I agree with your approach of looking at an affair in developmental terms. Marrriages have "life cycles" such that the timing of the affair, the effect on the marriage and whether the affair/s are a pattern or one time occurance are important indicators about what's up in the individual's object relations sphere and the marital relationship. Often the person having the affair is in pain, even if they're unaware of it. They wouldn't be in therapy exploring the situation without some discomfort and ambivalance.
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