The Different Types of Affairs That Lead to Divorce

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The Different Types of Affairs That Lead to Divorce

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Infidelity is one of the leading causes of divorce. The loss of trust and the betrayal is too much for most spouses to deal with, and the marriage eventually ends up in divorce. When people think of affairs, they assume it is either physical or emotional. However, affairs are more complex and have more nuances that you must identify to prevent things from escalating to divorce. 

Learn more about the types of affairs and the different ways they impact a marriage. 

What is an Affair?

An affair is a dreaded term among spouses. Nothing ever hurts more than the realization that your spouse is having extramarital affairs. Whether it’s emotionally or sexually motivated, affairs can ruin a marriage.

An affair refers to the act of infidelity in a marriage or any committed relationship. When people think of the word “affair,” they associate it with an intense physical or emotional attachment to someone other than their spouse. However, most people agree that it is not a one-time event. 

Affair is a complex term to define because every relationship has different boundaries of what can be considered cheating. However, an affair is a betrayal of trust because it is a result of the cheating spouse’s decision to commit such an act. It is not a matter of chance, but choice. 

Types of Affairs

Several types of affairs exist and define the motivation for committing the unfaithful act toward one’s spouse. Identifying these motivations is a starting point in your quest for healing and to determine if your marriage is worth saving. 

1. Physical Affair

A physical affair is the most obvious and common form of cheating in a marriage. This type of relationship involves intimate sexual encounters. 

The cheating spouse may or may not have feelings toward the person they are involved with. In some cases, cheating spouses are involved in physical affairs with more than one person. Whether or not there was sexual intercourse or it was just kissing, it can still be considered an affair as long as it involved someone else aside from their spouse. 

2. Emotional (Non-Physical) Affair

An emotional affair does not necessarily entail physical attraction and sexual encounters with a lover. There are instances when a spouse develops feelings toward another person outside of their marriage without being physically intimate.

According to a study, this is the most common type of affair and often emerges in the workplace. The amount of time spent with a co-worker and finding common interests or hobbies can make two people develop an emotional attachment. This has given rise to the term “work spouse”. 

The downside to this affair is that some argue that cheating does not count unless you become intimate with the other person. However, this is a delusional way of looking at an affair. 

different type of affairs

3. Romantic Affair

The Romantic Affair is one of the most common types of affairs affecting marriages. A romantic affair can be a mix of both physical and emotional affairs. The cheating partner might feel some form of emotional attachment with the person such that they engage in regular sexual encounters.

This type of affair is what many people refer to when they think about an “affair.” This is not to say that the cheating spouse is “in love” with the other person, although they do experience intense emotions for them. In most cases, these intense emotions fade over time causing the cheater to abandon the relationship – but not until the marriage is already ruined. 

4. One-Night Stands

A one-night stand is often a one-time sexual encounter with a lover that is not your spouse. At the time of the one-night stand encounter, the cheating spouse might experience excitement from the illicit affair. Whether it happened once or repeatedly with different lovers, it can still hurt the trust in a marriage to a point that it ends in divorce. 

5. Casual Affair

This is a slight variation of the physical affair. This type of affair is far more common in a marriage than most people are aware of or acknowledge.

A casual affair is when a cheating spouse is involved in physical activity with another person aside from their spouse. They have no intention of developing a formalized relationship with their lover. Instead, they are only interested in the physical and sexual pleasures they get with whoever they are involved with at a particular time. The layman’s term for this is “fling.” 

6. Cyber Affair

With the growth of communication technology and social media, cyber affairs are becoming more common than ever before. The sad part is that many cheating spouses don’t categorize this act as “cheating,” especially when there is no physical involvement with the other person. 

A cyber affair can take place via chat, text, or email. It can involve someone that your spouse knows in real life or someone completely anonymous that they met online. While they might never meet in person, the emotional attachment that your spouse has towards their cyber lover can cause a strain on your marriage. 

affairs and the different ways they impact a marriage

7. Revenge Affair

A revenge affair is one of the rare cases on this list. It happens when the spouse that was cheated on feels so hurt and betrayed that they engage in an extramarital affair themselves. The point of engaging in an affair is an act of revenge against their cheating partner. 

While it might give some a momentary sense of satisfaction, it only hurts the marriage more and usually ends up in divorce. 

8. Exit Strategy Affair

This type of affair is more common than most people think. It’s when the spouse expedites the end of a marriage through self-sabotage, such as engaging in extramarital affairs. 

The desire to end the marriage has been brewing for a long time, either through resentment towards their spouse or a lack of love and commitment. Or it could be that they conclude that they married the wrong person. Regardless of the reason, the cheating partner engages in the affair with the sole intent of pushing their spouse to divorce them. Therefore, the affair becomes the cheating spouse’s exit strategy from the marriage. 

This type of affair is not worth saving since the other partner is already mentally and emotionally distant from the marriage. It is more common in so-called gray divorces or those couples that end up in divorce after a long-term marriage.

However, the decision to exit the marriage is not sudden; it is a buildup of several years of being unhappy in the marriage

There are instances when the cheater and the lover end up together. This relationship rarely lasts since the lover was only used as a tool to exit the marriage. 

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