Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Common Justifications for Why Women Cheat

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Understanding the reason behind infidelity is crucial to recovery. Without a basic understanding of why someone cheated, it's difficult for the betrayed spouse to determine the probability of future safety. The task of understanding the "why" behind their mate's infidelity is further complicated by gender difference.

One of the biggest mistakes betrayed spouses fall prey to is mistakenly assuming their mate's motivations for cheating are similar to what their motivations would be, and that's usually not the case.

Assumed similarities are the primary barrier to understanding the "why" someone was unfaithful.

Over the past few years, my staff and I have seen a sharp increase in the number of unfaithful females who are reaching out for help. I also hope this article serves as a warning sign for those who have actually been betrayed, but are also at risk for acting out with an affair of their own.

One of our sayings at Affair Recovery is, "My mate is never my problem (that is not to say my mate doesn't have serious problems), my mate only reveals the problems in me."

As many betrayed spouses will attest, two people can be in a bad marriage and only one will cheat.

Why women cheat is not that dissimilar to why men cheat. It can stem from:

  • Developmental Trauma
  • Sexual Trauma
  • Grandiosity/Entitlement
  • Existential Crisis
  • Abuse Reenactment
  • Bad Company
  • Revenge
  • Limerence
  • And many other reasons.

Whether the partner who strayed is male or female, my warning to those who have been betrayed is to be careful about assuming you know their reason. Odds are, the person who strayed doesn't know all the "Why's" behind their actions, and if they don't know, you certainly don't know.

My encouragement to both parties is to assume you don't know and be curious. For the wayward spouse, I'd suggest finding a qualified therapist who can help you to identify contributing factors and find new strategies to remain safe. Another suggestion is to participate in our course for wayward spouses, Hope for Healing - working with others in that program often provides unique insight into your motivations and behaviors.

Below are two examples of what women believed to be contributing factors. First is the story of one of our mentor couples. Second is a poem written over 130 years ago.

The following poem is an example of a common justification used by women.

*Before reading the following poem let me say that her reason does NOT justify an affair. Other choices are ALWAYS readily available. I honestly believe that if I had had the opportunity to work with this person, most likely she would have discovered that the survival strategies she carried with her from childhood into the marriage also contributed to her actions.

World Voices

A wayward wife to her husband

Branded and blackened by my own misdeeds
I stand before you; not as one who pleads
For mercy or forgiveness, but as one,
After a wrong is done,
Who seeks the why and wherefore.
Go with me
Back to those early years of love, and see
Just where our paths diverged. You must recall
Your wild pursuit of me, outstripping all
Competitors and rivals, till at last
You bound me sure and fast
With vow and ring.
I was the central thing
In all the Universe for you just then.
Just then for me, there were no other men.
I cared
Only for tasks and pleasures that you shared.
Such happy, happy days. You wearied first.
I will not say you wearied, but a thirst
For conquest and achievement in man's realm
Left love's barque with no pilot at the helm.
The money madness, and the keen desire
To outstrip others, set your heart on fire.
Into the growing conflagration went
Romance and sentiment.
Abroad you were a man of parts and power--
Your double dower
Of brawn and brains gave you a leader's place;
At home you were dull, tired, and commonplace.
You housed me, fed me, clothed me; you were kind;
But oh, so blind, so blind.
You could not, would not, see my woman's need
Of small attentions; and you gave no heed
When I complained of loneliness; you said
"A man must think about his daily bread
And not waste time in empty social life--
He leaves that sort of duty to his wife
And pays her bills, and lets her have her way,
And feels she should be satisfied."
Each day
Our lives that had been one life at the start,
Farther and farther seemed to drift apart.
Dead was the old romance of man and maid.
Your talk was all of politics or trade.
Your work, your club, the mad pursuit of gold
Absorbed your thoughts. Your duty kiss fell cold
Upon my lips. Life lost its zest, its thrill,
One fateful day when earth seemed very dull
It suddenly grew bright and beautiful.

I spoke a little, and he listened much;
There was attention in his eyes, and such
A note of comradeship in his low tone,
I felt no more alone.
There was a kindly interest in his air;
He spoke about the way I dressed my hair,
And praised the gown I wore.
It seemed a thousand, thousand years and more
Since I had been so noticed. Had mine ear
Been used to compliments year after year,
If I had heard you speak
As this man spoke, I had not been so weak.
The innocent beginning
Of all my sinning
Was just the woman's craving to be brought
Into the inner shrine of some man's thought.
You held me there, as sweetheart and as bride;
And then as wife, you left me far outside.
So far, so far, you could not hear me call;
You might, you should, have saved me from my fall.
I was not bad, just lonely, that was all.

A man should offer something to replace
The sweet adventure of the lover's chase
Which ends with marriage, Love's neglected laws
Pave pathways for the "Statutory Cause."1

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Written around 1885

As I said above, I doubt her husband's neglect is the only contributing factor, and it's not a viable excuse. If it were, then every situation in which a partner feels neglected would serve as a justification for infidelity. But it does pull back the curtain and reveal this woman's thoughts.

