Why People Cheat: 3 Types of Affairs Unveiled

Affairs,Couples Therapy in NYC,How to Save My Marriage,Travis Atkinson
Couple embracing after healing from infidelity, featured in Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling blog discussing three types of affairs and exploring reasons for cheating, serving couples in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Why People Cheat: 3 Types of Affairs Unveiled

Table of Contents

Welcome to the Central Park of Marital Bliss (Watch Your Step, There Are Rats)

Picture your marriage like Central Park. The verdant oasis in the concrete jungle of New York City—where lovebirds flock for boat rides, couples snuggle under blankets during outdoor concerts, and wedding proposals unfold under starlit skies. It’s tranquil, scenic, and the pride of Manhattan. Everything seems perfect. But when you think you’re in your rom-com finale, a rat scurries in, nibbling on your picnic sandwiches, and suddenly your peaceful marriage—erm, park—is thrown into chaos. We enter the realm of answering why people cheat.

That rat represents the unwelcome introduction of affairs, including sexual and emotional infidelity, into your marital sanctuary. “Affairs?” you might gasp. “Cheating? In my perfect Central Park matrimony? It’s more likely than you think!”

Happy couple smiling together after successful marriage counseling at Loving at Your Best, having healed from emotional and sexual infidelity.

I’ve spent years as a seasoned marriage therapist in New York City, guiding couples through the treacherous landscape of betrayal, extramarital affairs, online infidelity, romantic infidelity, emotional and sexual infidelity, sexual fantasies, and trust issues. I’ve got tales that could fill a Woody Allen film or maybe even a mini-series. What I’ve found is that the reason people cheat isn’t always as straightforward as ordering a New York slice at 2 a.m. No, the reasons for affairs are often as complicated as the MTA subway map.

Understanding the types of affairs that sneak into marriages, like a subway rat searching for a dropped hot dog, is the first step in addressing the ensuing trust issues. It’s like knowing your enemy, except here, the enemy isn’t always external. Sometimes, the enemy shares your Netflix account and argues over your TV show choices.

In the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, you’d be surprised how many couples fall into the traps of relationship-driven affairs, compulsive affairs, and escape affairs. Need to familiarize yourself with these terms? No Wall Street jargon here — they’re like the genres of the off-Broadway plays of betrayal. Each comes with motivations, scripts, and, sometimes, overly dramatic performers. They include intense emotional reactions, extramarital infidelity, sexual encounters, extramarital sex, marital infidelity, and internet infidelity, to name a few.

Three Types of Affairs in New York City

I will do some sleuthing, like a detective in a film noir set against a sultry New York City night, to uncover the most common themes that drive affairs in marriages and love relationships. We’ll unravel the intricacies of these three types of affairs, and trust me, your jaw might drop lower than when you found out your neighbor pays less rent for a bigger apartment.

Is the emotional tension in your relationship causing your partner to seek new adventures as if they’re an astronaut searching for uncharted galaxies? Could your spouse be grappling with a sense of emotional ‘missing out’ that no social media validation can fulfill? Or are they attempting a transformative leap, as if they’re a superhero movie character aiming for a different life altogether? I’ll explore all these scenarios and more.

Reconciled couple embracing in New York after affair recovery therapy at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling.

Affairs. Cheating. Infidelity. Betrayal. Trust Issues. Cyber Affair. Sexual and Emotional Infidelity. Extramarital Affairs. The terms might as well be the infamous “I Heart NY” t-shirts—overexposed, yet undeniable in their impact. An affair can shake the roots of your Central Park love story. But remember, even Central Park survived the 1970s and came out stronger and more resilient than ever.

So grab your metaphorical flashlights and put on your detective hats because we’re about to investigate the Ratatouille-like underworld of Relationship-Driven, Compulsive, and Escape Affairs that can sneak into your marriage faster than a New Yorker dodging a puddle in Times Square.

Let the games begin.

