5 Different Types of Infidelity

What kind of cheater is he?

The difference between an emotional affair and physical affair
123rf.com

 

What Motivated Your Spouse to Cheat?

 

If you have ever been the victim of infidelity the first question you probably asked was "why?" The consequences of infidelity are numerous and it is only natural to want to know why your spouse chose to cheat. There could be many reasons because there are many types of infidelity and cheating.

Each case of infidelity is different and serves a different purpose.

I doubt knowing why a spouse cheated will lessen any pain you feel but being able to rationalize the behavior and define it will alleviate some confusion. It will also help you either heal your marriage or move on more quickly should you decide to divorce.

 

Below is a list of 5 reasons people commit infidelity

 

1. Opportunistic Infidelity:

Opportunistic infidelity occurs when a partner is in love and attached to a spouse, but succumbs to their sexual desire for someone else. Typically, this type of cheating is driven by situational circumstances or opportunity, risk-taking behavior, and alcohol or drug use. The more in love a person is with their spouse, the more guilt he/she will experience as a result of their sexual encounter. However, feelings of guilt tend to fade as the fear of being caught subsides.

Andy travels monthly for his work. Andy cheats on Amanda often during those trips away from home.

He is a great husband and father but, when the opportunity arises for Andy to "get a little on the side" he takes advantage of the opportunity.

Andy is an opportunistic cheater who is probably devoted to his family and so involved with them due to the guilt he feels over what he does on those business trips.

Poor Andy!

2. Obligatory Infidelity:

This type of infidelity is based on fear. Fear that resisting someone's sexual advances will result in rejection. People may have feelings of sexual desire, love, and attachment for a spouse, but still end up cheating because they have a strong need for approval. In addition, their need for approval can cause them to act in ways that are at odds with their other feelings. In other words, some people cheat, not because they want to cheat, but because they need the approval that comes along with a having the attention of others.

Jeff is in the Air Force. He is tight with his flight crew and wants to be considered one of the guys. In fact, it is very important to Jeff that his crew view him, not as their commanding officer but, as someone they can identify with.

This is why Jeff cheats. When away from home and he and his crew are out and about when others pick up on women, Jeff follows suit so he can be viewed as going along with the gang. Jeff thinks he is building a bond with his crew. Instead of setting an example for his crew he chooses to encourage undesirable behavior out of his fear of being different. 

Jeff doesn't do his marriage, himself or his crew any favors when he ignores his values and engages in infidelity.

 

3. Romantic Infidelity:

This type of infidelity occurs when the cheater has little emotional attachment to his/her spouse. They may be committed to their marriage and making it work but they long for an intimate, loving connection with a member of the opposite sex. More than likely their commitment to the marriage will prevent them from ever leaving their spouse. Romantic infidelity means pain for the other man/other woman and the cheating spouse.

Rarely does it turn into a long-term, committed relationship. Marital problems have to be quite severe before a spouse will leave the marriage for another person.

Carolyn has been married for 19 years. Although she is committed to her marriage, she doesn't feel intimately and emotionally bonded to her husband. Carolyn longs for that kind of connection with a man.

That longing leads Carolyn to seek out, what she feels, is a connection that is missing in her marriage.

Over the last six years, Carolyn has had two long-term affairs with two different men. Her affairs are short-term fixes for a long-term marital problem. Carolyn needs a solution for her marital problems other than cheating.

4. Conflicted Romantic Infidelity:

This type of infidelity occurs when people experience genuine love and sexual desire for more than one person at a time. Despite our idealistic notions of having only one true love, it is possible to experience intense romantic love for multiple people at the same time. While such situations are emotionally possible, they are very complicated and tend to create a lot of anxiety and stress. In this case, cheating spouses, in their attempt not to cause anyone harm, often end up hurting everyone.

5. Commemorative Infidelity:

This type of infidelity occurs when people are in a committed relationship but have no feelings for that person. There is no sexual desire, or love or attachment, only a sense of commitment keeps a couple together. These people justify cheating by telling themselves they have the right to look for what they are not getting in their present relationship.

It is important, for the sake of appearances that the present relationship last. The cheater does not want to be viewed as a failure so they stay in an unhappy relationship and seek to fulfill their needs outside the relationship.

Now that your confusion has been alleviated, it's up to you to decide what steps to take next. Marriages can survive infidelity but whether or not your marriage survives will depend on what type of infidelity took place. It's only common sense to know that an opportunistic cheater is going to cheat regardless of how many time their cheating is discovered and forgiven. 

Now why they cheated, doesn't mean they won't cheat again so, keep that in mind when deciding what steps to take next.