alcohol and infidelityThe other day we received an email from a woman who shared the story of her husband’s infidelity. It was a familiar tale – one that we’ve all heard before. However, what struck us about this particular one was the extent of which her husband’s infidelity (or more so his adherence to boundaries) was affected by the usage of alcohol.

It really isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, but we thought that it might make for a good discussion topic.

We’re sure there are strong ties between alcoholism and infidelity: Consuming alcohol tends to impair a person’s judgment and all but erases their inhibitions and boundaries, making infidelity under the influence of alcohol most certainly a common occurrence.

But we’re not necessarily referring just to the alcoholic. We’ve all heard the tales about the semi-strangers who have consumed one-too-many drinks at a business conference and the next thing they know they’re in bed together. They aren’t necessarily alcoholics but alcohol was partially to blame for their fling.

We know that there are many of you who can attest to the fact that alcohol played a part in either your or your spouse’s infidelity…

What were your (your spouse’s) experiences with alcohol and infidelity?

To what extent was alcohol responsible for the affair? How did it affect you/your spouse?

What did you do? How did you handle it?

Was alcohol a factor in other ways, like excessive lying, not being dependable, or some sort of abuse?

Have you/your spouse sought treatment or counseling for your alcohol usage?

Admittedly, we shouldn’t just focus on alcohol either, as drugs can be a big problem as well. So feel free to share any experiences where drugs were a factor.

See also  Discussion - How Has Anger Affected Your Affair Recovery?

Be sure to share your experiences and reply to one another in the comment section below.

Thank you very much!

Linda & Doug


    19 replies to "Discussion – Alcohol and Infidelity"

    • CBb

      My CH met his AP in a bar. He pursued her for 1 year. He is not a big drinker but bars and clubs are now off limits, unless I am there. Lesson learned. Too much freedom and trust led to his abuse of my trust. What a shame.

    • Maxine6

      Yes, I definitely think alcohol played a role in my husband’s affair. If he hadn’t been drinking so much at the conference, without me being there, when the other women came on to him, I don’t believe he would have responded to her flattery. If I had been there, I would have noticed when he had to much to drink and would have stepped in. He always drank to much in the cocktail lounges and the before cocktail parties before the conferences, even as an executive. We spoke of this to many times to mention in our 25 yrs. of marriage before the affair and even afterwards, but he never listened to me.

      I never thought though, even with the alcohol in him, that he would have acted when she seek him out and really flirted with him for that weekend. She wanted to better herself, she was a secretary and he was a Senior Vice-President. She was a flirt, obviously thought she could do better than her blue collar husband and wanted a better life. She definitely knew he was married, but I guess she didn’t care.

      So during this 3 yr. affair, he would lie to me and tell me he had to work and go out for drinks and dancing with her very often. Then come home to me and act like everything was normal. I thought he just had to work overtime, due to his job. He also was more irritable with me and the children (2 left at home) and would even come home and drink more after drinking with her. I didn’t ever associate it with him cheating on me as I loved him so much and I thought he loved me. We were almost to our 25th. wedding anniversary.

      I got acid in my eye once while putting it in the pool and he got on to me for being careless and yelled at me. Didn’t even offer to drive me to Urgent Care, I drove myself. I had burned my cornea with it and had to drive myself home with a patch on my eye. He didn’t seem concerned. I almost got burned with our grill and he wasn’t concerned about that either.

      I would turn on the spa, keep his dinner warm ( which he was hungry to eat it, as he had snacked at the bar when he was with her) and when we got in the spa he hardly said anything and really didn’t want to go in there with me, which made no sense, since we had just had it built. I attributed to his job, now I know he had already shared his day with her, since they worked for the same country.

      No, even after I received the letter and love letter’s from the OW’s husband telling me about the affair, he still continued to drink as I was struggling to come to terms with what he had done. He never stopped his social drinking for 25 or more yrs. and felt that at convention parties that it was his responsibility to ask the single women to dance. I would tell him that I didn’t want that, but he had been drinking and did it anyway. At one point after a meeting, where he had really drank a lot, danced with other single women, I walked to our room by myself. He came in about 3 AM and was throwing up all over the place. That’s when I gave him an ultimatum or that was it. He stopped for 6 months and then talked me into letting him slip back into drinking again, like dinner out on weekends. So it started all over again.

