Usually, the one leaving the relationship has spent months, and sometimes years, creating a distorted story in their heads to somehow justify their wrongful behavior to themselves. (From this article)
If you’ve been cheated on, of if you’ve just gone through discovery, then you’re probably experiencing some of the following.
- Low self-esteem/ self-worth
- Decreased value in yourself
- Blaming yourself (because often, your cheating spouse is blaming you and you believe it.)
- Questioning everything
- Wondering if you’re even attractive
- Believing the worst about your future
- Believing horrible things about yourself
It takes several weeks, if processed correctly, to stop blaming yourself for your spouse’s affair. Discovery for me was on March 20th, 2018, just about six weeks ago. My wife had a two-month long affair which was both emotional and physical. Yes, she had sex with another man. Before this affair, I was the only man she’d ever had sex with (supposedly). So, this one hurts. Also, this was her second affair in six years. In the first one, she says she didn’t have sex, but got close.
UPDATE: MY WIFE HAD YET ANOTHER AFFAIR LAST YEAR!
Now that it’s been six weeks, I am getting past the idea that I am to blame for this. In the quote above, you can see that my wife created a narrative that she started believing about me. She even said it a few nights ago. She said, “I have to trust you rather than what I believed about you.”
When a wife has an affair of this type, she has to create a story of how bad it is in her current marriage so that she can beautifully justify her involvement in an affair. For her, she truly believes that her husband is that bad and that she deserves to have someone care for her in ways that her husband doesn’t.
So whether its verbally to their spouse or just in their heads, the unfaithful person usually struggles with negative self-talk, both negative thoughts about their spouse (mostly untrue), but also both negative thoughts about themselves (Source)
Note: “Mostly untrue” above. Do you see that? The negative self-talk that an unfaithful spouse engages in is not true. So, if they’re blaming you, it is incorrect. It is not true. There may be some elements of truth. There may be arguments you two engaged in that helps her justify cheating. In my story, it goes like this: “Remember when we got in that argument and I told you we needed counseling. You refused to go and now look where we are.” Basically, she said, we argued, I said we needed counseling and YOU refused. Thus, it’s your fault I slept with someone else. Hmmmmmmmmm? Sound unreasonable? It is!
I accept no blame for my husband’s affair. I do not feel I can be held responsible for something, when I did not have the opportunity to participate in the decision of whether or not it was going to happen. But I do accept blame for my part in our relationship breakdown. (source)
Even if your spouse is saying things like “I never saw it coming” and “I didn’t plan on having an affair” the real truth is that affairs are calculated, premeditated betrayals. Your spouse had 100’s of chances before and during the affair to stop the behavior. As a matter of fact, there were many times that your spouse thought how badly this would hurt you and DID IT ANYWAY. Don’t be fooled by sweet words. They did it on purpose. Why they did it is much more important than the fact that they did it.
And the “why” is what a therapist or counselor has to help them find. YOU CAN”T do it for them. If that “why” isn’t found, then they will cycle back and get into another affair. Just a matter of time.