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25 Types of Affairs and How to Spot Each One of Them?

25 Types of Affairs and How to Spot Each One of Them?

Updated on Dec 07, 2022

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Types of Affairs 7 Types of Affairs and How to Spot Them

Did you know that there are several types of affairs? Yes, you read that right… Cheating isn’t only about finding your partner sleeping with a different person.

You’re probably lost deep in thought wondering what these types are… and whether you can spot them soon enough to show you’re no fool before your heart shatters into pieces

C’mon, let’s keep you aware and save you from those who can’t cherish you…

Types of Affairs Infographic

Types of Affairs
Types of Affairs

Types of Affairs

Most people think affairs mean someone having sex, making out, or flirting with someone other than their primary partner.

I only wish that the term infidelity was as simple… but this terrible thing comes in so many forms that it’s hard to identify them. So, you must know about all of them and learn to identify them, before you get the shorter side of the stick.

So, let’s dig deep into the affairs and know how to spot each of them…

1. Emotional affair

If you believe that it’s not cheating unless you get under the sheets with someone else, this one is here to prove you wrong.

In this kind of affair, affair partners avoid physical intimacy because they don’t want to ruin their relationship or marriage. They experience deep emotional intimacy with another person and desire to be with them instead of their partner(s).

However, it’s not always due to a lack of emotional connection, but just because the cheating partner is more emotionally compatible with someone else.

In one study, they found that 44% of male and 50% of female employees had emotional infidelity at work and had a “work spouse”.

How to spot it?

Since your partner’s emotional needs will be met, you’ll spend fewer emotionally intimate moments. Your partner might give excuses to avoid quality time with you and “meet a friend for business”.

2. One-night stand affair

A one-night stand affair is where the unfaithful partner cheats on a spouse by sleeping with another for once. They don’t connect to them afterward… at least that’s what this kind of cheater vouches for.

Since it’s a one-time thing, most people that cheat on their partners like this say it wasn’t a mistake.

But, no matter how much your spouse/partner swears that it was an accident under the spell of alcohol… it isn’t! Alcohol gives people the courage to do things they can’t do while sober.

How to spot it?

If it’s a real one-night stand, you can spot the traces of infidelity on your partner right after that. You might either walk into them making out with a random-ass person while drunk. Or, you might see a lipstick stain or foundation mark, if the affair partner is a woman.

Some other gender-neutral signs are an unfamiliar smell of perfume, hickeys and scratches on their body, undone and tousled hair, and crumpled clothes.

3. Repeat sex affairs

This is a long-term affair type. The cheating partner has a sexual addiction and gets involved in multiple sexual affairs for a long time.

The cheater doesn’t know how to stop their compulsive behavior and probably also feels guilty. So, it might be a sign of mental health issues. They need urgent expert help to solve sex addiction.

It might also be a way to satiate their sexual appetite. Perhaps, their sexual needs aren’t satisfied in the primary relationship or their taste in sex is different from their primary partner.

How to spot it?

The unfaithful partner will often show up with traces of other women on them: makeup marks, jewelry of another woman tugged on their body or lingerie in their apartment but it’s neither of yours… when the affair partner is a female.

If they have a male affair partner, you might smell an unfamiliar musky smell from your partner or see men belonging to neither of yours.

Sexual intimacy in your relationship will drastically decline.

4. Romantic affair

In this one, the unfaithful one falls in love too fast with the other person. They think it’s their fate to come across new love, so they want to leave their last relationship. There’s lots of romance and emotional attachment in these affairs.

It usually begins because one person thinks that there’s not enough romance in their primary bond and they seek excitement elsewhere.

How to spot it?

Until the affair begins, your partner might constantly complain about the lack of romance in your relationship.

But once the affair begins, they’ll stop complaining, act more understanding towards you, spend a lot of time without you, and seem happy.

You might even spot gifts from someone else or see their credit card bills shooting in the sky.

5. Cyber affairs

All affairs don’t need two people to know each other face-to-face… which brings us to online infidelity or cyber affair. Due to the modern age of social media, this is the easiest form of cheating. You meet numerous people online with a wide variety of apps.

In cyber affairs, affair partners text each other romantically or sexually. They might confess love or send lustful media. It might soon lead to a full-fledged physical affair.

How to spot it?

The cheating partner suddenly changes their social media passwords and device unlock pins. If they shared their passwords and pins before, you’d notice this soon.

They might text late at night, suddenly sleep in another room, and always keep their phone on vibration. You might even see too many text notifications from a friend’s name.

You might spot dating apps on your partner’s phone.

6. Revenge affair

It’s a pretty common affair type… and as the name sounds, one partner takes revenge on their adulterous partner for the betrayal of trust with their own affair.

It’s like “You hurt me by cheating, wait till I show you how much it hurts!”

