Types of Affairs

The Conflict Avoidance Affair – One may resort to an affair when there is a lot of conflict and they perceive it the easiest way to get their needs met. These types of affairs are usually short lived and may happen more than once. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills helps the couple to address unresolved resentments. Clinical issues like depression, anxiety, explosiveness, obsessive compulsion, narcissism, etc. may be the reason for the avoidance. These issues often require therapy in order to help the couple open the lines of communication. If the underlying issues can be resolved these couples are usually able to salvage the marriage.

 

Intimacy Avoidance Affair – This type of affair allows couples to maintain a “business-like” marriage without any emotional ties allowing them to sustain an emotionally distant marriage. This type of affair often repeats many times during this type of marriage. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills helps the couple to address unresolved resentments. Clinical issues like depression, anxiety, explosiveness, obsessive compulsion, narcissism, etc. may be the reason for the avoidance. These issues often require therapy in order to help the couple open the lines of communication. If the underlying issues can be resolved these couples are usually able to salvage the marriage.

 

Individual Stage Affair – This type of affair serves a specific purpose during a season of an individual’s life. ie. middle-age crisis, empty nest, depression, empty feelings, etc. Men and women may turn to a lover to revitalize self, individuate or mask anxiety, depression or other unwelcome feelings that they experience as a result of the existential anxiety of facing one’s old age and mortality or one’s spiritual void. A partner may turn to an extramarital affair as a way to affirm their sense of masculinity or femininity. Some extramarital affairs are about yearning and loss and the freedom to enact one’s own desires and fantasies, which has very little to do with the marriage itself. Therapy can help work through these emotions and help the couple renegotiate their relationship. If the underlying issues can be resolved these couples are usually able to salvage the marriage.

 

Sexual Addiction Affairs – This type of affair is a direct result of a spouse’s addiction to sexual activities outside of the marriage. Sexual addicts, like any addicts, are compulsive and display poor impulse control. They use sex over and over again to numb inner pain and/or a sense of emptiness. Generally, among married couples, men are sexual addicts more often than women. Sexual addicts are compulsively attracted to the high and the anxiety release of sexual orgasm. But such release often comes with a price — feelings of shame and worthlessness. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills are not enough to restore marriages having sexual addiction affairs. The addiction must be confronted and resolved to rebuild trust and a sense of safety in the offended spouse. If the addiction goes into remission these marriages can be saved. If the addiction continues to recur, these marriages often do not last.

 

Accidental-Brief Affairs – This type of affair is neither planned nor characteristic of the person. It “just happens” when a person is at the right (wrong) place at the right time; often it surprises the person who commits the infidelity. Curiosity, pity, drunkenness, and even politeness may lead to such a brief and often never to be repeated affair. These types of affairs require therapy to expand insight and establish more effective boundaries in the relationship. These couples are usually able to salvage the marriage.

 

Philandering & Other Individual Tendencies – Some individuals are prone to infidelity, often due to insecurity and low self-esteem and a constant need to “score,” conquer or get affirmation about themselves. Narcissistic and impulsive individuals may be especially prone to marital infidelity. Many men are socialized to ‘score’ and get reinforcement for womanizing. Philanderers perceive extramarital sex as an entitlement of gender or status and often take advantage of opportunities without guilt or withdrawal symptoms. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills are not enough to restore marriages having sexual addiction affairs. The addiction must be confronted and resolved to rebuild trust and a sense of safety in the offended spouse. If the addiction goes into remission these marriages can be saved. If the behavior continues to recur, these marriages often do not last.

 

Retribution Affairs – Sometimes, one partner wants to “get back” at the other partner by having an affair. This may be payback for the other person having an affair, withholding money, love, emotion or any another perceived wrongdoing. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills helps the couple to address unresolved resentments. Clinical issues like depression, anxiety, explosiveness, obsessive compulsion, narcissism, etc. may be the underlying issue. These issues require therapy to address in order to help the couple be able to open the lines of communication. If the underlying issues can be resolved these couples are usually able to salvage the marriage.

 

Bad Marriage Affairs – This kind of affair is a direct result of a bad marriage with poor communication, intimacy, support or sexuality. It can also arise from incompatible cultural and familial values. When there is marital dissatisfaction, discontent and lack of love, one or both partners may be seeking comfort and intimacy in another lover’s arms. Dissatisfied spouses who experience their partners as emotionally or sexually withholding or view their partners as easily sexualizing others or as moody are especially vulnerable to affairs. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills helps the couple to address unresolved issues and improve marital satisfaction. Clinical issues like depression, anxiety, explosiveness, obsessive compulsion, narcissism, etc. may be the reason for the conflict. These issues require therapy to address in order to help the couple be able to open the lines of communication. If the underlying issues can be resolved these couples are usually able to salvage the marriage.

 

Exit Affairs – “Affair exiters” use the affair as a jumping board to end a marriage. This can be a conscious or unconscious act intended to ensure that a backup relationship is in place before leaving the original marriage. The left-partner often blames the affair rather than looking at how their marriage got to this point. These marriages are very difficult to repair because one individual has reached their breaking point and has decided they are better off out of the relationship. The best course for the partner who wants the marriage in this case is to let the marriage go, focus on their own healing and move on with their life. Continuing to “fight” for the marriage only drives a deeper wedge between the two. “Letting go” may be the only way to “encourage” the exiting spouse to reconsider the relationship as it helps them seriously consider the reality of divorce.

 

Parallel Lives Affairs – These kinds of affairs include those who are involved in long term extramarital relationships while continuing to be part of the original marital dyad. Such extramarital relationships are often known, accepted or tolerated by the spouse and other family members but are neither addressed nor talked about. If the offending spouse is unrepentant, it is best if the offended spouse makes moves to indicate the marriage is nearing its end. When confronted the offending partner is forced to make a decision whether to repair the marriage or sanction the divorce. Unless the affairing spouse focuses on repairing himself, these types of affairs are very difficult to repair.

 

Online Affairs – Online affairs have become extremely prevalent since the inception of the Internet and the proliferation of online dating, chat rooms, messaging and pornography. The fact that there is no actual physical contact during the sexual act often intensifies the relationship and increases its potential to be highly disruptive to the individual and the family. Improving communication and conflict resolution skills are not enough to restore marriages having sexual addiction affairs. The addiction must be confronted and resolved to rebuild trust and a sense of safety in the offended spouse. If the addiction goes into remission these marriages can be saved. If the addiction continues to recur, these marriages often do not last.


 

Are you doing the right things in your marriage? Sizzle Mindset: Seven Secrets to Keep the Passion Alive in Your Marriage has been written to encourage couples to focus on what really matters to keep things sizzling hot in their marriage.

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