My Affair Was Your Fault

Cheaters Who Google

My affair is your faultImagine a world where websites can see the Google search terms you used to find their site. *Gasp!* *Shock!*

Who knew?! Who gave them permission to know why I am on their site, using their resources? That’s damned unconstitutional! I don’t care about SEO and all that fancy website talk. I demand an incognito button! Oh wait …

Okay, so I may have -on occasion (*cough*)- not bothered/cared enough to hide my internet search activity. As a result, I apologize to any webmasters out there who might be rolling their eyes at:

  • How many people have dropped their cell phone in the toilet?
  • Is there really a Sriracha shortage?
  • Questions to ask Siri.
  • How to delete <ducking> from my cell phone dictionary.

These searches might not have been my most stellar Google moments, I admit, but it could have been worse. I say that with confidence because I regularly see some of the most ridiculous, revoltingly hideous nonsense Googled by:

  1. Cheaters
  2. The other woman

I’ve often considered writing a post about some of the worst of these searches, but a couple of days ago one particular Google search caught my eye – it was a cheater’s search. 

Yes dude, I mean you. You know I mean you because you’re the cheater who typed this into your Google search bar and landed here on Monday:

“after my affair my wife still doesn’t understand why it was her fault”

I can only imagine how relieved you were to FINALLY see an article title like this: Yes, Their Affair Was Your Fault. Phew! At last huh?

My Affair is Your Fault

Bro, I relate!

  • I cheated at tiddlywinks as a kid. It was the other kids’ faults really because they always won – I had to cheat to make it fairer because I wanted to win too.
  • I stole cigarettes from a 7-11 once. I blame British American Tabacco PLC because if they had made their cigarettes less addictive, I wouldn’t have been forced to steal them.
  • I hit a stationary car at a junction but anyone could see that it was their fault – they didn’t go when I expected them to!
  • I wouldn’t be a racist if those kinds of people didn’t give me cause.
  • I was prosecuted unfairly for embezzlement. If they had paid me more I wouldn’t have needed to steal the extra money.
  • I lied on my hospital job application about my drug conviction. The job had great benefits, so what choice did I have? If they hadn’t asked the question, I wouldn’t have needed to lie.
  • Yeah, I stole that iPad. I wanted it, I didn’t have one, and they wouldn’t just give it to me, damn them!

You can see that all of that is totally not my fault, right? None of it was my doing. Blame the economy! Blame the dog! Blame the internet! Blame the people who write things we don’t like on the internet! It’s about time that people took the blame for their part in my misadventures because blaming me is just downright unfair. Right??!

No!  Of Course it’s Not Right! Are You Missing a Brain??

It’s so NOT right that it’s not even in the same zip code as the Ballpark of Wrong! It’s nothing more than the Bart Simpson Defense:

In the real world where logic and accountability for your own actions preside, my real response to your Google search is this: Doesn’t the fact that you can’t form a convincing argument for it on your own tell you a monumental something?

*Sigh*  No, of course it doesn’t.

Let’s play the ‘You Had Choices!’ Game

  •  She doesn’t understand me.
    • You’re a walking cliché who felt unloved and unappreciated? You Had Choices! You could have chosen an honorable, respectful, and ethical divorce, for one.
  • She’s a nag and a harpy and never listens to me – she made me do it!
    • She’s a hideous, angry, demanding witch and you felt badly about yourself around her? You Had Choices! You could have taken your fine self out of range and thrown divorce papers in her general direction.
  • She’s cold and distant and doesn’t have sex with me enough – she drove me to it!
    • You felt isolated, unattractive, and rejected? You Had Choices! You could have found ways to reconnect, re-energize, and engage with her, or decided that it wasn’t worth the effort and filed.

You. Had. Choices. And your choices are all on you, not her. We cannot reasonably hold others responsible for the choices we make. She is not to blame for the decisions you make in your life – you are.

If you didn’t have the capacity to effect positive change in your relationship, you did have the capacity to wiggle on down to the lawyer’s office. You could have responded to your dissatisfaction in any number of ways from the Choices Smorgasbord – but the selection you made ignored all the ethical, honorable options and you instead chose your retributive, manipulative, and harmful affair.

