First of all, if you are reading this, I am guessing that you are dealing with adultery or infidelity in your marriage. If that’s the case, I want you to know how truly sorry I am. I know only too well just how much turmoil an affair can have on a relationship.

Although the sting of betrayal and the emotional agony that consumes your life following an affair in no less painful, there actually several types of affairs that fall along a sliding scale from those with the most emotional investment to those with the least.

The Serial Cheater - This type of affair involves the least amount of emotional investment. In fact, it usually has none at all. If your partner is a serial cheater, then they may hook up with several other partners over a period of time. It could be a short one night stand or it may be a longer drawn out scenario.

Either way, the “relationship,” if you can call it that, is not there to satisfy interpersonal emotional needs, but rather it exists to satisfy your partner’s desire for thrill and excitement. Serial cheaters are difficult to deal with, because their desire or addiction to continue in their habit.

The Fling - This kind of affair is actually the least dangerous to a marriage. It could be a one night stand or a brief affair, but usually there is no or little emotional investment involved with the other person.

Although, this kind of affair is the least dangerous, it still doesn’t make it hurt any less. It is usually the result of being caught up in the moment and losing perspective of the importance of your marriage and family. Simply being jolted back into reality can help to regain focus on how important your marriage is to you and help you drop the affair before it becomes something serious.

Romantic Affair - This type of affair is involves an emotional investment with the other person. Both people in the affair are concerned with how the affair will play out and there is often a feeling that the affair must end or that the married partner must divorce their spouse in order to turn the affair into a legitimate relationship.

Oftentimes there is a significant amount of guilt on the part of the cheater. On one hand, they have a strong emotional commitment to the person they are cheating with. On the other hand, they feel horrible about betraying their spouse..

Long-Term Affair - This type of affair may drag on for years or even span the entire lifetime of a marriage. In many cases the members of the love triangle may even know about each other, but choose to look the other way or to accommodate the affair into their life.

People often chose to live with the cheating spouse for many reasons. They may be opposed to divorce, want to spare children the agony of divorce, financial obligations, or anything else. However, the real spark and love in the marriage often just isn’t there anymore. You and your spouse may feel more like roommates than a couple.

So as you see, there are many different flavors to infidelity, ranging from those with the least emotional investment to those with the most. That doesn’t mean that infidelity stings or hurts any less, though.

Author's Bio: 

If you're interested in discovering more about how to discover an affair and what you can do about one, please check out signs of unfaithful husband and why do men cheat.

Alex Haight is a relationship writer helping women with relationship problems and specializing in affairs and infidelity.