The form and extent of these consequences are often dependent on the gender of the unfaithful person.
One measure of infidelity among couples is the frequency of children secretly conceived with a different partner, leading to "non-paternities".
He did not realistically think he was talking to children (or FBI agents, for that matter).
When he arranged the meeting at Santa Monica pier last September, during a business trip to the Los Angeles area from his home base in Seattle, he said he was merely pursuing a thrill, not imagining he would really have sex with a 13-year-old.
Speaking outside the Los Angeles federal courthouse, Naughton said he had used his experiences to distinguish between fantasists and criminals.
Using his programs, he said, "they'll catch more people breaking the law.
A former Disney computer executive who used internet chatrooms for lewd exchanges with underage girls until he was caught trying to solicit sex from a 13-year-old has been told by a federal judge he will not have to serve any prison time because of his exceptional contributions to FBI efforts to track sexual predators online.
In a case that has come to symbolise the difficulty of distinguishing harmless fantasists from dangerous paedophiles on the internet, Patrick Naughton emerged from his year-long criminal prosecution with considerable dignity despite being convicted for the crime of crossing state lines with intent to have sex with a minor.
A computer whizzkid who helped develop Sun Microsystems' Java script, Naughton was a rising star at Disney's Go network who visited child porn sites as secret relief from the stresses of his job.
He argued in court that his online conversations were about exercising sexual fantasies, not corrupting minors.
When they are not met, research has found that psychological damage can occur, including feelings of rage and betrayal, lowering of sexual and personal confidence, and damage to self-image.