Please note: This post was originally published on 6/13/17 and updated on 9/10/19.
“What were you thinking? Did you even consider the consequences? I just don’t understand how you did this without thinking at all of me and the kids!” “Didn’t you even think of me?”
Those are just some of the questions that might be asked after a person’s world has been shattered by their spouse’s infidelity.
We suspect you’ll get almost as many answers to that question as there are unfaithful spouses who visit this site.
The easy answer would be to say… “I wasn’t. At all. If I had been thinking, how could I ever have done this to my best friend, my lover, my wife (husband)?”
But that’s a bit of a cheap answer.
Here are some thoughts on “What Were You Thinking?” from some former unfaithful spouses:
“I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly. I certainly wasn’t thinking ahead. I was living moment to moment, like a drug addict just looking for my next fix, never caring what was around the corner, or down the road, or, quite honestly, about anyone but myself.”
“When I was with my affair partner I rarely thought of my husband, but when I was at home I frequently escaped by thinking of my affair partner.”
“Frankly, as the unfaithful spouse, I wasn’t thinking about my wife when I was involved in the affair. I didn’t think about my wife the day I told her that I’m involved with somebody else. I wasn’t even thinking about that, because I was, again, thinking of my own self.”
“I really wasn’t cognizant. There’s many people who may be conscious of the fact that their spouse is pregnant or sick or away or doing something that they may need support, but there is another side that is driving them, which is a selfish behavior which eliminates that thought process. So they separate the affair as one part of their lives, and their regular life is another.”
“My affair happened due in large part to me making everything else, and everyone else, a priority except my spouse. Work came first, people’s needs came first, my affair partner came first, and even my kids came first. My wife was dead last in terms of genuine concern, focus and attentiveness.”
“I really had no thought at all other than my own selfish requirements . It was just all about the feeling at the time and basically what was in it for me, and the ego stroking that I was getting.”
“If there was one struggle, one colossal mistake, among the myriad of smaller ones that helped lead to my affair, it was that of outright self-absorption. Somewhere along the line, life became about me and what I wanted and needed and deserved.”
“When the other woman appeared, and not only appeared, but melted at my existence, and had only wonderful, admiring things to say about me, and wanted to be with me emotionally and sexually every day, my world began to pick up speed and actually shrink. It had become all about me and I began to buy into the illusion that I needed to be happy and I needed to no longer deny myself, but simply take part of what was being offered to me in honor, affection and outright adoration by this attractive and flirtatious woman. After all, I was at the center of my universe and couldn’t see anything but how I was affected by everyone else’s actions. I did what many caught in affairs do, and accepted the fact that Jackie was a great mom, but a terrible wife.”
“It’s a slow, slippery slope. I had many opportunities over the years and never did…..until I did. I did not feel I could communicate with my wife. I believed the lies I told myself. Total delusion. The fog, if you like. The price is horrendous.”
“What Were You Thinking?” – A Painful Dynamic
While these quotes may be disturbing to the betrayed spouse, they may help explain a dynamic frequently present in unfaithful spouses. Affairs involve a high degree of selfishness and often serve as an escape. They provide a distraction, allowing the unfaithful spouse to escape the realities of life.
Unfortunately, in that moment little or no thought is given to the impact of their actions, they are solely focused on what they stand to gain (escape, approval, affection, etc.).
Rarely does anyone consider why they are doing what they’re doing; typically their only thought is, “I’ll never get caught.”
They don’t consider what it must inevitably cost their spouse, or what they could do to improve their already existing relationship since they are only thinking of themselves.
We recently came across a nice video that explains in greater detail some of what is going through the mind of the unfaithful. It’s called: Why Doesn’t the Unfaithful See What They Are in Danger of Losing?
And that brings us to the following article that apparently has been circulating around the Internet for a while. We think it’s quite powerful, but would like to hear your opinions in the comment section. (Also, we realize the article is very gender specific. So we searched and found an adaptation of the article from a betrayed man’s point of view. You can download it here.)