Sexual affairs may be the most widely known type of infidelity, but these days, betrayal take many forms.
“If effort is consistently being expended outside the marriage, that may be a sign of a non-traditional affair, like an emotional affair,” psychotherapist Abby Rodman told The Huffington Post. “The result of a non-traditional affair is the same: The spouse feels hurt, disillusioned and marginalized.”
Below, Rodman and other marriage experts share the most damaging types of betrayals that occur in modern marriages.
“This is the most widely known type of affair: Just as humans have emotional needs, we have physical needs, too. We are all social animals and our simple needs are primitive: we desire sex. Outside of the heightened physical pleasure sex provides, sex can release oxytocin, a bonding hormone. That’s why a lack of sex within a couple can cause one to stray in order for them to get those physical and emotional needs met.” ― Carin Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist in Sherman Oaks, California
“In this type of affair, one partner is starving for an adult emotional connection, and they’ve usually given up on getting it from their spouse. The partner may be depressed and not feel like themselves anymore. Then, someone they know, a co-worker for instance, pays attention to them. They laugh at jokes, comment on the married person’s devotion to their kids. The two become emotionally connected. The partner usually justifies the emotional affair because they see it as the lesser of two evils: They don’t have to leave their spouse or break up the family but in the meantime, they’re willing to supplement their marriage with another person.” ― Caroline Madden, a marriage therapist and the author of After A Good Man Cheats: How to Rebuild Trust & Intimacy with Your Wife
“When we think of cheating, many of us think of opportunistic one-night stands, physical affairs and illicit secret trysts. But now with online and smartphone accessibility, there are new forms of cheating: you don’t even have to leave your home to have a cyber affair with a stranger or stream porn online. Most online cheaters I’ve spoken to believe ‘it’s no big deal’ and that they are not really cheating because they’re not getting physical with anyone in real life. They believe that their dalliances allow them to stay in their marriage or relationship because it diffuses their boredom. As I’ve seen, these ‘innocent liaisons’ can become a fatal blow to a relationship.” ― Sheri Meyers, a marriage and family therapist and the author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship
“If you’re consistently reliving the love you had with a partner from the past, you’re doing your marriage a disservice. Thinking about past loves with affection is perfectly normal. But if you’re pining for an old relationship or keeping that person on the back burner, you’re not giving your current partner a fair shake. Even if you truly believe that other person is the one who got away, it’s time to move on and be present for your partner. And remember, that relationship didn’t work out for a good reason...or 10.” ― Abby Rodman, a psychotherapist and the author of Should You Marry Him?: A No-Nonsense, Therapist-Tested Guide to Not Screwing Up the Biggest Decision of Your Life
“Many a marriage is destroyed over this neglected category I call interest affairs. Just like alcohol or drug addiction, interest affairs do tremendous damage to relationships and families and are difficult to treat. The damage begins when a spouse turns into a zealot or fanatic over something. The possibilities are endless: politics and politicians, sports, hunting, religion, a friend, family member, child pageants, crafting, selling beauty products, exercise, food, nutrition ― it really can be any interest. What is true of all of them is that a husband or wife becomes so obsessed with their favorite new activity that it becomes their first priority over their spouse. The only difference with this type of affair is that these distractions are not romantic, sexual or secretive.” ― Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist in Little Rock, Arkansas
“Financial infidelity is surprisingly frequent among couples. The issue that is most difficult to recover from is the lack of transparency. It often leads to broken trust. Financial infidelity may come in the form of withholding information about spending habits, accumulating credit card debt which a partner has no knowledge of, supporting others outside of the relationship financially or keeping any other form of spending or financial decision-making a secret. The secrecy of financial infidelity leaves the deepest scars. When there is intentional withholding of information regarding finances, the trust is almost always damaged.” ― Liz Higgins, a couples therapist in Dallas, Texas