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Causes and Types of Infidelity

spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy, a leading provider in couples therapy and marriage counseling in New York City, has marriage counselors and marriage therapists, who are experts in helping couples in crisis, dealing with infidelity or extramarital affair while saving marriages in crisis, and building healthy relationships. spiral2grow, located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers proven marriage counseling and couples therapy.

  • Causes and Types of Infidelity
    • The causes of infidelity are complex and varied. Affairs can occur not only in troubled marriages but also in happy ones. Anyone whose ever been cheated on is often struck with overwhelming questions of “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve it? What is wrong with me that I was not able to provide my partner what he/she needs. At times the answer to these questions can be relevant, but at times they are not relevant as the cheating was about the cheater. Reasons for infidelity, include but not limited, to low self-esteem, relationship deficits, such as lack of affection, lack of emotional intimacy, avoidance of conflict, unfulfilled sexual needs, sexual addiction and unrealistic expectations.
    • Sometimes, one of the partners doesn’t feel desirable and will reach out to someone else to make them feel that way. Some individuals may feel trapped by their relationship and they want out, or they want something ‘on the side.’
    • During life cycle changes, such as a transition to parenthood, empty-nest period, mid-life crisis, etc. individuals that are facing psychological challenge may act out in ways that pushes one of them to have an affair.
    • In some cases, multiple affairs may indicate an addiction to sex, romance or love or and/or can be manifestation of low self esteem. The addicts to romance and love are driven by the excitement and passion of a new relationship, while sexual addicts are compulsively drawn to the high, adrenaline and the pleasure of sexual orgasm. But such addiction comes with a high price to both, the addicted person as well as it partner.
  • Few Types of Infidelity
    • Opportunistic infidelity
    • occurs when a partner is in committed and loving relationship. Yet, the partner gives in to their sexual desire and expresses it to another individual. The opportunistic infidelity is motivated by out of control lust, impulsive behavior, situational circumstances and/or opportunity, and sometimes, pure risk-taking behavior. Sometimes it is purely a case of bad judgment. For example, a person may feel satisfied with their marriage, but one night at the office with a co-worker and a couple of glasses of wine can lead to lack of impulse control. Addicted sexual behavior (a repeated behavior of infidelity) can be an extreme case of opportunistic infidelity, yet, portrays a more serious problem than just bad judgment.
    • Obligatory infidelity
    • Occurs when one partner is still in love or attached with his/her spouse, yet this partner is continually rejected when engage in sexual contact. This feeling of rejection may contribute to resentment, insecurity and low self esteem which may result in cheating and search for other people to fulfilled the need of sexual intimacy as well as approval and sense of security. Some individuals end up having an extramarital affair solely on the need for approval from somebody, even though they still hold a strong attraction to their committed partner.
    • Romantic infidelity
    • Happens when one partner is in the process of “fallen out of love” with his/her spouse or partner and decide to cheat and have an affair with another person. In this case, the romantic aspect of the relationship is fulfilled by another person, while the cheater, for various reasons, decides to stay in the “formal relationship.”
    • Conflicted Romantic infidelity
    • Takes place when a person has fallen in love with another partner or partners but is still in love with their spouse. In this circumstance, the person is unable to resist the compulsion and act secretly.
    • Commemorative infidelity
    • occurs when a person has completely fallen out of love with their spouse, but is still decides to stay in a committed relationship because of the perceived responsibility. This is similar to romantic infidelity by more extreme as the cheater is totally fallen out of love with their partner, yet feels trapped in the marriage that binds him or her.
    • An “emotional affair”
    • which sometimes also called an “affair of the heart,” is an affair which does not include sexual physical connection but includes emotional intimacy. The emotional affair differs from regular or platonic friendships in that there is greater emotional intimacy than in the marital relationship, and there is secrecy and deception from the spouse.
    • Emotional affair may begin innocently as a friendship in different environment (work, pleasure etc.) and can easily start over the internet to grow to what is called “internet affairs,” which becomes very destructive to the health of the relationship or marriage.
    • Infidelity has many variations and serves for different purposes.
    • Understating the different types and infidelity and some of the reasons that led to it is an important first step to overcoming it and make it easier somewhat to decide what to do to survive infidelity.
More about Infidelity and Affair
Resources
  • After the affair by Janis Spring - Book
  • What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman
  • Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love - by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L.
  • The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships - by John Gottman
  • Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples -  by Harville Hendrix
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Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in New York City
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