What If I Caused My Husband’s Affair?

by: katie lersch: I recently heard from a wife who confided at me that although she was devastated and gravely disappointed in her husband for having an affair, she felt the need to take on some of the responsibility. She said, in part: “I’m furious at him, but I’m also mad at myself. I feel like I have some responsibility in this. In fact, on some level, I feel like I caused his affair. I haven’t been paying attention to him, myself, and our marriage for some time. I’ve been neglectful and preoccupied. And, I’m so angry at myself for letting this happen.”

Believe it or not, this sort of perspective is not at all uncommon. Whether they are able to verbalize it or not, many women feel at least partly responsible or to blame for their husband’s cheating. They think that they didn’t give him enough attention or that they weren’t adventurous or nurturing or alluring enough. I do understand these thoughts because I had them myself. However, this sort of thinking can be a dangerous thing. The key is using it to make improvements and to build yourself up rather than allowing the thoughts driving you to bring you down and cause you even more pain. I will discuss this more in the following article.

No Matter What You Did Or Didn’t Do, You Did Not Cause His Affair. Only He Could Make That Decision: Women will often say things like “I think I drove him to the affair. Because I was angry with him over some issues, I withdrew from him physically. I was sarcastic and mean. I could not have been a pleasure to live with. In a sense, you can’t blame him for going somewhere else for affection and attention.”

I can understand this thinking. But, I also feel the need to point out what has become obvious to me, although it might not be obvious to you because you are so close to the situation. Yes, you could have fallen short in some areas. But no one is perfect. He probably fell short in some areas too. However, he likely had other options available. He could have discussed this with you. He could have directly told you that he felt that he and the marriage was vulnerable. He could have sought counseling. In short, nothing other than his own decision making process resulted in him having an affair.

Yes, a marriage and it’s health is the result of the actions of both people who are living within it. But, it’s not fair to take the blame for a decision that you did not make. And, to look at it from another way, if it were you who cheated, do you think that he would share the blame? I’m bringing up these points not to point blame or fault onto anyone. My main concern is allowing you to see that his decision is not directly your fault and that taking the blame on yourself could well thwart your progress. Recovering from your spouse having an affair is challenging enough. You don’t need to take on burdens that aren’t yours. You likely have enough to deal with without adding yet one more thing onto your shoulders.

Rather Than Allowing The Guilt To Make You Doubt Yourself, Use This As A Spring Board To Make Positive Change: I know that my words are not likely to change what you believe deep in your heart. It’s not me who is going to convince you that you’re not to blame. Only you can do that. But, if you take nothing else from this article, please at least consider allowing these thoughts to propel you forward rather than allowing them to hold you back.

Often, when we take on this blame, we allow for this to make us feel badly about ourselves. This serves no purpose, especially right now. At this time, the best thing that you can do is to use this very negative and painful experience as a spring board to bring about positive and meaningful changes in your life. In know that it probably doesn’t feel like it right now, but this really can be a time where you can reject what has not been working for you and embrace what will allow for you to move forward in a healthy way.

This may include your marriage and it may not. This is an individual choice. But, an affair really can be a wake up call that allows you to see where your marriage was and is vulnerable. This awareness can allow you to make some changes that effect your future happiness and confidence. Even if you’re not sure that you want to remain married, you can take these lessons and use them to propel you forward on an individual basis. There are always lessons to learn and places where you can improve. But make sure that you use this process as one of growth rather than as a way to blame and punish yourself.

I truly do understand why and how your mind goes to these dark places. But, in order for you to regain your life and your happiness, you will eventually need to change and to stop this cycle. There is no need to dwell on who and what is to blame. The past is in the past. Now is the time to learn what you can from this process, to make the improvements and reassurances that are needed, and to move on in a meaningful way rather then dwelling in the past and carrying around all of the pain that it has caused you.

There was a time when I thought I would never get over my husband’s affair. I was also pretty fond of blaming myself, but this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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