In closing, I don't think there's a simple answer as to why women cheat. It's complicated, but I know healing and transformation are possible for both partners and for the marriage if you're willing to do the work.

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This isn't another light-and-fluffy program that only scratches the surface of your pain. The EMS Weekend Experience is a safe space for you and your partner to start putting the pieces of your life back together, transform your trauma and begin healing from infidelity. Skeptical about the effectiveness of this experience? Don't be! Backed by a slew of previous participant testimonials, EMS Weekend delivers results month after month for countless couples.

During EMS Weekend, we won't shame the unfaithful spouse nor blame the betrayed spouse. What we will do is pair you with a small community of other couples and an expert therapist - all of whom have experienced infidelity firsthand - as well as provide comprehensive resources to help you kick-start your healing journey.

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  1. World Voices by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. New York : Hearst's International Library Company, 1916.



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Yes I can truly understand

Yes I can truly understand how this had happened to my wife, I can not go back a d undue what has happened but at the same time love and marriage is a kind of two way street how had would it have been for my wife to set my heart and attention back with just a little effort on her part.I had never stopped loving and doing things for my wife and would have done things differently just never knew. Yes there are so ma y other things going to take me away, but there were times it felt like staying away because I did not feel wanted or needed. Wanted to make things better just did not know what was needed, she would tell me I did not lover her and I would be just floored I was doing everything I could for her as best I knew. She just could not communicate to me what she was missing and needed and I just felt rejected and hurt and confused so instead of staying and trying to understand I would pull away a bit which would only make her even more distant. Now I will not let that happen I may pull away for a short time because of pain felt but after I have had a chance to think things over I now explain to her what I was feeling and how I was trying to show loveto her and was hoping from her. I just wish the time will come when she will come to me and share here ffeelings so I can have a better understanding of her heart and needs. My word of advice to None out there would be do not let distance build between each other, humble yourself if you have to but fight to stay close know each others feelings do not shut down thinking it will blow over address it and own your mistakes and forgive theirs. Do not accept silence chance are they want only the best for you also just not sure how.

So true

This comment is so true and so perceptive. I share all of these feelings. Very well spoken.

David - Thank you. I love

David - Thank you. I love your thoughts about staying close, which I copied here with some extra punctuation:

"Do not let distance build between each other. Humble yourself if you have to, but fight to stay close, know each others feelings. Do not shut down, thinking it will blow over. Address it and own your mistakes and forgive theirs. Do not accept silence. Chances are they want only the best for you also (and are) just not sure how."

The poem itself, and Rick's interpretation of why women cheat, seem very, very old fashioned, even antiquated to me, but then people do hold out-dated expectations about life and the people around them. Why in the world is it considered the husband's responsibility alone to keep the flame of love and desire alive in a marriage and to continually adore his woman and shower her with gifts and affection? I see this sort of "trophy wife" attitude in so many couples. And could anyone possibly maintain the romantic state of early love over many years? Once again, Rick has really gotten to the heart of some assumptions that can lead to a very painful time for so many couples.

Yes this my story

Yes the poem and David's story is also my own. When the separation begins to fell like rejection I just withdrew more and now she thinks she could never love me again.

Sounds like an easy way out

So lack of romance is the justification for a married woman to default in her vows?
How ridiculous! How selfish, egotistical and self serving!
Instead of respecting and regarding the institution, they just decide that they need attention!!!

It is their own fault for having no God, no moral code and no respect.

Actually, it wasn't easy at all.

Hurt spouse here,

First thing to point out: Lack of romance is just a part of how she became vulnerable. Other factors can come into play as well, such as mismanagement of finances. But the fact is that all the responsibilities of a husband are there to create SAFETY for your partner. Safety is key, and without it, your spouse will be left vulnerable to a myriad of things. It could be alcohol, anger, passive aggressiveness, depression, drug abuse, dishonesty, resentment, and adultery.

Romance is huge in a relationship, and key to many levels of safety a spouse needs to feel loved, adored, desired, and secure in the marriage and that she the one for you. It speaks volumes, and I cannot express it more. I know this, because I absolutely sucked at it. I thought I was OK, but just a busy husband and dad. Unfortunately, I knew I wasn't a Romantic, and I never took the steps to fix it. If I planned dinner dates without her asking, it would show safety in that I could manage time, that she was a priority, and I was thinking of her. If it was a nice restaurant, and every time I got her flowers, it would show safety in that I am managing finances, and that I make it a priority to budget for these special things for her and I.

Please understand, it is often said that when a wife cheats, she is pretty much done with the marriage. So the act of adultery hurts, absolutely.. probably more than anything I have ever felt in my life. But understanding that there was pain before, years before her decision, and that there is responsibility for the vulnerability. If I was more romantic, budgeted our finances better, kept her in the loop and made her feel SAFE, I guarantee my spouse would never have looked twice at that uber-Romantic jerk who "wow'd" her into a limerance relationship that totally left me in the dust.

