Could One-Night Stands Be More Damaging to Marriage than Long Term Love Affairs?

By Brenda Monteau, guest writer for Divorce Saloon
Lawyer X and I have been discussing her new book on the subject of Infidelity and we were arguing about whether a one night stand is a more damaging form of infidelity than a long term love affair. I think it is a toss-up. I think either a one night stand or a long term love affair can lead to divorce depending on the circumstances.
For example, a one night stand could just be a “meaningless fling” to the person committing the deed, but what if it has more long lasting and far-reaching consequences such as the contraction of a disease or the creation of a child? It also depends on who the one night stand was with. I would imagine for some spouses, it doesn’t matter who it was with. The unfaithfulness and act of betrayal – even if it only happened once – is enough to destroy trust. But for others, this could be an extenuating circumstance. If it was with a total stranger, then depending on the other factors in the story, it possibly could be forgivable. But if it was with someone such as a friend or family member, co-worker or, god forbid, a rival neighbor, this could tip the scales to unforgivable and thus destroy the marriage.
Where this event occurs also matters. It could be a one night stand but did it occur in the home of the couple? Did it occur someplace that has sentimental value to the couple? This could matter.
When it occurs also matters – even if this is just a one night stand. Was it on your spouse’s birthday or wedding anniversary for example? Was it on a night or day that held special significance for the family? While it was happening did the family “need” you at home due to a life and death emergency? This could tip the scales.
How it happens also matters. Did you leave a footprint and lipstick stains and emails, videos, texts and voicemails that showed you had a depraved indifference to your marriage at the time of the act? This could tip the scales.
With that all being said, I think under normal circumstances, the long term love affair type of infidelity is more damaging to the marriage. This is a repeat offense and suggests a level of intimacy and commitment that is concerning, I would think, for a spouse.