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

Six Types of Affairs: Fallen in Love

types of affairs

Category 2: Fallen in Love

In this affair type the unfaithful spouse has an intense attraction to the other person. The unfaithful spouse believes they've fallen in love, and feels powerless over these powerful emotions. These overwhelming emotions are an indication of what is called limerance. It is not uncommon for the betrayer to feel guilty over what they are doing, but they justify their behavior by telling themselves they love their mate, but are no longer in love with their mate. They often tell themselves they mistakenly married the wrong person and have discovered their one true soul mate. If it feels so right how can it be wrong? These relationships may spring from existing friendships that transform into an obsession as emotional intimacy grows over time. They may also spawn from the spontaneous attraction that is referred to as love at first sight.

The driving force for this type of affair is the intense emotion generated by infatuation. The unfaithful spouse is obsessed with the other person and at the very least will be ambivalent about the marriage. They believe they can never be happy unless they get to be with the one they love. When they are with their mate they're miserable and when they are with the other person they feel alive, but guilty.

It's not uncommon for the unfaithful spouse to unconsciously rewrite the marital history and believe they've never been happy in the marriage. Let me be clear – while all marriages have problems the marriage itself is never more than 1/3 to blame. In a Type 2 affair these marital defects typically serve as justifications to continue the affair for the unfaithful spouse.

While this description may cause you to believe the situation is hopeless, please know that it is not. There are many couples who have recovered, and will even report that they are grateful that they were able to reconcile. If you are in this category don't lose hope.


  • The betrayer believes they can never be happy in the marriage.
  • Their justification for the affair is that they are in love.
  • The intense emotions generated by this type of affair may lead them to sacrifice life as they know it for the opportunity to be with their lover.
  • Frequently, there is a pattern of the betrayer swinging back and forth between the marriage and the affair partner. When they are at home trying to do what is right, they are miserable and feel they will never be happy. When they are with their affair partner, they are ecstatic, but may be feeling so guilty that they can't stand it. So they move back home, only to feel miserable and to realize once again that they can never be happy unless they go back to the affair partner. This dance of insanity can continue for years.
  • The betrayer often seems incapable of making a decision about what they are going to do. Even though the betrayer doesn't want to be in the marriage, other factors may keep them from choosing divorce. For example, feelings of guilt or of failure may cause them to stay. There may also be strong feelings regarding what is best for the kids, so they may decide to stay for the children.


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fallen in love affair

This describes the situation I found myself in almost three years ago. Thanks for sharing this information. I couldn't understand the bouncing back and forth, I just wanted my husband to make a decision and stick to it, even if the decision was the other woman. I was on a roller coaster ride and I couldn't get off, or wouldn't get off. You described it perfectly, a dance of insanity! My husband's behavior was so bizarre that I believed he was on drugs or insane and I believed at times that I would go insane. Here was a man who was willing to risk everything he'd spent his whole life building everything I believed was important to him; his family, his career, his reputation, his faith. He was willing to walk away from it all! I had heard about people who had been involved in affairs or were the victims of an affair but I had never heard any stories that sounded like what I was living. I wanted my husband, my marriage and could not accept the fact that he no longer loved me. It has been a three year battle with many ups and downs along the way. We have by no means arrived but a little over a week ago we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows.

Thank You & Congratulations

Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations for your successful outcome. My fiancé has been back and forth between our relationship and the other. This is the 4th year (we are now together 10 years)...I’m not sure how we’ve gotten this far without giving up but, it shows that we are not only the love of each other’s lives but, truly best friends. I’m 38 and this is such an instant gratification time we live in that couples fail at working hard to maintain what they’ve worked so hard to gain. Due to this, we’ve been proud of our 10 years. Those who are aware of the affair think we are crazy for not quitting. For those who stay together we have learned that there is such a deeper level that opens within the relationship, I’m sure that’s something you can attests to as well. Congratulations for such an accomplishment of a beautiful 36 plus years. May you enjoy the many more to follow.

Type of affair

This is the situation in my marriage .. My husband fell in love with the other woman .

Type of affair

I am the unfaithful husband. Wife doesn't want to fix it work in it what do I do .......

one too many...

I can't speak from personal experience, my ex spouse had more then a couple of each affair type and strangers became us. But if the marriage is worth holding on to, affairs of this sort can potentially be worked through.

Infidelity by spouse.

This just happened to me a couple weeks back. It's scary how on the point this article described my husband. He said she was his soulmate, love at first site, never been happy. We were married 13+ years and dated 6 yrs. he cheated on me with a girl at work. He is completely in love /infatuated. He does not want to work on it as he sees no point as he is in love with her but yes he loves me. I've been the bread winner our whole marriage and that role was scheduled to change this month. So now I've lost my husband, our life/future together, and my job. I'm trying my best to turn it over to god. But so hard!!


This describes my hubby all the way. After three years of his initial moving out, this week he now is back to living by himself. Now what??? I find myself having all those feelings I had when he was trying to decide what to do three years ago. He said he needed to move out to clear his head. Wasn't long till he moved in with the ow. He is angry about it and don't want to talk about it. I don't know where I stand in his book. I feel all mixed up emotionally. What do I prepare myself for? What does it look like to just trust God? Do I allow myself to get my hopes up for his return? I read about false attempts to return and I don't want that. But do I just sit back and not hope for it?

