Why the Unfaithful is Angry

The unfaithful cheat and then they have the nerve to be angry….how does that work?

It sounds crazy, but upon further review it makes sense.

I was angry when my affair came out. I was a lot of other things as well: numb, confused, shocked, disengaged and disconnected. My classic reasoning system was “Well, if she would have been more aware of my needs, maybe I wouldn’t have cheated.” “If I wasn’t just a fourth kid, maybe things would have been different.” Lunacy, I know.

The unfaithful typically will resort to anger as a secondary emotion. We often times feel an intense amount of guilt, shame and condemnation and instead of sharing those feelings, genuinely letting down our guard, and being vulnerable, what the betrayed see is more and more anger and hostility. Here are some reasons why we’re angry:

  1. We’re angry at ourselves. Why did we do what we did? Why did we allow ourselves to get sucked into this nightmare?  
  2. We’re angry at you. Now, we’re finally coming clean or we’ve finally been caught, and we’ve stuffed down our anger at you for perceived rejection and now it’s coming out. The timing of it is horrible, but we’re maybe finally tapping into frustration we felt for years. Problem is, we should be angrier at ourselves than you, but we can’t reason through our emotions very well right now. We’re an angry, confused, mess.
  3. We’re angry at our dumb decision to stuff the frustration over the years, especially because we know that if we’d have handled it differently we’d never be here.
  4. We’re angry at the thousand chances we had to do this right and that we chose the wrong way every single time. Now we’ve blown our lives up and have no clue how we got here and how to ‘get back home.’
  5. We’re angry at God for allowing it to happen this way. Why didn’t he intervene? Why didn’t he make things come out another way? Why this way? Why now? Why didn’t he stop us from doing what we did in the first place?
  6. We’re angry that we’re not in control and can’t make you forgive us, let us back in the house, or be bullied into quickly forgiving us. We can’t control you and usually we are able to control everything. But not this time, and not you. We’re spiraling.
  7. We’re angry you that you want to talk about the affair as it only makes us flood and reminds us of our shame and how much we hate ourselves.
  8. We’re angry because we feel powerless. What we really feel is fear, but we show it as anger instead because we feel like we have lost the ability to be genuine and can’t be vulnerable.
  9. We’re angry at what our lives have become. We never saw this coming. 
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Didn't you forget the first

Didn't you forget the first anger. " I am angry because I left the phone laying around" or along those lines " I am angry because you were checking up on me" and last " I am angry because you found out and I do not know how I will be able to continue this" I know in my wife I found out from others she was mad I found her old phone so she was mad at herself for not getting rid of it. I do not think at the time she thought about anything about me or us just dam he found that phone.

dfulcher you are right

initially, many feel that same anger. you are absolutely correct: why did I get caught. good point indeed. but with many, hopefully more than not, they eventually find sobriety and healing and come to a better place of anger at themselves for doing what they did.


My spouse was verbally/physically/emotionally abusive to me when I asked questions about the affairs, to the point that I made the decision to move out for safety. I am back home now after he went to anger management and he is now trickling out information after lying for 20 months about his affairs. Information has been revealed in drips and drops...until the past 6 weeks when new information came through an anonymous package in the mail and he started spilling the beans. I think I have most of it now. He admitted that his shame was the culprit of the abuse and the trickling information. This may sound crazy, but I think that the rage and abuse hurt me more than the actual affairs did. I feel damaged and hurt beyond belief after this second DDay , but God has helped me through and will continue as I navigate my new normal.

I don't think the rage and

I don't think the rage and abuse hurt you more
I think he hurt you by the affair and not responding to you with your questions

He should have not dribbled

He should have not dribbled in the info

You are right, Leanne

This was not his first affair with this woman. He had one with her about 19-20 years ago, but I didn't find out for sure that it was a physical affair until this current affair. I blindly trusted this man who was my high school sweetheart, who was the father to our two boys, and who I helped make it through 3 college degrees to further his career. She worked in his building and continues to do so. The abuse was pretty bad, especially the spitting in my face and ugly words, but now finding out that his emotional affairs (talking and texting only, he said) , both past and present, had become full-fledged, deep, heart-connected physical affairs with all the romance, sweet talk, secret dates, gifts of jewelry, clothing, etc, -- things that he never "had time" or wanted to to do for me---well, I think you are right. That DID hurt me more. Just as much as the lying, stonewalling, evading, and trickling out of the info. So sad after 36 years of marriage.....


