Infidelity & Cheating- The Two Types
Most relationships still revolve around the expectation of exclusivity. Though many debate whether monogamy is a natural state for humans or a conscious choice, the majority of couples make the decision together to be in a long-term monogamous relationship. When one partner breaks the agreement and understanding, emotional damage occurs ushering in feelings of betrayal, hurt, humiliation and anger. This can cause issues of loss of trust in their partners as well as a blow to confidence and self-esteem.
Complicating factors is that there is more than one type of infidelity. Understanding the differences in them is important in order to create personal boundaries.
Object Affair: An object affair can be described as pursuing an outside interest that may reach a point of near-obsession, where the interest leads to neglecting one’s relationship. A healthy balance of outside interests are perfectly fine, normal and encouraged in a committed relationship, but when one is so consumed with the object or if the interest takes top priority, that is when the problems arise. By choosing interests in which both partners can participate, the object is more likely to bond the couple than hurt the relationship.
Cyber Affair: A cyber affair occurs entirely online. The acts of sexting, texting, chatting or video chatting with a sexual context, without your spouse, are all considered to be a cyber affair. Cyber activities with one’s partner can be very healthy for a marriage. Sexting with your partner can be great foreplay as well as watching pornography together. A wonderful way of staying connected throughout the day with one’s spouse is texting.
Emotional Affair: An emotional affair occurs when one partner becomes emotionally attached to someone other than his or her spouse. One may spend a great deal of time communicating with this other person about deeply personal things or have inside jokes with the non-partner. Sharing problems, issues, life dreams and goals with someone other than your spouse or partner takes attention away from your relationship and is considered an emotional affair. Sharing the ups and downs and ins and outs of daily life with your significant other is essential in a successful relationship as it promotes closeness and nurtures the partnership.
There are two main types of infidelity - Physical vs. Emotional. However, there are different ways in which these manifest.
The Sexual Affair happens when one parter has sexual relations or intercourse outside their relationship. This type of affair can happen with no deep emotional attachment to the sexual partner.
The Emotional affair. Many people struggle to understand the difference between a strong albeit platonic friendship and infidelity. This type of infidelity can often be more detrimental in the long run to a relationship because it's the emotional bonding with someone outside the relationship that shows one partner is no longer invested in the relationship. Sometimes this progresses to a physical affair.
According to some studies, women are more likely to forgive physical affairs that come with no emotional bond. Men, however, have a more difficult time forgiving sexual affairs.
Some people crave approval and attention. If a partner is afraid of rejection, they may feel a compulsion to cheat in order to gain the approval and attention they feel is missing in their relationship. Studies show social media has made this type of cheating more likely to occur. Partners with low self-esteem, need more validation from their partner in order to not seek it in someone else.
Opportunistic cheating occurs when one partner cheats because it’s easy to do. If they think they won’t get caught, they decide the risk is worth it. This happens when one partner may be prone to substance abuse or is generally dishonest, or need to take risks.
Serial cheating is when a partner has more than one “cheating partner.” They go from one to another believing it’s not harmful since they are not emotionally attached to any one particular person.
At the end of the day, cheating is a choice. However, relationships can survive cheating with therapy and open communication. The work begins by discussing it and creating a plan to prevent it from happening in the first place.