This completely breaks down a shaky relationship. Moreover, it crushes the previously innocent one’s confidence, dignity, and self-respect.

You won’t heal from it… rather, you feel even worse for involving another person in an emotional relationship or giving away your body in a sexual relationship.

How to spot it?

Your loyal partner will act cool to your infidelity. They’ll forgive you and become extra bubbly. They won’t pay attention to you like before. They’ll make it a point so that you know they cheated. So, you can spot it pretty well.

7. Extramarital affairs

This type of affair can be in any form mentioned in the list. The only difference is that you’re married to your partner and took vows to stay loyal to each other until your last breath.

This usually happens because a spouse gets bored of another. Instead of thinking about how to bring back the excitement in the marriage… They step outside the marriage to have fun with someone else.

Some people commit it to boost their ego and only feel good. But it always ruins the marriage.

How to spot it?

If you’re married for a long time, you might notice a sudden change in your partner. They’ll put extra effort into their appearances and go out to parties more with or without you to show off.

You’ll notice a drastic change in their socializing skills and act more flirtatious around others. They might return home late and get frequent invitations for late-night parties or vacations from friends.

8. Double life affair

In this type of cheating, the cheater leads a double life as they’re equally committed to both partners – emotionally, mentally, and physically. Rather they manipulate their partners into thinking they’re the only ones. Because they’re that good at lying and deceiving you.

You might say they’re cheating on both the primary and affair partner. This usually happens when a person has two steady girlfriends/boyfriends or a steady spouse and a serious partner. 

How to spot it?

Honestly speaking, the partner leading a double life is truly hard to rat out. They’re too well-versed in their cheating ways. To begin with, your partner might have another partner right now… and forget about suspecting anything, you’d think you’re the love of their life.

You can only hire a private investigator to tail your partner 24/7 to spot this sort of affair.

9. Mind-body affair

In this kind of affair, the unfaithful one gets into a romantic relationship with a new person and feels a strong emotional, sexual, intellectual, and spiritual connection with the affair partner.

They feel that they’re meant to be… as though they’re lovers from a past life that couldn’t keep their promise. So, they reincarnated to keep their word.

This always leads to a breakup in the primary relationship. Soon, the cheating partner starts a new relationship and if there were children, it leaves them traumatized for life.

How to spot it?

You’ll slowly notice your partner falling out of love. They’ll be less connected with you and you’ll have frequent fights. They won’t be as committed to you and will spend long hours with their affair partner. They might soon talk about breaking up because they found the other piece of their heart.

10. Illicit affair

Illicit affairs are illegal or taboo ones. It can work out in different scenarios.

For instance, a relationship between your partner and a minor. The relationship between your partner who’s a teacher and their student. It might be a person having two spouses where polygamy is illegal.

They might be penalized or sentenced to jail if they were found out.

How to spot it?

Since the affair is illicit, your partner will be extra cautious about their actions. Their overcautious ways might give them away. Hiring a private investigator can help you identify.

11. Affair with an older person

If your partner was neglected or abandoned by their mom or dad in their childhood, they might have mommy or daddy issues.

Depending on that, they might get emotionally and sexually attracted to older and/or married men or women who have similar traits as their parents.

They still crave the love of a parent and are aware of their actions. But instead of approaching older people like a child, they project it into a romantic relationship.

How to spot it?

Your partner might become extremely interested in your uncle/aunt or any other elderly. They might make excuses to meet them repeatedly. Take note if that elder person also has a track record of having sugar babies or dating younger people.

If noticed at the right time, therapy can help your partner put an end to their issues once and for all.

12. Sanctioned affair

In this kind of affair, you give consent to your partner to have an affair. You try to be open-minded and understanding of your partner’s needs.

This is the usual case in couples that believe commitment and love have no connection with exclusivity and desire to have fun outside the relationship.

Some partners feel they can’t fulfill their partner’s emotional or sexual desires so they set them free to satisfy themselves. In return, they expect to be appreciated and loved for their open-minded nature.

It’s a way to accept that you’re not the perfect match, you patch it up differently to last your relationship or marriage.

While your partner fulfills their desires, you feel compersion – a warmth and happiness to please your partner with freedom and excitement.

How to spot it?

There’s nothing to spot because you both are clear about it.

13. Fantasy affair

In this, a person cheats on their partner but only in their daydreams. There’s no real relationship between two people outside the primary connection.

Your partner might subconsciously have a crush on someone. Though they haven’t yet engaged in a sexual or romantic relationship, they fantasize about it.

While spending time with you, they think you’re someone else… which feels pretty disrespectful. Usually, your partner’s object of affection might be a celebrity… but sometimes it might be someone unattainable in their real life.

How to spot it?

Your partner might ask you to dress a certain way… which is their crush’s style. They might even moan out their name during sexual intercourse. You might even find them self-pleasuring with a picture or any item from the other person.

