What Are Men Thinking When They Start An Affair? Here Are My Theories On What They May And May Not Be Thinking

By: Katie Lersch: One of the biggest mysteries to wives after a husband’s affair is what was his thought process right before (or right as) he made the horrible, life changing decision to cheat.

Many wives will attempt to solve this mystery by asking their husbands directly about his thought process.  This often isn’t very satisfying though.  Because a husband is rarely completely honest.  And this isn’t always because he’s trying to cover himself or save both of you some pain.  It’s often because he has no idea why he would do this.  He can’t always isolate exactly what he was thinking or why he acted.

So, without getting the answers that she needs, the wife is left only to speculate.  And I find that many times, we wives fall back on old cliches combined with our worst fears.  Here is what many wives assume is their husband’s thought process.

Some Variation On ‘I Wasn’t Getting What I Needed At Home So I Am Going To Get It Somewhere Else’:  Many wives feel that they have no choice but to make the assumption that the affair is a direct reflection on her or on her marriage.  She will assume that her husband was no longer attracted to her.  Or that, if he was, he was more attracted to the other woman.

Or, she’ll assume that the other woman has become so special or unique to her husband, that his desire for her overcame his commitment to his family or his good sense.  They assume thought processes like: ‘wow, this other woman is younger and prettier than my wife.  She offers me something that I can’t and do not get at home.’

Or ‘my wife is cold and my marriage is sub par.  And now that I’ve found something better, who can blame me for taking advantage of it?’

And finally, ‘I feel strongly for this other woman.  And eventually, I’m going to leave my spouse for her.’

With all of these potential assumptions, it’s no wonder that many wives see the affair or the cheating as a rejection.  And it will hurt because it will change the way that she sees herself and her marriage.

What If He Wasn’t “Thinking” At All?: In reality though, the thoughts described above are so rarely what I hear and sense from husbands.  Frankly, I don’t think that many husbands have concrete, identifiable thoughts that cause them to act right before an affair.  Instead, I believe that for the most part, the first act of an affair is mostly done on impulse.  And truthfully, many husbands will tell you that they tried to quiet their thoughts instead of bringing them forth.  They quiet them to help alleviate the guilt.

Although I believe that conscious thoughts are somewhat rare, here is what I believe the thought process would most often be if there were indeed concrete thoughts.

“No One Will Find Out. It Will A One-Time Thing. And It Will Be A Band Aid.”  Many husbands do not cheat intending for it to change their marriage, despite what they tell the other woman.  They are often at a point in their lives where they are feeling unsure about themselves.  This is often a point where they feel as if they have lost something.  They may feel off of their game.  Older.  Tired.  Losing a step. And they often do not share this with their wives because is embarrassing.

So when an opportunity presents itself that might make them feel better, they often act on impulse.  And when there’s that moment between walking away or acting, they may tell themselves that it is a one-time thing that will lead to nothing.  Or, they assure themselves that they won’t allow it to change anything significant.

Of course, I am speaking in generalities based on the trends that I see.  Every person is unique and every situation is different.  I’m trying to offer reassurance that every affair does not involve a husband who was rejecting his wife.  Many of these same husbands fight very hard to save their marriage and get their wife back after the affair is discovered.  Even husbands who believe that they have fallen in love with the other woman sometimes make this realization eventually.

My point is, I think it’s a mistake to assume that a cheating husband doesn’t love or isn’t attracted to his wife.  This is often not the case.  It’s just that he doesn’t think that he will lose or hurt her because of this.  And he’s acting on impulse, not common sense or good judgment.

So my answer to the question to “what are men thinking when having an affair” is that often, men aren’t thinking at all.  And this is the problem.  Their thoughts only kick in AFTER they have already made the mistake and done the damage.

As a wife, it is up to you as to where you want to go from here.  Often, we are initially so angry that we can’t make this type of decision immediately.  And that is OK.  I took my sweet time.  But I eventually decided that I wanted to fight for my family and this was the right choice for me.  But everyone is different.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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