Why Having An Affair and Cheating Are Two Very Different Things

Emotional affairs are extremely hard to move on from. 

First, a couple must determine whether the affair was physical only—or if it qualifies as the dreaded emotional affair.

That distinction will help determine if there’s hope for saving your relationship, says Rori Sassoon, relationship expert and founding partner of upscale dating site, Platinum Poire

“You have to identify it. Most women who have affairs have more emotional than physical, or a combination, which is the worst kind,” Rori says. “Love is hard to break away from.”

She says that it’s actually helpful to repairing the relationship if it was the man who cheated, and if it was purely physical.

“Men can have sex and it’s nothing to them, no emotions attached,” Rori says. “I’ve found that when a man does it he probably wasn’t getting what he needs sexually.”

An affair and cheating are two different things, she explains, saying that from her experience counseling couples, women tend to stray because of money issues (then get emotionally attached) while for men it can be lack of sex or (unfortunately) bodily changes after their partner has had a baby. 

But, there’s hope. How can you ever trust again?

Rori says that both partners really need to be committed to repairing the damage and repairing the trust and reconnecting. 

“If one person is doing the work it’s never going to work,” she says. 

You need to honestly admit why you cheated

“You need to be able to say why and how…as long as they say ‘I was lacking this, therefore I strayed, but I want to make it better,” she says, adding that one couple she helped through a tough time came out the other end together.

“It was a situation where the husband strayed, had a full out affair, and it was over lack of communication. He felt like she wasn’t sexually all there, but she was going through her own health issues. With intense therapy they survived the marriage. The affair was sh***y at the time, but it made her stronger. People can heal from a terrible experience.”

Forgiving often depends on what kind of a life you’ve built together; how old you are, how long you’ve been together, if you have children together. And again, what kind of affair it was. 

“It’s very hard to move on from something emotional,” Rori says. “It’s hurtful to know that you were in love with someone else.”

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