Nothing is more devastating than to find out your partner has been unfaithful to the vows you took together. As you crawl through the stages of grief; denial, blaming, anger, and finally acceptance, you may find yourself asking who is to blame for this affair. “Was it something I did, or didn’t do to cause this” is a common question if you have been the victim of an affair.
One should never take on the responsibility for a spouse’s affair. Even in the worst marriage, a spouse has options and choices. If your spouse has an affair it is not because of something you did or didn’t do. The responsibility lies with the spouse who chose to cheat instead of handle his/her problems in a more pro-active manner.
Below are a few reasons why you are not to blame for a marital affair.
- Spouses cheat because the marriage bond has broken down. Time, bills, children, and life in general can all take their toll on a marriage. We all realize we need to work at our marriage to keep our intimacy strong with each other, but other things get in the way, and many couples find themselves drifting apart.
An immature person, instead of handling the problem, tries to avoid addressing it by turning outside the marriage. The breakdown of the relationship is usually the fault of both people, but the choice to cheat is the responsibility of the cheater.
- Spouses cheat because their needs aren’t being met. This usually means one spouse feels his or her emotional or physical needs are not being met. Again, this can be caused by an emotional distance between spouses, but it can also be the difference in sex drives, being too exhausted from other responsibilities to have the energy for sex, or using sex as a way to control (participating in sex as a reward or withholding for punishment).
Turning outside the marriage is not the answer for this situation either, and a mature person will realize that and try to correct the situation through communication and counseling. An immature person will begin something new with someone else to get that excitement back, instead of fixing or ending the current relationship.
- Spouses cheat because of a mid-life crisis. Most people reach a point in their lives, usually between 30 and 50, when they realize they are getting older, and wonder if they made the right choices in life. It is common for these people to ask if there is not something more out there than what they have, or feel like they are in a rut.
They want to recapture the feelings that they had when they were younger, or the excitement they felt as a young lover. This is an internal thing with the cheater, because of their emotional baggage, and is not the fault of the victim of infidelity.
- Some spouses cheat because they lack the maturity to have impulse control, and they never should have pledged monogamy in the first place, they are serial cheaters. If this was a pattern during the dating relationship, breaking up because of an other woman/man and then getting back together, the pattern will not stop because you take marriage vows.
One person cannot do enough to make another person change. Change has to come from within, and that person has to want to change. This is one area when many spouses think, “If I had only been prettier, or sexier, or more something, they would not have cheated.” However, that is not the case. It’s the cheater’s issue, not yours.
- Some spouses cheat in order to end the relationship. They have what is referred to as an “exit affair.” Breaking up is hard to do, and some people avoid the confrontation or possibility of the other spouse not agreeing to a divorce by doing something to cause one. This is the most hurtful way to end a relationship.
It is common for the cheater to want to blame their affair on their spouse. However, other than being jointly responsible for the distance that can develop between a couple not working on their marriage, the cheater has to take responsibility for his/her cheating. We are each responsible for our own actions and the consequences from those actions.
If you are the victim of cheating, realize that the choice to cheat was not made by you and had more to do with the other person’s issues than yours.