My Spouse Says He Cheated Because Of My Manipulation Of Him

By: Katie Lersch: It’s not uncommon for a person caught cheating on their spouse to place the blame on any one but themselves. Very few people actually stand up tall and proclaim: “every single bit of this is my fault. You were a wonderful spouse to me and I blew it because of no reason other than my own stupidity. None of this is your fault. I was the idiot here and I did this of my own accord.”

It would be wonderful if the cheating spouse would take responsibility in this way. But few do. Most will try to offer up some excuses or justification. Or, they will try to at least share their mindset and their motivations with you.

Some will offer very specific examples of their spouses’ behavior that drove them to cheat. I might hear from a wife who says: “of all things, my husband is actually telling me that he cheated because of my manipulation. He says that I am always trying to get him to do what I want him to do. He says I am always pressuring him and then pouting when I don’t get my way. He says that when he doesn’t do what I want, I look at him with disapproval. He says that I can convey my dissatisfaction of him without saying a word. And he feels the constant weight of this manipulation every single day. And he admitted that the lack of manipulation was what was so attractive about the other woman. According to my husband, she doesn’t care what he does. She has no expectations of him. She just wants to spend time with him and enjoy herself. He says he feels free with her. And that if I want to blame anyone for the affair, I should blame my own manipulative nature. What do I make of this? I admit that I am sometimes hard on my husband. But that is because if I am not, he makes very poor decisions that I often have to fix. I’m not going to take responsibility for his affair. He’s crazy if he thinks that I am going to buy this.”

I agree with you in that no matter what happened in your marriage, there is never an excuse to cheat. A person who is unhappy in their marriage has the choice to express their unhappiness, try to work with their spouse to solve the problem, or to leave their marriage. All of these things are options that can be pursued instead of cheating. That is why I don’t accept the various excuses a person will give.

With this said, if it is possible that you may want to save your marriage in the future, I think that there is a way to communicate your refusal to take on the blame with your willingness to consider that you may have both have had some culpability in the state of your marriage.

I’d suggest something like: “I hear your excuse for cheating on me but even assuming that everything that you said were true, there is never an excuse to cheat. I wish that you had come to me and tried to work through this issue before you damaged our marriage in this way. We could have avoided all the damage that we face today. I regret that you felt that you weren’t free to be yourself with me. And in time, perhaps we can talk more about that or even work through it. But that is not going to be possible until you take responsibility for your own actions and your own choices. You can’t pin it on me. I am not the one who cheated on my spouse. I will take responsibility for being a bit overbearing at times and that is something that I will work on. But I’m not willing to take your actions onto my own shoulders.”

I can’t tell you that he will suddenly see the truth and suddenly take immediate responsibility. But I do know that if he sees that you aren’t going to let him place the blame on you, he is more likely to stop trying.

And time has a way of showing a person who is cheating that they weren’t right in all of their assumptions. Sure, the other woman seems laid back and without any demands now, but this rarely lasts. Often, the other woman gets tired of having an “anything goes” attitude without expecting something in return. And when she starts having expectations, her attitude toward him changes. Her behavior often follows the same tract eventually. And this is when she becomes much less attractive and may seem a little manipulative herself.

And while there’s a chance that he may one day see that none of this is your fault, if there is a place in your life or in your marriage that needs work, now is the perfect time to take a long, hard look and craft the life you want by being the person you want to be. I made many changes to myself after my husband’s affair. It wasn’t for him. It was for me. There were things that bothered me and things that I knew had to change in order for us to have the marriage that we both wanted. For his part, my husband made his share of changes also.  If it helps, you can read about my own process on my blog at

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