Why Do Men Who Have Affairs Blame Their Wives For Everything?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are furious because now that it is time for their husband to own up to his cheating, not only is he not being accountable, but he is placing most of the blame on his wife rather than himself. It seems that she is to blame for pretty much every problem.

I might hear from a wife who says: “I recently found out that my husband has been having a six month affair. He has told me so many lies and has been living this elaborate double life. He has taken time and money away from his children and has lied to his mother. His depth of betrayal and how far he has stooped is completely depressing. When his mother asked him why he would do such a thing, he had the nerve to list all sorts or problems with me. He told his mother that I always belittle him and make him feel as if he isn’t important. I realize that my husband can be a jerk, but this isn’t just limited to my husband. I have a handful of friends who have also gone through infidelity in their own marriages. And almost without fail, their husbands will mostly put the blame on their wives. This makes me sick. Regardless of the marriage or the circumstances, these men always have excuses as to why it is their wife’s fault. She doesn’t pay attention to him. She doesn’t appreciate him. She doesn’t listen. She makes him feel insignificant. She isn’t receptive sexually. She has gained too much weight. She’s gotten too old. She’s not adventurous anymore. And the list goes on and on. Why do these men blame their wives for everything?”

I agree that it’s very common (and extremely irritating) that men blame their wives when they make their own choice to cheat. There are many reasons why they might do this (which I’ll list a little later.) But first I want to say that not all men do this. I do hear from a good bit of men who want to take full responsibility and are asking for suggestions on how to do this. So it’s unfair to lump all men together when it comes to this sort of blame. However, some men tend to place the blame on every one but themselves. Here’s why.

The Alternative Is So Hard To Take: It is my theory that many men have affairs in an attempt to deal with those things that are really bothering about themselves or their lives. They are aging. They feel unsuccessful and out of the game. They have worries that make them feel petty. They have fears that make them feel frightened or weak. As a result, they are at a point where they don’t like themselves very much.

The affair is often an attempt to make themselves feel better about everything in their life. But when it’s time for answers, it’s very difficult for them to then switch gears and not only face but name all of those weaknesses that they were trying to get away from in the first place. Suddenly, if they were being honest, he would have to say “well, I’m an aging man who was vulnerable and afraid of being old and insignificant. When I had the chance to cheat, I took it even though I knew that it was wrong. I did it because I am weak and I have poor impulse control and it is no one’s fault but mine.”

Saying these things would mean standing up and looking all those fears and insecurities right in the face when he’s been running from them all along. Not all men are able to do this.

He Wants To Give You A Preview Of Things To Come: Many men will come out with a very indignant attitude because they are trying to strike first. What I mean by this is that he knows that you are going to be furious and that you are going to come at him hard. So he wants to beat you to the punch by pointing out where you might have gone wrong. This strategy is designed to disarm you and to keep your from being as angry as you may otherwise have been. If he can put doubts in your mind about your role in this, then he might get you to back up, or even better, to try to gain back his interest. Very few men are actually successful with this strategy because few wives completely fall for this. In fact, this strategy can sometimes just make it worse for him.

How To Handle This: Every one is different in what stance feels most comfortable to them. But while I could personally admit that my marriage didn’t always get my full attention, I was not willing to accept any of the real blame. Regardless of the problems that our marriage might have had, he made the decision to cheat on me. That was his decision alone to make. And through my words and actions, I made that abundantly clear.

I can’t tell you how to handle this, but I can tell you that if you accept his excuses or justifications, then you are likely to get more of them. I could tell you that the chocolate cake in my kitchen was just too delicious to resist and that my husband was careless by leaving it out because he knows I’m dieting and struggling even though I love cake. I could tell you that my devouring that cake is really his fault because he didn’t fill the pantry with diet entrees as he’d promised. But this would be ridiculous.  It is nonsense.  I’m an adult. I make my own decisions.

And so does he. Over time, many men will come to understand this. But he may come to understand it sooner if you tell him calmly that at the end of the day, cheating is a choice. And it is one that he alone made.  If he expects to save his marriage and to regain your trust, he is going to have to realize this.  Many men do come to understand this eventually.  But you can often nudge him along by calmly telling him that you’re not willing to take the blame.  If you’d like to read more about how I handled this, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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