Types of Infidelity
In my practice, as a licensed marriage and family therapist, I find it astounding at how many individuals and couples are dealing with infidelity and relationship betrayal trauma. Infidelity is a monster; your life feels like a horror movie. Betrayal CAN produce trauma.
Relationship Betrayal typically occurs when your partner engages in any intentional hurtful behavior or intentionally fails to disclose something to their partner for fear of conflict, consequences, divorce, etc.
Partner Infidelity comes in many forms. It is not uncommon for an unfaithful partner to engage in more than one type of infidelity at a time or over a course of time.
Types of Infidelity:
Emotional Affair: Usually involves having strong feelings for a person that is not their partner. The unfaithful partner is getting his/her emotional needs met outside of the committed relationship or marriage.
Physical Affair: The unfaithful partner is getting his/her sexual needs met outside of the committed relationship or marriage.
One-Night Stands: The unfaithful partner engaged in a sexual act once with a new acquaintance; often someone the unfaithful partner meets while out of town on a business trip, party, or night on the town. Often the unfaithful partner does not even know how to reach this affair partner after their encounter.
Wanting Both: The unfaithful partner desires both their committed relationship, but keeps the affair partner around. The unfaithful partner can’t seem to let go of either.
Sex Addiction: The unfaithful partner often will frequent massage parlors, purchase sex, or engage often in hookups on dating sites.
Pornography: While not every relationship considers Pornography a type of infidelity or betrayal, many do. If your partner is watching pornography and/or engaging in live cams without the knowledge or approval of their partner, pornography is most certainly infidelity.
Limerence: When the unfaithful partner is deeply attached, maybe even obsessed with their affair partner. When the unfaithful partner is in limerence with their affair partner, the unfaithful partner may become someone you don’t even recognize. In limerence, the unfaithful partner may leave their marriage, wife, and children. Limerence produces a type of dopamine high for the unfaithful partner. The unfaithful partner will often do anything for the affair partner.
Regardless of the type of infidelity or infidelities you may have faced, none of these are easy to get through. Through my work, I have learned that with the right approach, it is possible should you desire. Should you and your partner decide to work through the infidelity, I recommend seeking out a therapist that specializes in infidelity recovery and betrayal trauma.
I am eager to hear your thoughts! Please share!