Wow this is right on Samuel. Amazing how much I can relate to what dfulcher and karen58 both said in earlier comments. I've seen and heard all those things from my cheating wife, angry she got caught, abusive in attempt to throw me off. Anger seems to be a key response when the cheater is narcissistic, borderline, still in the fog or just doesn't get it and hasn't accepted responsibility for their idiotic behavior. I would really like to send my wife this blog to read, BUT SHE WOULD ONLY GET ANGRY!!

untold i'm sorry....

is there anything we can do to help? i get it when you feel stuck. the anger is usually only a 2ndary emotion though so keep that in mind. have you all been able to receive any good expert help at all? if the right help is found, you may be able to see some movement and some diffusing of the anger. but it usually takes an expert to carefully navigate through the land mine of the anger as a smokescreen for what is really going on.

Thanks Samuel

We've sought help, local counseling, but not very good. They don't seem to have a systematic approach. Trying to get her agreement to a program like EMS or maybe the new bootcamp. Not likely to do it on my request so I'm trying to get the counselor to recommend it. Good point about 2ndary emotion. Wonder what is underneath.

Are you satisfied with

Are you satisfied with getting the information
Just a question

Yes and no

Yes ---I am a person who needed to put the "puzzle" together to get anything to make sense. I could not begin to heal until everything he told me made some kind of sense and "added up" in my mind. Nothing made sense for so long, and when I actually got the info, it was a kind of relief. First, I knew then that I COULD trust myself and my intuition, and second, I was NOT crazy or mentally imbalanced for thinking the things I was thinking! I am beginning to heal a little after going through a second Dday---it's only been a couple of months since Dday 2, but I do feel that knowing has helped me begin to heal and has helped me with my anger towards my spouse and my understanding as to the role I played in his decision to cheat. I am able to feel a little compassion....something that my anger would not allow before.
NO ---However, the information did lead to many more triggers. I have intrusive thoughts. We do not occupy the same bedroom. I still do not believe that I have all the information, and I'm pretty sure I will never have it all. That continues to bother me as there are still a few issues that do not add up. A lot of damage has been done because my spouse was not forthcoming right from the beginning -- for 20 months, he insisted that he only talked and texted her too much. He deceived 5 different therapists as well as family and friends and they believed him as well. Now, the loss of trust alone will probably never be recovered fully and there is damage to my physical health as well as the depression I have endured for so long. The AP continues to bother us with texts and emails and some are threatening. If he had been honest from the start, we could have been well on our way to recovery or even reconciled by now and having the best marriage we've ever had in our 36 years together.
So yes, I am satisfied that I finally got some of the information that I needed to begin healing; however, the information and the way I got it was horrible and hurtful. I am not sure that I can get past it all yet. Only time and a lot of prayer will tell me.

Why can't she see I am mad at myself?

Dday is here. Yes, after one year but we are right back to square one. I have confessed to everything but she is blinded by her fear and anger only. I in turn get angry when she will not let me talk. I have been trying my best to see her pain. But, taking a small step forward and then 3 steps back, well, has not helped us at all. I can see how much pain and damage I caused. I try to speak about it but I get cut off. Then the verbal abuse happens. Yes, I am working hard to change all of myself. Change is not easy but I know that I am changing for the better. I had to change for myself and my marriage. But, her rage blinds her all the time. I try to get her to see how it blinds her. But, the verbal abuse just keeps coming. I am just so lost. I continue to ask for God's forgiveness and understanding. thanks