There is pain on all fronts, and I'm ABSOLUTELY not diminishing the pain of infidelity. I know it as much as anyone. Knowing that your spouse made her decision in a state that was not where she is meant to be, is taking steps in looking at it with empathy. We can all be better spouses, and we all continue to grow in it everyday, for the rest of the marriage. We never stop. To understand, is to try to feel what she feels, and I'm not talking about the "selfish, egotistical and self serving" things. Those are a front, a wall. It's a self preservation method. There s something else she feeling, and to understand her is to try and see what that is and how it relates to you.

Just my 2 cents from a dude, in a place, and seen A LOT of messy stuff.

THANK YOU for pointing out

THANK YOU for pointing out the importance of SAFETY for the wife!!! Thank you for pointing out where women may be once they decide to cheat. Thank you for your empathy.


I am happy to read that you think she would not have strayed. My wife of many years dealt with my infidelity to porn and alcohol many more times than she should have. She eventually had an affair for almost a year. I knew about 6 month sinto that something was different but did not find out for 6 more months. I created an environment of distrust and secrets in our relationship and along came a perfect situation for her to find what she had been missing or actually more of an escape from the shit I created for her to live in. I had been trying to improve but by the time I realized it I was too late. I really messed things up.


And it's not even always true. I was very romantic in our marriage, and while she enjoyed the romance I cultivated, she did not cultivate it much, because she's not good at it.

And she still cheated with a guy 20 years older than us. Who wasn't romantic - I did way more romantic things for her during the period of her affair than he did, and I didn't do it because I was trying to win her back from the affair. I didn't even know she was having an affair until she ended it and then confessed. She realized she did something horribly stupid.

True, but..

Like Rick said, lack of romance like it was during courtship is no justification for an affair. The courtship romance will never continue during marriage, mostly because of the changes in stages of life, with children, job promotions, sick parents, etc. that comes with time. In courtship, most of us had little responsibility outside of our own jobs, so it was easy to shower our wives with affection because we had time, and everything was new and more emotional, etc. Everything changes with time. Rick is using the poem to show what makes women vulnerable. But, a vulnerable woman is still making a selfish choice if she chooses to cheat...it is not justified. But, what Rick is saying is that, if both parties are in recovery, then what makes a woman vulnerable should be understood. Is it fair that a man seemingly bears the sole responsibility of keeping romance alive? Not at all - this is one of the biggest gaps in pre-marital understanding. Both spouses should be cultivating romance. Perhaps, if you're a Christian, a helpful perspective would be the Lord's constant pursuing of the bride, even when she's turned her back on Him. Now, we're not God so to constantly pursue someone that is pushing us away is an unrealistic expectation, but it might be a helpful viewpoint in recovery if your wife wants to restore the marriage - pursuing in the face of the grief and pain of betrayal.

I have lost all that I love

I think they use it as a way out of something they can't even handle. I've been married was married to my girl for 9 year's. We made 3 beautiful children and before the first one was born she cheated on me with a random person that sweet talked her one day. I forgave her after a few months work on the relationship and forgave her. 3 years later she did it again and she was pregnant at the time with my beautiful daughter. Once more I forgave her. My final son was born with some difficulty and was in the hospital for 4 months ended up getting 4 brain surgeries 10 spinal tap 2 blood transfusion and he is doing better. Now that he is 1 year old she decided to cheat once more and her excuse is that I never paid attention to her that I care more about the kids and not her. I don't understand why I have dedicated 9 year's of honesty and being faithful for her to do it again and now wants a divorce. What did I do wrong? I work to provide I purchased a home and build a therapy room for my boy. I have been trying to understand her and I just can't see it. This year alone I have worked extra hours just to finish paying hospital bills and I don't even get a thank you or I'm proud of you my love no I get a sorry I got tired of waiting for you so I found someone else

Painfully accurate

This was so painful to read, it made me cry. I could of written this. Not an excuse, but this is how it happens.

Sounds like blameshifting to me

"You might, you should, have saved me from my fall."

So basically if the husband wasn't so "dull and commonplace" she wouldn't have cheated? Sounds like a double standard to me; would we be reading this poem if it were by a man calling his wife dull and saying that she should have stopped him from cheating by being a better wife?

Filling that void!