This was my Affair

This is a good example of the type of affair I had. Being admired and cared for, after a long period of neglect by my husband, was a powerful drug. My affair partner told me how beautiful my eyes were, how I was the perfect companion, how he wished he had a time machine so he could go back and meet me first instead of his wife...He was very verbal and attentive, the opposite of my husband. His words seemed to speak love to me, my husband's silence seemed to speak lack of love to me. Again, I want to emphasize what a powerful drug this is...letting go of those hits in the brain is extremely difficult, especially when the relationship that remains (your current marriage) is lackluster at best. We are coming up on the four year mark in two weeks - in the last few months, I have finally gotten to the point where I do not think about the affair or AP multiple times daily, even though I have lost respect for the OM a long time ago and accepted that "we" were never going to be. There are many good things about my marriage, though my husband and I are at extremes of many facets (initatior vs. receiver, over-functioning vs. under-functioning, verbal/attentive vs. independent). Also a mature (35+ years) relationship is very, very different than a "new" relationship. I am glad I closed the door on the affair and walked away, though every cell in my brain was screaming at me to not give it up. Giving up the drug of the affair is a PROCESS. It takes a long, long time, a lot of tenacity, and a great deal of introspection, soul searching, and faith that God will provide something better... in order to do it successfully, completely, and with true healing.

Same circumstance

I was wondering how you got through the soul searching process. Your story sounds very similar to mine. I m currently struggling with giving up the drug and I'm curious how you were able to achieve this step. Grateful for any advise

How did you walk away? How

How did you walk away? How did you deal with the pain?

Really interested to hear

Really interested to hear views on this as I am in the same position.

6 year affair

This describes my situation exactly. My husband has been with the AP for over 6 years. Multiple break ups. Most recent is only a few days ago. I catch him, he claims to end it, I catch him, he claims to end it.....I'm hoping this time is it. He's actually taking some initiative to get some help. I have moved him out of the bedroom but not the house. Hoping that with help, he can break this very destructive cycle. This affair has been slowly destroying both of us. I told him at midnight tonight, New Years, it's a new year, no mistakes have been made, it's a chance to make it right. If anyone who has been here and is on the other side would be willing to mentor us, we would greatly appreciate it.

Evolution of types of affairs

Is it possible for the affair to progress from emotional to falling in love to love addiction? I feel like that has been my path.

Of course

Of course it describes your situation. It’s general, all-econompassing, unspecific advice. It’s like reading the horoscope: there’s always something that resonates.


This describes my emotional affair. I reconnected with a former boyfriend from college. We saw each other a few times and quickly realized feelings were developing. Nothing happened. We disconnected and only remained in contact via Facebook. Then after several years, we saw each other again, and it hit us both like lightning rods. I have had a struggling marriage before we connected. My husband and I argue a lot. Our children are teenagers now, and I wonder if I am staying it for them. I feel I fell out of love a long time ago OR am I blinded by the connection I feel with this other. I don't know how to proceed, AND I don't want to hurt anyone, my husband, my children, my AP or myself.

I can't imagine it getting better.

I have lost all hope, this is my husband exactly. He is miserable and has re-written our story, we are only 2.5 months out from discovery but he has pretty much left me for dead. He won't stop seeing her, talking to her, sleeping with her. I has been going on for 6 months at least, he told me he had a crush on her the whole time he has worked at his current job.
I feel that there is no support out there for someone in my case, all the support is for people who want to work on things and the unfaithful that wants to stay. There is no help for someone who has literally been abandoned by their spouse. I am going through with my divorce because I can not keep being blamed for everything. I'm so sad and feel so alone.

I am in the same spot you are

I am in the same spot you are with my husband of almost 9 years (together for 15)... 5 months ago my husband told my ILYB and that we were roommates and he was done with our marriage... Almost 2 months ago he confessed his emotional affair with a "good friend" of mine. He told me he loves her and wants to pursue a relationship with her, she is also married with kids. Her husband is aware of the affair and moved out shortly after discovery because she refused to end it. I have endured lying and blame from my husband and of course re-writing of our history to justify his actions. I have apologized for my part in neglecting him and not truly making him feel desired and for putting the kids first. But he took that as I was an awful partner for 15 years.. About 1 month ago I asked him to leave to save some of my dignity and sanity. His affair only intensified after he left and I am now convinced that he will actually marry this awful woman. We barely speak and he has withdrawn from our kids, he sees them everyday for short periods of time but does not have the relationship he had with them just 6 months ago! I have started working on myself since he left and do feel better about the situation from my stand point. I can't change his mind and can only change how I handle things... So at this point I feel like he has made his decision (even though I think he's a moron for choosing some horrible person over his family) and I need to make decisions that are in the best interest for me and my children!
I truly hope you find peace and know that there is nothing that you did that made him cheat... He has flaws within himself that he needs to fix otherwise he will be doomed to repeat history over and over regardless of what relationship he is in .. even with the new love of his life (cue major eye roll). Cheating is a direct reflection of the cheater not the spouse!

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