Why People Cheat Part 1: Relationship-Driven Affairs

Love and betrayal—a dynamic duo as classic as New York City’s bagels and lox. Let’s unravel this tangled web of relationship-driven affairs, emotional and sexual infidelity, and romantic betrayal. Strap in; it will be bumpy, like navigating through the FDR Drive during rush hour. But don’t worry, I’ve got my metaphorical GPS set to “maximum clarity.”

Reacting to Emotional or Physical Distance

Let’s dive deeper into this. Picture Taylor and Alex, workaholics climbing their corporate ladders in Midtown Manhattan. They meet up late at night, sometimes to fall asleep next to each other. The morning sun barely kisses their faces before they leave again. At first, the hustle was their shared passion, but now, it’s like they’re sharing an apartment with a polite ghost. The thrill of “making it” in the Big Apple loses its shine when you feel like you’re solo-climbing the Empire State Building of your relationship.

Taylor feels isolated like they’re a “reserved” sign on an empty table at a trendy rooftop bar—ignored. And so, with marital dissatisfaction, Taylor committed infidelity, doing what they once thought was unthinkable in monogamous relationships, sliding into the DMs of an old college sweetheart, Jordan. Ah, the modern-day equivalent of sending a message in a bottle but with far quicker results. Soon, Taylor and Jordan are meeting for drinks at a low-key speakeasy, sharing old jokes and rekindling something Taylor thought they’d lost—emotional connection. Yep, that’s how the affair creeps in, not with a bang but with a whisper (and perhaps a couple of crafted cocktails).

Feeling Deprived of Intimacy

Next up, meet Casey and Riley. Casey loves discussing art, philosophy, and the latest buzz in the indie film circuit. Riley is into sports, true crime podcasts, and, well, not so much into indie films. They’d always made it work, but these days, Casey can’t shake the feeling that they’re intellectually undernourished, like dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant and leaving hungry. Relationship satisfaction decreased, a common symptom the Journal of Sex Research suggests leads to emotional infidelity, extramarital affairs, and relationship infidelity in monogamous relationships.


One day, while attending a film festival, Casey meets Sky, an enthusiastic cinephile. Their conversations are intellectually stimulating, brimming with shared passions. It starts with texts about Wong Kar-wai films and ends with “Let’s grab a coffee to discuss it further.” But we all know “coffee” is often the gateway drink to relationship shenanigans. Soon enough, Casey and Sky are wrapped up in an emotional affair, with emotional cheating becoming as addictive as the aroma of a Brooklyn pizzeria but far less satisfying in the long run.

Vengeance Affairs: Sexual and Emotional Infidelity

Oh, the drama! Let’s introduce Kim and Lee, shall we? Kim finds out Lee has been harboring an emotional attachment to an ex. The audacity! Feeling as bitter as a cup of overpriced artisanal coffee, Kim decides it’s time for a revenge affair. The motto? “Two can play at this game.”

Kim’s scrolling through dating apps with the focus of a Wall Street trader during a stock market surge. They match with Chris, a gorgeous and equally emotionally unavailable human. A few casual encounters later, with some physical intimacy, the vengeance affair is in full swing. Yet, nobody wins. Instead, their relationship morphs into a modern-day War of the Roses without real estate.

“Come and Get Me” Affairs: Sexual Behavior

Jamie and Morgan were high school sweethearts together for over a decade. They’ve witnessed each other’s lives evolve like a long-running Broadway show with involved partners starting to feel stale, even with no children involved. Morgan initiates an online relationship affair with Pat, thinking, “This will make Jamie notice me again and rekindle our dying passion.” Oh, Morgan, you sly fox, but love isn’t a scavenger hunt.

What happens? Jamie senses something’s off with their emotional component, like when you smell burnt pretzels wafting from a NYC street vendor. But instead of confronting Morgan to try to resolve conflict, Jamie pulls away further, enhancing negative consequences of relationship dissatisfaction and emotional distress. They start attending more “work events” and begin their flirtation and emotional involvement with Taylor from accounting. Instead of one affair, we’ve got two parallel tracks of betrayal, leading to a train wreck of epic proportions that can include post traumatic stress disorder with sexual involvement and deep emotional attachment.

