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

Six Types of Affairs: Wanting the Marriage and the Affair

types of affairs

Category 4: Wanting the Marriage and the Affair

In this situation the affair partner is integrated into the betrayer's life style. There is no intent to leave the marriage or to stop the affair. They want the benefits that come from having both their mate and their affair partner (AP). At times the unfaithful mate will financially support the AP to maintain the relationship. It's not uncommon for the AP to believe the unfaithful mate is going to leave their spouse to be with them. These relationships can go on for years. In certain cultures or family systems, covert approval is given for this behavior. However the fact that the AP is kept secret from the betrayed spouse is proof the unfaithful party knows their behavior is unacceptable.

This person is committed to stay, but they are also not committed not to stray. They are often happily married and the betrayed spouse also believes they have a great marriage. Before the revelation of the affair the betrayed spouse believes the positive characteristics of their mate far outweigh their defects, which allows them to easily write off any character flaws. The level of deception from this type of affair can leave the betrayed spouse feeling there is no way they could ever again trust their mate.

The unfaithful spouse shares one part of themselves with their mate and then reserves another aspect of life for the affair partner. Daily activities and information are divided into two realms: that which will be shared with the spouse, and that which will be shared with the affair partner. When this person tells their mate they love them and want the marriage it is nearly impossible for the betrayed spouse to believe.


  • This person wanted the benefits of having both their marriage and their affair partner.
  • They often have a high level of marital satisfaction and have been a good spouse.
  • After discovery they will choose their marriage over the AP.


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I believe my husband fits into the category of wanting the affair and the marriage. I certainly have a difficult time with why he is choosing me after 4.5 years with someone else who he claims he loves. In your description of this affair, why is it that they have a tendency to go back to their marriage?

Wanting the affair and

Wanting the affair and marriage solution

type 4 wanted marriage and a supplemental "ap"

So, we are 3 plus years out from discovery and this is what he did....and I don't trust him, and he behaved with her the way he behaves with me and it stinks, I am in counseling and have been for the whole time, some days I just want to quit, it is too painful, and I am better but still every day, and some days, all day/night I just want this over....

I just want to talk! You

I just want to talk! You strike a cord with me! 63 years old! 5 children!

So what does this say about

So what does this say about the unfaithful? They are spoiled, want their cake but to eat it too? They are selfish.

Type 4 have your cake and eat it too

I too am still hurting deeply after 3 years since discovery of my husband's affair. He says he doesn't believe in monogamy, but will honor his commitment to me from now on to be faithful and monogamous because he understands it is a precondition to continuing our marriage. He acknowledges how his betrayal and deception hurt me deeply. It makes me feel like throwing up when he says we "have different values about sex". But he is committed to fidelity in our marriage. I think this different values is CYA and a huge warning sign. We have been in counseling for 3 years. I am not sure i can ever love or trust him.


I believe my husband about never intending to leave me. Our marriage was good. I always was shown affection. However when i discovered they bought christmas gifts, he even had me buy her a birthday cake and gift (we do this for all employees) and then found out they text for 3 hours every night when i went to bed just about sent me over the edge. I fired her and all he could say is that is not my place to fire her. I kicked him out and weeks later he got the "aha" that he can't lead 2 lives. He is remorseful and could not be a better husband. However I am not sure i care anymore.

He wanted it all

Good grief! I can't believe how this explained my husband perfectly! He would have told you we had a great marriage. We even taught marriage classes together. He was having a physical affair with the yoga instructor at the gym and an emotional affair with another lady also from the gym! After d day he immediately broke off the physical one. (He did not know that I had already discovered both women.). When kept meeting with the second one I finally confronted him about a month later. He broke it off quickly as well. And you are correct....I don't trust him or believe it when he says he loves me or that he wants to be married to me. I think he just can't give me up because of all the trappings that he would lose if he did like kiids, church, reputation, big house, holidays etc. Do I think he will cheat on me again? Probably! I have no idea what to do. I feel stuck. Not who I thought I married. Not what I thought marriage was. Totally blindsided. Not sure I can ever trust him again... Not sure if I even like him anymore!

OH! my dear gal. Try being 60

OH! my dear gal. Try being 60 -something and still in it!


I'm dealing with this now...I suspected infidility pretty quickly but it took 6 months for me to find out the truth. We were having mad problems yet he was saying how he wanted it work and was mostly happy. When I discovered the truth, I was relived but wasn't prepared for the pain and everything that was confessed. My husband is a teacher. Well respected...blah blah blah. He admitted that he had cheated in past relationships but never explained to what extent. I still don't totally know but I believe his dad cheated on his mom ( they have been married over 40 years) his brother has also cheated on his wife (they are still married but live separately) That is not the life I want. We have been together for 3 years.
I am 6 years older than him. I cheated on my first husband and decided I never wanted to put someone else through that pain. I walked away from my husband because I knew I wasnt happy and I didn't want to keep putting him through that.

