1. People & Relationships

Types of Infidelity

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Types of Cheating:

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.

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 reasons for infidelity.

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.

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.

Romantic Infidelity:

This type of infidelity occurs when the cheater has very 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.

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.

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.

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