Discussion Topic

Types of Affairs

Posted on 06/17/08, 03:17 pm
I found an interesting article for social workers on how to deal w/ couples in the aftermath of an affair. I liked the fact it came from the outside perspective and hightlight different types of affairs and the best type of counselor's too outsource them too.

"Donâ??t assume that all affairs are alike. They vary in terms of motivations and behavior patterns. Generally, affairs fall into one of the following types:

â?¢ Conflict avoidance â?? The partners are afraid to address differences and lack the skills to do so. Their differences remain unresolved and they drift apart.

â?¢ Intimacy avoidance â?? The partners avoid getting too close for fear of being swallowed up. They relate emotionally through conflict. If both partners are having affairs, they are probably this type.

â?¢ Split self â?? Characterized by an internal split between the rational self that values family and attempts to do what is â??right,â?? and the emotional self which has been suppressed since early childhood. These are the serious, long-term affairs.

â?¢ Sexual addiction â?? The betraying partner uses sex to numb internal pain and fill up the inner emptiness. The betrayed partner enables.

â?¢ Exit â?? A decision has already been made to end the relationship, and the affair is used as an exit strategy.

Conflict and intimacy avoiders benefit most from couples therapy, and if needed, individual therapy. Split selves need individual therapy to heal the internal split that is being played out through the affair. Sexual addicts who are willing to seek help need to be in a program for treatment of sexual addiction."

Showing 1 - 10 of 23 Replies
  • Reply #1 06/17/08  3:42pm
    Conflict avoidance was what led to my stbx's affair.

    In fact, conflict avoidance describes her overall very well.

    I, on the other hand, am a litigator by profession. I fight with people for a living. I'm not afraid of conflict, and at times, relish it. I'm even good at it.

    That part of me made my stbx very uncomfortable. It ran counter to how she wanted to live her life.
  • Reply #2 06/17/08  3:51pm
    I suppose I fall into the split self category. What do you think Pixie, knowing what you do of my situation?
  • Reply #3 06/17/08  4:01pm
    JNS, If I had to pick a category for you I'd most likely go with Split Self. Your OM very literally came from your youth and was your first love... lost due to distance and obligations.

    I think of the split self as representing two parts of ourselves, two paths that we see happiness down the road if we choose to follow it or atleast uncertainity regarding which is the "right" choice.

    I agree with your assessment, though not certain why you picked it.


    I have little insight into my own affair. I can see bits and pieces of my affair(s) in each of the categories. I don't think I fall under intimacy affairs or exit affairs though. Never feared getting too close nor wanted to end the relationships.
  • Reply #4 06/17/08  4:02pm
    I think my wife's affair was a split-self affair. Other couples looked up to us and by all accounts, we were a happy family. My ambitions are greater than hers and I suppose that took an unexpected toll.
  • Reply #5 06/17/08  4:04pm
    I was definitely using the affair as an exit strategy. But.. I wasn't looking for him to pull me out of the fire either.

    Wait a minute... was there a " Doesn't give a fuck anymore" adulterer?? Because if so, that was me.
  • Reply #6 06/17/08  4:10pm
    Oh wow. I just read an article about the spit self affair and I'm pretty much text book description of the betraying partner in that type of affair.

  • Reply #7 06/17/08  4:13pm
    Where is the article at? I guess I could just google it.
  • Reply #8 06/17/08  4:20pm
  • Reply #9 06/17/08  4:23pm
    Thanks Pixie. I was interested in reading that as well.
  • Reply #10 06/17/08  4:25pm
    Kelly, I too am of the "Don't give a fuck anymore" type. Yep, that was me



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