Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Six Types of Affairs

As we begin to explore the types of affairs, I know that there is a great deal of pain and confusion for both parties in the marriage. Please know that I am not writing with the intent of causing more pain! Instead, I hope that these categories will help bring understanding to what has happened and serve as one small step in the process of healing.

Infidelity is the keeping of secrets according to the late Frank Pittman, yet even more so than its definition, relational infidelity shatters the crucible that contains "us". No longer are we one, but now we are two separate individuals with at least one party wondering if our oneness still exists. Marital problems may strain our sense of connectedness and call into question whether we really matter to our mate, if they really care about us and whether they are going to be there for us.

Despite what some would have you believe, not all affairs are alike, and therefore the approach to healing will differ according to each of these six categories. I would encourage you to read the descriptions of each affair type and then determine which one best characterizes your own personal experience.

The following categories are simple descriptions and are not intended to explain the motivations of the betrayal, the consequences, or the path of recovery. They are also not intended to serve as a judgment on the betrayer or the betrayed. Instead, they are intended to offer hope to both parties as you begin your journey of recovery. Hopefully, you will discover that your situation is not entirely unique and that there is a path you can follow to new life.

Admittedly, there is a process upon which you have to be willing to embark, but those of us who have made the journey will assure you that it is well worth it. You may be asking, "Why would I want to consider going back to a miserable marriage?" Let me assure you, this path is not just about "making it." I would never wish such ‘existing' on anyone. If your marriage is lousy or even just mediocre, why would you want to go back?

If that were the case, then I don't believe we would be doing you any favors. That is not what this is about; rather, we believe that this crisis point in your marriage can actually be used as the starting point for each of you to grow both individually and as a couple. Let this process serve as a point of hope for the two of you. You are not alone in this process! Please take advantage of the support, encouragement and direction we have to offer.

Blessings,
Rick

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I thought that I would be

I thought that I would be happy with an old friend because me and my husbands first few years of marriage was nothing but fights and catching him watching pornography.When it all came down it was so easy for me to cheat cause I was sick of jealousy and thought for a second I deserved to be treated better, when in reality it made me realize I made a huge mistake and am now losing my marriage I am looking for answers and help. I love him .

All but one

After reading each one of these types of affairs, I feel my wife (yes, my wife. It’s not always the men who are prone to cheat) would probably fit into ALL of the categories except (maybe) the one night stand. After her multiple affairs through the years, I can look back and see my entire marriage as cycle after cycle of trauma and recovery, tragedy and survival, over and over again. Maybe she would fit best into wanting both the marriage and an AP. I so want to be done yet I feel I’m supposed to hang on for some reason. One thing is certain. In the past, separation and divorce was shameful. Today, staying is the new shame.

6 catagories

my husbands affairs were both 4 and 5 and even though it has been over 6 years since d day 4/21/12...I still feel the pain, experience triggers and question our staying together every day, he says he is sorry but says I should be over it, he ended the affar immediately, as far as I know, and has had no further contact...but I studied her and their affair and cannot stand what he chose to kill me with...

All of these categories

My husband and I have been married for 35 years.
He has had that I know of 12 one night stands.
In 2013 was having an affair with a woman from work 16 years younger than him.
In those 3 years 4 times we had separated as each time said it was over between his AP only to find out different.
At the moment we are together and yes I struggle with trust and triggers.
Still dont Trudy him and still think they might be contacting each other as he did have a personel phone just for her.
I do monitor his every move and money but gut tells me different.She is married now to the man she was with when my husband and her were having affair for 3 years.Maybe this is a cover up dont know.
Marriage will never be the same as he never had boundaries but does now.
Hopefully one day we can wipe out the negative thoughts and start living.
Good Luck

Anges, I am so sorry about

Anges, I am so sorry about what he did for you. My D-day was April 4th 2018. I also am doing the same thing. We have been married for 24 years. My husband had an affair with someone we both knew, our daughters ex best friends mom. We both hung out with her. She was also married. My husband was not getting enough sex from me so he looked elsewhere and knew she would go for it. She fell in love so he dumped her because it was supposed to be a friends with benefits only relationship but she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. I knew this woman. She is nothing like me. She is a party girl, full of drama a heavy drinker/ drug user, a 45 year old party girl. I can't figure out why her, she is nothing like me. My husband doesn't understand why I keep thinking about the past. I can't help it. I am in such disbelief that he did this to us. He bought her home in our bed, went to hotels with her for the weekend, took her out, used cocaine with her, something I never knew he did. I think it was some kind of mid life crisis but I am left with the pictures in my head of the sex but worse of all of the thought that he spent time with her, talked to her. Someone who I can't stand and the way I remember it back when we used to hang out with her, he couldn't stand her either. I discovered the affair after it was over and I guess I should be happy that he broke it off because he chose me. His plan was to never tell me and try and fix our marriage. I found out all on my own. I believe he is sorry. I believe it was just for sex in his mind. I am still so mad at him though. Our sex life and communication is better then ever but, I am still mad and still obsessing over her. Ugh, it sucks!!!

