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

Six Types of Affairs: Fallen in Love

types of affairs
6 Types of Affairs:

Introduction
Category 1: One Night Stand
Category 2: Fallen in Love
Category 3: Sexual Addiction
Category 4: Wanting the Marriage and the Affair
Category 5: Emotional Affair
Category 6: Love Addiction

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 limerence. It is not uncommon for the betrayer to feel guilty over what they are doing, but they justify their behavior by telling themselves that 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. They might think, "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 "Fallen in Love" affair, unfaithful spouses typically use these marital defects as justifications to continue the affair. 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.

Characteristics of a "Fallen in Love" Affair:

  • 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 affair partner.
  • 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 believe, 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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Comments

marital problems

I am facing a similar situation. My question is how can I stop the infatuation that I feel for this other person. Like this case, I am risking everything I work so hard and it took me so long to build for this other woman that I just met. Whoever hears my story would think that I lost my mind, and now that I am retiring and I should be able to relax and enjoy my life and I facing a possible divorce and financial ruin for being with this other person. This situation is driving me to the cliff and I feel that I am some point I am going to have to make a decision that I probably will regret for the rest of my life. Simple for a chance to enjoy a feeling that I never experienced in my marriage of 27 years. I am desperate, and I don't know what to do.

Really?

Can you honestly say that you "never experienced" that feeling in your marriage of 27 years? My ex said that same thing to me. Yet I remember many wonderful memories we had together throughout our marriage. Fight for your marriage, for your spouse. It's worth it.

Years?

I know the article says this type of affair can last for years, but is that typical? How long do these type of intense affairs usually last?

Years?

My husband's lasted for 20 years and he still couldn't stop pursuing her after she ended it until I found out. He only stayed for the family as noted in the article. Although he wants the marriage to continue, I have never compared to her and I see no hope of it improving,

My husband had an obsessive

My husband had an obsessive type of affair for almost 6 years before deciding to finally leave me (which didn't work out as then he had a breakdown and we have since been trying to repair). So seeing your comment of a 20 year affair has really stood out to me as there really isn't as much information out there about long-term affairs. I'm trying to understand the 'type of affair' it was but it's refusing to be defined. He behaved as in limerence but everything suggests that limerence doesn't last that long. He claims it was real love and that they 'just had a connection'. He supposedly told her throughout that he still loved me but who knows. We don't have children so he didn't stay because of that. He found it very difficult to give up contact after the big reveal and spent months deciding who to be with.

We can't compare to the affair partner because it's not real life. There are no bills, childcare, frail parents, dogs getting sick on the rugs and bins to put out. But even though you remind yourself of that it still hurts like hell. I'm so sorry he put you through that.

What type of affair was it?

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I would highly recommend giving this a try.
 
-D, Texas