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Understanding and Preventing 5 Types of Infidelity

Marriage is most vulnerable the first two years of married life. After that, there are specific times that marriage is threatened, and the biggest threat for many couples is infidelity. Online infidelity and emotional affairs have become easier and more rampant. One of the best ways to protect your relationship from infidelity is to understand why it happens and talk about it with your partner.

Marriage experts studying infidelity warn us that talking about infidelity doesn’t make it more likely; instead, it helps couples discuss the topic and work together to prevent cheating. Below are five major types of infidelity. Discussing these with your partner can help you worry less about infidelity and feel more like a united front.

  1. Strong need for approval cheating. If you’re with someone who needs constant approval and is afraid of rejection, they fall into a type of cheating that feels compulsory. This type of cheating happens mostly because the cheater is afraid of rejection or disproval. Social media has made this type of cheating more likely. If your partner has trouble asserting themselves or struggles with low self-esteem, validation and appreciation from you can prevent them from needing it from someone else.

  2. Opportunistic cheating. When infidelity is based on opportunity, the cheating partner may find themselves in a situation where they cheat because it’s easy. They weigh the risks quickly and determine they won’t get caught and that it’s worth the risk. This type of cheating is more likely for those that have substance abuse issues, are dishonest, or are risk-seekers. If you or your partner are married to this type, it’s wise to seek counseling. This type does not usually change because it’s character or habit based; however, therapy can help if they want to change.

  3. Third party cheating. This type of infidelity happens when the marriage is in name only. These people marry and stay married – even in a broken or unhappy marriage – because it’s better for their work and community image. They cheat for emotional and physical connection but don’t want their marriage to end. If you are married to someone like this, you must value your relationship more than your lifestyle if you want your marriage to change.

  4. Romantic cheating. This type of cheating is indicative of what happens when emotional intimacy is lost between couples. It usually starts as an emotional affair, which can become a physical affair, but rarely does the cheater leave their marriage. Romance fizzles out and isn’t sustainable for the affair to last. This type of cheater may be committed to their marriage and if the couple is willing to talk about it and face their lack of emotional intimacy, therapy can help them create a better communication style.

  5. Serial cheating. This type of infidelity occurs when the cheater has more than one partner they’re cheating with. The cheater has no boundaries, gives inane excuses, and claims their cheating is not harmful. If you are married to someone like this, my advice would be to attend therapy sessions alone; you’ll need to understand why you feel that it is okay to be disrespected by someone who vowed to love you.

Cheating is a choice, even when the situation makes it tempting and accessible. Relationships can survive infidelity, but it isn’t easy. Be aware of the types of cheating and your personal flaws that could lead to infidelity. We are all human and we all make bad choices. Keeping your marriage sacred and protected from infidelity begins by talking about the topic and creating a plan to prevent it from happening.


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