Been cheated on? Cheated? What kind of affair have you been hurt by?

  • The Conflict Avoidance Affair. This type of affair is when a partner expresses discontent outside the marriage. The cheating partner is unable, for whatever reason, to share the feelings of discontent with his/her mate and uses infidelity as a way to be “heard.” Thus, the affair can be emotional and/or physical in nature.
  • The Intimacy Avoidance Affair. This type of affair occurs when one (or even both) of the partners builds a wall to protect him/herself from the outside world. Often the lack of intimacy can reflect a disturbed attachment to the world in which a person feels too vulnerable if they expose any deeper part of the self. In fact, the affair may occur because there has been an overexposure of the self to the partner and the infidelity rights the balance.
  • The Sexual Addiction Affair. This type affair is marked by addictive sexual patterns that disturbs relational harmony. One partner is constantly having physical affairs and enjoys the chase and the thrill of having new partners. He/she denies any problem and may even be proud of the conquests.
  • The Split-Self Affair. This type of affair occurs when a partner’s feelings and needs are not expressed or met and communication is not genuine  between partners. The cheating partner is often  torn between the positive history of the relationship and the need to really be him/herself. The affair represents an attempt to be authentic but generally does not satisfy that desire since infidelity is not the authentic desire.
  • The Exit Affair. This type of affair indicates that a partner lacks the courage to leave a relationship honestly. Instead they act out via an emotional or physical affair in the hopes of forcing the other partner to end the relationship. In other words, the unfaithful person wants out on a conscious or unconscious level and uses the infidelity  to accomplish that.


Brown, E. M. (1999). Affairs: A guide to working through the repercussions. Jossey-Bass, CA: San Francisco.

For Therapy Services: The Key Counseling of SA


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