      Only after he embarrassed himself in front of my Father on Christmas Day did he decide to stop. cold turkey. He never went to any AA meeting’s and hasn’t drank since then. He still will never admit that he was an alcoholic for all those years.

      So yes, alcohol was a huge part of causing his affair and it helped him to continue in it for those 3 years.

      I hope this helps someone who reads this.

    • Strengthrequired

      Alcohol played a part in how far my h let his affair go, and for how long. He drank and let it impair his judgement. However I just take it more as an excuse to do the wrong thing. An excuse for hurting your spouse.

      • Strengthrequired

        Just another excuse to shift blame. It’s either the bs fault or the drinking.

    • Maxine6


      I do agree with you on some level. Yes, it’s an excuse if the husband wanted to have an affair, but my husband wasn’t a flirt and would not have come on to another woman. But since no one had ever made a play for him and really flirted at a conference, when I wasn’t there, he really enjoyed the flattery. This went on for 2 nights in the cocktail lounge with the rest of the conference crowd, where she made her way to him again. But he really enjoyed the “extra attention” from a younger, pretty blond and when she suggested they get together for lunch sometimes, since they both worked for the same company, different locations in the same city, he acted on it and made the phone call to her one or two weeks later. That I really blame him for, as he never gave our 24 yr. marriage a thought or he wouldn’t have made that call. Of course, he rationalized it, that it was only for lunch.

      That’s bull, he wanted to see her again and he surely hadn’t been drinking at lunch. He didn’t think he was hurting me, as I didn’t know about it.

      Yes, maybe Alcohol played a part in how long they let it go, but when they make that phone call to set up that date, they aren’t drunk, it’s a choice to be with that person. I’m sure it makes it more fun and easier to live with yourself while your out with the other woman and then have to come home, after lying and kiss your wife. So I agree with you that the BS is totally to blame, but the alcohol isn’t always there. The chemistry and the fun of being the subject of someone new’s attention is more important than the wife at home, especially since she or he isn’t aware of it. Either way it totally changes a person and whatever kind of marriage is left and if it can survive going through the mostly hurtful thing you will probably encounter in your life. I’m still not over it and at a crossroad as to what I’m going to do with my life 27 yrs. later, due to rug shoving.

      • Strengthrequired

        Maxine, my h the same wasn’t always influenced by alcohol, but I think used the alcohol while out with her, to make himself feel less at fault while with her. He enjoyed the flattery, all the I want you, from the ow, she made him feel special while he was depressed and in midlife crisis mode, so the alcohol he used to I believe not make him feel so bad about doing the wrong thing, hurting me and his children. While with her he was able to forget his responsibilities and all of his problems, and drinking made it easier.
        However, after everything he put us through, I just see it as just another excuse to shift the blame from himself and his bad choices. “Ohh I had too much to drink, I didn’t mean too, I wasn’t my self, blah blah blah. When I hear my h tell me, ohh I don’t remember, because I drank too much, I must roll my eyes, because it’s just easier to blame the drink for hiding the truth.

        • Strengthrequired

          Maxine, btw my h was not a drinker prior to the affair. Wasn’t even a smoker, yet he took it up during that time of his life.

    • Maxine6


      I would have done the same as you, but he didn’t go to bars. These were all related work get together’s after conference’s, so I didn’t have that option, but your’s is a good one. I would definitely do that in your situation and I’ll never trust another man again and sometimes it’s even hard to trust the word of anyone. It totally changed the person I was before he betrayed me.

      I could have told him to leave after those drinking conference’s, but it was pretty hard to do. I had 3 children, no college degree and couldn’t have worked at that time as I was raising the children and he wasn’t earning a huge amount of money. So that was what stopped me from doing anything different. I tried so hard at night to talk to him about it and at the conference’s, but he would never agree that he had drank to much. It was an endless battle for many years.

    • exercisegrace

      In my mind, it’s a chicken or egg thing. Fundamentally, people who end up cheating are lacking in some basic components to begin with. First, they are likely broken in some way stemming from something they never adequately faced and dealt with from their past. Second, they have an innate selfishness, and if the betrayed spouse looks back over the years? They can see it. Third, they lack the ability to set and keep normal boundaries.

