Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Six Types of Affairs: One-Night Stand

types of affairs
6 Types of Affairs:

Category 1: One Night Stand
Category 2: Fallen in Love
Category 3: Sexual Addiction
Category 4: Wanting the Marriage and the Affair
Category 5: Emotional Affair
Category 6: Love Addiction

Category 1: One-Night Stand

This type of affair may well be a one-time betrayal. The typical one-night stand usually occurs when a spouse is away from home, possibly on a business or pleasure trip (not to be confused with a string of one-night stands that occur as a sex addict pursues his or her addictive drive), and occurs as a result of the opportunities afforded in that moment. Often, this occurs as a result of some combination of poor boundaries, drinking, and anonymity. This type of affair is not necessarily an indication of problems in the marriage or that the betrayer is dissatisfied with his or her mate. In fact, one of the distinguishing points in this type of affair is the betrayer's desire to stay married.

At the core of this betrayal is a high-risk situation, poor boundaries, and the opportunity to act. Frequently, there is no emotional involvement and, often, this type of affair occurs with a perfect stranger who is befriended or a work acquaintance. Internal risk factors such as loneliness, fatigue, anger, or hunger may contribute to susceptibility. Frequently, pride deceives this person into believing nothing will happen, which allows them to justify being in a high-risk situation. Normally, individuals who have had one-night stands tell themselves that they will go to the grave with their secret because they don't want to hurt their mate and they don't want to lose their marriage.

Characteristics of a One-Night Stand:

  • It is an affair of convenience or opportunity. It is not something that is sought out but, rather, it occurs as the result of an opportunity that is presented.
  • The majority of the time the betrayer does not want to leave the marriage.
  • There is not an ongoing relationship.


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My partner had a one night stand with an ex coworker and afterwards thought it would be a good idea to just be friends with her. He says after the one night stand he genuinely just wanted a friendship with her and nothing more, two months into this so called friendship he realized it was a terrible idea and cut off all contact with her. After his one night stand he had two lunches and daily communication with her but states nothing physical ever happened after. I don't know if this constitutes an affair?

What type of affair was it?

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