I sometimes hear from women who are frustrated and angry by the reasons that their husband is giving to justify his cheating or affair. Sometimes, men will try to make it seem as if the other woman had something special to entice them into cheating. And other times, the husband will try to blame his wife in order to justify his own actions.
I heard from a wife on my surviving the affair blog who said: “for the past several weeks, I’ve been trying to get my husband to be honest with me about why he cheated and had an affair. At first, he would say that he didn’t know or that he just did something impulsive and stupid. But, last night, he blurted out that he cheated on me because of my negative attitude. He said that I never allow him to have a moment’s peace because I am always nagging him or worrying about little things that wouldn’t bother most people. He said that the other woman is a positive person who always made him feel good about himself whereas I always make him feel uneasy and bad about himself. He said that the other woman and the affair was actually an escape for him. I don’t know what to do with this information. I admit that I’m a realist and not someone who sees the world with rose colored glasses but I’m not constantly negative either. I wonder if my husband really means what he says or if he’s just looking for an excuse because he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his actions. I’ll tell you my take on this in the following article.
Men Often Stretch The Truth To Justify Their Cheating – Even To Themselves: I believe that almost every one who cheats stretches reality in some form or another. After all, if they looked at things perfectly clearly, then not every one could go through with the cheating. Because your thought process would go something like this: “I’m at a vulnerable point in my life and I’m feeling some stress and restlessness. And now, I’m going to lie, cheat, and deceive the person that I have promised to love for someone who I don’t really know that well. I’m going to create a huge mess because of my poor impulse control and inability to make a sound decision.”
See what I mean? Very few people have this type of personal insight or self reflection. So instead, they will look for ways to justify what they are doing. And sometimes, it is easier to blame someone else than to blame yourself. And, it’s also easier to continue to deceive your spouse when you can pinpoint or focus on their faults, even when your deception is probably the biggest fault at play.
If You Feel That You Need To, There’s No Harm In Some Self Examination, But Don’t Blame Yourself: I truly believe that it is possible for at least some good to come out of the aftermath of cheating or having an affair. I actually took a hard look at myself afterward and found some places where I had been selling myself short. As a result, I went back to school and became much more career oriented and I built up my confidence. And this turned out to be for my benefit. But I did this for myself, not for my husband.
If you feel that there is any truth in your husband’s words, then there is nothing wrong with using them to improve yourself. That is taking a negative and turning it into something positive and that’s a smart thing to do. But don’t allow his words to make you feel badly about yourself or to make you feel guilty. You have to take what he is saying with a grain of salt, while being objective enough to look out for your own self improvement.
Even If He’s Remotely Right, Nothing Justifies Cheating: As I’ve alluded to before, I think that a cheating person will stretch the truth for their own gain. So I always am reluctant to assume the truth in their statements. But for the sake or argument, let’s say that this husband was right and the wife tended to be a little negative. Even if this were 100 percent true, this doesn’t give him a valid reason to cheat on his wife.
The right and honorable thing to do would be to approach the wife before anything happened in the marriage and worked with her to make a more positive environment for every one. He’s not off the hook for cheating just because his wife wasn’t perfect. No spouse is perfect. No marriage is perfect. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to cheat.
A Possible Script: The wife wasn’t sure how to respond to her husband’s assertions. I suggested a script of something like: “well that’s very interesting. When I calm down some, I’ll have to take some time to think about my own behavior and make any appropriate changes. But in the meantime, my behaviors don’t give you the right to cheat on me. You could have come to me and talked to me about this instead of betraying me. I am listening to what you are saying. But I want you to know that I don’t consider this as justification for your cheating and I won’t take responsibility for your decision. And we can’t begin to fully heal until you take that responsibility.”
Try to remain calm when you have this talk. This doesn’t need to escalate into a huge fight. But you have set the tone and let him know that trying to criticize or blame you isn’t going to work so he may as well begin to take responsibility for his own actions.
I couldn’t begin my healing until my husband was willing to take full responsibility for his actions. I wasn’t willing to work with someone who put any of the blame onto me. But once we got this out of the way, we were able to begin the process of saving our marriage after the affair. If it helps, you can read about that entire process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com