You read the most heartbreaking personally accounts on this site. Some involve EA and other PA.
But do people see EAs as a lesser heartbreak?
I am thinking maybe the do.
Both my H's cheated on me, the first with multiple partners (many prostitutes) more than he could count, and though at least 2 were both EA/PAs, I consider his more PA than EA. (He married the final OW and is still married to her over 20 years later).
My current H never had sex with the whore during our M, but there was some kissing and hugging. The A involved more talking on the phone than anything else. They exchanged ILY's and verbalized plans to leave their spouses to run off together.
If you want to talk about "heartbreak" I can assure you that what my current H did broke my heart more, partly because I was 100% sure that he would not ever get involved with someone like that.
What happened in my two marriages were at extreme opposites on the spectrum, and yet, they both had elements of both EA/PA in what they did. It is my opinion that most As are both EA/PA even if in some the PA does not mean actual full-on sex. For any PA that is repeated more than once with the same person it is almost certain there is some element of emotional "caring" connection even if the WS claims it was "just sex" and the AP says the same thing.
But I can't compare the actual hurt. It was beyond horrible in both marriages.
Different for everyone. It's what you think is worse, not I or anyone else
But do people see EAs as a lesser heartbreak?
This topic comes up now and again on SI. From what I have seen on this site, a betrayal is a betrayal. Meaning, the amount of suffering somebody goes through as a result of being betrayed by a spouse, largely depends on the individual and not necessarily the type of affair. A PA may compound the suffering due to the risk of pregnancy or an STD.
In my opinion, a double betrayal would be the most painful type of affair. I could not imagine how awful that would be.
We have had people come here who were into swinging, or who had open marriages, so clearly the PA was not that big of a deal, but they felt the same heartbreak over casual sex becoming an EA. I am reluctant to say that I have seen every situation possible in my time here, because every time I have thought that, a new member joins with a story that I could not have imagined.
Do not back up. Severe tire damage.
Finally this is R 8/14/13
Filed for divorce 5/8/15
I feared the EA's would soon become PA's, and I feared the PA's would turn emotional.
(We are separated, soon to be D)
Walk a Mile In My Shoes
Married 14 yrs. Now Separated & in NC
2 grown DD's - his from previous M
4 grown kids (2DS, 2DD) mine from previous M
My WH had "just sex" with hookers and several EA's of greater and lesser degrees with a few OW (I don't know if they are classified strictly as EA's, he 'dated' one, developed "feelings" for her - strictly speaking it was a PA too because they did kiss...once and he wanted to get her into bed -... and the others he just flirted with and took into his confidence... taking time and energy away from our relationship to do so and I never knew any of them existed... yep, that's an EA in my book)
...and you know what?
It all hurts, some days the "just sex" hurts more, some days it's the women he had developed "feelings" for and shared things with.
ALL of it was a betrayal of me, my trust, our marriage, our family, our life together.
Yeah, I'm way too wordy, Jana said it all and used fewer words...
It all sucks.
Remorse vs no remorse seems to matter to people more, since it has a real effect on what the options are and how things can proceed moving forward.
No two situations are the same.
Personally, I feel pain is pain, betrayal is betrayal, lies are lies. Those things are all the same.
I also suspect that a lot of waywards refuse, without irrefutable proof, to admit to anything more than an EA. And that the story of an EA-only doesn't pass the smell test to their BS, which in a sense causes a deeper level of pain than that suffered by a spouse who gets all the gory EA/PA details early in the process.
I've heard from BS' on this site who suspect the affair was much more than what was admitted. The fact is, if you cheat (whatever the nature), you destroy trust. EA, PA, EA/PA, whatever your story may be, you've shot your own credibility, honor, and integrity to hell.
Not that it can't be recovered, but we're talking about a long process. My wife and I are only four and a half months in, and it just hit me the other day that we're looking at years, not months, to get through this.
And that the story of an EA-only doesn't pass the smell test to their BS
That's me to some extent. I don't have any specific evidence that anything other than a single kiss occurred but, there have been several red flags and plenty of opportunity.
To address the original question, I don't see that there are two classes of A. It is more a matter of different circumstances leading each member, and all of the lurkers, to this site. I know that I feel, at times, that my situation is really weak compared to any number of others that have posted here. But, that is looking at it more in terms of knowing what really happened as opposed to having lots of red flags and having to infer and extrapolate from observed behavior from an unremorseful and unrepentant wayward. A betrayal of trust between partners that breaks apart the inherent and fundamental shared connection and instead erects walls between is devastating regardless of the specific nature of the betrayal.
Don't make anyone a priority when you are only an option.