Blame-shifting: another unethical strategy

What you’re doing is indulging in a cheater’s all-time favorite pastime of affair rationalizations and excuses. You’re carefully protecting your view of yourself against the fact that you deliberately chose an unethical and damaging punishment for the crimes you perceive she committed against you.

You cheated because you felt in some way aggrieved and/or disadvantaged by your relationship not meeting your Hollywood-esque idealizations, feeling insufficiently worshipped by her (though you might have experienced that as being ‘badly treated’), and because it gave you your jollies. (Mostly because it gave you your jollies, let’s be honest.)

“I cheated because she was <insert complaints>” isn’t a valid excuse or robust justification. Even if she were the most hideous wife that ever lived you were neither compelled to such an unethical and abusive act, nor were you justified in choosing it. Your dissatisfaction with your marriage didn’t entitle you to cheat – it entitled you to leave. (Newsflash: You’re still married – it can’t be that terrible.)

Blaming her for your gutless and likely sadistic choice to have an affair is asinine. It’s cowardly. It’s lazy. It’s weak. It’s transparent. Blaming her for your choices puts you in the company of others who also blamed their choices on their victims:

  • Wife Beater?
    • “[…] saying that I was a wife beater; that is wrong. It happened because I couldn’t get her to quiet down” ~ Ariel Castro 
  • Raped?
    • Well, she was almost passed out but she didn’t “affirmatively say no”. ~ Defense argument in Steubenville rape trial
  • Abducted and imprisoned?
    • “They are here against their will because they made a mistake of getting in a car with a total stranger.” ~ Ariel Castro
  • Assassination attempt?
    • If she had given me her respect and love I wouldn’t have been forced to shoot Reagan. ~ John Hinckley Jr about Jodie Foster

Bludgeoning Your Wife With Blame

Blame-shifting

You Googled: “after my affair my wife still doesn’t understand why it was her fault”

Still? You mean after countless hours of further emotional abuse, fighting, and therapy, you’re frustrated that she STILL doesn’t understand how it’s all her fault? But you keep trying, right?

Blame-shifting: my affair was your faultAfter you’ve bludgeoned her bloody with all her faults and failings as a wife, she STILL refuses to understand that your affair was entirely in her control? How unreasonable and uncooperative of her. Have you tried waterboarding? I hear that can be quite effective.

If you think her ‘lack of understanding’ is evidence of her wonky thinking and her refusal to admit her faults, you’re wrong. It’s evidence of yours. It’s further evidence that you are happy to continue your emotional abuse until you get what you want.

I doubt that your wife ‘doesn’t understand’. I suspect she understands all too well that this was not her doing, and that you are ducking responsibility for it. You are trying to sell her this rather ugly manipulation of ‘my affair was your fault’ – one that also conveniently builds-in her fault for your future affairs*:

“My fidelity is in your control not mine: If you do not behave as I expect, you force me to go elsewhere to have my desires met. If you behave as I stipulate then I shall not cheat, until such time that you again fail to please me.“

IHG: Reconciliation: Healing From an Affair

Faithful Partners Who Google:

Your Google search brought you here on Monday. Coincidentally maybe, a different Google search brought a cheater’s wife here on Sunday:

“what to do when your husband blames you for his affair”

I don’t know if this was your wife, but I hope that it was and I hope that she found the following answers:

  1. Blame for your husband’s affair rests entirely with your husband and his choices, not with you.
  2. Reconciliation with someone who thinks this way is a Really Bad Move.
  3. File.

Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It.

We get it. Gangsta rap made you do it, addiction made you do it, your patriotism made you do it. *yawn*

If you are determined to deny your own agency in your affair in a misguided and craven attempt to preserve your self-view, there’s a psychiatric treatment for that disorder.

If you’re unhappy, leave. But since you think that she is to blame for your affair you probably also blame her for making you stay. You’re such a peach.

When you have your next affair (*and I suspect you are a serial cheater, through and through) are you planning to use this defense?:

I cheated on my wife: She admitted it was her fault, as I had cheated on her before. Music to your ears.