Coping With Relationship Problems

Last but not least, let’s talk about Sam and Casey (another Casey; it’s a famous name, okay?). They’ve got issues—money woes, job stress, lack of quality time—the full NYC couple’s grab bag. Instead of tackling them, Sam looks for sexual partners and starts seeing Quinn, who is blissfully unproblematic and exciting with sexual desire, like a secret rooftop party. Yet, Quinn is not a solution that intimate relationships can offer, just a distraction. And you know what they say about distractions—they’re temporary.

Relationship-driven affairs are more nuanced than they appear. The culprit is often an unmet need, a gap, family psychology, a void—something like those infuriating dead zones where your phone won’t get any signal. Affairs step in as a workaround, an alternative route, a side street. Yet, they are often detours of sexual behavior and sexual intimacy in a romantic or sexual relationship that lead you farther away from your intended destination: a happy, fulfilling, committed relationship in your marriage and family.

The irony? Instead of fixing the problem, when infidelity occurs, an affair typically magnifies it, casting a spotlight like a featured act on a Broadway stage. At this point, you’re not just dealing with the original issue; you’ve added betrayal, deceit, and hurt into the mix. You might toss in a live musical number to complete the drama.

Affairs don’t occur in a vacuum. They’re often symptomatic of deeper problems in a romantic relationship and marital infidelity. The affair is the cough; the illness is in the relationship itself.

Reacting to Emotional or Physical Distance

Let’s circle back to Taylor and Alex. After the emotional affair begins with emotional infidelity, Taylor feels reinvigorated, like finding an open table at a packed brunch spot on a Sunday. But here’s the twist: that newfound connection with Jordan only magnifies what’s missing at home in their sexual intimacy and sexual relations, often found in sex research, including the journal of sex research. Taylor thinks, “If I can have this soul-stirring conversation over a Negroni with someone else, why can’t I have it with my partner?” Soon enough, guilt starts to creep in, the same guilt you feel when you take the last slice of pizza at a party but haven’t contributed to the bill.

Meanwhile, Alex senses something’s off and can perceive infidelity but can’t put their finger on it—like when you smell something suspicious on the subway but don’t want to investigate further. The point here is emotional affairs tend to operate in the shadows with sexual exclusivity but leave their mark on the present relationship like permanent ink on a white shirt. One emotional entanglement complicates an intricate emotional landscape, rendering it as messy as a Jackson Pollock painting.

Feeling Deprived of Intimacy

Back to Casey and Riley. What started as an innocent cup of coffee with Sky soon becomes a full-fledged “intellectual romance.” It becomes their go-to relief, cerebral affair, and escape from the monotony of a partner who still can’t pronounce Jean-Luc Godard. But the intellectual affair begins to feel like a weight, much like that leather jacket you bought on impulse—it’s stunning. Still, it doesn’t quite fit into your daily life with your romantic partner, similar to your previous relationship, regardless of your gender differences, marital status, and personality traits.

The affair reaches its zenith when Casey starts making excuses to Riley about their whereabouts. What used to be “I have to work late” becomes “I’m attending an avant-garde theater show about existentialism.” The secrecy only ramps up the adrenaline but also starts building a wall of deceit between Casey and Riley—a wall as impenetrable as the line at the DMV.

Emotional and Sexual Infidelity Through Vengeance Affairs

Kim’s revenge affair with Chris turns into a Pandora’s box of chaos through sexual infidelity and sexual behavior with low sexual satisfaction that can lead to extramarital affairs. Instead of online infidelity, the affair that involves relationship infidelity becomes a competitive sport with extramarital sex of romantic relationships, with Kim checking their phone every few minutes, thinking, “Will Lee sense this sexual connection and emotional connection? Will they feel jealous of the emotional component?” Yet, the more Kim tries to even the score through emotional infidelity and sexual behavior, the more unbalanced their relationship with Lee becomes. It’s as if they’re trying to extinguish a fire by adding more wood (the sexual infidelity combined with the emotional infidelity). Classic New Yorker stubbornness, right?

