One of the Biggest Myths About Unfaithful Wives

affair recovery-survivors Blog-Elizabeth-One-of-the-Biggest-Myths-About-Unfaithful-Wives-i cannot say i had an affair because i wanted to leave our marriage the truth is i was unfaithful because i am broke and sinful i am selfish

Research shows that there is a growing number of unfaithful women. Exact numbers are hard to come by, and I expect that will always be the case. If unfaithful spouses are lying, why would they be honest in research? Regardless, I think we can all learn qualitatively. And I feel called to put a voice behind the myths and questions out there.

One of the biggest fears we have had to overcome was the notion that when a wife has an affair, this means she wants out of the marriage.

I can only speak from our experience and the fellow unfaithful women I have the privilege of walking alongside, but this is simply not true.

What I believe is more true, is that I just gave up on the marriage. I gave up on our marriage before I ever put any effort into it. Sadly, we put more time and money into our lawn and home than we did our marriage.

I felt dead in the marriage.
I assumed my husband didn't care about me.
I stopped loving.
I quit trying.
I had completely unrealistic expectations of what a marriage should be.
I was really unfair to my husband to had expected him to be the bread winner, the knight in shining armor, the best friend, the expert dater, the perfect father, and to meet all of my broken needs.
I was a pretty self-absorbed piece of crap.

But I cannot say that I had an affair because I wanted to leave our marriage. This idea was terribly confusing for my husband at first and we really struggled because of it. This "myth" was incredibly difficult for us to overcome, because it implied to him that I always had wanted to leave him. This "myth" suggested that he was always plan B and I was just biding my time until I could find someone better that came along. The truth is, I was unfaithful because I am broken and sinful. I am selfish. To say I had intentions of leaving would have meant I actually thought something through. And trust me when I say I wasn't thinking clearly or at all during my infidelity.

I don't mean to ever minimize what I have done. Ever. But to give myself any sort of credit that I had clarity of what I wanted or needed during my affairs seems ludicrous to me. I will be the first to jump in line and tell you how lost and unclear my thinking was. There is a saying "you can't blame the lost for being lost". While I certainly take 100% of the blame and responsibility for my sin, I also realize that in my selfishness and brokenness, I took the road map and I threw it out the window. But here is probably the ugliest and most honest thing I can admit about my infidelity. I think I was so wildly prideful and controlling, I always assumed I would never get caught. I assumed I could, in gluttonous fashion, keep my marriage and get my affirmation elsewhere. I never thought about the future, just the now.

Being in an affair is much like being in a sixth-grade romantic relationship. It is downright embarrassing to come to terms with the reality that "I never thought that far ahead". I'm truly sorrowful for how shallow and insecure that sounds. I wish I had known better. I wish I had thought of anyone but myself. I cringe to think about the woman I became in those relationships.

There are certain nuances between women and men for sure. But for most women who cheat, there is a raging insecurity underneath our facade that we have felt shame about and hidden from the rest of the world, including our spouses. And, you guessed it, a lack of firm boundaries. That all wraps itself up into an incredibly deep web of shame.

Saddest of all is that by betraying our mates, we transfer all of that pain right into their hands. I will always be grateful for the time I was given to sort out my junk. I am forever grateful for the wisdom that AR will give us in that we should not rush to make decisions. I am grateful for you, the community of folks out there trying to sort out the pain and find healing.

I realize I ventured into some deeper waters today. Perhaps waters that will disturb some, or comfort others. As I continue to grow in my own recovery, I am okay with that.


Add New Comment:


Holy cow as a betrayed

Holy cow as a betrayed husband who is 3 years out from d-day this blog post is an incredible reminder. Thank you Elizabeth.

Thank you for this. I

Thank you for this. I appreciate the encouragement.

