consequences of infidelityWe seem to be exposed to an exorbitant amount of divorces lately.  Several neighbors, friends and even relatives have fallen victim, and in most cases it is crystal clear that infidelity has been the major culprit.

In addition, we have received a few emails of late where readers have thanked us for what we do, but unfortunately they have decided to head down that road to divorce. 

The decision to do so has not always been one that they have agreed with, as the cheating spouse made the decision for them.

We hate to see emails like that.

As a result, we started to do a little “Googling” and found a pretty good article that we wanted to share with you.  It’s written by Cathy Meyer who is a Certified Divorce Coach, marriage educator and legal investigator. She is also the co-founder of Divorced Women Online, an online magazine published by divorced women for divorced women.

This article, though similar in title to one I wrote a few weeks ago, deals more with divorce, but also about the devastation that an affair can cause.  Divorce is not a subject we normally like to blog about, I know, but one that should be addressed every now and then.

 


Negative Consequences of an Affair

By Cathy Meyer

Mutual Agreements Mean Happy Endings:

There are differing types of divorce and each one has its own emotional and psychological intensity. There is the bilateral agreement divorce where both spouses are unhappy and conclude that they will be happier being apart. In a divorce like this, the couple is often able to come to a mutual agreement, settle their affairs amicably, and stay connected as friends with little emotional upset.

Trouble Ahead:

Then there is the unilateral divorce where one spouse makes the decision to divorce to the utter shock of the other spouse. This type of divorce means more emotional and psychological intensity for the spouse who was unaware of the problems in the marriage.

The one choosing to leave has had time to think about, reflect upon and weigh the options and to emotionally detach themselves from the marriage. The other spouse, who is caught by surprise, is normally mistreated and left to feel abandoned. There is a huge imbalance of power with the one leaving being the one in control of most aspects of whether or not the marriage will continue.

Enter The Third Party:

Add to this a third party and the issue of an affair and the emotional intensity is compounded. Not only will the left behind spouse feel abandoned but he/she will also feel replaced by someone better, younger, more attractive. The pain in this type of divorce comes from losing a position of importance in the life of your spouse, from beliefs about immorality, betrayal and feelings of failure as a spouse.

When a third party enters a marriage, certain psychological things start to happen in the mind of the cheating spouse. Their thinking becomes skewed in order to justify their behavior. Denial of any wrong doing means shifting the blame and usually it all gets dumped onto the faithful spouse.

Normally a spouse who falls prey to an affair is a decent person that is aware of their behavior and how it is frowned upon by society. Even though they are aware of the immorality of their actions, they continue with the relationship, which means dealing with feelings of guilt.

The Blame Game:

These feelings of guilt motivate them to demonize the faithful spouse in an attempt to justify their affair. They will accuse their spouse of many negative and unforgivable traits and behaviors. The faithful spouse is portrayed as an inadequate partner, which left the cheating spouse no choice but to find an adequate replacement.

Not only will the faithful spouse be demonized, history is rewritten to make it appear that he/she has been inadequate for the entire duration of the marriage. The cheating spouse will recreate the marriage and what happened during the marriage to make it appear that they have suffered much pain and unhappiness throughout the entire marriage.

They may say things such as, “I was forced into marrying you” or, “You’ve never loved me the way I needed to be loved” or, “I have lived in hell for 20 years.” He/She will say anything as long as it will enable him/her to appear to have been the victim of the marriage and fully justified in abandoning their spouse.

You Pay for Their Bad Behavior:

The cheating spouse will tell their story often and to anyone who will listen, to the point that they will finally begin to truly believe that the left behind spouse deserves punishment. The faithful spouse is the offender and the persecutor and needs to be dealt with harshly.

Punishment will come in the way of financial withholding or worse, fighting over custody for any children of the marriage. They may begin to believe that the faithful, demonized spouse is not entitled to receive any future benefits from them, sometimes not even those allowed by law.

Shocked and Awed:

The faithful spouse will question their own sanity and replay their marriage in their mind trying to find some hint of all the unhappiness they are told of by the unfaithful spouse. They will question how their spouse, someone they have loved and trusted could betray them in such a way. First to have an affair and then to rewrite the history of their marriage in such a way as to try and lay blame at their feet.

The faithful spouse will wonder how their spouse could blame them for having to have an affair and how they could defame their character after many years of being given love, respect and trust. They will wonder how their spouse cannot see how their words and blaming does damage to the children by depicting their mother/father in a bad light.

The faithful spouse will question his/her own memory of what they thought was a happy marriage. He/She will wonder if the marriage was never anything but a sham and a figment of their imagination. They will wonder why the unfaithful spouse never complained if they were unhappy or why they never made a request for changes in the relationship.