“You can’t blame anyone else, … , no one but yourself. You have to make your own choices and live every agonizing day with the consequences of those choices.”
~ Max Brooks, World War Z

 

Wayfarer

“I'm not a teacher, only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

17 Comments:

  1. Totally agree with your perspective on cheaters and their sole responsibility for their actions!
    One question though, do you think these people would cheat regardless of the partner/relationship they have? Wouldn’t that be too deterministic??
    It’s hard for me to separate the cheater from the partner/wife… I tend to think that the wife has some influence on the cheater’s behaviour because cheating/choices don’t happen on a vacuum…
    What do you think?

    • Hi Patri

      I am not entirely sure that I am understanding your question correctly, so let me say what I think you’re asking, and I’ll reply to that. If that’s not what you meant, let me know. 🙂 I think you’re asking if the marital relationship somehow influences a cheater into making their decision to cheat? I would say, yes and no.

      Let’s tackle ‘No’ first:
      The husband could be a lazy, beer-swilling misogynist who is little more than a dent in the sofa, expecting his food to be on his TV dinner table on demand, shredding all his wife’s clothes that he deems ‘too revealing’ etc. How does that ‘influence’ his wife into cheating? It might more rationally influence her into leaving/divorcing, and who would blame her? But how does his hideous behavior somehow ‘influence’ her into choosing an unethical path of an affair? It doesn’t – that choice neither protects her from dysfunction, nor removes her from it.

      Similarly, if he is also dissatisfied with the relationship because the beer is warm, she refuses to accept that she is inferior to him because he has a Y chromosome, dinner is late, her turtle neck sweaters show too much skin, she nags him to get a job and lose some weight when she isn’t Cindy Crawford for him either, why isn’t he cheating? (Okay, it might be obvious why, but you take my point! 😀 )

      The imperfect nature/tone/quality of a marital relationship and infidelity are not cause and effect. If they were, we would ALL be cheating because we all have imperfect relationships.

      Okay, on to ‘Yes’:
      In the cheater’s mind, the connection is quite clear. They frame it this way because otherwise there is no justification for their choices. In their mind, their dissatisfaction entitles them to supplement their marriage, or punish their spouse, by having an affair. Comparatively few ever intend to leave the marriage and they rationalize the affair as a necessary part of their endurance of the failings of the marriage. Why is that? Risk management and maintaining a reasonably healthy self-view. What they have isn’t bad enough that they are prepared to face the financial and lifestyle hardships of a divorce. Some are using their affair as auditions for the faithful spouse’s replacement and only leap when they have the next Mr/Mrs Cheater lined up. Many aren’t at all miserable in their relationships but have a sense of ‘wanting more’. Many frame it as ‘better’ for their spouse and their children if they cheat rather than divorce, and will frequently claim that they stayed -bravely, of course, enduring their unhappiness- because they didn’t want to hurt anyone.

      So how do we go about separating one’s responsibility for the dynamic of one’s marriage from the choice the cheater made to have an affair? Yes, the relationship is imperfect, as are all relationships. Yes, both contribute a share of the flaws, frustrations, and general stressors in the marriage. The faithful spouse responds to the situation by maybe redoubling their efforts to maintain a home, the family, providing a certain lifestyle, suggestions for therapy etc. The cheater responds by engaging in an affair.

      What caused that difference, since both were in the same imperfect relationship? Why didn’t that cause the same response in both partners? Why wasn’t the faithful spouse’s response to also have an affair? The answer, of course, is that it is one’s thinking that is responsible for one’s response not the stimulus.

      The cheater’s choice to cheat was informed by their view on the world, how they fit into it, and what they believe they deserve from life. They are their own person, responsible for framing their own challenges and dissatisfactions in their own way – the faithful spouse’s influence in the relationship’s dynamic doesn’t override that. Whatever the faithful spouse’s behavior, whatever their flaws and faults, whatever dissatisfaction exist with the marital relationship, they don’t drive , compel or otherwise cause anyone to cheat. The cheater had other choices – fix it, put up with it, or leave it.

      But none of those are as fun as getting your jollies with a bit of strange and then blaming your devastated spouse for causing it.

      I hope that answered the question you were asking.

      Take care.

  2. Thank you Wayfarer for your correct interpretation of a half baked question
    Yes, you’re totally didactic and your examples very visual and amusing.
    I suppose my underlining feeling is: how do you ever trust/communicate effectively with any human?? How can you be vulnerable and intimate? Maybe I’m very controlling…but it’s all an illusion, no?
    Thanks again for a great resource!