Yes as a most females we like to feel special & cared for & know that we matter & are most important... But I have come to realize that when we start feeling like we do not matter it's usually just life happening & work & being tired & just knowing husbands are comfortable at home & can kick back & rest & be himself. I have visited people in nursing homes when I start to get down.. I leave there feeling so good that I was able to make someone else feel like they mattered -instead of making sure someone made me feel I mattered . Those things are the best medicines! When we start down that road of thinking "he doesn't love me like he used to" -I have found out they actually love you more - yes -take time to communicate -go on a date -have fun with each other -& when we are feeling the blues of not "feeling special" snap out of it!!!! Go for a walk -pray & call someone you haven't talked to in a while -you will feel much better!!! Having an affair brings pain, grief & much guilt.. It's only "exciting" for a little while-then it's sad, hard, hurtful, sorrow, shame! Listen to the voice that says this attention /affair is NOT A GOOD IDEA! save yourself & your spouse from horrific pain!


The irony of this poem is that it resonates really strongly with where I was - and my husband is the one who had the affair.

I read the poem above, and

I read the poem above, and thought the same exact thing. The difference was that while I was the neglected wife, my friend, who was also neglected, is the one that had the affair with my husband. I don't understand how I could keep it in my pants, and these two couldn't. He wasn't neglected; in fact, and he will agree with this statement, he was the center of my world, and given whatever he wanted. Just a spoiled, entitled, selfish man.

It is not black and white

I think that poem is just to illustrate the sorts of things that can be underneath infidelity. I don't think we should pick over the bones of each line.

Of course lack of attention is no justification for cheating and of course it is not just the man's job to pay attention (bear in mind it was written in the 1800's when men/women roles were quite different). But the point I think that it underlines is that (based on my experience as an unfaithful wife):
- many women have self esteem issues - this is driven in part by society/culture focus on body image and things like that
- all marriages will evolve over time - nothing can sustain the initial period when you first meet and all that excitement
- the challenges of kids, work, day to day life etc often takes over the marriage so there's a lack of focus on fulfilling each other's needs (on both sides)
- this creates an environment where people are vulnerable - both sexes of course. But maybe women are especially vulnerable because we are emotional creatures and "neglect" whatever form that takes is often just simply lack of emotional connection. It's often hard to talk about what we need or want because we are so busy focusing on everything else we don't even realise there's a hole
- and then someone comes along who fills that hole ... and they are charming and caring and you don't intend to start out having an affair but somehow it starts running away with you and you start craving that attention and that feel good factor and of course it then gets harder and harder to talk to your spouse.
- and then next news you have started down a bad road and it's now too hard to turn back the clock and it spirals from there.

that's how it happens. Not an excuse just an explanation.

So all of you who are outraged by this post - of course there is not a justification for that cheating. But what Rick is seeking to do is explain how it can happen and how there are vulnerabilities and how we should look for other ways to address that. Both spouses need to fill each other's needs but it's hard to discuss

Agree wholeheartedly

This was exactly the situation for my wife, but in a different way than most. She dug down and realized that she had deep emotional issues and was very fragile, even though she seemed the epitome of strength.
I have actually always been very romantic, was the one that planned the date nights with interesting things, gave unexpected gifts, etc. She rarely did those things for me.
The difference in our story is that it happened over a much shorter time period than most, I believe. We have 4 young kids, and I had a business that had done well for awhile but the market changed and we couldn't recover. During the time of trying to save it and selling it, it was a very stressful time in addition to parenting the children, etc. I totally stopped how I had been for the 10 years of our marriage to that point, and let the stress get to me and was, oftentimes, an angry, frustrated jerk. During this time, someone came along at her work who was totally different, showering her with compliments, etc. and an affair started. Not even one week after it started, I apologized for my behavior and reverted back to my old self (not knowing about the affair, I just often do self-reflection). I even went extra on the attention because I felt like I needed to 'make up for lost time.'
Mind you, this period was only a little over 3 months. Should my wife have been able to see what was going on and make a logical decision that I was just stressed out? Definitely. Should anyone be able to get through a 90 day rough patch in their marriage, especially when they've been married for 10 years? Yep. Should I have to be in constant worry that if I stop being romantic for even a short period of time, she'll go find someone else and cheat on me? Nope.
It wasn't fair, of course - I actually think my continued romance throughout the marriage made her even more vulnerable because when it basically stopped cold turkey it was a shock to her, she couldn't handle it - she told herself this story that I had totally changed forever and didn't love her anymore. What? Her story was completely illogical, but as you said - she had self-esteem issues. She found all of her worth and happiness in my treatment of her that when it changed it was like her brain exploded and she acted ONLY on emotion. Since then, she's identified her issues and hopefully that will make her much less vulnerable moving forward. I believe that she never would have cheated if we had not had that rough patch, but again - nobody should have to worry about getting cheated on because of a 3 month dark period - that's just emotional immaturity and she knows that.

It's a Matter of Will Power

I believe there are many factors that attribute to a person's infidelity but, in my opinion, the main reason it happens is lack of will power. Everyone at one point or another becomes bored with their life, job, house, family, whatever and then tempted by something or someone that looks like "the cure" for that boredom. Then it becomes a matter of will power. Do you have it or don't you?
Those who are strong willed and capable of saying no do not have affairs and those who give in to temptations easily have affairs.