2 weeks ago I found out he is still in contact with the two women. This time around I've decided to say nothing. Before finding out we had been going back and fourth about staying together. Now I realize he really doesnt want a divorce. He just wants me to accept his behavior (keeping secrets and not having a transparent marriage) and allow him to get the emotional needs met from other women. However before I found out the truth I've repeatedly said I can tell you are not being honest about something.

Unfortunately its going to take me to move out for him to either make amends and admit his behavior as well as get help or I will divorce him and he will continue in this pattern.

My husband and his affair with boss

My husband continues to say he loves me. However I found out about the affair. My husband thinks if he did not have sex he did not have an affair. He had a emotional affair his every conversation was about her. I found text messages with emojis. Calling her pet names. He became financially broke. Rumors had it he was always with her. She created a position for him so that he would always be available for her.


So how does the betrayed get past this and how does the wayward spouse avoid this from happening again ?


So how does the betrayed get past this and how does the wayward spouse avoid this from happening again ?

Type 4: Yes, she wanted affair and the marriage too

So far it's only women who have commented on this type, so I just want to register as a guy who experienced this too. My wife threatened to leave me and take the children with her when she was in the throes of the affair but in the end decided to stay and end the affair. For sure for awhile she wanted both and did all the usual stuff of blaming me for her behavior and wanting to have it both ways. We had a good marriage. The affair was her working out her own issues from childhood and exploring the roads not taken. It still hurts.

Wanting the marriage and the affair

My husband of 25 years, disclosed to me and my children on 21st Dec 2015 that he had been having an affair with a waitress he met 6 years previously, and had a child by her. 3 hours later, he left us. I had absolutely no idea that he was having an affair, as the woman was in another country, and since he travelled abroad, all his foreign trips were tagged with meeting her before or after his work.
4 months after leaving me, he came back, saying that he had broken up with his AP and wanted our marriage to work. I took him back but 3 years later, I am still struggling. Despite going to counselling on and off, the trust is broken and I dont know what I want anymore.
How does the betrayed spouse get past this? Will this happen again?

Husband wanted his cake n eat it to

Yes my husband had a 9 year affair with a married woman who’s husband divorced her after he found out but I’m still married and wondering why I am. He said he never wanted a divorce but he enjoyed being with her because she did things that I didn’t to him and they met in places they never should have! It’s been 6 years since I found out! He tells me he will never do it again that was the past n he isn’t like that anymore! But I can never trust him he’s in law Enforcement and says I just need to move on n forget about it that we cannot change the past! We been married 42 years now but I still can’t seem to just forget it! Everyday I think about it we were high school sweethearts and I never was with anyone else! This wasn’t his first affair! He had one after we lost our first child and lied saying it was a one night stand but now after all these years I find out he was with her many times but he had gotten an std from her and that was the only reason he had to tell me about it! So will I ever get better and want him back we have just been room mates n I’m tired of being lonely in my own home!

This was me

I committed this type of affair. I convinced myself that I was entitled to both the affair and to my marriage. I never wanted to leave my wife, and I convinced myself that the holes in my marriage could be filled with another person. Only through falling to my knees and seeking help from my pastor, counselor, and an accountability partner have I been able to see how selfish, rotten and awful I was. I have permanently damaged my wife and kids, and while I am grateful every day that my wife has forgiven me and allowed me to stay, I will never be able to repair the damage. I convinced myself years ago that "what they don't know won't hurt them" but I was so wrong. I am 100 percent responsible for my choices, and wanting to have my cake and eat it too damaged everyone around me. My affair partner became manipulative in the end with threats to destroy my life and expose me, further driving home the point that she was never who I thought she was. Nevertheless, there is no nuance to any of this. I was 100 percent wrong and selfish with every call, every text, every interaction. I owed my wife what I had committed to on our wedding day. Thankfully, I have help and support so that I'm not "that guy" any more, but I will never be able to fix the damage that I alone have caused.

Thank you

For this comment. It gives me a little bit of hope that somewhere out there, it is possible for a man to full remorseful about wanting their cake and eat it.

I have found out that my husband specifically sought out his hidden email with his AP just 1 day before our wedding and archived it. Even though he swore blind for about 6mths that he ended it with her. Technically he brought the affair right into the first day of our marriage.

Our 1 year wedding anniversary is coming up (its our birthday too, life is funny like that). My birthday will never be the same, and I'm still so young. It sometimes feel so painful to keep living on with this pain..


