Why People Cheat

A few weeks ago I began a series on why people cheat. Obviously that topic required me to go back to those early years and explore how I got there. Before my fall, I’d have been the guy wondering what type of guy would cheat on his wife. “Thank God I’m not like that,” I’d tell myself as I worked with couples where someone had strayed. My self-righteousness and arrogance now seems repulsive. To me back then it was simply a matter of being better than that.

Today as I look back. I’m astounded by how distorted my thinking became as I plummeted into my affair. I deceived myself into thinking I was a “good guy” for "helping" my affair partner. I somehow deceived myself into thinking I was acting in her best interest by giving her the attention she so desperately needed from her husband. I believed she was better off engaged with me in a secret affair than working though the issues in her marriage.

But that was only the beginning of my self-deception. I also convinced myself I had married the wrong person. I chose to believe there was no way my wife could make me as happy as my AP and I deserved to be happy, right? Isn’t happiness enough reason to justify an affair and the destruction of two families? Feelings like that can’t be denied- there was nothing else to do.

I was bored and life was a bit dull and I obviously needed something to give life meaning. You only live once so you better take chances. I wanted to feel alive and my affair offered a mood-altering drug more powerful than anything I’d ever experienced. I told myself I didn’t want to have any regrets at the end of life and the only way to assure that didn’t happen was to experience all life has to offer. In hindsight I now regret that.

I lacked integrity and honesty. Instead of being honest about what I was doing I justified my lying by thinking I was doing everyone a favor by protecting them from a truth that would hurt them. Somehow it didn’t occur to me that if I didn’t want to hurt them I shouldn’t be cheating on my wife.

I was so self-centered I never considered how my actions would impact anyone else. I wanted what I wanted and didn’t think I’d ever get caught. I never once slowed down to consider the consequences for all involved. I was only concerned with what it would cost me. It’s hard to believe I could have ever gotten to a place so dark.

From writing this there’s one thing I know for sure, I never want to be that person again.

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I appreciate your honesty Rick. It has been 13 months since I discovered my husband's 3 year affair, and he still cannot take full responsibility for it. I have been blamed for his choice when our discussions get heated and he keeps telling me all of my faults when I am going through an emotional time. He does not want to talk about the affair anymore, but instead he wants things to be as if nothing happened. I truly believe he misses the euphoria from the highly entangled affair he had with a woman who was "compatible" with him. It is difficult trying to work through things when my spouse does not "get it." It is taking me longer to heal because hasn't worked though his own issues, but he expects me to do all the changing. I was not the perfect wife, according to him. I have worked hard at repairing this marriage, but I continue wondering where we are going when I see he is extremely focused on his new career. He believes sharing his email and cell phone passwords with me is a "priviledge." He has a difficult time trusting me, because of a few angry reactions I had during the first few months after discovery. If my spouse showed even a little bit of remorse, I could be more hopeful about us. Thank you for your newsletters and blogs. They help me heal and remind me I am not to blame for my spouse's poor decision. I am only to blame for contributing to the deficits in our marriage.

Melonie, I am so happy to see


I am so happy to see you response.  My husband expects the same out of me.  He cheated on me, yet said it wasn't cheating because he never had intercourse with her.  He filed for a divorce because he said he can't trust me.   I am the most faithful person in the world.. he said because he never knows from one minute to the next how I am going to be.  I found text messages to her that he would never send me.  It is so hurtful and yet he expects me to get over it.  He tells me or more like yells at me "I LOVE YOU AND YOU DON'T GET it" .  In my mind I'm thinking if you loved me you would have never intimately texted and spent time with the next door neighbor.