However, the vengeance affair is a boomerang—it comes back to hit you, as sex research reports in places such as the Journal of Sex Research from marriage counseling and relationship therapy, regardless of gender differences. When Kim finally confesses, Lee is broken but strangely relieved, as if some twisted equilibrium has been restored. But the bitterness remains, like black ice on a winter morning—slippery, treacherous, and nearly invisible until you’re on your back.

“Come and Get Me” Affairs

In their quest for attention, Jamie finally notices something’s wrong. And it’s worse than when they discovered their favorite bagel joint got a health code violation. When Jamie learns about Morgan’s affair, the revelation hits like a truck—or, more precisely, like a delayed L train crashing into the station during rush hour. The emotional toll is hard to swallow, and two can play this miserable game. Jamie feels justified in escalating their emotional affair with Taylor from accounting. It becomes a vicious cycle, like being stuck in an eternal loop on the G train at 3 a.m.

Coping With Relationship Problems

And remember Sam? Good ol’ problem-avoidant Sam embarked on their online relationship and affair with Quinn instead of working to resolve conflict with Casey. While it starts as a thrilling experience, like illegally crossing the barriers to the subway tracks, the affair grows stale. Quinn may be fun, but they’re not equipped to handle Sam’s real-life problems—the same problems slowly eating away at their relationship with Casey.

Sam realizes that escapism is like the tourist trap restaurants in Times Square—overpriced and unsatisfying. Slowly, they understand that running away from one problem only leads to a marathon of multiple issues.

In relationship-driven affairs, every decision has a rippling effect, stretching its tendrils into the daily grind and nighttime whispers of a couple’s life. Online infidelity and affairs aren’t solutions; they’re emotional rollercoasters navigating your relational theme park that can lead to post traumatic stress disorder regardless of sex differences and sexual orientation, as reported in the Journal of Sex. Like the city’s potholes, they jar you, reminding you that the road you’re traveling is far from smooth. Yet, these affairs involving emotional infidelity and sexual infidelity are often the symptoms of a deeper malaise in the relationship, regardless of sexual orientation and sex differences, like a siren wailing through the night, signaling something’s amiss.

Before I venture further down this labyrinth of love, betrayal, emotional infidelity, sexual infidelity and messy emotions, let’s pause and acknowledge that relationship-driven affairs aren’t isolated incidents. They’re woven into the fabric of unmet needs, resentments, and yearnings that form the tapestry of any long-term relationship. Understanding this is key, and it’s often the first step in finding a way back to each other—or, in some cases, the exit sign.

Next, I’ll explore Compulsive Affairs. Imagine peeling an onion, but each layer reveals another layer of complex emotional responses, including sexual infidelity and sex differences, and just like that onion, it might make you cry a little (or a lot).

Why People Cheat Part 2: Compulsive Affairs: When The Subway of Your Mind Goes Off the Rails

All aboard the Compulsion Express! In the realm of emotional infidelity, if relationship-driven affairs are the Staten Island Ferry—reliable but mundane—then compulsive affairs are the New York subway system: capricious, sometimes sordid, and guaranteed to make you question your life choices (particularly when a rat named Bob scurries across the platform). Hold onto your seats—or the overhead straps—as we navigate the intricate network of compulsive affairs, where the rules are as clear as mud, and your internal schemas and modes function as conductors and saboteurs.

Attachment Anxiety: The “Please Swipe Again” Affair

Our first stop: the station of “Defectiveness Schema,” a mental construct that relentlessly reminds you that you’re never quite good enough. The defectiveness schema gives birth to the fearsome “Fear of Abandonment,” turning you into a passenger always anxiously eyeing the subway doors, terrified they might close and leave you stranded on the platform of loneliness.

To counteract this sense of unworthiness and keep the subway doors open, your mind deploys another schema—the “Approval-Seeking Schema.” Picture yourself at the turnstile, swiping your MetroCard repeatedly, each “Please swipe again” message eating away at your already crumbling self-esteem. For people entrapped in this schema, every relationship becomes another turnstile to conquer, another validation to gain. They may find themselves hopping from one subway car (or relationship) to another, forever seeking that elusive “ding” that grants them passage and temporary peace of mind, even if it means sexual infidelity. And so, they bounce between relationships, caught in a never-ending loop of attachment anxiety.

