Have you ever had a one-night stand? Are you thinking of having one?
I don’t mean an affair that occurred over weeks or months. I mean a one-night stand. One time. One night.
Ever thought about why you wanted to have a fling — or why you had one?
Did you confess to your spouse or partner? Did that help or harm your relationship?
One-night stands typically occur when a couple becomes emotionally distant and communication comes to a standstill. Often one or both partners feel insecure, unattractive and unlovable. They seek some form of attention to reaffirm their self-worth, if even for a short while.
As you might imagine, the afterglow fades and the cold light of the morning brings the sobering reality that you have cheated. Thoughts and feelings range from justification — “Well, she was a bitch!” “What was a guy supposed to do?” — to being guilt-ridden and mortified. Perhaps compelled to confess that you went out and simply drank too much and “didn’t really know what was happening.”
Then there is the me-too justification: “Well he did it one time, now it’s my turn and now we are even!”
All the excuses and rationalizing and even-stevens in the book won’t help. You have betrayed your partner, you have betrayed yourself, and you have betrayed the relationship. No one gets to feel better … and that could be the good news.
A one-night stand tells you that all is not right in the kingdom of your happy home and no sexual fling is going to right this wrong.
Taking the time to dig deep into the layers of hurt or anger that accumulated, unexpressed. Having a heart-to-heart with your beloved (even if he or she didn’t feel like your beloved that day) is the important, challenging and necessary work to do.
If you don’t want to engage in this crucial experience then it’s time to ask why? Why do no longer want to try; why do you not care anymore? If you’re afraid, ask yourself of what.
You may not receive the answers that you are looking for, but you’ll begin what may perhaps be a more honest and heartfelt exchange, one that might lead your relationship down a more authentic and potentially healing path.
Yes, the truth does hurt. But the truth sets us free — one way or another.
Regardless of whether you reveal your one-night stand to the one you love, what is infinitely more significant is coming to the awareness of why you had the fling — what it was you wanted to say but chose to act out instead.
Speak from your heart. Ask for what you want. Talk about what is painful and unbearable, and set your sail in another direction. Then see what comes.
Growth is about taking emotional risks. Relationships thrive on growth.
Photo: Julia Freeman-Woolpert