Professor's House

Don’t Make Me Feel Guilty for Your Infidelity

If your spouse has cheated on you, chances are that at some point or another,  they will try to make YOU feel guilty for THEIR infidelity. Sadly, many people fall for this. They believe that if they were willing to have more sex with their spouse, he or she would not have had an affair. They start accepting the lie that had they been a better, thinner, kinder, more thoughtful, richer etc. spouse that the affair would not have happened and that it was caused because they were in somehow deficient in the relationship.

And the partner the one who cheated will do their best to capitalize on your willingness to accept the blame for infidelity.

The transfer of blame is a psychological behavior pattern that is extremely common in human behavior. Essentially, when someone does something that they believe is wrong, they are left to deal with their conscious. They know that their behavior was morally corrupt, and so in order to deal with it and somehow justify it, they begin to place blame on others. This is precisely why one of the first signs of an affair is a spouse who begins accusing their partner of having one. Subconsciously, by accusing their partner of having an affair, they are conjuring up the feelings that would make their own affair acceptable and justifiable.

When an affair is revealed, normally the one who was cheated begins a roller coaster ride of emotions. It likely starts with anger and resentment. This often leads to feelings of not being good enough. Most of us, especially women are quick to believe that it is our inadequacies that cause partners to cheat on us. As soon as we feel that way, the partner tries to reclaim a sense of moral consciousness and jumps on the bandwagon. It really is a coward’s way out, and is just an attempt to not accept full and total responsibility for the infidelity.

Truth is that a marriage can be unhappy in many ways. That doesn’t mean that it is automatically a free pass to sleep with another person or pursue another relationship. Adults would try to work through the problems like adults. By talking about things that are going wrong and trying to fix them. If you didn’t have sex with your spouse in 7 months, then the two of you should start dealing with the problem by discussing it together, or getting counseling or figuring out why the sex drive is absent from the relationship. Obviously, something is wrong, right? Diving into bed with another person is by no means a viable solution. And there certainly is no excuse for it, regardless of what is going on at home.

Marriage is about taking vows to another person. It is these vows that must be withheld in order for the relationship to work. Love and honor, cherishing and holding through sickness and health, in bad times and good aren’t just words that sound pretty on your wedding day. They are a promise. They ensure that two people will forsake others and that they will put their marriage first. Getting your ‘sex’ on with another person while you are married, regardless of why is certainly not a way of putting a marriage first.

If someone tries to blame you for his or her infidelity, it is important to be extremely clear that YOU will not be the scapegoat. While you might be able to admit that everything at home was not as good as it could have been, it wasn’t you that forced your partner to have an affair with someone else. It wasn’t YOU that told the lies, or betrayed your partner. It wasn’t YOU that broke the vows between you.

Each of us is responsible for our own actions. Life is about choices, and when push comes to shove, it was your partner (NOT YOU) who chose to be with another person. You didn’t choose that for them. Nothing you did ‘pushed’ them into that situation. If they were mature and honest, then they would have talked to you about the problems, or the feelings they were having BEFORE simply breaking the trust and destroying the bond between the two of you. If they respected you and had integrity, they would have tried to solve the problems at home before making them even bigger by cheating.

It is very important that while you may not be or have been the perfect spouse, infidelity is NOT your fault, and you should NEVER succumb to being your partners scapegoat. The reasons for having an affair are almost always selfish and about ego rather than about happiness in the marriage.

It is also important to note that unless your partner can and will be forthcoming about what they did wrong, and accept responsibility for their actions the marriage will not be able to heal or move forward from the infidelity. In order for healing and repair in a marriage to begin after infidelity, the person who cheated has to admit that their personal choice of cheating, their own decision of having an affair was wrong. They have to be willing to give up all the reasons they think the affair was justified. And they have to accept the consequences of their behavior. Otherwise, every time something goes wrong between the two of you, you will be left to wonder if they will cheat again. And they will feel like anytime they are unhappy, they can simply use it as an excuse to participate in extra-marital affairs.

The only thing you truly have control over in your life is your actions and reactions to life around you. While you may influence your partner’s behavior, you certainly are not the reason behind him or her choosing to have an affair.

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