Sexual Addiction: The Midnight Train to Nowhere

Next on our route is a dark tunnel known as the “Detached Self-Stimulating Mode,” usually fueled by two schemas—the “Entitlement Schema” or the “Emotional Deprivation Schema.” This subway car is not going anywhere; it’s more like an eternal loop, akin to an underground train circling without a final destination.

People trapped by sexual addiction are perpetually chasing the thrill of the next station without ever feeling content at the one they’re in. It’s like riding an endless subway, earphones in, and a playlist full of party anthems blaring. The atmosphere is electrifying, but the music never truly fulfills you; it’s just a way to drown out the cavernous emptiness within. While the affair may promise the excitement of unexplored territory, the destination is always the same: a lonesome, emotional wasteland devoid of meaningful connections.

Narcissism/Validation-Seeking: The Selfie Stick Parade

As we swerve around another bend, we encounter the realm of the “Self-Aggrandizer Mode.” Here, we meet passengers who aren’t just riding the subway; they believe they are the main event, the raison d’être of the entire system. Imagine a flashy tourist not merely content with taking selfies but demanding every other commuter to capture their ‘perfect’ angle. These individuals are hungry for the limelight, craving validation from applause, likes, and retweets. For them, affairs are merely another stage, another audience to woo in their perpetual one-person show.

In their self-centric universe, longstanding or ephemeral romantic relationships become instrumental in bolstering their curated image. It’s not about connection or sex differences; it’s about adoration. Their partners are reduced to mere props, tools to be manipulated for their grand performance, as expendable as a discarded coffee cup on the subway floor.

Control/Power Motives: The Puppeteer of the Subway

Sliding through the labyrinthine depths, we reach the control room of “Overcontroller Mode.” Imagine someone who views the subway system as an enormous chessboard, each train a pawn to be moved according to their strategies. They’re not riding the subway but orchestrating its movements, a maestro in a subterranean symphony of steel and electricity.

People operating in this mode perceive relationships and sexual relations as tokens of their grand design. Their affairs testify to their brilliance, notches on a mental control panel that quantifies their mastery over the mayhem of life and love. The manipulation of feelings, the choreographed deceit, even the selection of partners—each is a calculated move, carefully planned to demonstrate their control over the chaotic world around them.

Filling Inner Emptiness: The Black Hole of Times Square

And now, we plunge deeper into the abyss, arriving at a station that could only be likened to the bustling cacophony of Times Square. Here, the “Emotional Deprivation Schema” reigns supreme, further embellished by a mode called “Emotional Demandingness.” Imagine standing amid the dazzling neon lights, surrounded by colossal billboards proclaiming the promises of consumer happiness, yet feeling an unfillable void expanding within you. The energy is palpable, but it’s as if you’re encased in a bubble, unable to tap into the world’s vibrancy.

People in this state often seek affairs with the same desperation that a starving person might hunt for food. They embark on a frantic quest with sex differences to fill an insatiable emotional vacuum. Yet, every endeavor leaves them more hollow than before. Picture them devouring ten New York cheesecakes in a row but still feeling starved, an endless cycle of indulgence that never satisfies their emotional hunger.

The Twisted Tunnels of Compulsion

Navigating the twisted tunnels of Compulsive Affairs is akin to venturing into a labyrinth more intricate than even the most convoluted subway system at rush hour. Each schema and mode is critical in defining how and why individuals engage in self-destructive patterns. Unlike relationship-driven affairs, which focus on ‘us’ as a couple, compulsive affairs are self-centered escapades. They are solo acts featuring the cacophonous orchestra of one’s inner demons, each instrument clamoring for attention but playing an entirely different tune.

These are not quests for connection; they are relentless journeys into the self, each affair another station where the individual disembarks, hoping to discover a piece of themselves but instead uncovering yet another layer of confusion. Just as the New York subway can be an intricate tapestry of intersecting lines, delays, and detours, so too is the world of compulsive affairs—an eternal quest for something indefinable, always just one stop away.

