Cheaters: Justifications, Rationalizations, and Motivations

It can be difficult to get an objective view of a cheater’s mindset after affair discovery. Taking an unvarnished peek into the fetid goop of Cheater-Think can be distressing and uncomfortable, and this is especially true of faithful spouses who wish to reconcile.

Where reconciliation is the primary goal, couching the cheater’s choices and behaviors in terms of low self-esteem, childhood issues, and depression (or even the mystical midlife crisis) is frequently used to shore up the minimization and defense of the cheater’s indefensible actions. Unfortunately, while it’s more attractive to paint the cheater as some poor little lost soul, driven to the affair, no longer able to endure the suffering resulting from their ‘issues’ and a terrible marriage, the truth is that attempting to minimize or mitigate the fundamental issues in this way risks:

  1. blame-shifting and further emotional damage to the faithful spouse
  2. securing the faithful spouse in a continuing dysfunctional/abusive relationship
  3. building failure into any reconciliation attempt
  4. losing opportunities for personal growth for both the cheater and the faithful spouse
It’s important to take a clear, honest, and eyes wide open understanding of the ugly truth of the cheater’s mindset. If reconciliation is the aim, then in order to work to repair the damage and minimize the likelihood of a repeat performance, it’s essential to work on the real issues, not the most convenient excuses.

We have a number of articles that explore the less palatable underbelly of Cheater-Think, intended to challenge the prettier narratives told by both the faithful spouse and the cheater alike.

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