why she can't see

unfaithful one, keep in mind anniversaries bring everything full circle. its very common for anger to spike and memories to come full circle when anniversaries are upon you both before during and after. it can take sometimes a month to regain a sense of normality once you hit an anniversary for the first two to three years. also, what help have you gotten? keep in mind, from personal experience, objectivity will never come from you and her grinding it out trying to argue you your way into her seeing what you want her to see. she just wont see anything you want her to see right now, and for a while as 1. thats hard in marriage without infidelity 2. she sees and hears all you do, say, or observe through the filter of a cheater. you won't be able to convince her of anything. rick told me one day, 'samuel, stop talking so much about your changes and simply show her you've changed. if you've changed so much, prove it. just because you feel it doesn't mean it's true or its to the degree that she needs or wants to see.' it was a tough statement, but it was true. i had to show her. when i stopped talking and showed her the changes on the inside, by actions on the outside, she got it. it was huge. also, may i kindly suggest to listen and hear her out and just leave it at that. let her unload. protect yourself obviously, but i would see if you can just hear her and say, "i get it. thank you. i will try and do better and be better and i understand what i've done to you. i love you.' and walk away. not in a condescending way and not in a rejected way, but in a humble way. it was a hard lesson for me, but i finally got there closer to about a year and a half. she will need help to hear what you are saying. she won't hear it from you. she'll need someone else to help her see that and may not even be wiling to see it now. when she sees true genuine change in you, it's then usually anyway, that they the betrayed will be willing to hear what you are saying. does that make sense? as a former unfaithful, i certainly don't want to pile on at all..not one bit, but i really just want to help. maybe the other betrayed here will chime in on this comment too....hope that perspective helps my friend and as always, thanks for commenting.

Telling All...

After 1 year of fighting the forgiveness and trying the 'moving on cycle'I am still denined any more details of what my husband and his co-worker (still working together everyday and neither can change jobs) did. The bits and pieces I have gotten have distroyed me! What my mind pictures is over the top of the worse thoughts ever. My husband of 39 years insists 100% that no other details will EVER be shared EVER! I have to live with this EVER and or file for a divorce. One thing he shared was that he stayed the night at the hotel that is seen out the gym windows where we work out 4 days a week. I look at the hotel and am reminded of my pain each time i go in addition to the restarants we loved together that are accross the street and in our neighborhood where we have owned our home for 30 years. The disclosed lunch hours spent in the mountians just talking just kill me! The intimacyand deceut kills me - I have forgiven and forgiven ane he continued in his lies. I am at rock bottem needing details to heal or I THINK i need details! He insists we will never make it if he tells any more. I know that my heart can't take any more than I know but I read everywhere this is a part of the healing - HELP ME OUT with any thoughts you have.

We are alike

The fact that he is denying you the answers to the questions that you so desperately need shows a lack of love, lack of respect, and a kind of contempt for you. I was in almost your same situation, married 36 years, husband works with AP, and I am just now getting answers after 20 months of lies and his only going through the motions of recovery while he continued the affair. It hurts -- badly. Not knowing the details that you need to make an informative decision about your marriage is painful. You have to decide if you can live with not knowing. I had decided that I had all the information that I was going to get (precious little) until an anonymous package came in the mail and left no doubt about the depth of his affairs and the fact that he lied about most of what had happened. After that confrontation, he finally started answering questions. He had no choice. The evidence was right in front of him. I had already contacted a lawyer before I got the answers, but now am giving him 6 months to come completely clean, SHOW ME that he is serious about keeping our marriage intact, and that I am the one he wants. At that time I will re-evaluate how I feel and if I can live with what I know or not. I am keeping my lawyer on retainer, however.
Your husband OWES you the answers. You cannot really begin to heal without knowing what you need to know. He should be compassionate about that and be willing to answer anything you ask. His bad choices have devastated you and broken your trust, among many other losses to you and your sense of safety that infidelity incurs. It sounds as if he has no empathy or remorse and without that, there can be no real reconciliation. He is insensitive if he expects you to live with him for the rest of your life wondering about what happened. It may mean nothing to him. It's a life sentence for you. And it is so unfair and wrong. If he won't answer any more questions and continues to lie, from my perspective, I would contact a lawyer. He is not safe. He is not acting out of love for you. Just my two cents....I'm not a counselor, but I am so much stronger now and I know my boundaries. I also know that I am worthy of respect, love, and will not take anything less. I know that the affair was not about me, just about his selfishness and lack of moral character.
I wish I could help more. I know where you are in your pain. I'm still there. People on this website are wonderful and can give you much help. I will be praying for you and for your husband's heart to soften and realize how much he is hurting you.