A Glimpse into the Future: Escape Affairs

But hold on, fellow travelers! We’re not at the end of the line yet. While compulsive affairs offer many reasons to reconsider your life choices, sometimes the reason for seeking an affair is more straightforward but equally complex. What happens when the comfortable quilt of your current relationship is not warm enough, and you find yourself yearning for a different kind of heat?

Our next station is Escape Affairs, a destination that promises new beginnings and lures you away from the familiarity of your established life. Trust me, you will want to take advantage of this stop. It’s like discovering the secret recipe for the perfect New York bagel—highly sought after, rarely revealed, and full of layers you never anticipated.

So, as the Compulsion Express approaches the next turn, keep your MetroCard ready. You never know when you’ll need to swipe again to continue this bewildering journey or finally find a route that leads you back home.

Joyful couple celebrating renewed trust and forgiveness after affair treatment at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling.

And so, as the subway doors close behind us, let’s take a moment to consider the paths we’ve traveled, the stops we’ve made, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. Much like the subway system they’ve been metaphorically likened to, affairs can either be disorienting mazes that lead you astray or intricate maps that somehow guide you back to yourself. The choice, ultimately, is yours.

Why People Cheat Part 3: Escape Affairs: When Your Emotional Subway Finds a Secret Tunnel

The Emotional Subway and The Upstate Cabin Fantasy

Imagine that you’re stuck in the labyrinthine maze of the New York City subway, where the ceaseless noise, erratic service, and sea of humanity make for an overwhelming experience. Now, imagine an exit that takes you to a tranquil Upstate cabin. This is the essence of an Escape Affair—an emotional getaway from the complexities of your marital relationship. But be cautious; trading the subway’s chaos for the peace of the Catskills is not always a ticket to a better life. Your old emotional baggage tends to travel with you even in your secret hideaway.

The Concept of Protector Modes: Your Emotional Escape Hatches

An Escape Affair is often facilitated by “Protector Modes,” the psychological mechanisms designed to safeguard you from emotional suffering. In the context of a draining marital relationship, these Protector Modes act as emergency exits, inviting you to escape the train you’re on to leap into another set of arms.

The Avoidant Protector: The Art of Emotional Evasion

Among the Protector Modes, the “Avoidant Protector” is like a personal firewall that cautions you against sexual intimacy’s perils. That nagging voice convinces you to keep people—including your spouse—at arm’s length. Imagine you’re in a subway car and feel the emotional temperature rising; arguments ignite, and feelings are hurt. The Avoidant Protector taps you on the shoulder and points to the next station, where you can disembark and steer clear of this discomfort.

The Angry Protector: Your Emotional Soundboard

Conversely, the “Angry Protector” pushes you to vent your frustrations, but not necessarily within the confines of your marital relationship. This mode activates when you feel unheard or invalidated. It’s like having your inner monologue finally amplified over the subway’s PA system, only it’s directing you towards another relationship where your grievances won’t be brushed aside. Here, you can shout, and someone will listen, acknowledging your emotional turmoil.

The Endless Quest for Emotional Fulfillment: The Drought Within

What drives people into the arms of another when entangled in the knotted wires of a marriage? Often, a pervasive “Emotional Deprivation Schema” leaves you feeling like you’re aboard a train with a non-functional water fountain. No matter how often you press the button, it’s just dry pipes and dusty air.

The Mirage of Emotional Sustenance

In the depths of emotional deprivation, another station—another relationship—can seem like a haven offering the nectar of emotional fulfillment. You fantasize that you’ll disembark from your current, parched setting to sip from the fountain of a more enriching emotional experience. However, this new station may offer only temporary relief. This band-aid solution distracts you momentarily but leaves the underlying emotional drought untouched.

Are You Drinking From a Broken Fountain?