This article was perfectly

This article was perfectly timed. I woke up this morning deeply wishing I could talk to a wayward wife in order to better understand her half of the dynamic my wayward husband is in. Your article was both enlightening and validating (as it confirmed many things I have intuitively understood). This is exactly what I needed this morning and increased my understanding of and compassion for the humanity of all parties involved. Thank you for your incredible vulnerability, transparency and honesty.

Words like yours, believe it

Words like yours, believe it or not, are a lifeline when I start to pour out my innermost feelings and have that little doubting voice of “is it really worth it to keep pouring out my heart like this?”
So thank you. I’m glad to be able to encourage you.

Thank you

Elizabeth, thank you 13 years worth of my pain in dealing with my husband’s betrayal. Your words boomed across the screen with such humility, sadness, regret, remorse and yes, love the 6th grade embarrassment! As the betrayed spouse dealing with hating the OW, your words give me so much of the optimism I used to have in mankind. If you are able to articulate these words, then perhaps my hope is that my husband’s AP can offer the same sentiments. That is a strange sense of peace, but hearing your words shows courage because you aren’t defending yourself as the MOST “hated” woman in the room, you are opening yourself up to tell the world, don’t shoot, that you really feel the pain, feel the shame, feel the sorrow, and feel the need to take responsibility for all of it, no matter how long that takes or even if anyone can possibly forgive you.
I’m thinking your life got better the day all of this truly clicked in your head and heart.

Last, please stay strong and get your story out as I agree with the statistics on the “cheating female-40’s and 50’s” is the greatest increase among any demographic. As a female herself, we worry more about harassment in the work place or the glass ceiling, but maybe we should start talking about a greater destruction “we” are doing to ourselves, to our friends, to our families and sadly to our marriages. Your story and courage —uncomfortable as it will make everyone in the room—needs to be shared. Thank you.

I cherish the generosity of

I cherish the generosity of your words. God has been immensely faithful and He really does allow each of us to use our pain if we let Him. I really trust that. Thank you for reading and for giving me the second chance I will never be worthy of. Yes, life became very new for me the day I laid it all at my husband and Jesus’ feet.

Fitting for Unfaithful Husbands, Too

Thank you for your sharing. Your words support what my husband has expressed about his affairs. As a betrayed spouse, it can be difficult to overcome the myths. The road to healing is not easy but so worth the journey.

I can’t imagine your

I can’t imagine your difficulty but I hope you trust you have always been worth it. Our detours and mistakes have cost you plenty, but you should keep holding your head high.

Gender neutral

My unfaithful husband could have written your blog. I am the one who insisted that he did it as a way to end our marriage. We had always agreed that it would be a deal breaker so he knew what he was doing. With time and work, including AR, I have come to learn that he had his affair for exactly the reasons you shared in you blog.
Thank you for sharing.

You are welcome. I am just

You are welcome. I am just thankful for your maturity as well as my husbands, to be able to stay in the mess long enough for us to get our $ together! Thanks for the comments.


I find it comforting. Thanks for sharing this. My wife is learning about herself right now. It's always inspiring to us to follow you on your journey. You have helped us a lot. Sometimes, what you have discovered about yourself, has helped her see things she hadn't before. In this case, you helped me feel things a little differently as a betrayed husband.

Humbled. I really hope your

Humbled. I really hope your wife becomes the woman she can be and that you continue to find strength and healing in that. I will pray for you two.

Thank you for insights

Dear Elizabeth
I really appreciate your vulnerability sharing your journey. I am a betrayed wife and I believe much of what you have shared relates to my husband, the insecurity, the feeling of giving up on our marriage, The 6th grade experience, the selfishness, and the shame that goes with all of it. Your posts help me to view him with more compassion and as a whole human being. Like I see in you, he is becoming a much different person through hard work. Thank you for putting your experience into words for our benefit.

Of course. It makes me happy

Of course. It makes me happy to always read that it is worth it to do the work and it sounds like he is.
Yes, sixth grade romances are dumb and affairs are even dumber than that.

Thank you

I have been reading this daily to learn to take responsibility and distance myself from blame. Hope to see more from you, sincere thanks.

