How Does Destructive Entitlement Sabotage Restoration for Both Spouses?

The foundations of any healthy, life-giving marriage or long-lasting relationship are built in humility, compassion and self-sacrifice, (just to name a few). The antithesis of these is something called “destructive entitlement.” Believe it or not, after the disclosure of infidelity or addiction, one or both spouses can feel destructively entitled to various ways of handling the pain, trauma, and of course, perceived abandonment and rejection. The truth is, most marriages can be saved after this life-altering disclosure. The other half of that truth is that not all spouses are willing to do what it takes to see the marriage or relationship healed and restored.

When a spouse or partner falls into the trap of destructive entitlement, the foundation of repair work crumbles rapidly. For restoration to thrive after infidelity, both parties must focus on their own self-care, while also doing work to care for the marriage. While an uphill climb, it is not an impossible climb. When we can identify and confront these instances of destructive entitlement, the relationship inherently gains positive momentum and potential for long-term salvation.

Hope Rising 2021

Hope Rising, our one-day conference for betrayed spouses only, is just around the corner! Join us virtually on October 2nd and find comfort, community, and hope.

Learn more here: or click the button below to register now.

Register Now!

Add New Comment:


Support Group

This concept of destructive entitlement does resonate on what is going on in my relationship. I am the betrayed spouse. My husband has not been willing to acknowlege the wrong doing of the affair, or my hurt, pain and anger. He keeps saying he needs to deal with his own issues before he can work on us as a couple. So I push and push. I feel like I am doing all this work - the research, talking to people, looking for experts to help us. But he doesn't want to engage in anything. He sees his own general therapist. After I reached my limit of depression/anxiety and constant pain, I gave him a deadline to leave the house if he couldn't "get to the starting line." Then he blames me for "kicking him out" and says how disappointed that I cannot see his pain and hurt. But he shows me nothing. He tells me he is numb and doesn't feel any emotion. Now he has decided he wants to leave. He wants to have his time to himself to have no distractions around him to deal with his demons and his act together. He expects me to sit here and wait, run the house, take care of the kids and maintain my career. Am I exhibiting destructive entitlement because I expect him to "get to the starting line" and do it "my way" - which is to deal with this in the manner that is honest, fair, and open in communication and thru counseling, groups, websites, etc?

I could have written your

I could have written your exact comments, although I commend your ability to set boundaries and establish a deadline, something I haven’t been able to do and it’s been 1.5yrs. My spouse too is mired in inaction (mine won’t even contemplate therapy…together or individually) and won’t accept any blame for his affair. He just pulls further and further away in an effort I’m convinced to force me to take action only then to blame me as the bad guy. I don’t think your actions are destructive entitlement at all. In my mind, destructive entitlement is a justification for taking revenge (ie having an affair of your own) or sabotaging the healing process through vindictive actions to try to hurt the other person the way you’ve been hurt. Your efforts only speak of actions intended for healing, self preservation and healthy boundaries in the face of a desire for repair, but a realistic view that you can’t control another persons actions.

Which of us is acting entitled?

I am in a similar situation. I feel like I'm putting in so much effort in trying to heal our marriage and giving my wayward husband many opportunities to rebuild trust, but most of what I get in return are excuses as to why he doesn't take those opportunities. He keeps talking about himself; his needs/wants, his feelings, his hurt, etc. Well, what about ME? HE hurt ME! I do feel entitled - I feel like he broke my trust and destroyed our marriage, and he needs to listen to what I'm saying (and what books, counselors, etc. are saying) is required to rebuild it. Since what got us in this mess was his selfishness and prioritizing his wants over everything else (not thinking of the damage to me, his kids, his job, other friend and family relationships that would be affected by his actions), he put himself in the position to have to now address ALL of it. If he wanted easier issues to manage, he shouldn't have made things so much worse by cheating. I don't think I'm being "destructively" entitled to feel like he should get with the program and care about me for a change. I think when I've been put last in every way it's only normal to need to be shown that I am a priority for him, that he can actually consider my needs and feelings in his actions. I think HE's still being destructively entitled to keep focusing only on himself and still not addressing my needs our that of the marriage. We, as betrayed, can't keep being a door mat forever or keep allowing the unfaithful to sweep it all under the rug in hopes it'll go away. Setting boundaries/deadlines is normal and required if we continue to be neglected. Having a sense of urgency about being involved in the repair work is necessary to make progress. Putting it off is what's destructive. (See Samuel's video: Necessary Ingredients to Recover from an Affair: A Sense of Urgency). The unfaithful absolutely needs to be working on themselves (both partners should be working on themselves). But if they want to stay in the marriage, they have to stop further damage caused by blaming, stonewalling, avoiding, etc. and find some way to also work on repairing the damage they caused to their partner and their marriage at the same time.

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

Free Surviving Infidelity Bootcamp

Our experts designed this step-by-step guide to help you survive infidelity. Be intentional with your healing with this free 7-day bootcamp.
I would highly recommend giving this a try.
-D, Texas