And here’s the kicker: the issue may not always be with the “fountain” itself but your expectations and the baggage you carry. Suppose you’ve been pushing the emotional buttons in your primary relationship, and nothing comes out. In that case, you may need to consider that the fountain isn’t broken—it’s just empty because you haven’t replenished it. Whether it’s your lack of communication, emotional availability, or even shared time together, sometimes the problem is not just your relationship but how you are in that relationship.

Emotional Complexity and A Crossroads

Marriage can often feel like an underground journey with numerous stops, transfers, and occasional track fires that force you to reevaluate your route. Whether you’re listening to the guiding voice of your Avoidant Protector or quenching a thirst your current relationship can’t satisfy, Escape Affairs represent a critical crossroads. They offer temporary respite, as the Journal of Sex Research and Journal of Sex report, but also pose the risk of taking you further away from the destination you initially aimed for: a fulfilling, long-term relationship.

The Unyielding Metrics of Perfection: The Unrelenting Standards Schema

Suppose you ever felt like your marriage was a perpetually late subway train, riddled with issues and constantly disappointing you. In that case, you’re likely operating under the “Unrelenting Standards Schema.” This unforgiving rulebook demands your relationship run as smoothly as a Japanese bullet train—clean, efficient, and punctual down to the millisecond.

From C Train to Express: The Illusion of Upgrade

People who adhere rigidly to these standards may find themselves increasingly dissatisfied with a partner who needs to meet these expectations. They may begin to believe that they’re settling for a clunky, rattling C train when they could be cruising on a sleek, new express model. The problem is they often need to remember that even the most advanced trains have their setbacks, their delays, and their imperfections. In chasing this ideal, you may embark on an Escape Affair, only to realize that you’ve traded one set of issues for another, albeit with a different aesthetic appeal.

The Fantasy of Entitlement: The First-Class Ticket that Wasn’t Earned

Then comes the “Entitlement Schema,” the emotional equivalent of believing you deserve a first-class ticket when you’ve only paid for coach. This schema can be insidious. It convinces you that you’re entitled to better treatment, a better life, and a better relationship than the one you’re in, regardless of the emotional investment you’ve made.

The Cost of a ‘Free’ Upgrade

Many people under this schema see an affair as a ‘free upgrade,’ a no-strings-attached first-class experience. The problem is this ignores the hefty price tag that comes with it—the potential loss of trust, the chance of relationship breakdown, and the emotional toll on all parties involved. It’s like sneaking into first class and then being shocked when you’re caught and have to pay fines or get escorted off the train entirely.

Happy lesbian couple finding trust and healing post-affair at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling

The Punitive Parent Mode: Your Personal Critic

Sometimes, an Escape Affair can take on a darker tone. If you’ve ever felt you don’t deserve happiness, it might be the “Punitive Parent Mode” at play. This internal mode serves as an ever-critical train conductor, announcing your flaws and failures over the loudspeaker for all to hear.

Self-Sabotage: Derailing Your Own Train

In some cases, the affair isn’t an escape; it is a form of self-punishment, proving your inner critic correct when things eventually fall apart. In this twisted scenario, an affair becomes another stick to beat yourself with, further confirming your unworthiness in a cycle of self-inflicted emotional harm.

The Vengeful Child Mode: Tit-for-Tat Emotional Retribution

The final mode often appearing in Escape Affairs is the “Vengeful Child Mode,” the psychological embodiment of an eye-for-an-eye mentality. This typically manifests in reactive affairs, often following a betrayal by your spouse. It’s akin to retaliating against a subway fare hike by hopping the turnstile, a quick rush of rebellious satisfaction. However, it comes with substantial risks—you could be caught, face penalties, and worsen the very situation you’re reacting against. This can happen for lesbian women and heterosexual women, the opposite sex, or with a husband’s infidelity in the dynamics of love relationships, along with marriage and family circles.

Navigating the Emotional Subway

Escape Affairs offers an escape route, but one fraught with hazards and detours that can lead you further away from your intended destination—a meaningful, fulfilling relationship. If you are going down this path, consulting with expert couples therapists who can help you decode the complex subway map of your emotional landscape may be beneficial. Therapeutic approaches like Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Schema Therapy for Couples can serve as your emotional GPS, guiding you through the intricate junctions and helping you find your way back on track for your marriage and family.