6 Catagories

I feel your pain. As I read your comment, it was as though you were speaking directly to me. My husband has had 3 affairs over the past 15 years. We have been married for 41 years now. His last affair was with a 30 year old girl. He was 56. The affair was exposed to me July, 2015 and it had been going on for over 3 years. I too am still tormented every day with the really cruel things he said to me when I confronted him. He had never connected with or felt as sexually satisfied with any other person in his life. After 3 1/2 years of hearing “I’m sorry” but does not put effort into making me feel safe and secure, and at the same time saying I should be over this and that if I had truly forgiven him, I should never mention the affair ever again. I feel so much shame for his behavior for those 15 years, I have become so depressed I don’t leave the house. Not even to attend church because that is where I feel the most shame. He was a born again Christian for well over 25 years, attending church twice a week while he was committing adultery. I pray that one day we will both be free of these awful feelings and be loved by our husbands the way that God intended. Sacrificial love, as Christ loves his church.

Affair types

My husband had 3 affairs over a 7 Year time period. We had been married almost 11 years when he became an adulter. He developed intense sexual relationships with married mothers at his job, one of them lasting almost 4 years. The AP in that relationship even had a baby during that time. They both claim that the child born is her husbands, but unless a paternity test is done we really don’t know. Nearly all sexual encounters occurred in a car in public parking lots, or the parking garage of the hospital where he worked. It’s been about 2.5 years since discovery of his second life. He’s the kind that can compartmentalize parts of his life, so I’m thinking that his affairs were somewhere between love addiction and wanting the marriage and the affairs. I’m saying this because he came home every day like he did the day before, but he couldn’t ever walk away from the relationship once it started. He literally either had to be dumped or get caught in order to stop. I received his adulteress text messages b/w he and AP #3 on my laptop after performing a software update. The entire conversation that I was able to read was the most heartbreaking thing....it was full of complements of her beauty, and emojis with heart eyes and kissy faces. He even told her that sometimes he wants to strangle me. I can honestly say that I had no idea that this was going on behind my back, as he told me that he loved me every single day, we made life plans together, took family vacations, and taught a Sunday School together. I’ve suffered from depression, embarrassment, self doubt, and post traumatic stress....I wouldn’t even wish this on the ladies that lived like that in the back seat of a car with my husband. We are still together, only by the Grace of God. He’s had to work hard to keep his family together. I continue to struggle with staying with him despite his relentless attempts to make this work. At times I don’t feel understood by him, at the impact that this has had on my inner being. I’m a different person now, and sometimes I don’t like who I’ve become as a result of this. I guess there’s a reason why God clearly says don’t commit adulatory in the Bible. My husband’s actions have not only affected our family, but the spouses and children of all involved....8 children total including our 2 daughters. Some days I have hope for us, and others I want out of this so much that all that I can do is cry. Infidelity is the most selfish act that a spouse can commit, I mean, his happiness with coworkers far outweighed my life. Best wishes to those of you experiencing this! It’s a tough road!

My heart goes out to you Jen

My heart goes out to you Jen R and everyone dealing with the trauma of infidelity.It is one of the worse pains of life.Know that you are not alone and you can find peace, healing and joy in life again.In the days after I found out about my husbands infidelity all I could say to keep from drowning in the indescribable pain is..."I survive this, I survive this" and I believe it kept me from going insane with rage shame and disbelief.There is a way out.And there is a remedy for every kind of hurt.Your healing is just as possible as your pain is real.Take heart sister

none apply

About 5 years ago my husband had a sexual relationship with a married woman. Over the course of about two years, he had sex with this woman about 4 times. There was no emotional involved at all. They would meet, have a quick physical encounter, and not see each other again for a few months. There were no gifts, chats, texting, nothing else. I found out about this 2 years ago. He has a history of intimacy avoidance, and I believe sex was always used as an escape from life's problems for him. During the time of his affair he was going through challenges at work and was likely depressed. His "affair" doesn't seem to fit into any category, except possibly sex addiction. Should I look at it as an addiction or something else? Thank you for your vlog, it is most helpful.

none apply

My husband was not in love with his long term affair. Limited contact in between meetings, no gifts, just beer and pizza and sex. She asked if he would leave me several times over the years he always said no. I do look at it as a sex addiction. He definitely was intimacy anorexic. If she was unavailable there was the "looking", talking to an old girlfriend, the "grooming" to see if she would be available for sex. Similarly could not handle stress from work or family life. Do you know you have total disclosure? Sex addiction does not necessarily mean they have been with lots of woman and/or prostitutes.

Discovering his secret life

After more than a dozen years of marriage, I stumbled into mountains of proof (saved emails, screen shots, photos) of my husband living a double life. To our family and friends he’s the adoring, gift giving, perfect husband. The truth is that he’s a sex addict who’s not only cheated on me with boomers but had a 6+ month affair and for longer than I’ve known him (17 yrs) been soliciting sexual interaction via online forums, dating sites, and prostitution (both female and shemale) websites. Much of what I read that fateful April day last year made me physically sick. After stonewalling me for several hours he finally acknowledged his activities and he’s the one who suggested “maybe” he had a problem with porn. But it goes far beyond porn. He found a CSAT and began therapy but dropped out 4 mos later insisting he could “fix it” on his own. He insisted he’s stopped trolling the web for sex & digital interaction but I have serious doubts. The pain of his many betrayals is as haunting as it is emotionally devastating, and I’m still triggered often. I saw a therapist for about 7 months but she pushed divorce so strongly that I stopped seeing her. Now, I just feel adrift. My husband doesn’t understand why I don’t just forgive & forget & put it behind us, because hey - it’s been 9 months and he’s the perfect husband again, right? I feel like my soul is tired and lost, and I don’t know how to find myself again or even begin to trust him. I don’t know if I ever will.

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