Being punished for your spouse’s cheating is an overwhelming state in which to find yourself. Recovery from the stress of such a profound emotional trauma is slow. If you have found yourself in such a situation, remember, with time comes healing and understanding. You will laugh again, love again and the sun will shine again. All you have to do is trust your memories, never forget that the insanity caused by an affair is not your fault and that you are not alone because in today’s society cheating is the number one reason for divorce.

 

    11 replies to "More Consequences of Infidelity"

    • staystrong72

      Wow! This is my marriage to a tee. Especially the blame game. Whenever we talk about our 18 years together, my wife the CS, seems to only be able to bring up the negative and never the positive. She tries to justify that what she is doing is right, since she is so self centered. She even tries to make herself feel better by stating that I will find someone better than her and she doesn’t deserve me. She is right about both. As we walk down the road towards divorce, she actually thinks that we will be friends at the end of the day. Sorry, I tell her, you just become the mother of my children. That’s it! She is actually hurt by this. She asked if we are doing anything special for Mother’s Day. I told her, you are certainly not getting the mother of the year award. Why do CS’s who have told you that it is over, they still want to be friends? In my opinion, friends don’t do this to other friends.

      As for the third party, I know that I am a better person than him. It is not my integerity and moral compass that is being questioned. Iasked my CS, what does it say about a person who would leave his marriage and kids for another women and vice versa? What makes you so special? Of course she didn’t have an answer. I told her no person is worth leaving children for. Kids are the priority. My CS is going to get everything she deserves. The fact that she is leaving me for someone who is going to owe his soon to be ex-wife, if he actually does it, and kids about $2000 a month. She believes that his kids are going to accept her and they are going to have a great life together. HA!

      I get comfort knowing that I will come out on top and that I am well adjusted. Sure, my quality of life will go down, we have to sell the house, and come up with a parenting plan. All forced decisions by my CS. I have learned so much that I will not repeat the same mistakes in my future relationships. This truly has been a journey of self discovery and it is amazing how strong I have become. If you told me this is the way I would have felt 4 months ago, I would not have believed you. Some will say that you are starting a new chapter of life. I say no. I have closed that entire book, learned my lessons, and have placed that on the shelf of my memories. I am starting a brand new book that is full of adventure, excitement, romance, and new relationships.

      For those of you just starting this journey, stay strong. Your selfworth is not measured by your cheating spouse. Stay true to yourself. You are not the one who has done anything wrong. You are the better person, because your integrity is intact and no one can ever take that away from you. You can only give it away. Do not lower yourself to the CS level. Raise yourself up and take the high road. You will be glad that you did.

      • Doug

        Staystrong…“For those of you just starting this journey, stay strong. Your selfworth is not measured by your cheating spouse. Stay true to yourself. You are not the one who has done anything wrong. You are the better person, because your integrity is intact and no one can ever take that away from you. You can only give it away. Do not lower yourself to the CS level. Raise yourself up and take the high road. You will be glad that you did.”

        Great advice! Thanks for sharing!

    • sosad

      This scenario fit my marriage to a tee as well. Just Monday night, we had another discussion about our relationship. He told me that he could rememfer only one or two happy times that really stood out in our marriage. He said that I had neglected and humilated him at times. I know that I have not always treated him the way that I should have. I forgot to respect and value him. I am not blameless for the problems in our marriage. I got caught in the kids and life. But….do those things justify him turning to someone else. He should have talked me about how he felt. He never did. I think/know that the OW has highly influeced his feelings. She has said very similar things about her husband. @staystrong, thanks for the insight. I will truly try to remember what you have said it the months to come.

    • suziesuffers

      Stay Strong….Thank you….you have words of wisdom for such a short period of time working through this…..I pray we all find the strength you have displayed. You are RIGHT….this is not our fault and for them to blame us for even 1 second is ridiculous. Sosad….It’s ok to take some responsibility for the choices we made…but sometimes survival of kids and life put us in a whirlwind of life’s needs before our own. You can list the things you did “wrong” but his list is longer but with the fact he CHOSE to look other places for the void he felt in his life…..but it seems that’s more the justification for getting caught in this mess he created than the reason. Has he always treated you perfectly over all these years? probably not, but his rewriting of history makes you question your memory and suddenly you are the “villian” and he is the “victim”…nonsense. Someone told me that the problem with this situation, is the CS believes leaving the environment he is in will change the outcome…he will now be happy etc…..but the one thing that really hasn’t changed and he is taking with him…..is HIMSELF. He has the same void and character defects, but they’ve been temporarily filled with the high he feels right now…and he believes this is forever. I saw my husbands behaviors change for this woman…i thought maybe I was the total problem, because I saw this different man with her….he was always attending to her, and worrying about her wants and needs…but it was a temporary game. He hadn’t done any sole searching to determine what changes he needed to REALLY make within himself…this was a temporary fix to keep the fantasy going…but when you have to keep up the facade for too long…….it’s tough and that’s when things on both sides start to fall apart. Just remember the book he is writing about your history is a figment of his imagination, a fantasy story to justify his actions.