    • Hi again Patri

      I see trust as a sliding scale – contingent on people’s actions and intent, circumstantial, and informed by the sum total of your experiences with that person. In my view, conditional trust is a natural, rational, and normal behavior – it’s taking responsibility for our reasonable self-preservation, and for the protection of others.

      After an affair, the issue of trust (and by extension, intimacy and vulnerability) can be complex, confusing, and a bit of a battle ground. One common tussle, in both the cheater and the faithful spouse, is, ‘Without trust, we have no future’ (in all of its guises).

      The traditional transparency approach has some short term benefits for rebuilding trust, but also has rapidly diminishing returns and some quite significant pitfalls. In my view, it is far more rational -and effective- for increased trust to be tied proportionately to the observation of a cheater’s changed thinking and personal growth. Where the cheater evidences a change to their world view, personal narrative, and ethical framework that might slide the faithful spouse’s inclination to trust further up the scale. If they’re saying all the right things and delivering a New Nice Experience but there is no evidence of an underlying change in their mindset, that might slide trust even further down the scale.

      Protecting oneself by using information about our history with a person, our understanding of their likely intent, what we know of their choices when subject to stressors etc, is reasonable, rational, and responsible. If the cheater dislikes that their choices and actions have consequences to how they are perceived, they had the power to avoid that. They chose not to. If they levy accusations of control freakery, emotional abuse by raising it and not getting past it etc, or failures in ‘real love’ by the faithful spouse, that speaks clearly to their mindset – and the faithful spouse might be well-advised to slide their trust scale to zero.

      It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it? I can see that – and one affair destroys trust and it takes years to rebuild it. The cheater’s own commitment and internal motivation to change is what sets the pace.

      Take care.

  3. I wonder if the cheater who googled that read all the way through the article. I really hope his wife gets out and does better for herself.

  4. When a man cheats why do they cheat with someone that isn’t better or equal to their partner ?

    • Hi Kim

      Well, the notion of ‘affairing down’ is not a gender-specific issue and it is entirely subjective. Affairing down can be about any number of subjective perceptions of traits and characteristics of the affair partner: attractiveness, education, intellect, personality, social status, job etc.

      It’s fair to say that it is the faithful spouse who generally claims the affair partner as somehow ‘inferior’ to them as a partner for their cheater. What the cheater sees and what the faithful partner see may be entirely different. For the cheater, the affair partner satisfies sufficient criteria for them to engage in an affair with them. It is, though, perhaps worth noting that the pool of potential candidates is already limited to those who are willing to be involved in an affair – and that suggests less than stellar qualities from the outset.

      It can be easy to obsess over the affair partner. I would suggest pulling the focus off them and the affair drama, and putting your energy into keeping yourself safe and protected.

      Take care.

      • Yeah she meets his criteria alright. The reason he picked her was she has been trying to get his attention for years and she had ever opportunity to do so because it’s his brother’s wife. He didn’t have to go far in his search. Ha Ha !

  5. Every word in this article is so true. I , too was blamed for my “now ex husbands ” affair with the co worker. They are both police officers and hooked up during the night shifts. One of the craziest thing he said was ” well you are old, boring , fat, you’d hair is too short and you are mentally ill “. I can laugh about it now because my answer to this was ” let’s see if I can find the best attorney in town”. And that’s exactly what I did. He moved out, I cut off all contact and I hired the best attorney I could find. It was not easy after 20 years BUT it was my ONLY solution, my only answer. I won big time in court. I got him where it hurt him most , financially. I am free now, I am at peace. I am happy and sane. As for him. He can now have all the little minions he wants to have. Not my problem anymore . Cheating is evil, it’s wrong and it hurts everyone in the family. My son lost all respect for him and wants nothing to do with him. My ex must now live the consequences of his evil actions. Thank God for good divorce attorneys and great sliming laws in the beautiful state of Flotida.

    • Hi Kaya

      Thank you for the comment – I am happy to hear that you have a positive and peaceful outcome from your situation.