Thank you. Keep working hard.

Thank you. Keep working hard.



I want you to know how incredibly important your honesty and your voice have been to me. When the sadness and self-blame start to creep into my mental life because of what my wife did (and continues to do), I often read your posts... sometimes every day.

The most recent one:

was absolutely amazing. Your honesty in revealing what must certainly be painful to reveal takes remarkable courage.

Please keep writing. You lift me up and I am sure that you do the same for hundreds of other men and women.

Thank you

Okay, I will try (to keep

Okay, I will try (to keep writing!) I appreciate you reaching out and that we can all find a way to help each other heal. When I get into self blame I also try to read anything from Cloud and Townsend. They are good at reminding us to be whole. Best to you in all of this.

I thank you so much for

I thank you so much for putting into words what I couldn't. I feel you read my mind with this post. I am encouraged by you and look forward to sharing with my husband. I hope it brings him some understanding as it did me.

I’m not a mind reader, but I

I’m not a mind reader, but I find we typically all have a lot more in common than we think. Thanks for the comments.

Eye opening

As a female BS, I found it hard to read what you wrote, at first, but then, it really brought some healing to my broken heart. You admitted you were selfish and even though you were lost you admitted to throwing away the map.
I wish my husband’s last AP had thought this way. It’s hard to believe that women can be so selfish, so cold, so cruel. This woman hurt my children who have various disabilities and I find it hard after several years now not to wish great sorrow on her and a trip to hell for her beyond.
It hurts to feel this way about another human being because I’ve always been such a loving, gentle soul.
I think it’s worse for people like me who love and think well of even the seemingly worst people.
I’m not waiting on her apology, suffering, or life change to go own, but some times it just hurts

Absolutely it does. (Hurt).

Absolutely it does. (Hurt). Thanks for the honesty and courage in telling me what I need to hear as well. I know my words will sometimes hurt and I appreciate that you see my heart behind them. I am just now starting to grieve what I did to my APs spouse. The ripple effect of our selfish choices go so deep. If I had only known.....

I want to thank you for this

I want to thank you for this "What I believe is more true, is that I just gave up on the marriage. I gave up on our marriage before I ever put any effort into it. Sadly, we put more time and money into our lawn and home than we did our marriage"

My wife is calling it quits. I have asked for her to think more about the decision but she seems very determined. She went to the library and actually got 6 books on divorce and coparenting. Effort. At no point have i seen the kind of humility you have just written from my WW. What was written above, if every unfaithful could just come to that amount of clarity it would save so many marriages. I waited for her to find even one seminar, workshop, course, book, podcast, article... anything that would confirm what i thought was putting effort in the marriage and make me feel as if the future would be different. That would have made me feel safe and and she was taking responsibility. The day after she filed she contacted the former AP. I admit that my continuing anger made me not say the things that build connection. so she has had it. She can't be in the relationship because she is tired of walking on eggshells if i get triggered. She is tired of me saying that hanging out with the woman who seemed to encourage her 2nd relapse and the woman who knew of the affair but kept her secret and agreed to lie for her has kept me stuck and really drains the love bank. If she would have been open to AR i think we could have saved a lot of pain but even 2 months after d day in 2015 she was saying No Effing way would she ever do AR. For my UW who has said "it was the fear of going to counseling and finding out i (BS) didn't care or wouldn't go to counseling". I submit that your statement above is the real reason. She didn't want to put any effort in to changing the marriage. She didn't know how to change the marriage. She was self unaware and had no boundaries and the affair was less effort. I tried to get past my hurt and just ended up hurting her just as much. So important for the BS to insist on Professional help Specialists in Affairs. CC just don't get it.

I’m really sorry your WW was

I’m really sorry your WW was not open to healing or change. That makes me sad. I shudder to think at a different time in my life maybe I would still be her too. I hope you are continuing to find help and healing in this. Thanks for sharing your story and comments.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer