A romantic and emotionally intense relationship with someone other than your spouse or partner is referred to as an affair. Affairs are short-term relationships between two people who are not married or otherwise committed to each other (but there are exceptions). An affair may or may not entail sex, plus internet affairs can occur between persons who have never met.
What Exactly is an Affair
An affair is usually considered a betrayal of trust. It basically has the potential to cause major relationship pain. But then there are a variety of reasons why people cheat on their partners.
Depending on the kind of affair, there are different synonyms of the term. It is commonly referred to as “adultery” by married couples and “infidelity” by common-law spouses, same-sex couples, and other committed partners.
Types of Affairs
A love affair, an emotional affair, a fling, or extramarital interactions are all terms used to describe an affair. Some individuals simply refer to it as cheating or being unfaithful. In any case, the following are the most typical forms of relationships:
A romantic affair, commonly known as a “heart affair,” is one of the most popular types of affairs. These can take the shape of sexual liaisons between unmarried or married people. It could also be classified as non-monogamy in one form or the other.
A casual affair is a physical (and frequently emotional) bond between two people who may or may not engage in sexual activity. They do so, though, without necessarily anticipating a more structured romantic relationship.
An emotional affair can also be referred to as a platonic relationship. It is one in which there is no sexual intimacy but there is intense or long-lasting emotional intimacy.
Emotional affairs can readily turn into sexual encounters, putting the primary relationship in jeopardy. Even if the affair does not go to the point of becoming physical, the consequences can be just as damaging to a marriage. Intimacy in emotional affairs is frequently deeper and more intense than intimacy in sexual affairs.
An online or cyber affair, sometimes known as a cyber affair, is one that takes place over the internet via chat, webcam, email, or text. It might be completely anonymous. It is also between people who know each other’s fundamental information, such as their names but have never met. On the other hand, it could even happen online with someone the individual knows in person. A cyber affair frequently involves emotional and/or sexual overtones.
Although the parties in a cyber affair may never meet in person, the emotional connection and sensuous nature of the affair can put a strain on one or both of the participants’ committed relationships.
Basically, when a couple has a sanctioned affair, they agree on which kind of sex they can have with someone who isn’t their primary partner. Examples include swinging, dating, polyamory, and ménage à trois are examples of these. It has a lot in common with open relationships and marriages.
But then an open marriage that benefits both sides must adhere to the rules that were agreed upon from the outset. Otherwise, this kind of affair might be just as harmful as the others.
Meanwhile, everyone’s affairs are highly personal to them. They complicate long-term relationships and bring with them a slew of negative and positive emotions. Some people who have an affair find it unsatisfying and unworthy of the emotional toll it takes on their feelings and their marriage.
When an Affair Affects Your Relationship
There are strategies to help you deal with when your partner is unfaithful, and there are warning signals that may indicate that your partner is having an affair. There are actions you may take to try to improve things with your partner if you had an affair and are dealing with the effects in your relationship.
However, when it comes to dealing with an affair in a committed relationship or marriage, there are no right or wrong answers, just as there are in any other personal connection. It has the potential to end a marriage. Through discussion and expert support, other couples may be able to heal from infidelity and save their relationship.
Physical Affairs vs Emotional Affairs
The four types of affairs we talked about before now are classified under these two; Physical and Emotional Affairs. The question, however, is what is the difference?
For starters, physical touch is the key distinction between a physical affair and an emotional affair. Cheating usually entails persons meeting face to face and then having physical sex.
There may be a meeting in the case of an emotional affair, but it can take place over the phone, on a computer, or over a lunch date with someone other than a spouse; without any physical closeness. Many people who are emotionally cheating do not think of it as adultery. Because there is no actual physical contact, they believe the activity cannot be deemed cheating.
Janice, for example, used Facebook to reunite with Donald, an old high school boyfriend. The two began exchanging messages and quickly began disclosing personal information about their respective marriages. Because of their mutual support, they formed an emotional bond as a result of their sharing.
Janice and Donald are soon reminiscing about their past courtship and wondering why they ever broke up when they had so much “in common.” They yearn to see each other and rekindle the feelings they had as youngsters. Soon, both of them are professing their love for the other.
That’s all there is to it. Janice and Donald aren’t cheating in the usual sense, but they have developed a strong emotional bond and are having an emotional affair.
As a result, the unfaithful spouse is devoting more emotional attention to someone other than their real partners, and they are withdrawing from the primary relationship commitment they made.
Signs of an Emotional Affair
The exchange of personal information is the start of an emotional relationship. As the parties involved get to know one another, the information becomes more personal, and things begin to spiral from there.
Signs of emotional cheating includes Nonsexual intimacy, such as;
- turning to the third party for comfort or connection instead of the primary partner,
- oversharing inappropriate details about the primary relationship with the third party,
- making comparisons between the primary partner and the third party,
- becoming defensive of the secondary relationship to others, and
- feeling the need to keep the secondary relationship secret
If you see that your interactions with the third party are causing you to lose interest in being emotionally or physically intimate with your spouse, or contributing to a lack of desire to spend time with them, you should be concerned. Sexual attraction can be a hint, but it isn’t necessary for an emotional relationship to develop.
These are just a few indicators of an emotional relationship, but the lines between them can be blurry and change depending on the person involved. Personal feelings and intuitions are frequently used as a litmus test. It’s likely that a bond with someone outside of the primary relationship is degrading or undermining the primary relationship if either spouse feels that way.
Consequences of an Emotional Affair
Some think that an emotional affair is less harmful than regular adultery because it is a more informal relationship. However, because of the intimacy of the communication and the emotional investment taken by the participants, an emotional affair is often worse than, traditional cheating.
While having acquaintances outside of marriage is healthy and appropriate, an emotional affair jeopardizes the emotional link between partners and creates a gap. Friendships are built on attraction because we are drawn to different qualities in our friends, yet healthy friendships do not put a relationship at risk. Rather, they enhance life’s richness and happiness. When an attraction grows into an obsession or an affair, however, it can be disastrous to everyone involved, and nothing is more damaging to a relationship than the collapse of romantic partners’ emotional bonds.
In other words, an inappropriate emotional connection can be just as harmful to a partnership as an extramarital affair. Emotional affairs are just as likely to lead to divorce or a breakup as physical encounters and can serve as a doorway to other kinds of infidelity.
What is an Affair FAQs
What is considered an affair?
Affairs are romantic and emotionally intense relationships with someone other than your spouse or partner. They are short-term relationships between two people who are not under commitment or obligations to each other.
What is the difference between an affair and cheating?
The most significant distinction is that having an affair is a separate relationship that usually involves more than just sex. It involves emotions and feelings. It’s as if you have a second spouse. Cheating is often a one-time affair, FWB, and other sexual exchanges.