14. Sexual affairs

Just to be clear, this one isn’t the same as repeat sex affairs or one-night stand affairs. This is what the majority refer to as cheating, adultery, and affair… though there are so many other ways.

The cheating partner starts the affair with sex just out of curiosity and thinks it won’t hurt if they don’t get emotionally involved.

They think nobody will find out as long as they and their affair partner continue a no-strings-attached arrangement and have satisfying sex.

But one fine day BAM! They get emotions involved and start treating them like someone important.

How to spot it?

Your partner slowly grows distant from you. They’re never interested in sex with you. Even if you successfully seduce them, they try to get done with it soon. They might not have time for intimacy and they’re too busy to flirt with you.

15. Distraction affair

People get involved in this kind of affair when they’re too stressed in life and need a moment to forget everything.

For instance, your partner is coping with serious issues in their professional life, with finances, and even their family is battling with health issues… this overwhelms and depresses them.

They become too weak and vulnerable and might get involved in an affair with whoever shows them kindness. They distract themselves from reality.

They don’t want to cheat, they aren’t dissatisfied in their primary relationship… They only want a little relief by letting off steam by forgetting everything.

Well, basically it’s because they can’t imagine you being the source of this distraction.

How to spot it?

Before the affair begins, you both become emotionally distant. They can’t imagine being truly happy with you. They’re so busy and pissed all the time that they hardly spend time with you.

Right when the affair begins to take off, their mood enhances. You feel it was just a phase and now they’re optimistic about life. However, if you or any other loved one did nothing and there’s no good news… it’s another person!

When the affair blows up, they understand that they don’t get similar vibes from you and again act distant. They spend most of their time saying they’re busy while they’re out on a date with someone that uplifts them.

16. The love addict’s affair

Just as there are sex addicts, there are also love addicts. Love addicts feel that the amount of love their partner offers isn’t enough. They might even complain that they chose the wrong one.

Their quest to find their fated one never ends. They’re addicted to finding love… and during that, they go Thank you, Next! faster than Ariana.

Though they get sexually, physically, and emotionally attracted to their affair partners, they might leave one affair partner for another for the dream relationship.

So, they’re actually in search of a beautiful relationship and forget that two people make a relationship and it can be beautiful even with flaws.

How to spot it?

They’ll complain that you don’t understand what a relationship is like or that the sparks got lost from your relationship because of you. They make you feel like you’re useless… to the point that you believe they deserve better.

17. The exit strategy affair

Some people just don’t know better or don’t have the balls to say “I don’t love you anymore” or “it’s not working out!”

They don’t want to put effort into the breakup or take responsibility for breaking someone’s heart. So, they use an affair as an exit strategy from the existing relationship or marriage.

They even emotionally and mentally prepare themselves to stop depending on their partner and to cut off any weaknesses towards their tears with this affair.

Often these people promise their affair partners that they’d live happily ever after soon after the breakup. But, even this relationship meets its doomsday soon.

How to spot it?

The cheating partner will push you away intensely and make you suspect something. They might leave hints or show off signs of another man/woman on themselves. They might even knowingly pick fights and ignore you.

18. “In-the-family”/opportune affair

This kind of affair happens when two people are sexually and/or emotionally interested in each other… and they were actually seeking an opportunity to hit it off.

The affair partner is usually the loyal partner’s family member or friend. This affair partner is almost always around usually but never does anything suspicious. So, the loyal partner puts down their guard.

This is when the disloyal one and the traitor friend or family take advantage of your trust. They both feel safe because they can’t tell you. However, the thrill and excitement make them want to have sex with each other repeatedly. This eventually gives them away and it becomes a dirty situation.

How to spot it?

You’ll notice your family member or friend dropping by your partner’s account frequently. You might assume that they became great friends… but you’ll notice that your friend/family doesn’t hang out with you as much and always leaves when you come into the picture.

Even worse, you might see your friend/family staying even when you’re around and hitting on your partner. If you say anything to either of them, they’d say “you’re uptight, chill, we’re joking!”

19. The I’m-the-affair-partner affair

To understand this affair, you must see it from the third party’s viewpoint. Two people committed to their respective different relationships fall in love with each other.

Person1 loves person2 dearly and hopes they’ll both leave their current relationship and get together someday. Person1 hurries person2 and leaves their relationship first. Person2, however, doesn’t break up soon.

Person1 doesn’t even think that they’re an affair partner… instead, they believe it’s a real relationship. Whereas person2 probably plays with them just for fun. In the end, person2 never leaves their relationship.

How to spot it?

Mostly, women face the person1 situation in this kind of affair. So, if you want to know whether you’re becoming someone’s fodder as time passes, first accept that you’re not the real partner. You’re an affair partner and you might not get their favor.

Before person2 in your life asks you to break up from your relationship, ask them to do it. They won’t if they’re not serious.