      I cannot imagine getting drunk on a business trip or around work colleagues. Doing so shows a basic lack of dignity and moral fortitude. Forget the possibility of cheating, why would you want to appear foolish in your speech and your behavior? Why would you want to put yourself in a position for people to think less of you and lose respect for you? Subconsciously they have already made a choice to engage in certain behavior and the alcohol just provides a convenient excuse and a little liquid courage to reach the finish line.

      Alcohol wasn’t the excuse in my husband’s affair. Depression was. And while I agree it clouded his judgement and muddied his thinking and choices, I also will never completely buy it as an excuse. He had so many other choices. He could have stopped while it was still an EA. He could have stopped after the first time they made out (or second or third or or or) and he realized it WAS truly CHEATING. He references his depression and while it’s true that it was a factor, the incapacitating depression he recalls actually happened six months AFTER it was a full on affair.

      The focus really needs to shift to the internal behaviors and thought processes of the cheating spouse. Cheaters would be best served by being accountable for their basic character flaws. By being required to seek intensive and extensive therapy to understand why they make selfish choices. What drives them to think of only themselves. How to set better boundaries. They need to understand how they baby-step their way down the path. The excuses they make to engage in conversation with another woman and flirt. To start texting. To hide the friendship. It starts WAY before any actual cheating happens.

      I wrote my husband an email not too long ago. I detailed life from MY perspective in the year or so preceding his affair. I cited all the reasons I could have used to have an affair myself, such as the fact he worked seven days a week and I was effectively a single parent. Such as I was up and down all night with the youngest babies, both under age two by myself and never offered a break. And the list could go on. I told him it really comes down to the way YOU CHOOSE to view things. I CHOSE to see him as a hard working man trying to provide for his family. I COULD have chosen to see him as neglectful and absent and not meeting my needs. Perspective my friends is EVERYTHING. The strong will choose a “big picture” one and the weak will choose a selfish one.

      • TryingHard

        No you didn’t have an affair and of course you could have. I could have too. I had all kinds of opportunity with salesmen calling on me flirting with me. Once I lost my business I felt like the biggest loser and sure the flattery and ego boost that an affair obviously offers would have been great at the time. Why didn’t I do it?? Because it never even ever fucking occurred to me to do it. Because I am a mature and evolved person. Because I believe in commitments and honesty. Because I loved my life and my family and my integrity. Why on earth would I make my emotional situation worse by having an affair?

        I guess this is what one would call character?? I never questioned it before and I never had to believe that I was a person who had a strong good character. Never occurred to me to give a thought to it. This is why when people betray us it is so inconceivable and we are truly aghast because IT WOULD NEVER FUCKING OCCUR TO US to act that way.

        I am no more familiar with the mind of a cheater than that of a mass murderer!! I.Do.Not.Get.It. never will so I am quitting trying. Do I think I’m better than a cheater? Um YES, yes I am!!! I can live with that. That makes me a snob so be it! I can look at myself in the mirror and KNOW I am an honorable person who respects her commitments. You are too EG!!!

        • Strengthrequired

          I’m a snob too them th. Because as eg, I too was like a single parent, my youngest one and second youngest 3 at the time, I had my depression to deal with, yet I chose not to lose the plot and find someone.else to make me feel better. I chose to believe he was a hard working man taking care of our family, when on his holiday, I believed he needed the break. Little did I know how much he was actually enjoying himself losing the plot at our expense.
          There is no excuse for an affair, whether depressed, drunk, whatever, but they certainly try to use the excuses to us to make their choices less on them, but how they were at the time. Sorry, but it gets so tiring hearing “ohh I was depressed, ohhh I had too much to drink, I wasn’t thinking”. Well you know what, I would love to lose the plot, if that is what is going to make me feel better, but I have children that I love and care about, to look after, a husband that I love and well respected so much more before dday, so to put any pain in them is not worth it. It is not in me, to be a cheater. Why ruin my image and self respect and respect of my family for a fling. Not going to happen. So I must be a snob too.

