Sheri Meyers (Marriage and Family Therapist) gives expert video advice on: What is a "cyber affair"?; What are some common causes of affairs?; Do women and men have affairs for different reasons? and more...
What is "adultery"?
Adultery is when you're married and you are having a relationship with someone that you're not married to.
What is "infidelity"?
Infidelity is a breach of trust. It's literally being unfaithful to a promise that you made to your partner. If you promised your partner that you are going to have, are planning to live in, and are living in, a monogamous relationship, and you are flirting with other people or having romantic liaisons with another person; that is being unfaithful. That is cheating; that is infidelity.
What is an "affair"?
An affair is a romantic liaison with another person to whom you're not married. Now there are usually 3 components to an affair; secrecy, attraction, and emotional or physical connection. Often in an affair we are in the romantic stage, or the honeymoon stage of relationship, and the danger of an affair is that when we try to compare it with the everyday life with our partner, our partner tends to fade in comparison because that's a different level; a deeper level of relationship. An affair keeps it more at a surface romantic level, and in a way that's what makes it become very addictive.
What is a "cyber affair"?
A cyber affair is when you meet a person, or a number of people, online and you start having a romantic attachment to them. Even if it's not in the physical world, you are suddenly putting your focus on that person. During a cyber affair, you can't wait to get online and reconnect, and you start thinking and fantasizing about that person or persons during the day. You are having an affair, and the problem is it will take increasing amounts of time and attention away from your family, away from your work and away from your marriage.
What are some common causes of affairs?
There are a number of causes of affairs. A chasm in your relationship is usually the cause. If there is a lot of emotional distance in your relationship, if a physical connection isn't happening or if you are bored in your relationship. Also, if you are perhaps going through some changes in your relationship. Maybe a baby is due and enough attention isn't being paid to each other anymore. Or you are starting to feel your self esteem plummet and you need to go outside of the relationship to get that booster, for example in an affair with another partner. Also, if you are working a lot and you're starting to build new friendships with people. You're going on many business trips and you're lonely. These are all vulnerabilities which can potentially be causes of and lead to an affair.
Do women and men have affairs for different reasons?
There are some differences in what may lead a woman or a man to having an affair. Often, women are seeking love, intimacy, and emotional closeness. If they're not getting it at home, if there's a lot of emotional distance, if their partner is more concerned with other things, or if they're not feeling valued they may turn to someone else to get that emotional connection and valuing. Men often have affairs because they're bored with the physical side of their relationship or they're feeling insecure in that area. Or, they're feeling very entitled and very secure. But often men will have affairs because they're desiring physical closeness.