How Can A Man Not Think Of His Wife And Kids While Having An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who just can not understand how their husband could carry out the process of cheating and having an affair. Sure, she understands the physical process of it. But, she can not understand the mental or emotional process of it. After all, she believes that her spouse is a loving husband and father. She knows that her husband loves his children more than anything and that he very much wants his children to have a wonderful and secure childhood. Why then, would he risk what is the most important thing to him in order to cheat? Is he not thinking of his family when he does this? And, if so, how can he block them out of his mind?

An example of a comment in this scenario is something like: “I just found out that my husband has been cheating on me. He coaches little league and he has been seeing on of the mothers. He says that he will break up with her and focus on our family because family is what is truly important to him. I find this to be a complete contradiction. If family is so important, then why did he not think of his family when he was having sex with her? It’s just so hard for me to understand this. I can’t even fathom being able to carry out anything inappropriate with someone else because I couldn’t even go through with it because of thoughts of my kids. How could my husband do this without seeing our faces in his mind? How do men not consider their wife and children who love them?”

I can answer this as best as I can because I definitely have my theories. But, I’m not a man who has cheated. I am someone who has experienced this as a faithful spouse. But I do hear from cheating husbands on my blog and I believe that they are able to compartmentalize their behavior for a couple of reasons which I will discuss below.

He May Be Determined That You Won’t Find Out And Won’t Be Affected: Many people who cheat are absolutely determined that the affair will never be discovered. They convince themselves that the other person is discreet and that, once the affair is over, they are going to pick up with their family life right where they left off. Many of them don’t have any intention of this hurting their family life. They see it as just getting something out of their system or just taking some action to feel better about themselves. But, in their mind, they just don’t believe that this is going to affect or hurt their marriage or their family in any way whatsoever.

They Have Become Good At Blocking Any Thoughts That Would Stop Their Actions: Think about this for a second. Anyone who is able to have an affair has to be somewhat skilled at quieting any doubts in their mind. Because there are several steps that will often happen in order for infidelity to occur. Perhaps they have a cup of coffee with the other person without mentioning this to their spouse. Perhaps they begin calling and texting the other person. And then they start seeing this person on the sly quite regularly. Typically a couple of encounters are going to happen before infidelity actually occurs. And each time they are going to have to put their doubts out of their mind or overcome them in some way. In essence, they get good at quieting the doubts as they come up. So that by the time they are actually cheating, then they are able to carry it out without having a crisis of the conscience.

Many People Who Have Affairs Completely Believe That Their Love For And Commitment To Their Families Has Not Changed: As I said, I do hear from a lot of cheating husbands. And a good deal of them will passionately insist that they never stopped loving their spouse and that they never broke their commitment to their family. Most of the time, when they look to the future, they still envision their happy family as intact. Most them never intend for anything to change.

I know that this is confusing and hard to take. I couldn’t understand this either as someone who has gone through it. Honestly, I think that part of the reason for this is that I myself could never carry this out so I just didn’t understand how my husband could. I believe that men are much better than compartmentalizing than women. They simply don’t think that their bottom line is going to change, despite their actions.

In my own experience, I know that you can ponder this question forever and you still may not understand it and accept it. That’s why I believe that it’s sometimes best to just accept that you may never truly understand it and focus on where you want to go from here. You have to ask yourself if you want to save your marriage, if you need more time to decide, or if this is absolutely a deal breaker for you so that no other contemplation is necessary. This is something that only you can answer. But that answer often won’t come through understanding how he could do this. Because that’s an answer that wives usually can’t understand since we ourselves wouldn’t carry out those same actions.

I had to do this myself.  Because at some point, you have to begin to focus on moving on if you are going to heal. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at

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