These Are The 3 Types Of Cheaters, According To Experts

Photo: getty
woman looking upset while man and woman talk behind her
Heartbreak

There's a misconception that there's only one type of cheater when, in fact, there are many types of cheaters.

Since some 40 percent of married people cheat, that’s about 40 percent of marriages that are affected by an affair, right?

Whether it's a physical affair or an emotional affair, it's crucial to change this misconception 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.

(There's no shortage of personal essays from cheaters.)

RELATED: 8 Things Chronic Cheaters Have In Common

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.

Family Tree Life Coaches on YouTube also has a good number of videos about affair recovery and why you picked the spouse you picked.

With that said, here are the 3 types of cheaters, according to Experts.

1. "The Hardcore Hardwiring Problem" Cheater

This cheater has some serious, serious issues. This is the guy who’s knock-you-around abusive, the fellow with control issues who tells you what to cook, how to look, and what to wear — and tells all his mistresses the same thing.

Some of them are also on the narcissistic, psychopathic, or BPD spectrum.

These folks are hardcore mentally ill. They were born with organic cognitive problems or parents who messed them up so badly they're unlikely to recognize or care that they're hurting anyone else.

You may convince them to get therapy but they're also likely to charm the therapist so thoroughly that they think you’re the problem. Or, they'll give everyone a lot of lip service and even learn how to cheat more invisibly the next time.

You won't get any sincere remorse or any capability or desire to change. These are the folks you must leave.

On occasion, you get the miraculous one person who can change, but don’t count on it.

This is only about half the number of cheaters, not all of them. You must look very carefully to be sure which type you have. Otherwise, you run the risk of throwing away a marriage with potential.

2. "The Good Person With The Skills Or Courage Deficit" 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 is aware that their needs aren’t being met.

Often, this spouse struggles and struggles to reach their partner. The cheated-on spouse keeps turning away. Or, the cheating spouse thinks they have made themselves clear, but they haven’t.

Ideally, instead of turning to an affair, the cheating spouse would grow a towering spine and file for divorce, drag their other into marriage counseling, and/or keep threatening divorce unless or until things improve.

They might even check out a pile of books by experts on marriage and relationships and figure out how else to reach their spouse.

But this takes guts. And a sad number of cheaters don’t have guts.

That’s why 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 this situation. (It’s how I got recruited in and, yes, I have problems of my own, too.)

The secret here is that all three people involved have a deficit in skills and courage. They also lack healthy relationship skills, sometimes within their own selves. And rather than tackle this issue head-on, they run away from it.

RELATED: These 10 Common Beliefs About Infidelity Are Actually Just Myths

Extramarital whatever is so much more exciting and much easier (until it’s not).

These people are 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 are afraid to keep pressing to have their needs met. They're getting stonewalled by their spouse and it’s too painful to live through constant rejection.

Or, they've experienced a distress reaction from their spouse when they speak up. Perhaps, the spouse has childhood sexual abuse issues or an overly religious childhood that damaged them, sexually.

They don’t want to hurt their spouse anymore and they can’t figure out what else to do to address the situation. Yet, they themselves are grindingly, wrenchingly miserable and they can’t take it anymore.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

This is the kind of situation that can possibly be saved.

Occasionally, you find couples who are incompatible anyway 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 were to look at their own part in how this developed.

Once you’re done crying, put some emotional elbow grease into fixing it. (Step one is to hire a good counselor.)

3. The Caregiving Cheater

This type of cheater has a spouse who’s fallen victim to a chronic illness.

I’ve heard stories of people who’ve had cancer and radiation that was so damaging that they can never have sex again. There are even people who have been reduced to the mental age of about two by Alzheimer’s.

The healthy spouses have 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 horrible and challenging. It will change your life and not always for the better.

Some ill spouses give their partner permission to seek sex elsewhere. But some don’t even remember their partner's name.

Either way, the healthy partner is seeking another relationship in order to continue on with the work of that household without going stark raving crazy.

When you’re looking at an affair situation, you’re looking at one of these three possibilities for why someone's partner cheated.

It's time to stop tarring all affairs with one brush.

Doing that can help the cheated-on partners deal with the situation constructively, instead of responding with wild rage and flying judgments that just make the situation worse.

RELATED: Should You Forgive A Cheater? 14 Signs It’s Safe To Get Back Together

P.D. Reader is an astrologer and runs Struggling In Or With An Affair? on Medium.

This article was originally published at Medium.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.