Love isn't black and white, and neither are affairs. Although we may be quick to throw all cheaters into the same box, psychologists suggest that not all cheaters are alike, and there may be four distinct types of affairs.

Fantasy & Flight Affairs

According to Jay Kent-Ferraro, author of the book Surprised by Love and a psychologist who focuses on helping couples rebuild their relationship following an affair, most acts of infidelity fall into this category, Psychology Today reported.

Here, the purpose of an affair is for the cheater to feel something they believe is missing in their marriage. Individuals who commit these types of affairs often feel that they are chasing after a “soul mate” and will often do anything to legitimize this fantasy. Theses types of affairs often start accidentally, such as in a situation with too much alcohol or when individuals are in a mid-life crisis. Thankfully, according to Kent-Ferraro, these affairs are often the most responsive to advice and repair.

Pathology & Deviance Affairs

These types of affairs are due to the betrayer’s distorted and skewed needs and have nothing to do with the partner they were unfaithful to. According to Kent-Ferraro, they often have narcissistic roots, such as using an affair to nurture a deep psychological need. Other times they are purely sociopathic and done merely because the cheater is self-obsessed and constantly views themselves and their own needs as a top priority. In some cases, these types of affairs are the result of the cheater having serious sexual addiction problems.

Poor Strategies & Bad Intent Affairs

These type of affairs are usually the result of overwhelmed individuals who have trouble working out the issues in their marriage and therefore resort to having an affair. These affairs are often used as a way to express anger in their own marriage, or as a way to sabotage a marriage and get a partner to file for a divorce without having to outright ask them, Psychology Today reported. They can also be done as an act of revenge, whether for past infidelities or due to another wrong-doing.

Benevolent Neglect Affairs

The final type of affair is what you may be most used to seeing on a daytime soap opera. In this situation, the cheater feels they are taken fro granted and ignored by their partner so they will attempt to find love and attention in another's arms. According to Kent-Ferraro, usually in women, these affairs may start off as a need for friendship which eventually takes a romantic turn. Benevolent neglect affairs tend to occur in relationships where partners have begun to live more as roommates than as lovers, or in marriages where the sole focus is on the children and not enough energy is spent on the parents' romance.

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