    • Lesli Doares

      Sosad-no those things don’t justify his turning to someone else but may be part of the reason your relationship was vulnerable from the outside. Of course, the OW is influencing his feelings but he is still making his own choices.

      Staystrong is right on target with whose moral compass is out of whack. Believing you can create happiness on the backs of innocent children is a pipe dream. The success rate for relationships born from infidelity is about 10%. That’s because they are built on fantasy.

      Maintaining your own moral integrity and being the person you want to be is the way to move forward with class. You don’t have to accept the CS’s view of the marriage. Concentrating on healing yourself, and caring for the children if there are any, needs to be your main priority. Infidelity doesn’t have to mean the end of the relationship. But if it does, going through the grief process is the only productive option you have. Time will take care of you-karma will handle the CS.

    • changedforever

      My sick CS took the cowardly approach all the way thru his affair…hid it like a child, lied like a thief, never admitted to anything I didn’t pull out of him, continued his affair AFTER the 3 kids & I found out…and sent me a cowardly TEXT that my marriage was over…blaming me. Can cowards ever become honest heros? I don’t think so. But the psychological damage done after an affair with even the threat of divorce may be a ‘cry for help from the CS,’ but as a BS I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move past the cold, calculated divorce planning behind my back. How can you get past someone you love & trust making a complete fool of you?

    • Candace

      My CS hasn’t started the blaming game, yet. I know it is coming, so have been trying to prepare myself for it. But how? As many have stated the words will be harsh & will fill me with doubt. Every time I try to be strong only lasts a day or two and then I feel so drained. I am tired but know there is a long road ahead for us.

      • staystrong72

        You prepare for it by staying true to yourself. The reason they blame is because they are projecting themselves on to you. Start being an active listner and don’t interupt when they are talking. If they yell, stop and say I will discuss this with you later when emotions aren’t so high. Don’t esculate the situation. When they are done speaking, repeat back what you heard. Start with, “What I am hearing you say is…” this gives them the opportunity to clarify. If they interupt you, stay calm and tell them, “I gave you the opportunity to speak, please let me finish.” Remember to take the high road. You maintain your power over the conversation. You cannot control them, just say how you are feeling. You haven’t done anything wrong, don’t let the CS play the victim, they are not. You will get through this, because you are a good person and your integrity is not what is in question. The CS is trying to justify their behavior by demonizing you. Don’t give him that. Start doing things for you. I picked up an old hobby, working out and enjoying being with myself. I am a pretty cool person and you will find that out about yourself soon. Take care.

      • Norwegian woman

        My H tried the blame game. I wasn`t attentive enough. I didn`t want enough sex. I made him feel not important in my life. I was allways busy. I didn`t understand him. I was to complicated. We had no common interests and so on…. Of course, this was all just crap, and I knew it. I asked him what HE have done to make me feel important, want sex, express his needs and feelings. I asked him if he really meant that I would not do ANYTHING to meet his needs, if he had asked me to. He had nothing to say. And after some time, he admitted that he created these situations to justify his behaviour. I showed him text-messages i had written to him. I showed him what I had written in the book at our cabin. Things we had done together. Evenings by the fire. Going fishing trout in the small lakes. Good times with friends. I reminded him of all the good moments that were there all along. He had nothing to say. He knew it was a lie and that he just had made it up to justify his actions.
        Try to remember spesific things you have done. Moments you cherish. Be prepared.

    • Norwegian woman

      I am not sure i have explained the term “cabin” so that you understand it. In Norway we have nature everywhere. We go fishing and just enjoy what we have been given of nature. A normal house for us is between 120 – 250 m2. A cabin is 50 – 100 m2. We norwegians prefer a simple life when we are at the cabin. We have no electricity (solar panel and aggregate) and only summer-water from a stream nearby. When we are at the cabin, we are close to nature and outside all the time. Do you have a similar tradition in the USA? Just curious.

    • Geoff

      No matter what you call it , it all comes back to one word “Menopause”.. It is responsible for the majority of 1st marriage breakups… We all have tests for Prostrate , Pap Smears and Mammagrams so why not have Menopause tests every 2 years…. To find out you are going through it and have treatment would save most of these marriages… It is coming up to 4 years now since my spouse decided to go her own way, and yes, blame me for it all to justify her own actions… Usually they come out of it in about 5 years so it will be interesting to see what she does then… Will i or wont i be able to give her another chance , i dont know….

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