Would you leave your spouse if they did something spectacularly stupid?

I love my husband very much, but I’m not sure I would stay with him if he managed to pull of something spectacularly stupid - something like losing his license for drunk driving, getting arrested and convicted for drug possession, robbing a bank and getting arrested and convicted - something of that magnitude of poor judgement, that would massively affect our lives.

I’m not saying he’s likely to do anything like that; I like to think I married someone with better judgement than that, but people do stupid things all the time.

How about it, Dopers? Would you bail on a spouse in those circumstances, or are you in it for better or worse or stupider?


We are not married, but I am every bit as committed as if we were. And he’s making a spectacular mistake right now, that involves being afraid of being hurt and pushing me away.

I have given him his space, but I am not leaving him for it. When he’s ready to come back, he will be welcomed.

It would depend on circumstances. The only reason for which I would pack up and leave immediately would be cheating.

I’m not in a relationship but I wouldn’t see myself leaving someone for their an isolated incident of idiocy unless it was something like premeditated murder.

Robbery or getting busted for drugs that I would ostensibly know about before their arrest though? Eh.

Some of the things you list are pretty easy places to find yourself in. Go out one night, drink too much, and make a bad decision and drive home, get caught & arrested and your spouse leaves you? Sounds pretty harsh for a first conviction. Same with the drug use - plenty of people use drugs recreationally, and could easily go to jail for a first offense in the right circumstances.

The bank robbery thing is a little worse, seeing as it would have to be planned and premeditated, but still, circumstances are everything.

Personally, I have a hard time with people who say “I would leave you if you did X”, unless X was something so over the top that it necessitates being mentally ill (serial killer, killing and eating babies, etc. fall into this category). Everyone likes to haul out cheating as the one reason they’d leave - I think that’s nuts, too. Marriage is work, people, and you can’t always count on your partner to make the best decision every time.

It would depend on what it was, honestly, and how and why he did it.

Well, everyone makes mistakes. I’d find it hard to throw away all these years over one spectacular mistake.

What you’d call hard-core drugs, cheating, and laying a hand on me in violence - stuff on the lawn.

Everything else? As far as I can think of, subjective.

When I said cheating I didn’t really mean a one-night stand, but serial cheating, seeing the same person over and over, etc.

I could forgive a one-night stand. Actually, I’d prefer not to know about it if that’s all it was.

I’m not married, but if I were married to someone for whom doing something spectacularly stupid was way out of character (and I hope that’s the kind of person I would marry), I would suspect some sort of mental illness, and my response might very well depend on whether that turned out to be the case.

The things you describe are more than stupid, they’re criminal. If my husband were to suddenly turn into someone who would steal or drive drunk several times, then, yuh, I’d probably be out the door, because that’s not the man I love. One thing about the hubby and me is that on moral matters we are almost always in strong agreement about what is right and what is wrong. If he stole from anyone, it’d be “Sayonara, sweetheart!” regardless of whether he got arrested or escaped scot free.

Things I’d say were simply examples of colossal poor judgment would be . . .

. . . losing all our money to a scam artist.

. . . burning down the house by leaving the iron on.

. . . getting provoked into a fistfight that lead to an assault or (og forbid) manslaughter charge.

For those, I wouldn’t leave him. We all have lapses of judgement. Indeed, I’d be as likely to do any of those things as he would. :slight_smile: That’s not the same thing as knowingly committing an amoral criminal act.

The drug possession one straddles the line for me, because I’m pro-legalization. But if he had illegal drugs and lied to me about it, that might be grounds for leaving him.

Gah, I mean immoral, not amoral.

“A friend will help you move. A GOOD friend will help you move a body.”

Do we get conjugal visits?
I just wouldn’t be involved with someone like that. It’s not a person is really cool and smart and all the stuff that I would find attractive and then, one day, they decide to sell crack to an undercover agent while speeding through a school zone.

Ditto on what she said.

You’d leave your husband if he got convicted for drinking and driving, and you’re putting that at the same level as bank robbery?

With all due respect if that’s how you’re arranging priorities, I think your personal metric of critical “leave your spouse” stupidity is a little stupid in itself. It sounds like your husband had best have his bag packed.

It’s not that simple - anyone can get caught doing something stupid. I could look down to change the cd while driving and kill a kid who runs out in front of me.

Maybe the line is “preventable”. Having a bad accident that just came out of nowhere is different than having too many beers and deciding to drive home. Having a series of affairs is different than getting offered a lap dance at a friend’s stag party.

Some of you are saying you wouldn’t leave over a lapse in judgement. What if that lapse in judgement cost your spouse their job, and you lost your house, and you went bankrupt over it (all within the realm of possibility with drunk driving or drug charges)? It’s just not that simple.

Please read what I said, not what you think I said. I did not say I would leave him; I said I’m not sure I would stay with him. That means I’m not sure I would stay with him, i.e. I don’t know what my response would be.

And yes, I do somewhat consider drunk driving on the same level as bank robbery. They’re both stupid things to do, and they’re both crimes.

It would still depend. Some may consider me stupid, but I’m rather loyal to those I love.

It is sort of easy for me to say I wouldn’t leave, because he honestly isn’t the kind of man to get in that kind of devastating situation.

If he somehow became the kind of man who would rob a bank or kidnap children or do other unspeakable horrors, then I do want to think that I would have enough self respect to leave.

But looking through the lens of who I believe him to be, I would still stick by him for more minor but still earth-shattering life-changing events, like bankruptcy, depression, lying.

Sadly, he seems to not be able to handle that kind of commitment right now. It still doesn’t change who I am and how I approach a partnership.

And he’s seriously sorry? So after I lose everything else I should throw away the only thing that’s still with me? Assuming he hasn’t killed himself or left on his own.

Wedding vows everywhere are similar and there is a line in most weddings: for better or for worse. I believe whole-heartedly in divorce but you promised to stay for better or for worse. A stupid mistake may be worse but not the end of the world.

With all due respect, while they are both crimes and stupid things to do, generally speaking they are not the same level of crime. First offense drunk driving is a misdemeanor in most states, while bank robbery is a felony. That is, the court system recognizes bank robbery as a more serious crime than drunk driving is. In fact, in some states a person can be convicted of drunk driving if he’s drunk but asleep in a parked car with the key in the ignition.

I’d differentiate them by saying that robbery is a deliberately malicious act, while a first offense drunk driving is a negligent act (usually).

If you think they are equivalent though you are certainly entitled to you opinion.