No one wants an unfaithful husband or wife. These days, however, being unfaithful has varied forms and meaning, and there are many ways one could be considered a cheater -- yes, it isn't only about sex. In her book Affairs Don't Just Happen, counseling psychologist and certified Imago relationship therapist Lissy Ann Puno explains the various types of infidelity:
"True love" affair This man or woman could be the one we refer to as "the one that got away." "This is when the person feels that he has found his one perfect soul mate whom he was meant to love and be in a relationship with," Puno states in her book. "However, due to certain circumstances that did not allow them to meet or discover their compatibility earlier, they are now limited to having an affair," she adds.
According to Puno, such an affair may or may not include sexual contact, but involves something more valuable than what each person gets from his original partner. "They become one another's confidante, available to each other in times of need and trials -- without the pressure of the day-to-day responsibilities of husband and wife."
Social media affair It may start as a harmless habit of messaging with that one person who you think understands you, and before you know it, you're in constant need and want of his attention.
"Because there is no face-to-face encounter, they feel free, safe, anonymous, and less shy or inhibited in expressing feelings," Puno explains. "Eventually, they start to believe in this online fantasy world," she adds.
Romantic affair "Such an affair is filled with attention, compliments, dating escapades, gifts, romantic gestures, thoughtfulness and a you-and-me-against-the-world kind of attitude." Basically, it's all about getting validation through the fantasy of a perfect, romantic relationship.
Although it gives you ultimate happiness and satisfaction, Puno says it's not something sustainable since it's very unrealistic. When you're in a relationship, you experience the good and the bad -- and both parties involved must show their willingness to mend whatever needs to be fixed.
"Band-aid" affair Whether one is going through the loss of a family member, a devastating career change, or financial difficulties, "this type of affair usually starts during a crisis or a painful transition period for a spouse's life," says Puno.
Circumstances like these "can trigger such an affair as the newfound involvement gives a measure of support and understanding to the hurting party, and allows him to feel some hope and appreciation," she adds.
If you feel like your partner is not being completely loyal to you, or you've already caught him/her in the act, know that there is a way to deal with it without damaging your relationship further. To read more about the other types of infidelity, pick up a copy of Affairs Don't Just Happen, available at Powerbooks and National Bookstore.
Lissy Ann Puno has a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology from Lesley University, U.S.A. She was appointed a Clinical Fellow in Psychology by Harvard University, and trained at McLean Hospital. She also has 24 years of experience in the United States, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.