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Partner Infidelity

What Are The Common Definitions?

‘Cheating’ is a commonly used definition to mean depriving someone of something that is expected of them.

A ‘fling’ is defined as a short unrestrained pursuit of an individual's desire.

‘FWB’, a.k.a. ‘friends with benefits’, refers to a casual and sexual relationship with no emotional commitment.

Some other commonly known expressions such as ‘messing around’, ‘fooling around’, ‘playing around’, ‘trying out’, ‘wandering’ and ‘straying’, have being used by many to reduce the seriousness of infidelity and cloak the emotional hurt of an other.

‘Adultery’ can be interpreted as committing a sexual relationship with someone else other than his/her own spouse. ‘Adultery’ is also a legal or religious term used by many people.

‘Infidelity’ simply means unfaithfulness or disloyalty. In religious terms, infidelity is defined as a lack of religious faith.

An ‘affair’ usually refers to an illicit relationship.

It is important to understand that not every affair is the same

Societal attitudes of people have changed over the past few decades and such changes have greatly affected the perception and mindset of a relationship, marriage and family.

Research shows that approximately 44 to 50 percent of men and 28% of women have committed extra marital affairs, and the rate for women increasing. In most infidelity cases, the extramarital affair is the main cause of divorces.

Nevertheless, infidelity will inevitably create a ripple effect that shakes the peace and sense of security of family members.

What Are The Types Of Affairs?

Affairs vary according to the emotional involvement that the unfaithful spouse has towards his/her lover. Short-term affairs with minimal or little emotional involvement affairs are considered ‘flings’ or ‘serial affairs’. Affairs with high emotional involvement are known as ‘love affairs’, and affairs on a higher level than that are deemed ‘long-term affairs’ which can stretch for many years, decades or even a lifetime in a marriage.

At any juncture, a fling may lead to a higher-levelled romantic affair, which in turn may grow into a long-term affair or a relationship.

Serial Affairs

Serial affairs can be many occurrences of one-night stands. In most serial affair cases, the spouse will avoid emotional involvements and intimacy; it is just for the thrill and sex. Such affairs take place at a distance from friends and family - a location where no one will accidentally encounter them.

Research has shown that serial affairs may range from months to years. The optimistic side of it is that the affair partner does not mean anything to the spouse. However, the downside is that the spouse may have multiple involvements of such affairs.

Usually when the first act of infidelity is discovered, the spouse will be guilty and remorseful and will also give the assurance of staying faithful, but after some time, he/she will bounce back with a different partner.

If the spouse is unable to stop his/her behaviour, it is very likely that he/she is addicted to sex and the couple should seek professional help. It is a downward spiral whereby an individual’s obsession with sex further leads to anxiety and tension. Such concerns can only be reduced when the individual manages to overcome it.

Private investigators are able to perform covert surveillance on your spouse's movement, drawing out the greater evidence needed for confrontation and if possible, reconciliation. Nevertheless, serial affairs may also conclude naturally due to major events such as the loss of jobs, loss of occupational positions, or death in the family.


A fling is another type of infidelity categorised by the lack of emotional involvement, which is similar to serial affairs. It is a casual one night stand which may be for a few months, but it is usually a one-time event that does not bear any commitments to both partners.

Although flings may escalate into a threat to a marriage but it is of a least-serious type of infidelity.

Long Term Love Affair

A ‘love affair’ or a ‘long term affair’, categorized by high emotional involvement, usually lasts for many years or even over the lifetime of a marriage life. Such long-lasting affairs are normally due to the spouse and the involved partner being unable to commit to common decisions.

In certain cases, the spouse who is married to another in such a relationship may eventually give in and accommodate to the spouse’s ‘lifestyle’ due to various reasons such as religion, children and finances. Those who are involved in long-term love affairs however, are generally ‘more married’ to their long time lover rather than their legal and lawful spouse.

In some marriages, the women are aware of the ongoing affair but they do not acknowledge it and dismiss it as such, "My husband takes care of me and the children and is a good spouse. I shall close an eye to what you are doing outside". In other words, a silent contract.

In others, the husband could be a highly revered religious minister in a worldwide ministry and the wife would then have to put up with the husband's external affair for the sake of her children, family values and other moral obligations.

A spouse may also successfully commit to a secret long term affair. The truth is only revealed when the unfaithful spouse passes away. Such a scenario will lead to frustrations and feelings of betrayal, with the inability to confront the unfaithful spouse directly.

To sum it all up, it is essential to identify and understand the type of affairs that the spouse is involved in to determine its seriousness, as it may serve as much help in the decision-making of your ongoing marriage.

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