There really is only one “kind” of affair. All affairs involve disloyal spouses disobeying God. Exodus 20:14 is very clear “You shall not commit adultery,” and thus if we do commit adultery, we are disobeying. All affairs involve people who have stumbled somewhere and don’t have a godly marriage. Sometimes it’s only one spouse that has messed up, but more-often-than-not, both parties have failed to follow God’s plan for a marriage that mirrors His relationship with His Bride, the Church. That means that although affairs occur for numerous reasons and in myriad ways…really there is just one type, and it’s pretty rough to hear: it’s the sinful affair! To save your marriage and recover after an affair, what REALLY needs to happen is for both spouses to recognize that ” …all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and as a response, both spouses should “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19). If you’re asking: “… what must I do to be saved?’ let me reply: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31). The transformative power of God in those who are His children is the only thing that can TRULY save a marriage, so to have a deep, real recovery where both partners change, you need to be a Christian.
All that being said, there are some fairly common reasons that people give for having their affair, and identifying the type of affair may help you figure out how to help your marriage and what areas you should address first. So let’s take a look at the most common kinds of affairs
The “Soulmates” Affair — This is probably the most common kind of affair. The Disloyal Spouse and the Other Person found they had much in common — a similar outlook on life, compatibility, completeness: emotionally, sexually, intellectually, spiritually. This affair is definitely an Emotional Affair, and sometimes they stop there and don’t go any further.
The Mid-marriage/Mid-life Affair — This kind of affair is very, VERY common! In this type of affair, the couple has been married for 7-10 years and they have become a little bit complacent and/or they are reaching certain milestone ages (such as menopause). This is a somewhat typical affair where the older man buys a corvette and gets a 25yo mistress…or the more mature woman starts wearing mini-skirts, going to raves, and gets a tattoo. This affair is usually a Physical Affair, but not due to connecting with the Other Person–it’s mostly just to prove he’s still a stud, or she’s still a vixen.
The “Personal Issues” affair — This affair is actually pretty common, but it’s fairly hard to describe. I, personally, call it the “Time Bomb” affair, because inside the Disloyal Spouse there is some trauma or event that affected them SO PROFOUNDLY that when they hit a reminder of that event, their personal issues engage and they just completely change! Maybe it’s when they hit the same age as the age at which their dad died…or maybe it’s the death of a parent or sibling. This affair could be an Emotional Affair and/or a Physical Affair.
The Denial Affair — This affair is also pretty common but not quite as common as the previous type. In this affair, one party may be available and the other is not…and both parties continue to deny that it IS an affair, even though it clearly has gone beyond the bounds of appropriate behavior. A typical example of this affair would be a brother and married sister who think it’s “not an affair” to flirt and tease erotically because being siblings is “safe.”
The Lust Affair — This affair is just like it sounds. The Disloyal has no desire to leave their spouse but succumbs to their sexual desire for someone else. It’s mostly about sex. It can feel really intense and passionate, but it’s also the quickest to flame out. This affair is usually all Physical Affair with very little Emotional Affair connection.
The Exit/Revenge Affair — This affair is actually very common also but it ist an affair that RARELY results in saving the marriage. This affair is the result of deep anger and resentment, feeling unaffirmed and disregarded, or being abused. Often this is a marriage that is dead already and the Disloyal doesn’t have the courage to end it. They have no feelings for their spouse other than rage, want to get away from their spouse, and choose to have an affair as one final act to kill the marriage.
Want to find out more about each kind of affair? Want to hear what the Disloyals typically say? How they probably met their Affair Partner? And what you can do to most effectively combat this kind of affair? Read our new article: “The Six Common Kinds of Affairs…in depth” !
- “I Treated Myself to a Marital Crisis” (psychologytoday.com)