But if you’re person2’s spouse, it’s really hard to find out unless your partner is careless. Hire a detective if you’re suspicious.

20. Power exertion affair

In this kind of affair, two people get sexually involved with each other in certain situations. They try to gain favors, power, authority, or just the upper hand over the other.

This usually happens in professional settings. A boss and their subordinate get sexually intimate while both or either of them is in a primary relationship. Here, each of them has a motive to do this.

The subordinate usually desires more power, promotion, bonuses, etc. They use sex in exchange for those. While the boss asks for sex in exchange for a promotion or bonus.

How to spot it?

Whether you’re the boss or subordinate’s partner, it depends on whether your partner is on the losing or gaining side. If they’re being blackmailed into any kind of situation, they’ll be tense and anxious.

However, if they’re on the gaining side, they’ll push you aside, and spend lots of time at work. If your partner is a subordinate, they’ll have good news about their professional life. If they’re the boss, their credit cards will blow.

21. Superglue affair

This is similar to the mind and body affair because it promises to destroy your primary relationship for good.

Both parties know they’re a good match for each other. They don’t possibly claim to be star-crossed lovers from another timeline or universe. But, they’re extremely compatible.

Even if they give up on the affair and try their best to focus on their marriage, they can’t control themselves. Their hearts somehow find each other… as if they truly are made for each other.

How to spot it?

Your unfaithful partner will always be distracted. Even if they spend time with you, their soul will be elsewhere. When they reciprocate your love, you’ll know there’s no heart in it. They’ll be too guilty to deny it if you ask them about having an affair.

22. Chasing affair

Some people just want to know whether they’re still as desired in their surroundings. So, they want to chase new lovers and tease them just to know if they lost their touch.

This kind of affair may not always lead to real affairs, but the attempt is enough to call it cheating. The unfaithful party even feels thrilled from the thought of chasing a lover.

How to spot it?

Your partner will change their appearance and act flirty. They’ll also spend a lot of money in the chase, so their credit card history will give them away.

23. Thrilling affair

Some people live for drama. They feel having a stable relationship without any fights is dull. To add a hint of spice and adventure, they have an affair. The troubles and emotional rollercoasters in the relationship due to the affair satisfy them.

How to spot it?

Since the two-timing partner wants the drama, they’ll let the news slip out noticeably. It’s best to call it quits unless you also want the same. This sort of dynamic might leave you emotionally traumatized for years.

24. Fallen in-out of love affair

In this affair, the traitor falls for someone new and misinterprets the situation “If my marriage/relationship worked for real, this wouldn’t have happened”. They end up sacrificing everything good in the process out of guilt of cheating and obsession with the new relationship.

How to spot it?

They’ll be distant and busy and won’t give you enough time. They’ll act moody because they can’t choose between you and them. They’ll even say “I love you… but only as a person.” when they get caught.

25. Casual affair

Aka fling is a sexual relationship without any commitment. It lasts more than a one-night stand like for a week or vacation.

How to spot it?

It usually happens for a few days in your absence. If you went on a vacation and your partner stayed back, you might see signs of another person’s presence in their space. If they go somewhere, you’ll see some signs in their luggage or hear their friends say something.

An affair can be the enlightening moment of your relationship. Wondering how? Let’s find out…

What do you learn from these affairs?

After knowing about your partner’s affair, you can find out the relationship issues and try to fix them with expert help. But if you won’t give it a second chance, know that you guys were already out of it long back.

Affairs, though heartbreaking, don’t always imply the demise of your relationship or marriage. It shows that you have issues in your relationship.

So, you can fix everything and start everything from scratch with clear communication, couples counseling, and the mutual will to fix your relationship.

But, if you feel you can’t take it anymore, it means that there were already many problems and your relationship was meant to be over.

Curious when your partner’s affair started? Let’s find out here…

How long do most affairs last?

Affairs usually stay thrilling for 6-18 months. Most couples become satisfied with it within 6-12 months from the onset.

If you ask your partner when the affair started, they’ll always say it happened only once. But most of the time, that’s not the case. So, you can say it happened long enough to slip up their secrets… which is long enough.

The thrilling stage of an affair lasts around 6-18 months. It happens so long both parties feel excited and have their desires met. As per experts, all affair partners take at least 6-12 months to be satisfied with each other. However, rarely does it even escalate to a marriage.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

If you have an affair, don’t expect your partner to forgive you… because everyone can’t stand infidelity. If your partner has an affair, I understand that you’re heartbroken… but take some space and think really hard about what you want.

Whether you want a breakup or give it another shot, do it wholeheartedly. Make sure you don’t regret anything and seek happiness for yourself.

But if you want to break up for sure and others try to convince you that’s a bad idea, go for a bad idea… because your peace comes first!

Are you interested to know more about ‘Relationship Timeline’ then click here?