Just my two cents


I agree with Keith totally - American women have been watching TV shows for decades where the theme is affairs - they all have ready made rationalization s as to why they cheat - in my case I believe my wife WANTED to cheat because she wanted to 'experience' someone else - but since she hasn't reconciled and is a compulsive liar (even some of her lies have lies!) I'll never really know. The particular events of her affair I witnessed show a person who is borderline diabolical! Now since she has lied to me hundreds of times (and still is) when she says 'I really love you' I just can't believe anything she says - and how's that's my fault?

You're right

But this is also a justification for men to cheat on their wives - basically they weren't attentive enough and were a bad wife for being too wrapped in worldly duties.

It's all bullcrap. They can't see (husband or wife) that their spouse is demonstrating love in the doing? (such as working hard to provide for the family in a man's case, or working hard to take care of the family's non-financial needs in the wife's case - not saying this is always exclusive to man and woman but is fairly common and especially was many years ago) One of the big ways we show love to our spouse is continuing to do the things that need to be done without complaining, showing we care for them.

Dull and commonplace

I didn’t marry him because I thought he was dull and commonplace. I married him because I felt we were a great team. I saw him as a best friend. I wanted to have adventures with him. I didn’t care if it was stream fishing or going hot air ballooning. I wanted to go walking around the block together and climbing up that mountain with him. I wanted him to encourage me to learn how to ride my dirt bike. I wanted to go with him and not have him treat me like a dumb beginner. I wanted him to help me after I crashed and to calm me and to high five me because I had pushed past my comfort zone. I wanted to work together sweating to build the fire pit. I didn’t have to have the big gaudy diamonds. Flowers picked out of the garden were even more special than the florist arrangement that was delivered by a stranger. I wanted the goofy poem from him. I wanted the person and some quality time with him. I wanted him to look at me and LISTEN to me. I wanted him to share his dreams and concerns and what kept him up at night. I wanted to cook his favorite meal even if it was beanie weenies and Rice Krispie treats. I wanted to continue to mend his favorite shirt even though it was beyond mending. I wanted these things. I wanted to build a life TOGETHER!
Almost all of these things could be construed as dull and commonplace. It’s the person I love that I want to do all of these things with and when he no longer sees me as being the one he wants to do these things with, then when I am not seeing any appreciation for fixing him beanie weenies and Rice Krispie treats because HE LIKES them, I am thinking I am ripe for some one else’s attention.
Turning off the TV and going out to sit by the fire pit without being prodded helps to bring me back into the world. Telling me about his insecurities and what his goals are opens me up to share my thoughts and desires. I want to have him talk to me about more than the weather, the everyday life things. I want to know that he can tell me about his work. I want to tell him about mine, too. I want to be ASKED about my concerns. He doesn’t have to fix them, JUST LISTEN with a nod or a grunt showing me that you really are hearing and listening to me.
I’ll watch football, nascar, ski racing, etc., just not 24/7 because it is on the sports channel.
Spending time with my family is important to me. Humor me and find something in common with one of them. They are my crazy wonderful goofy family to me. Tell me you don’t want to spend time with your family and I won’t push it on you. I’ll let you make the plans to see them.
Dull and commonplace? Hum? You decide.

What made her do it

I am very glad to see an article on this. As a betrayed husband, I have struggled with this for more than 3 years now. We were almost divorced because my wife would not come clean and tell me the truth about what she did.

We have been married for 31 years and for many years prior to the first disclosure, I know she was unhappy but she would not tell me how she felt or how I could help. I was very frustrated, as I felt rejected, attacked, and after several years of this, I just started pulling away too. Prior to her infidelity, I would ask her time and time again what was wrong and she would be dishonest and tell me nothing was wrong. We both knew she was not telling me the truth about how she felt but she refused to tell. So we were left waiting for the bomb to explode. I know that I could have been a better husband, but she could have also been a better wife. That's no excuse for infidelity. It take two people both committed to a marriage.

Things are much much better now, and after a few days from being divorced, we started talking again when she decided to be honest. We haven't healed completely but we both now have hope for a brighter future.


My husband and I have been married 30 years, 33 together years. High School sweethearts. I have been in an affair off and on now with the same man, the past year and a half, regularly. My husband doesn't know anything about it. I love my husband, no intention of leaving him. He is a good man, we are both followers of Christ. I hate myself and want to end the affair. My husband adores me, my friends are envious of our marriage. Why am I doing this? Because I was looking for attention. Things began to get complacent. The man was my friend first, for 4 years, NEVER did I believe I would ever do this, never. It's so easy to judge people until it happens to you. Now I understand how easy it is to leap into that pit. Lack of communication is the biggest killer in a marriage. The man I'm involved with started as a friend and now i want to get out, but now I've let my emotions get in the way. No excuse for having an affair, I'm just speaking from the cheaters heart. I'm slowly
dying, but I know my God loves me and He is giving me the strength to do what I need to do.