          • Tryinghard

            Indeed you are a snob:). You are better than a cheater

            • Strengthrequired

              Accountability that is what we want to see. Selflessness, not selfishness. Not me me me, Us. I did wrong and I’m sorry. I should have been stronger, not this weak person that crumbled when the going got tough.

              Thanks th, happy to be a snobette, like my dear friends here.

        • Satchel

          I am a man and I think you are my soulmate! Love what you say and how uou say it. I too have had a habitual cheating spouse who after 14 years of marriage has shown not the slightest inclination of stopping. Alcohol is a factor in mine, there were times when it happens without. There is a primal desire of cheaters who identify with the flesh and do not follow the spiritual path I believe we are here to follow.

    • TryingHard

      Alcohol cannot be used as an excuse to have an affair or for an affair. But I think it is telling if someone uses alcohol to soothe themselves and an affair to soothe themselves that these folks have major character flaws. Some folks use food as well. There’s help out there for all these problems but the first step in getting that help is admitting you have a problem. My H was first to admit he had a problem with people flattering him. He recognized he loved it and always wanted more. He learned the hard way that most flattery comes with an agenda. Too bad for him that it had to be learned so late but I respect him for coming up with that realization. Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

      I don’t really know what to say, but I think the alcoholism would be the real deal breaker for me and I obviously have a high tolerance for deal breakers. I just can’t stand drunks. Any kind. I’ve had too much too drink on a few occasions, but have never lost control and I stop drinking. I know they say it’s a sickness and I believe it is, but it would be one sickness that I could never stand by and that includes other drug addiction.

      • Holdingon

        Yeah its a sickness but the cure is simple, don’t drink.

    • Maxine6


      You have made many good points and I agree with so many of them. When they went out for there weekly or whatever get together, to a lounge to snack, drink, dance and build up each other ego’s. there was no excuse. When I mentioned alcohol during that time, he didn’t come home drunk. He probably had 3 or 4 drinks, not enough for me to notice when he got home after that. I think it just helped him dull his blame and be able to face me and his family when he walked through the door. I did notice his irritability during those 3 yrs. and quickness to judge me. Also, I had to work harder for him to notice me sexually, which I never had to do before, but attributed that to work, as I said.

      When he went to those conferences with me, most people would have never known that he had to much to drink, probably only me. Except, when maybe I would leave the party early and then he would come in and maybe throw up all over the place. Or slur his words and could hardly talk. Or when we had a party, he definitely drank to much, to the point of being the life of the party and asking everyone else to dance, but not me. He just had to show off in front of everyone, totally out of character, because without it, he would have been more quiet unless he was talking to someone about all that he did at his job.

      Myself, as other’s here have mentioned, would have to much self-respect to ever think of cheating on my husband (it’s even hard to use that word, as that dignifies respect). If it’s wrong, it’s wrong and I won’t lower myself to lie, betray, steal or do anything that is morally wrong. As I told him so many times, “Have the decency to get out of the marriage first as we heard about our friends marriage falling apart because of affairs.” He knew my feelings and chose to go through all kinds of lies and trouble to be with a slut that was as bad as he was. Am I better than some other people who choose to cheat, yes I am. I don’t need a pat on the back, it’s how I am able to feel about the person I am, HONEST! I can’t even tell a lie, if it’s going to hurt them, I’ll change the subject. So, I guess, I’m a snob also.

      There were so many times during those 3 yrs. with here, like on the weekend’s they went away, that he was able to drive to those place, lunch’s, playing tennis, etc. (with him loaning her my racket, if you can believe that) that he wasn’t drinking. It just made him feel like an important person to be with her, because she looked up to him so much, him being an executive and her a secretary (no offense intended to anyone who’s a secretary). She thought she had quite a catch, which she would have, financially if he had left me for her and she fantasied about that, even though it was never mentioned. A lot of people at work knew about it and I’m sure she might have bragged to her close friends and that made her feel special. She definitely felt that he loved her and I do also, but not enough to lose his job over her and that would have happened. They didn’t tolerate things like that at his work.

      No, he never used drinking as an excuse, he never blamed me for his affair, just the contrary as he couldn’t have had it any better at home. He just wanted the attention from someone who did seek him out and he went for it.

