“There’s only one type of cheater,” is a common misconception. In fact, there are three types of cheaters.
Around 40 percent of married people cheat, so about 40 percent of marriages are affected by an affair. That’s a lot of heart ache.
Whether it’s a physical affair or an emotional affair, it’s crucial to change the misconception all cheaters are the same and start getting it right.
Since my heart got broken performing the not-so-time-honored role of The Other Woman six years ago, I’ve devoured information about affairs nonstop from two sources: Certified experts who counsel people on affair-related issues, and the cheaters, themselves.
The fabulous marriage therapist, Caroline Madden, Ph.D., for instance, has written extensively about affairs. Her book for the cheated-on wife is more than worth your time to read. In it, she breaks down cheaters into many categories.
Here are the only 3 types of cheaters, according to experts.
1. The abusive cheater
This is the person who’s physically abusive, the one with control issues who tells you what to cook, how to look, and what to wear — and tells all his mistresses the same thing. Their behavior can be an indication of deeper psychological issues, and they’re unlikely to recognize or care about hurting anyone else.
You may convince them to get therapy, but there is a chance they will charm the therapist so thoroughly it appears you are the problem. Or, they might give everyone a lot of lip service and possibly learn how to cheat more invisibly the next time.
You highly unlikely to get any sincere remorse or desire to change. These are the people you must leave for you safety and well-being.
On occasion, this type of cheater can change, but they need to see the harm they have done and decide for themselves to seek help and change.
This cheater is only accounts for a portion of cheaters, not all of them. You must look very carefully to be sure which type you are involved with, otherwise, you run the risk of throwing away a relationship with potential.
2. The can’t face the problems cheater
These marriages end up in adultery because — and you won’t like this news — both partners entered the marriage without the emotional health to have a fifty-year connected marriage.
Both partners are basically good people. They meant well when they got married and, indeed, all the way through. They both care and nobody wants to hurt anybody.
However, the childhoods they had did not equip them with the skills to keep love, companionship, and friendship open for the long haul.
The ways this can play out are myriad. The over-the-moon new relationship energy fades out.
Then, the exhaustion of jobs, children, and day-to-day responsibilities takes over. The emotional problems from their childhoods come up again and distance settles into the marriage.
The affair happens because one spouse places their needs above their commitment to and respect for their spouse.
Often, the couple struggles and struggles with communicating to each other and a rift develops between them.
Instead of turning to an affair, the cheating spouse fails to face their dissatisfaction in the marriage, They won’t file for divorce, suggest marriage counseling, or keep trying to communicate about the issues in the marriage.
However, they might consider checking out a pile of books by experts on marriage and relationships to figure out how to reach out to their spouse. This takes a lot of courage, and a sad number of cheaters don’t have enough courage to face their problems and those of the relationship. Instead, they choose to cheat.
This person will start letting their frustration leak out when their spouse isn’t present. “My wife this…” or “My husband that…” That’s how the affair partner gets recruited into the situation.
This type of cheater is often afraid to leave the marriage because they don’t want to hurt anyone. They don’t want to hurt their spouse and kids by leaving.
They don’t want to hurt their spouse anymore, but they can’t figure out what else to do to address the situation. Yet, they are miserable. This is the kind of situation that can possibly be saved.
Occasionally, you find couples who are incompatible and should each find someone else. But, for the most part, love and goodwill are still there.
You could make huge strides in your own personal development and your marital love and friendship if everyone involved were to look at their own part in how this developed. Once you’re done crying, the two of you can put some emotional elbow grease into fixing it. (Step one is to hire a good counselor.)
There is hope if the cheating partner is will to face the underlying relationship issues, be open to communication about the issues at hand, and be willing to seek help.
3. The caregiving cheater
This type of cheater has a spouse who’s fallen victim to a chronic illness. The healthy spouse has a choice: to stay and honor the vow “in sickness and in health” or not.
They don’t want to leave their spouse to suffer and die alone, but caregiving can be extremely challenging. It will change your life and not always for the better.
Some ill spouses give their partner permission to seek intimacy elsewhere, but some might not have the mental clarity to entertain this type of discussion.
Either way, the healthy partner seeks another relationship while still caring for their ill spouse. This type of cheating a sad truth of mortality.
When you’re looking at any affair situation, you’re almost always looking at one of these three possibilities for why someone’s partner cheated.
By identifying the type of cheating going on, we might help the cheated-on partner deal face the situation constructively.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that approximately 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. More than 12 million women and men over the course of the year suffer from instances of domestic violence and abuse.
Experiencing domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence, domestic abuse, or relationship abuse as a “pattern of behaviors use by one partner to maintain power and control over another person in an intimate relationship.” Any one of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender can suffer from domestic abuse. According to NDVH, close to 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, and or stalking by a partner.
If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help.
There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible. For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling from domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or log onto thehotline.org.
P.D. Reader is a level one student in the NCGR School of Astrology, but her work focuses on spirituality, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She runs Unfaithful: Perspectives on the Third-Party Relationship Medium.
This article was originally published at Medium.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.
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