I sure hope you ended this. I see it was 3 years ago. Am interested to see if you did end it. Hopefully you did for everyone.

Lack of communication

Lack of communication is NOT the biggest killer in a marriage. Being ruled by emotion is. You don't cheat because you lack communication with your spouse - just freaking talk to them, they're right there. Being ruled by emotion and the inability to be vulnerable leads people to chase after something else and leave their spouse in the dust, many times unknowingly still loving their cheating spouse at the same level they always have.

If you haven't ended this affair, tell your husband and see if you can continue the affair. That lifted any fog that existed between my wife and her AP - first because my wife had already seen that it was a horrible mistake, and second because she got to see him transformed into a fearful weakling when I had my 'discussion' with him. Third, because he was so scared, he's never come near my wife again. It became VERY real to both of them, no more fantasy.

Common Theme

I am a betrayed husband. Difficult as it is to admit, this is what my wife would say AFTER she had the affair and got caught. But is it the real reason it happened at the time? Or is it revising history. Guarantee a lot of that went on in my case. No doubt my wife experienced chemical/emotional changes and developed a strong "girls just want to have fun" attitude. If they had Facebook in 1885 that woman would have been having a blast! Wasn't so fun for me though having to carry the load around the house and care for elderly sick parents, etc.. The lies, deceit and contempt were sickening. I can give a laundry list of fun things we were doing and places we were going, but it wasn't fun enough.

I think this site is great though, and has been one of the best for me to understand the dynamics. I hope part 2 brings this back into the arena of own up to and be accountable for your own actions. Invest the time and energy in your current commitment, don't break your vows and ruin peoples lives.

Common Theme - Wasn't fun enough

I am the betrayed wife, but definitely related to your sentiments about not being fun enough. He was off traveling and having affairs with three different women who worked for him.....drinking, traveling, entertaining. When he was at home we hiked and vacationed and had fun with the children, but I had no idea I wasn't fun enough. We had sex weekly...but not enough. Everything was always pushed to the very breaking limit....nothing was ever good enough. Always had to be better....faster....more. Never enough. He told me he loved me over a dozen times a day and like you by reading the texts you would have thought everything was fine. Great FUN TIME guy......for whomever he was around. He ruined my life and our daughters.....but boy was he having fun.

Why she cheats

I must've missed something in the explanation of why women cheat. What happens when you have no clue. You still love them very much and didn't have a clue. He wasn't being neglectful nor putting anything or anybody before her. She was telling him she loved him and reading their texts to each other you would never realize their was any issue. Yet she cheats anyways. She claims that her going through menopause was a contributing factor. She also wanted to feel attractive again. Even though she was constantly told how beautiful I thought she was and is. Also rarely if ever did a day go by when I didn't tell her that I love her. No, there were no warning signs. At least none that man who trusts his wife would pick up on. After it came to light I could see somethings clearer.

Does this apply if she was

Does this apply if she was having an affair before marriage? Then more and more of the double life revealed 14 years in another affair? The secret life that was before and during the marriage? What about a maniputive person that you have uncovered and the mask has slipped? That they weren't the person they said they were and you have woken up and revealed multiple affairs that happened with the last boyfriend? The same patterns with previous partners? Do we as men and the betrayed somehow take responsibility for that? Is there a certain female this applies too and a certain female that it doesn't? I have been told that I have been deceived and that my wife was never the person she pretended to be. This information is used by the certain unfaithful spouses for manipulation in my opinion. Careful to certain followers that you aren't held responsible for things that were never as they seemed.

Precisely my experience as

Precisely my experience as well.
I think that the reasons presented here do indeed apply to some but certainly not to all.
My husband has never been faithful to any woman whom he has been involved with longer than 3 - 6 months. His second marriage ended when he began an affair during the anniversary month celebrating his first year of marriage - at that was at least his second affair on that wife.
I suppose I should feel accomplished in that he didn't have his first affair on me until we had been together 2 1/2 years (LOL)
My husband's wounds go far deeper than anything which can be encapsulated in one or two sentences and he certainly presented himself as someone he wasn't in order for me to have an interest in him. Like you, I was married to someone who never existed - I was married to a facade, a simulcrum, a fictated persona; someone who my husband perhaps would have liked to have been but certainly not someone whom he ever was.

Rick, what's your point

At home you were dull, tired, and commonplace.
You housed me, fed me, clothed me; you were kind;
But oh, so blind, so blind.
You could not, would not, see my woman's need
Of small attentions; and you gave no heed
When I complained of loneliness; you said
"A man must think about his daily bread
And not waste time in empty social life--
He leaves that sort of duty to his wife
And pays her bills, and lets her have her way,
And feels she should be satisfied."