Remember, there is always time to reroute in marital therapy and family therapy in New York and join a healing process. Whether you’re entangled in the webs of different types of affairs, remember that with the right guidance and a sincere willingness to change, a fulfilling relationship is not just a possibility but a plausible outcome.

Conclusion: Navigating the Complex Subway of Infidelity with Our Expert Team

You’ve journeyed through the intricate subway system of sexual infidelity here, exploring the nuances of relationship-driven, compulsive, and escape affairs. We’ve revealed the underlying psychological schemas and modes that drive these behaviors, emphasizing that infidelity is more than just a series of bad decisions—it’s a complex interplay of our inner psychological landscape in the marriage and family.

So, how do you find your way out of this bewildering maze? How do you reroute a derailed relationship and navigate the complexities of affairs in a marriage and family? The answer lies in seeking professional help, and our expert team at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling in marital therapy and family therapy is here to guide you.

Meet our seasoned therapists, working to help people through relationship therapy in New York, and marriage counseling in NYC. Whether in marriage and family dynamics or any type of love relationship, our expert couples therapists in New York City bring a unique set of skills and experiences in marriage counseling to help you navigate the tumultuous subway of infidelity through marital and family therapy, family therapy, marital therapy, and family therapy for New York, New Jersey, and Vermont, toward a healing process:

Travis Atkinson, LCSW, LICSW, founder and director of Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling, serving couples in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Travis Atkinson, L.C.S.W.

Travis is the Director and Creator of the Loving at Your Best Plan. With over 25 years of experience, he’s earned certificates from top-rated couples therapy models, including Emotionally Focused Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and Schema Therapy. Travis has trained couples therapists internationally and co-authored the Schema Mode Inventory (S.M.I.). As an Honorary Lifetime Member of the International Society of Schema Therapy (I.S.S.T.), he’s a rare gem in the field.

Paul Chiariello, LMSW, Senior Clinician at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling, assisting couples in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Paul Chiariello, LMSW, MSc Ed

Paul’s diverse background in conflict resolution, education, and clinical social work informs his practice. He specializes in relationships, men’s issues, identity formation, and more, drawing from modalities like Schema Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and cognitive behavioral techniques. Paul offers a fresh perspective with a Fulbright background, advanced training in various therapeutic approaches in marriage and family, and a penchant for abstract discussions.

Tiffany Goldberg, LMSW, Marriage and Parenting Clinician at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling, serving couples and families in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Tiffany Goldberg, L.M.S.W.

Tiffany’s journey began with counseling at-risk youth. It extended to marriage counseling, to working with World Trade Center survivors and substance use treatment. She approaches individuals and families from a strengths-based perspective, helping them identify productive thoughts and behaviors. Tiffany has also completed coursework in Schema Therapy for individuals and couples, including marital therapy and family therapy, enhancing her ability to address complex relational issues.


Jon Prezant, LMSW, Couples and Sexual Intimacy Clinician at Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling, aiding couples in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Jon Prezant, LMSW

Jon’s psychotherapeutic approach is rooted in sex therapy, trauma-informed care, and emotionally focused therapy. He has worked extensively with couples, poly relationships, the LGBTQIA+ community, and marginalized populations, addressing issues ranging from sexual orientation and identity to emotional trauma and family therapy. Jon is pursuing certifications in Sex Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Schema Therapy for individuals and couples.

Navigating infidelity’s intricate terrain requires more than love; it demands understanding, effort, and professional guidance. Whether you find yourself entangled in relationship-driven affairs, caught in the web of compulsive affairs, or contemplating an escape affair, our expert team is here to assist you in the healing process, rerouting your relationship, marriage and family toward a brighter, more loving future.

Don’t face this labyrinthine journey alone. With the right guidance and commitment, you can embark on the express train to healing, growth, and a renewed sense of connection. Stand clear of the closing doors, please—it’s time to jump aboard and explore the boundless possibilities of your relationship with Loving at Your Best Marriage and Couples Counseling.

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