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

Six Types of Affairs: Wanting the Marriage and the Affair

types of affairs
6 Types of Affairs:

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 4: Wanting the Marriage and the Affair

In this situation the affair partner is integrated into the betrayer's lifestyle. 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. At times, the unfaithful mate will financially support the affair partner to maintain the relationship. It's not uncommon for the affair partner to believe that 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 affair partner is kept secret from the betrayed spouse is proof that 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.

Characteristics of "Wanting the Marriage and the Affair":

  • 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 affair partner.


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He cheated for 27 years

Dealing with this for 5 days now. My husband and I have been married for almost 34 years. Since 1987. Earlier this year my mother died and our family has fallen apart. It has come to light that my husband and my sister have had a relationship for 27 of our 34 years of marriage. (From 1991-2018). They never had sexual intercourse but she did once perform a sexual act on him. He was mesmerized by her breasts. She is a very trashy, nasty, mean, spiteful, hateful person. She is a chain smoker, her teeth have rotted out, and she is hooked on prescription painkillers. She has served time in jail for forgery, been visited by the FBI for blackmail, has had sex with married men, receives disability, has alias names and ssn’s, and her “job” is “phone sex.”
I am the opposite. I am a college educated professional who has spent my entire life supporting my husband and 2 children.
My sister would ask my husband to come to her home to repair things from time to time, and my husband would ask to see her breasts. She says she would show them to him he would ask to suck them, and she let him once. She said over the course of 27 years he asked 50 or more times.
He admits that she performed a sexual act on him. He said she called him over and had in a see through nightgown and he got an erection and exposed himself and asked her ….
(He admits to asking to see her breasts over the years but insists the time frame was shorter - maybe 5 - 10 years and insists he asked no more than 3 or four times.)
The only reason anything came to light is that over the years my sister has been jealous of me and would always make comments that she could “rock my perfect little world.” After my mother’s death in early 2021, my husband felt that my sister was about to tell me and he told me about the sex act ONLY. He swore that’s all that happened and that it happened only once.
2 1/2 months later my sister and I got into an argument about our elderly father who was ailing in health. During the argument I brought up the sex act, and that’s when she informed me about everything with the breasts.
I am reeling. I had no idea. I thought we were perfect. We have ALWAYS been by each other’s side. We have NEVER spent time apart (other than very very few work related conferences over the years.). We raised 2 beautiful children, attended all athletic events from tee ball all the way through COLLEGE ball together. (Yes - both children received college athletic scholarships .)
We didn’t HAVE PROBLEMS! we went to church, went in family vacations, and were ALWAYS there for each other.)
My sister told me that he always told her, “I love my wife.”
He never told her he loved her. He convinced himself that he wasn’t cheating because they weren’t “having sex.”
I asked him then why didn’t he tel me about it since he didn’t consider it cheating. I asked my sister why didn’t she tell me about it since “it made her feel so abused.”
I told them both that they have robbed me of 30 years of my life because I realize now everything was a lie.
He wants me to stay. He says he loves me. That we’ve worked hard to build a life together (which we did.)
He went to the altar at church.
Advice ???

Replying to 30 years lost

Oh dear lady, I feel your pain. We have been married 36 years and I am two years out from initial discovery.

Needless to say, your sister is a piece of work! I can’t imagine staying in contact with her.

It took my husband 2 months to finally admit the sexual nature of the affair and another month to answer my questions to any satisfactory degree. He was scared to death of losing me, which made no sense to me at the time. Fortunately, he had already broken it off with her (a 12 year on and off affair) when I discovered a photo of her in his phone.

The info he is giving you and she has added on to might be all there is. But there could be more, I’m sorry to say.

My husband made it clear from the moment of discovery he wanted the marriage, and he has been sorely tested by my panic attacks, fits of rage, bouts of hysteria, tearful days, endless accusations, etc. it was months before I did not cry every day. He has done everything possible to stay and fight for the marriage and make me a priority. We began counseling, he started meeting with someone at our church, we met with a couple at our church together, and at about 14 months after initial discovery we privately renewed our vows and I got him a new ring. It’s still difficult, but give it time. It’s going to hurt like hell, but you don’t have to rush to any decisions. Take all the time you need. Read. Sign up for what affair recovery has to offer. Listen to their talks on YouTube. You won’t feel quite so alone.

Two years and I finally feel like I’m healing. Some days are still hard and the reminders seem to come in batches, but it’s better all the time.



He cheated for 27 years

What has happened is so unfair to you. I can understand your pain. You probably feel that your world has been shattered. You say "they have robbed you of 30 years of your life, because ... everything is a lie".
My husband had an affair with his "'teenage first love" as he called it and I too thought that our life together was a lie because he was in love with her before he met me and continued to work with her all the years we've been married and waited until she finally was available.
But this is not true, you know. My life is my life. And I have worked hard to build a life together with my husband (22 years) as you point out at the end of your letter.
The affair had nothing to do with me or you. It had to do with them who had a problem and tried to solve it in a unhealthy manner and hurt a lot of people in the process.
Your sister is not your problem either. She sounds like a "broken person" and has nothing to do with you being a good and decent person, supporting wife and a mother.
Your worth does not depend on their behaviour.
First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself in every way. Set boundaries, strengthen your spirit and instinct. Get the help of AR courses and ask your husband to do so as well but don't have any expectations about him. He is in another road. Pray and feel grateful for everything you have achieved. You might be surprised of your strength and resilient. God will get you through this even stronger. Give it time. Everything will be all right.

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-D, Texas