Types of Affairs
Key Points
  • Partners have affairs for different reasons. It is important to understand the 3 primary types of affairs, Bridge, Self-Serving, and Repair.
  • If you can better understand the type of affair, making the decision to stay in the relationship or move on will become easier.

There are three types of affairs:

  1. The bridge affair;
  2. The self-serving affair; and
  3. The repair affair.


The bridge affair is a bridge out of the marriage-the death of the marital relationship. The purpose finding a new partner is to leave the marriage while avoiding the confrontation of marital problems. When your partner is having a bridge affair you will notice, if you let yourself, a change in your partner’s attitude. If you confront the person at this stage, either you will be targeted as the problem or he or she will lie or deny anything and everything, which will confuse, confound and temporarily help you to deny your intuition and suspicions. Meanwhile, the betrayer is readying for a transition out of the relationship.


Self-serving affairs are characteristic of individuals who are shallow, untrustworthy, and unable to commit. They do not seek out committed relationships, they are philanderers. They proceed from one light-hearted tryst to another, whistling, enjoying themselves and their risk taking while proclaiming interest in remaining married. They are always looking for a new adventure. Infidelity is their way of life. Living with a philanderer is demeaning, diminishing, and damaging to self-esteem and the soul. If your partner has been involved in more than one affair, consider that this may be their permanent pattern and act accordingly.

Repair affair:

A repair affair is meant to fix the marriage and can lead to solutions of marital difficulties. The dissatisfied partner feels helpless, hopeless, and unable to get the partner’s attention or the change they desire. An affair is a convoluted solution to a marital dissatisfaction but it does get attention.

Why would such indirect and harmful means to repairing a relationship be necessary? In relationships people become sloppy in their treatment of each other. They can be disregarding, demanding, disrespecting, and treat their partners as if they needed no care. An affair alerts the partners that loss of the relationship is imminent. At this point, both parties may be ready for some serious work on their marriage. Together they can re-focus on the real issues. Repair affairs are opportunities for expanding, improving and developing relationships although they often misfire and end in divorce.

Suggested Reading
Affairs: Emergency Tactics
From Discovery to Recovery: Provides you with emergency tactics to successfully survive the betrayal Is your relationship over when you discover that your partner is having an affair? The book will transport you from discovery of infidelity to a safe, satisfactory recovery.

Author: Carol L. Rhodes, Ph.D.

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ADULTERY TAKES TWO -- All but seven states punish both people involved in the adultery. Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Utah only punish the married person. In the District of Columbia and in Michigan, when a married man sleeps with an unmarried woman, only the man is guilty, but when a married woman sleeps with an unmarried man, they're both guilty.


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