As a woman who has been betrayed, I take offense at the insinuation that this poem and reflection would somehow help guard me from the path of infidelity. Although I absolutely realize we are all human and capable of such behavior, if you think for one minute that those of us who have experienced infidelity haven't already lived the reality of abandonment, neglect and loneliness, you're crazy. I have been the woman "housed, fed, and clothed" yet left outside of my husband's inner emotional circle, and I STILL chose to remain faithful, as I'm sure was the experience of most of the betrayed women out there. I can't speak for the men who were betrayed, but for many of the betrayed women I have spoken to, we are only too well aware of this dynamic of disinvestment and yet we are the ones who continued to work and pray and support our husbands and be faithful, only later finding out that what we thought was consumption with work, career, money, perhaps boredom in the marriage was actually something we never could have fathomed: infidelity. So I'm not sure what you think most of the women reading this would learn that they don't already know. And as to the previous writer's question about whether there are just different kinds of people who respond differently to such situations, is there anything to that?

I agree with you. I too for

I agree with you. I too for many years held onto the hope that whatever we were going through would pass and made the choice to remain faithful. I was completely neglected and rejected and given no love or support for years. Then to find out that this was being given to someone else. This had been promised to me, not her. So in response to your comment that you and I stayed faithful, it shows who we are as true women. We are strong and faithful people who are not selfish. We chose to do what was right only to be destroyed. It sucks!

Betrayed yet faithful

I agree with you ladies on the fact that we have the same feelings of loneliness and neglect.
I too have remained faithful to my husband who cheated on me. But let’s not forget that although it appears our commitment is to our husbands, for those of us who subscribe to faith, it’s first and foremost to God. If we believe what he says, he has a greater reward For us than a good and loving husband. God promises us that we WILL suffer in our life , for a little while and after that he will restore us and make us fit for His kingdom.
That is our hope ladies- again for those who believe in God, he has something better for us than we can imagine.
Cling to Him during this horrible time in your
Life. He is Close to the broken-hearted -Psalm 34:18.
Remember also, that Satan is close and ready
Too pounce on us and solidify the bitterness that can come when going no through this.
But God is going to use this pain for his glory and essentially our good.
God bless You

I agree

I agree, Robert, as a betrayed husband that I have to really, really direct my mind and heart toward Christ during this time of immense pain since discovering my wife's 2-year emotional affair and it has been 2-plus years since discovery and there is still so much disconnect. This disconnect -- even though she says she gives it over to God daily to stay in our relationship -- I have to constantly battle Satan being close and ready to increase bitterness and resentment in my heart to what I see as a distant and uncaring wife. I know I wasn't a perfect husband, but to have to expose the affair and bring it out in the open was the hardest realization I have ever had in my life and the daily pain is so incredible it is hard to move forward at times.

I’m in the same boat

I did everything to be the best wife to my husband. For years and years I foolishly believed in and followed relationship and marriage rules in books that were supposed to keep this deep pain away from my heart...always doing extra for him and making sure he knew how much he was loved so we could have a wonderful marriage and keep faithful to one another. He is an introvert so him not responding to my efforts was the norm. I have never given up on him. I have been by his side through it all making sure he knows he has a loyal and loving partner, but often I feel so alone. It is very hard but marriage isn’t supposed to be easy right? I remain faithful even though I have had opportunity not to be through all of these years. I stay true to him for us. And for our family as a whole. I realize how hurt everyone would be if I ever strayed and that my integrity would dissolve in an instant. My word would be worthless. Why couldn’t he do the same for me? Why wasn’t our children and I worth the same effort on his part? He could have opened up and helped me make our relationship less one sided..do for me like I have done for him so often. I think you hit the nail on the head in your reply. Selfishness. Selfishness is the only “reason” for infidelity. Nothing else is the “cause”.

How do I feel better??

I am struggling so badly. I totally agree with what both of you are saying. My husband had a two year affair with his high school girlfriend and I am the one paying the price. We didn't have a good marriage, but I kept trying and kept trying. I NEVER thought he would betray me with infidelity. It has been almost six months since I found out about the affair and I still feel as though it was yesterday. He says he wants nothing to do with her and has apologized. I just don't know how to get past the feeling that he is still talking to her. I was so blindsided the first time, even though looking back now, there were so many things that I just let go when I knew, deep in my heart, what it all meant. How do people move on and start to feel better? Is it all up to me or does he have to have some part in it other than just telling me that he will not do this again. I can't believe what he says since he lied for two years and betrayed me so deeply. She lives in another state, but did come here in April and they were together the entire weekend, including having sex. He says it was a mistake and doesn't want to even talk to her again, but he never told her it was over so I still do not feel safe that this will not happen again. Not sure where to go from here, just feel as though this is how I will feel for the rest of my life.....

Don't have the answers. Looking for them also

I'm over 3 years now since I found out my wife was having an affair. We've been together since the summer I graduated high school. "1989" it's been rocky for sure many times, but I wasn't prepared for infidelity. I still struggle every day. Any day could be my last. I wish I'd found this site 3 years ago. So much pain. It's the only real hope I have left. Hopefully you, I and many others will find peace someday with the help of AR.