I wish my husband would come to this realization. I forgave. We agreed to work on our marriage, and he would stop seeing her. For a few months, we were like newlyweds. And then I found out she was still in the picture. This has now been going on for a few years. Why do I stay? For now, I am taking care of my family. Divorce is expensive, and I didn’t want our kids worlds to be turned upside down. My mother has now moved close to me and needs quite a bit of care. This would break her heart. My daughter just found out a few weeks ago. I will have to leave at some point, as I want her to know that I know that I deserve better. I don’t trust that he will change or even believe that he is wrong. I am mentally distancing myself in order to prepare to leave.

I know this is an old thread

I know this is an old thread however my husband and I are 3 months in from D-Day. You sound so similar to him. Would you be willing to talk to him? He is struggling immensely with the remorse, guilt, disgust, etc...
I, of course have my pain that I am working through but he does too.

Letting Go

I've been married for 27 years and emotionally/sexually involved with a married friend of my family for 8 of those years. We had a Type 4 affair described here. We know each other's families, socialized occasionally, and neither of us had any intention of leaving our spouses. Selfish beyond words, I know. Then, last spring, my teenage daughter discovered the affair but decided that keeping it from her dad was the best thing to do. She was concerned for his health and I think in some ways did not want to be "responsible" for his pain. After seeing her suffering and enduring great disrespect from her for about 4 months, I confessed to my husband. The affair had continued during this time but at a much different level. The AP and I had mostly spoken of how to break free of one another to save our relationships with our children. We never wanted them to be hurt. Since Dday my husband and I are trying to recover but it is difficult. He was not only betrayed by me, but also by his friend. He also knows if not "caught," it would still be going on. I am so very grateful for the second chance but I'm suffering on a different level in private. In addition to seeing the pain I've caused my husband, I lost my best friend of almost 8 years. While I understand the need for NO contact, it is not as simple as the professionals make it sound. I talked with my AP way more than with anyone else in my life and saw him 3-4 times each week. My H and I have been seeing a counselor but with all the reading I've done, I don't feel she has much experience with infidelity. Can someone provide suggestions for 100% breaking free when real feelings, real people and not just fantasies are involved?

Did you ever find help for

Did you ever find help for this? Did you and your husband make it? I would like to know more about how you overcame the breaking free of your AP.

Is this emotional affair?

I'm not sure if it's jealousy or emotional affair! My husband always helps women! He will help every last single woman in the world online! Which is great I think. He has talked to so many, did or gave them something (guess it's was nonsexual) my question is , my husband and I were helping out this woman from my daughter school. She was in battered relationship we took her in our home for three months and her 3children she finally got on her feet and back home husband kept in touch daily to the point where it was all about her or her children. I asked him to stop talking to her but he wanted to babysit for her. No one else would! But now he is over at her house all the time that he's actually slept over for three nights in a row he takes our daughter with him sometimes we fight so much one day he told me he wanted a divorce and he went to her house few days later he said he was mad about my jealousy and he doesn't want t a divorce I was so hurt betrayed I don't know what I want ? am I jealous am I wrong? Why does he want to fix everybody and never have time for me?! Why am I not enough? He's getting paid for doing a job , right.. I'm confused!!

Grief over spouses affair

Too many lies, betrayal on top of betrayal, broken promises, 42 years are gone just like that. I forgave and forgave until I felt like a bug under the doormat. The last thing I gave was up.

I saved my marriage after I had 2 year affair

I was in an affair for 2 years with a person I thought was my soul mate. He filled in the voids I was not getting from my husband. I thought I loved him. I thought he was my soul mate. Now I know I was in a fog. At the time my mind set was "I love him but I am scared to leave the life I have know for 28 years" Yes I have been married 29 years now. Well the affair was revealed to my husband by a relative. Never could I have imagined the damage my actions were going to cause my husband, my children, my family. After my affair was revealed, that was my opportunity to be with my affair partner. My husband kicked me out of the house. Instead of going to be with my affair partner I broke it off and told him I needed to be alone to figure out what I really wanted. 3 months later, I was out of the fog and realizing the damage I had caused to so many people I love. I was and am truly remorseful for what I did. My husband took me back but it was a LOOOOONG year of wearing a scarlet letter. I had to prove to my husband that I was sorry. I had to show him that I wanted our marriage to work. I cut off my affair partner 100% to give my 100% to my husband and my children (ages 27 and 21) Here we are a year later and our marriage is stronger now than it ever was. Our foundation crumbled, but my husband and I managed to rebuild. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone thru. I regret my affair but at the same time it has taught my husband and I why our marriage was failing and it helped up make it stronger. I love my husband today more than I did the day I met him. I could go on and on and give details but 2-3 years of this struggle is to much to type.

Wouldn't end affair

2 weeks after I forgave him, he went right back to his AP. It took me another year to prove it. He works with her and I have no reason to believe he will stop now even though he says he has.

What type of affair was it?

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