deborah.....hope i can help

Deborah, I'm so glad you reached out for help. i'm sorry i didnt answer sooner as for some reason I didn't see the comment. my fault indeed. sometimes the unfaithful wont share the details as they are convinced if they do, you'll leave and there will never be a shot for hope or healing. most of the time, again most of the time it's not true. without the details, i'm afraid you'll stay stuck. it happens quite often that over years and years, if you never get what you feel like is all, you just can't truly and genuinely heal. now, if your heart cant take anymore, then you'll need to find a way to simply say/pray/meditate (whatever it is you do personally) OK, I have what I need and I am going to move forward and heal. I'm not going to look for any more details and i'm not going to try to find out more. by my will i'm going to make a decision to decide what i have is enough. however, most can't do that. hence the reason you read so much about needing details to heal. you need to know what you're forgiving, what you're choosing to live with the consequences of and what you are able to forgive and move on from. you'll probably have to leverage/weigh out what you're wiling to do. 1. file for divorce, get his attention and help him see you are not playing games and more willing to live on your own and deal with all the pain to do that, than live in a marriage w/out the details of what has gone on. do not do that though unless you are serious and feel like you can. never make a threat you can't follow through on, or else it only reinforces that it's a bluff and he will see it and run with it. 2. perhaps it's time to start a timeline or process toward helping him see you're not comfortable with this and that you're not willing to turn a blind eye and keep going. perhaps a separation, or asking him to sleep in another room. perhaps you going to simply 'consult an attorney.' maybe you starting to move towards that direction will get him to see you are serious. typically the unfaithful and bullying unfaithful like your husbands, will only change or acquiesce when there is the threat of loss or consequences. without that, they typically do not make changes or stop doing what they are doing. if you allow what you're allowing though, it will not change on his own. he will not 'wake up.' he will not awaken on his own. he will need help to get there. you should read this article called how to get your mate to cooperate: https://www.affairrecovery.com/dealing-infidelity-how-get-your-mate-coop... tell me your thoughts on this and we'll see what you think or feel. you're at a crossroads my sweet friend. you really are. and you'll need to decide what road you have the courage to take. i'll pray for you, as either way, it takes courage to walk out this journey of personal recovery and healing for sure.

Still praying for you Debora

Debora, I am still praying for you and for your husband to develop some empathy and answer any and all questions that you need to heal. I have to say that finding out more details has its advantages and disadvantages -- my triggers are bad every time I pass a Quality Inn and a certain exit off Interstate 10 and a certain bridge over which he threw his cheap throwaway phone. I have to pass these daily and it is hard. But knowing many of the details shows me who he is and the condition of his heart --and I have to ask if that type of man is one with which I want to spend the rest of my life. We are both at a crossroads, as Samuel said. Last night, I received a text from his AP with a picture showing me all the jewelry he bought her, telling me about the sexy clothing, the western wear and boots he purchased, the nice restaurants at which they dined, the trips they took, the bed he decorated with rose petals at the hotel, etc. Plenty of fodder for nightmares. I now have to ask myself....is this a man to whom I want to stay married? He is now begging me for time to show me that I am the one he wants, that he is through with her, that he will prove to me and show me the respect that he should have been showing all 36 years of our marriage. My stance is that I have given him dozens of chances to come clean over the past 20 months (really the past 20 years if you count the first affair with her), and he has chosen not to do so. So here at the crossroads, there is a big decision to make. Do I give him one last chance, choose love and forgive as a Christian is supposed to do, and wait distrustfully for him to do it all over again, or do I choose life on my own as a faithful Christian woman who will forever be alone. I am an older woman with grown kids and grandkids. I have them and God. I am not afraid of being alone.So I have a lot of thinking and praying to do. I know that I will always love my husband or at least love the man I THOUGHT he was, but I do not know if I can live with the man he is today, the one who I don't know anymore, who could hurt me so thoughtlessly and callously and abusively. I may just have to love him from a distance....a long distance....to have any peace in my life. I pray that some peace comes to you, Debora, and that you can begin your healing soon. You have choices and that is a very empowering feeling. Pray for the right choice for you and I will continue to keep you in my prayers as well.

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