If you are having a romantic or emotional relationship with someone else other than your partner, that is called an affair. Although several things shake marriages, affairs are the most common ones. An affair is a marital problem that interferes with the connection to your partner. But, despite what most people believe, all affairs are not the same. Therefore, the healing path may differ depending on the category.

Most affairs last for only a short while. However, there are exceptions. They occur between unmarried or married people who are committed to other persons. While others may involve sex, other affairs occur online, and participants may never meet physically.


What Is an Affair?

An affair is considered a bridge of trust. It can cause significant distress to a person, and they may question whether their partner really cares for them.

Now, there are different reasons why people cheat on their partners, including lack of sexual and emotional satisfaction as well as seeking revenge. Whichever the reason is, please try to fix things with your spouse instead of resorting to cheating.

In married people, affairs are called adultery, while in individuals who are committed to each other or common-law spouses, they are considered infidelity. Affairs also have other names depending on the type involved. Note that cheating can even happen with same-sex couples.

But it is essential to keep in mind that your definition of an affair is what is of importance. Relationships are unique and different. Therefore, what others define as an affair may differ from how you describe this relationship.


Types of Affairs

There are different categories of affairs. Some people can have a love affair, a fling or extramarital relationship. These, according to some people, are called cheating or being unfaithful. Here are the most common types of affairs:


Romantic

This is also called a love affair or an affair of the heart. Although, in most cases, sexual liaisons are not involved, sometimes they may take place between married and unmarried partners. In other concepts, they can be considered as some form of non-monogamy.


The Serial Affair

These are sex addicts or ultimate playboys affairs. They continue for so long without caring what your partner feels. People in this affair describe themselves as relatively happy with their primary relationship. But again, they feel they have never been completely fulfilled in it as sexual needs and behaviors obsess them. Although many people find this hard to believe, sex addicts feel genuinely powerless when it comes to controlling their desires. They usually don’t want their marriage to fail. In most cases, they were addicts before they got married, stopped for a while, but after realizing that their marriage can’t meet their addiction needs, they started their behaviors again.

Individuals may feel trapped by their behaviors and sometimes marriages. However, they may not say it as they don’t want to lose their partners or end their addictive behavior. This type of betrayal can be tough to overcome. Note that although many people can understand drug or alcohol addiction, not many individuals have empathy for sexual addiction.


Casual

This is a physical or emotional relationship between two people who are not married. Participants mostly engage in sexual intercourse, although there are exceptions. Individuals engage in casual affairs hoping for a formalized romantic relationship someday.


Cyber Affairs

These occur online, and participants may never get to meet. They may be anonymous, between persons who know only basic information about one another, such as names but have never met. Or, they could be between people who know each other in real life.

In most cases, an online affair can have some sexual or emotional undertones that are exercised via webcam, emails, texts, chats, and other communication forms. Although partners involved may never meet in person, they can develop an emotional/sexual connection that can injure a marriage.


Emotional Affair

It is a purely platonic relationship that can also be referred to as a romantic affair. Individuals don’t engage in sexual intimacy. Instead, they form intense emotional attachments to each other. However, an emotional affair may slowly develop into a sexual one and threaten the physical relationship of participants who are committed to other people.

Note that even though participants may not be physical, this affair can still have a significant impact on their marriage as emotional connections are far more intense than sexual ones. Participants can share intimate personal details such as where they will live, how they will survive financially, etc. As such, it can lead to an intense relationship that is not easy to break.


Sanctioned

An affair can also be seen in open relationships or marriages as well. Note that with these relationships, couples have some form of agreement, such that if one does not follow them, it can be considered as cheating. In sanctioned affairs, couples agree on the types of sexual intimacy that they can do with someone else other than their primary partner. These include swinging, polyamory, dating, etc. But, if a person goes beyond what was agreed, they’re considered to have betrayed their partner’s trust. For open relationships to work, individuals must stick by the agreement from the start, or else they can destroy their primary relationship.


How to Deal with an Affair

As we have earlier mentioned, affairs can have a significant detrimental impact on your primary relationship/ marriage. If you think it is affecting or has affected your relationship, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way of dealing with it. Sometimes affairs can break up a marriage completely while some couples may recover from this through a professional marriage coaching.

If your partner is having or had an affair, it’s normal to be hurting. Remember to give yourself time to heal. And if you had an affair and you’re feeling guilty, you can take some steps to improve things with your spouse.


Final Thoughts

Well, all these affairs are very personal to those involved. They can destroy long term relationships and, in most cases, bring intense emotions, which may be good or bad depending on the person. Some people involved in these affairs may even regret their decision and get disappointed. Thus, one should think carefully before going to this direction. If you are facing problems in your relationship, please try fixing them with your partner first.

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