Tuesday, November 13, 2012

If You Want to Have an Affair, Get Divorced First

I have some sympathy for the "It should be about competence, not marital fidelity" argument, when applied to somebody like General Petraeus, band if people choose to elect a President who has "made mistakes in his marriage" they have no business acting shocked when he makes more "mistakes". I have sympathy for the idea that one of the leading reasons that sexual behaviors put people at risk of blackmail is because of the fear of public disclosure.

But here's the thing: Even if there were no public stigma or shame in having an affair, it would remain grounds for divorce. And thus there would remain an incentive to keep the affair secret and, consequently, the possibility of blackmail would also remain.

So... hit divorce court first, then it's "dating", nobody cares, and you can keep your job.


  1. As of October 2010, no-fault divorce is allowed in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. There are still some states where your having an affair might help your spouse to get a more favorable settlement, but they can still get a divorce whether you have an affair or not. And I suspect that most people who have affairs do not in fact want to leave their spouse, which is why they are unlikely to go for a "divorce court first" solution. As I understand the security clearance guidelines, you need to tell your spouse about the affair in order to keep your clearance - and at that point, the blackmail potential is pretty damn minimal.

  2. You are approaching the post in far too literal a manner. That is, I don't expect that people who could damage their lives and careers will get a divorce first to avoid that damage. I am simply pointing out that they have an alternative that allows them to both avoid breaking their marriage vows and the negative consequences of an affair. They should be able to figure that much out by themselves, no?

  3. Isn't the whole point of having an affair that you get to have sex with someone new and still keep your spouse? Kind of an eat your cake and have it too situation.

    1. Sure. Just like the point of robbing a bank is to get a whole lot of money without going to prison. But actions have consequences.

  4. In my honest opinion, being cheated on hurts a lot but divorce is twice as painful. If your partner leaves you, it'll just validate the failure that your marriage has been. To everyone who wants to have an affair, weigh the pros and cons. Do you want to spend your life with that person or is it a mere fact of sexual desires? Then, if you chose the second one, then that one must be a damn perfect person for you to leave your husband/wife.


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