      While this isn’t the thrust of your comment, I thank you for the opportunity it gives me to reinforce something that is not popular in the pro-marriage, pro-reconciliation sites, and it’s this: The faithful partner does not have to wait for 3/6 months before acting in their own best interests. In fact, waiting without acting is -in my opinion- one of the worst things a faithful partner can do after discovering an affair. I am not exhorting a necessity to divorce in saying that – there are other ways in which one can choose to respond to infidelity. I am, however, firmly and categorically stating that doing nothing will work against you, and that anyone dissuading you from action (even if that action is divorce) is either ill-informed, or acting in line with their own agenda, not your best interests.

      As for “I Cheated Because You’re Fat” – that’s one I’ve heard from cheaters many times. I’ve even heard, “I cheated because your hair is too short” before. I know, it’s asinine. Cheaters who make these claims while chatting to us in our Chat Room very quickly back-pedal on them as indefensible and absurd nonsense.

      Kaya, I wish you a peaceful, content, and fulfilled future. Take care.

    • How do you go about finding the best attorney ? I’m in need of one ASAP.

      • Hi Kim

        ‘Best’ really depends on what your goals are, how you want to approach the process, and your expectations of an attorney to represent you. Finances may also be part of your consideration.

        Many people rely on personal recommendations and referrals – that’s a good start, but please be aware that your circumstances, wishes, and intent might be different to those of the person recommending their own lawyer. I would suggest that you arrange meetings with a few local attorneys to get a feel for their tone and approach before making a decision on which attorney you will instruct. You could also contact the local bar association to help point you in the right direction.

        I hope that helps.

  6. My husband also blamed me for his affair when he was cornered with indefensible evidence of his affair with his longtime friend. Initially he said that they were just friends and then after 2 months of debate accepted that he was romantically involved with her. His effort to reconcile is half hearted and I have lost faith in him. His energy to reconcile does not come from a position of ” I hurt my wife and family deeply and need to do everything to help them heal”; it comes from a practical and selfish viewpoint that the stability of a family he enjoys and social benefits outweigh the benefits in the other relationship.

    The decision to let go when you’ve two young children is so hard. As a faithful spouse, I do not want my children to lose the father figure and stability of a family. At the same time; I feel trapped about whether to choose self preservation or suffer through the marriage…which may fail eventually when a stronger motivation comes through for him to leave us for a “better other woman”.

    • Hi Priya

      The reason affairs are affairs and not overt, honest relationships in parallel with the marriage is really simple: loss avoidance. Cheaters want all the great stuff of the affair without losing all the benefits of the marriage. If staying together is based on that same approach, that isn’t reconciliation, that’s a Divorce Avoidance Plan. Unfortunately, DAPs are typically rife with unhappiness, dysfunction, disrespect, emotional abuse, fear, and more cheating (sooner or later). IHG doesn’t endorse Standing in any form, because we’ve witnessed the very real harm it causes.

      It is a difficult decision to exit a marriage, and the temptation to hold an intact family unit as the highest priority can be very strong. However, I would urge anyone in this situation to consider the harm that remaining in such an unhealthy dynamic can do to children. Modeling endurance of an unhealthy relationship to children sends many negative messages to them, and it’s from these that they develop their own maladaptive responses to abuse and dysfunction. It’s stressful to children when they are are exposed to unresolved conflict or tension in the parental dynamic – symptoms of that stress flare up in the form of depression, anxiety, and/or bad behavior as they try desperately to derail the course or source of the parental conflict.

      The quality of our relationships has a direct impact on our mental health: I don’t see any real win for any of you in you suffering through a marriage, hoping that an intact family unit will deliver a healthier and more stable environment for your children than divorced and courteous co-parenting could provide. I don’t see any win for your children in normalizing dysfunction. It’s worth asking yourself: Are you truly incapable of providing stability, protection, support, care, love, and life skills to your children, as a single parent? I doubt it very much. Children can thrive and be very happy in single parent families.

      It might be valuable to take some time to consider what kind of life you want to lead for yourself, and what exactly you want to teach your children about relationships and how to respond to challenges in life. Living miserably as you suffer through a DAP isn’t healthy for you, and it doesn’t seem to be a particularly desirable lesson for your children.

      None of this is easy. Regardless of the path you choose, I wish you well.

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