      As I look back on him now, I can see parts of his character that would justify things that were wrong when he did them. Like, maybe getting the restaurant bill wrong, but he thought it was good as it saved him money? He could live with those decisions as he got away with something.

      Now, his big thing is, “He had an affair probably because he was adopted and his Mom catered to him all his life and spoiled him as an only child, so he felt entitled to things.” I get sick every time I hear this. It’s just another excuse and the therapist go along with it. That’s when I would stop going to two of them. It was a waste of time and he never had any answer’s to my questions, other than, “It was over 30 yrs. ago and he doesn’t remember.” Sorry, I’ll never buy it! He just doesn’t want to talk about it anymore as he feels we are wasting our life at 71. I remind him, “He should have thought of that before he screwed around for 3 yrs. He didn’t mind those 3 yrs., the talking endlessly to her and ignoring me. Coming home and being to tired to talk. Sorry this is so long, but when I read all this and talk about it, I get so darn upset and mad.

      Will respond to the other’s later. It is a very good discussion.

    • Maxine6


      I thought you wrote such a great response. We had never talked about this in great detail. The part about respecting yourself so as not to make a fool out of yourself in a leader position or any position in front of your peers. Why wouldn’t you care what your friends, family think of you by acting stupid. He just didn’t get it, as usual! He said, “No one ever said anything about it, so he couldn’t have been that out of control or they would have.” Again, not taking responsibility for your actions, excuses, etc. Same old thing and I’m so sick of it after 50 yrs.

      I keep thinking he will change, get a heart, a emotion, show some remorse for what he did, but he isn’t capable of it. I had one counselor over 25 yrs. ago that told me, “She didn’t think he was capable of emotion and I sure believe her. He has never shed a tear after I found out about the affair and if he did, it could have been the night I found out and he was begging me to let him stay, but I seriously don’t remember it.

      Why can’t they own up to there mistakes, instead of getting defensive and trying to blame it on someone else. I told him one time that he didn’t deserve me and he doesn’t. I could never do to him what he done it to me, if I was depressed, lost my job, etc., because it’s not right. There are other decision’s you can make to not hurt someone, like your spouse if you truly love them. I don’t care if at 40 you are starting to have some mid-life crisis, I’m the same age and I didn’t and he sure was harder to live with than I was. He had a perfect job, nothing to be depressed about that would result in cheating on me.

      So like so many of you, I agree that alcohol doesn’t cause you to have an affair. You don’t decide on one weekend, in a cocktail lounge when someone flirts with you and you feel loose enough to act on it, that you forget your spouse, marriage and everyone you love to give it all up to a flirting bimbo, who’s married with 2 little girls, just because she says all the things you want to hear. The same things your wife tell’s you all the time. It had better be worth it as your life and marriage will never be the same. My only mistake was not getting out of the marriage 30 yrs. ago, but his trickle truth for almost a yr. caused me to make a different decision. But even with that, when I found out most of the truth, I will own up to my mistake and should have left. Now it’s a harder decision to make.

      Does anyone here get depressed and upset going over the affairs and talking about it, like I do?

      I lay here early this morning at 2:30 and can’t sleep. I can’t leave as my health is not the best at 71. They want to do back surgery and I can’t do it alone. Yet I wouldn’t want him to take care of me, as he doesn’t handle health issues very well. My twin grandson is going to find out if he passed the Bar on Monday and he is under so much stress waiting for the results, he doesn’t need mine. He will lose his job if he fails it. His twin brother passed last time, so all this is hard. My other granddaughter is waiting and will find out in May if she get’s into Medical School early May. Another grandson graduates from college in May. My daughter-in-law and daughter and other granddaughter is coming in May to stay with us for 5 days. My Dad is 94, 9 hrs. away and loves my husband and was going home to be with him on Father’s Day. He will expect my so called husband. There always seems to be something to stop me from running away and that’s what I feel like doing.

      I’m so sick of beating my head up against the wall to live with him, when I don’t like the person he is and he’s proven he can’t change, other than not to drink anymore. It’s up and down everyday, so what’s the point.

    • NSW

      My wife told me she drank (she is not a drinker) so as to get herself into a frame of mind that would allow her to have sex with the other man. I still am not quite sure how to take that one.

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