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For other serial cheaters, however, the challenge is to accumulate partners

Instead of moving on after an affair to a new partner, they add them to the list. One man I counseled had eleven partners at the time he was caught, none knowing about the others.

In the classic affair, a friendship begins innocently enough, with each person simply enjoying the other’s company and conversation. As emotional needs are being met, innocently, the romantic love threshold is eventually breached, and the couple find themselves in love with each other. In some cases, emotional needs like conversation or recreational companionship are not being adequately met in marriage, so a spouse looks to others to meet that need. They don’t think that they’re at risk for having an affair: They simply want someone to talk to. In other cases, emotional needs are being adequately met in the marriage, but the spouse has allowed another person to meet that need, and they find that they enjoy having their needs met by two people.

After the affair is over, however, and they remain married, there are some who don’t learn from the mistakes they made when they had their first affair. Their first affair is thought to be an aberration, having nothing to do with friendships and the emotional needs that they fulfill. So they remain vulnerable for more affairs that they usually have.

But in other cases, like affairs with friends of the opposite sex, it’s not as clear that the friendship begins with intent to have an affair

Are these misguided people serial cheaters? Since I define a serial cheater as someone who intends to cheat before a relationship develops, by my definition, they are not. You may ask, what difference does it make? If affairs are with intent or through sheer stupidity, if they continue in e effect: unimaginable suffering for the betrayed spouse. Read more…