I usually don't respond to many things I read, but I felt an overwhelming inclination to respond to you. I was betrayed by my husband of 26 years (at the time of discovery). That was 3 1/2 years ago. Things have improved for us, but I still struggle to stay in our marriage. My best advice would be to listen to that inner voice that speaks to you. We place our total trust in our mates and totally ignore the very thing that God placed in us to inform us when something is awry. Please be concerned about your healing. If your husband really wants his marriage, he must step outside of his self-centeredness and make investments in both his and your healing. He has made the relationship unsafe for you and if you need confirmation that he has ended his indiscretions tell him what would make you feel safe with him. If he refuses to give you what you need and continues to make everything about him, then change has not taken place! People who project themselves as one way and secretly live another are troubled within. If he never makes changes to become a person confident in who he is and gains integrity, chances are he is more likely to continue his destructive patterns. I pray you'll find the path for your complete restoration and healing. I know my husband's indiscretions has led me down a path to a better, stronger, more integral, and wiser me!

I agree!!

I agree with you two ladies. I, too, made a decision to marry a man who purposefully chose NOT to dissclose his sexual addiction. 10 long years I prayed for God to show me what was so wrong with my miserable marriage. He chose to lie..over and over and over. One day his heart opened and my husband had hit bottom...he was very remorseful about what he had been doing. We chose to stay and work on the relationship....glad I did!! He really is a jewel underneath all the garbage he heaped upon himself. Its been 24 years since D day....I finally learned about 5 years ago that all the trauma brought on PTSD (or otherwise known as PISD). But the point is I lived lonely..but married. Nothing he dished out would make it okay to cheat on him. Choices bring blessing or consequences...if we would be so mindful about all the choices we make..own up to them...take full responsibility for them.

Your comment could have been

Your comment could have been said by me !! 35 years of doing EVERYTHING to make everyone in my family’s lives great my “wonderful “ husband had an affair with a younger version (co-worker, surprise surprise). Now what do I have? Big empty house, kids all grown and in their own. I’m clothes and fed but all alone. What a waste of all my hard work. Gone are the plans of our future. The RAGE consumes me but I’m supposed the “get over it”.

My husband

This is my life he had an affair with a co worker too younger version and its going on 3 yrs and I'm still can't get over its so hard but hang on to Gods hands we have a long road to travel 32 yrs of marriage disappear like That I just walk through the motion daily

Excuses for cheating?

Yes, it's like she is also using excuses about her husband to justify her infidelity. I'm sorry, but you did such and such just doesn't work for me!

Where was he insinuating that

Where was he insinuating that this would help anyone avoid the path of infidelity? He was just stating why one woman said she was unfaithful. Rick is saying that there is no excuse for being unfaithful.

Insinuating here

Where he says this:

"I also hope this series will serve as a warning sign for those who have actually been betrayed, but are also at risk for acting out with an affair of their own."


I'm a betrayed husband. I thought he was just giving insight into what the wife may need to keep in mind, but also what the husband needs to know about his way of living life that could cause those feelings, that could lead someone down the wrong path

I am grateful for this timely warning

As a woman who was betrayed, I'm immensely grateful for what Rick said. Probably because I'm in danger of being this woman. I have been ignored, clothed and fed and barely acknowledged. It doesn't show any signs of getting better. Now there is a man who has come into my life who believes in me, who listens to me. And the temptation to talk to him, to reach out and be seen, is growing strong. This reminder that indulging this desire will lead to shame and guilt, not fulfillment or contentment,is very timely.

Please, listen to that voice!

I know how strong that urge is to feel noticed. Please don't do it! I have had an affair. And I sit and wonder how I got here. I would swear I would never do such an awful, deceitful thing. Yet, here I am. And it started with the little things. The almost innocent things. They add up and build to a big thing and then you are suddenly engulfed in it all wondering how you got here and who you even are. And then you sit in your guilt and shame and there is no taking it back. And you feel less than human. Far from worthy. It's a horrible place to be. It's far better to feel unappreciated or unloved than to feel unworthy of appreciation or unworthy of love.


While I certainly understand the sentiment, as I am a betrayed husband, or should I say ex-husband, this is like twisting the knife that is already well lodged in my heart. I wake to the pain of my failures as a husband every day, as I see the empty space in the bed where my wife used to lie. I hear that failure every time my children ask why their mother can't come back. I see that failure every time I show up at a lot luck with tortilla chips and salsa, again. No doubt I had a role in the breakdown of my marriage, and the loneliness that my wife felt. However, I too was alone, feeling unloved, and unappreciated. What I wouldn't have given to just hear, "Hey, I'm having a seriously hard time in our marriage, and I am at a breaking point. I really want us to get some help."

This poem is just a reminder of the rationalizations and delusions that I was bombarded with, and are demons that haunt me every day.


I agree


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