feelings that would have been there in a face-to-face affair. The advantage of this affair is that individuals can choose whatever identity they want, think before they act, live their fantasy.
8. The Exit Strategy Affair
This is a kind that happens when the person wants to end their marriage. It’s a sort of self-sabotage wherein you try to expedite the end due to tension, resentment, distrust etc. Sometimes people change, or maybe you married the wrong person, and now you are tired of maintaining the farce. The affair then is an exit strategy and a way of preparing your life for the next chapter. You may seek things that lacked in your marriage. Sometimes this affair can last long, even after your marital commitments end.
When you are involved in this exit strategy affair, your interest and ability to save your existing marriage dies. These affairs don’t necessarily last long and are as unsatisfying as the current marriage/relationship. But, in some scenarios, it may also last. Whatever be the case, these affairs often are accompanied by grey divorce.
Those mentioned above are the popularly classified types of affairs. Knowing the kinds may not ease your pain, but it will help you understand the motivation behind acts of infidelity and adultery. It may help you heal. It provides you with great insights into your spouse’s behaviour and where it all went lacking. Remember to be kind to yourself, give yourself time to heal and take care!
If ever you find yourself veering towards having an affair, reflect, communicate and either stop yourself in time or break up with your partner; do the right thing.