How Does a Partner Have an Affair?

How Do Affairs Happen?

Most of us would probably prefer to talk about something else. But the truth remains – infidelity happens. Thanks to the internet and social media, it’s also becoming easier to meet people and make plans to meet but harder to detect devious behavior.

You might even say that it has also become more difficult to define what infidelity is. What can be defined as an affair? – Sex? A kiss? A prolonged hug? Lunch? Friendship? Phone calls? (see my other “Infidelity/Affairs” blog article entitled “What Is Infidelity?”) Yet, with all the blurred lines and uncomfortable realities, we may still find ourselves asking something very fundamental… “How do partners stray from their partners?”


What Does It Mean to “Stray”?

In our American culture, infidelity is usually portrayed as a “betrayal of trust” or “cheating” on one’s monogamous partner by engaging in sexual intercourse with another adult outside the relationship. Of course, this may be true… but it’s just the tip of the infidelity iceberg.

What’s the Impact of “Going Astray”?

A betrayal of trust can only be truly judged by the two partners who originally established their trust and expected monogamy from one another. Some partners/spouses talk openly about their expectations of monogamy and make verbal promises not to stray. However, others never make verbal pledges or commitments to one another and assume that they have entered into a monogamous partnership without discussing it openly.

Cheating is often in the eye of the beholder and it doesn’t always include sexual contact. Some partners/spouses have wider or more flexible boundaries than others and they don’t get so upset by their partner’s wandering eyes or sexualized comments and fantasies. However, there are some partners who have very restrictive boundaries and expectations of their partners. They expect complete abstinence with others and commitment to them alone. They do not tolerate hearing or knowing about their partner’s sexually arousing fantasies regarding people outside their relationship. Some partners don’t become offended or suspicious and upset easily while others are offended and frightened easily. For these partners, being suspicious is agonizing.

How Do Partners “Roam”?

Meanwhile, in the face-to-face real world as well as the long-distant digital smartphone era, the possibilities for attraction, excitation and communication abound. In other words, “straying” or roaming could include many different types of wandering-off behaviors, face-to-face and long distance, whether a couple is married or not.

Going astray activity may include:

  • Emotional affairs
  • Sexting affairs
  • Online/Cyber flirtations
  • Sexual Compulsion/Addiction affairs
  • Internet Pornography affairs
  • Sexual affairs
  • Passionate/Impulsive affairs
  • Retaliation/Revenge affairs
  • Loneliness affairs
  • Exit/Transition affairs

Read more about these different types of affair behaviors in my other 4-part blog article by clicking the link below:

What Is It Like to “Wander-Off”?

Some of these roaming behaviors could be very brief and superficial, lasting only seconds. However, other types of affairs can be very involved including much time, money, secrecy and deception.

Some affairs can be very sexualized, intoxicating and full of emotional passion, deep love or infatuation and involve indulgence in a lot of fantasy. At the same time, there are also other types of roaming behaviors that are meaningless, void of emotion and purely sexual or psychological with little attraction and no desire to be continued.

For the “unfaithful partner”, a prolonged type of affair may be emotionally experienced in a mixture of ways, including painful guilt, self-doubt, anxiety, fear, anguish and shame. Or, on the other hand, they may experience pleasurable emotional excitement, thrills, relief, enchantment, infatuation and love. An affair may support and boost the unfaithful partner’s self-identity or wrack and destroy their self-esteem.

For the “hurt partner”, uncovering an affair can be a devastating and destructive experience. Emotionally they may experience anger, outrage, depression, anxiety, fear, hatred. However, they may eventually feel gratitude and turn their anguish into a growthful and esteem-building experience and rebuild a freer and more satisfying lifestyle.

After and affair is discovered, some marriages and relationship hold together and become better. Others deteriorate and become miserable. And then there are always those marriages/relationships that split apart due to infidelity.


Can Therapy for Infidelity Help?

Infidelity is a relationship problem. In therapy, partners learn how to share their inner thoughts and feelings. You and your partner can also develop healthier ways to communicate. As a team, you can process the progression of your relationship and how to move forward.

Therapy for infidelity is not easy work. With the help of an experienced and unbiased guide, you can take the necessary steps for healing and reconnection. It is entirely possible to create a fulfilling new future.


To learn “Why Partners Have Affairs”, click on this link below:

For more information about “Therapy for Infidelity”, please visit my web page at:


I have posted a number of other articles about infidelity and affairs on this blog. You can find them by clicking on the blog category below:


If you want some focused, helpful and confidential therapy for infidelity, please call me at 805-448-5053.

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