Posts tagged why men cheat
My Husband Cheated. Am I to Blame?
 
 

“How could I have been so stupid?”

 

“Why did I believe him when he said he was busy with work all of those late nights?”

 

“How did I not see it coming?”

These are all pretty common reactions and themes that I hear when women come in to see me after they’ve discovered their partner has had an affair.

When I sit and compare the way men and women react after discovering infidelity, the difference is clear. Men tend to react with anger. Women tend to react with self-blame.

Men might not react by becoming physically violent, but they share fantasies about hurting their spouse’s affair partner.

Women retreat and look at themselves. They consider all of the things they did or did not do throughout their entire marriage. They wonder whom they could have been more or less like.

“Maybe if I were skinnier… kept a cleaner house… listened to him talk more about work… asked the right questions to get him to really tell me what was going on…”

If only, if only, if only. And to that, I call bullshit!

All you have to do is check out the cover of any gossip magazine to know that those thoughts are distorted. Even the most beautiful women get cheated on. They have help, their homes are immaculate, they get paid to look good, and yet somehow the men in their lives manage to stray.

The bottom line is that if someone is determined to cheat, they are going to cheat. You can’t clean, cook, or work out enough to change their mind.

When people cheat it isn’t about their partner.

Did you just read that?

When he cheated it wasn’t about you.

It was about him, and how he felt. The entire act of cheating is incredibly selfish, and while people are in the act, their spouses are typically farthest from their minds.

You may have missed the warning signs, and you may have made it easy for him to get away with it, and continue the affair, but that was likely due to the fact that you trusted. You loved and you trusted, and you believed that the person who vowed to be with you forever, would.

There’s no fault in that. That’s what we are supposed to do in order to have a good relationship.

Sometimes people are not the best at creating and voicing boundaries. It can be uncomfortable to bring something up that might make you think you sound like a crazy person. Things like, “I saw you hug your female coworker at the company party and it seemed like you held on just a couple seconds too long.”

Maybe you thought something, or saw something, and you had a gut reaction to it, but you ignored it because you didn’t want to rock the boat. That’s completely normal, and the truth is, if you had brought it up it may have gotten your partner to stop for a second and consider their behavior, but if they were determined to cheat, it wouldn’t have stopped them.

Most people who cheat tell me that they didn’t intend for it to happen - actually almost all of them tell me that. If they’re in denial about their responsibility, they typically say, “it just happened,” and to that I call bullshit as well because like my friend Robyn says, “you don’t just trip and fall in another woman’s vagina.” You just don’t.

But the people who are ready to understand their behavior often tell me that they reached a point of no return, and they got in over their heads. They usually say they didn’t intend for it to happen, and for all the pain and suffering it has caused their partner, they truly wish they could take it back.

They tell me that things were not great in their marriage, and that they didn’t know how to talk about it or fix it.

But what did she have that I didn’t?

There may have been a ton of qualities that the other woman had that differed from yours. But the honest to goodness truth is that the other woman had a relationship that was based on nothing other than mutual pleasure.

Extramarital relationships exist in vacuums. Your partner didn’t share any responsibilities with that other person, they weren’t raising kids with them, and they didn’t share a mortgage, car payments, or any of the other, not-so-sexy things that come along with marriage.

We all have choices. Unfortunately your partner made a poor one, and didn’t come to you first in an attempt to repair the issues in your relationship that caused them to stray, but it’s not too late, and even though it’s an uphill battle, you can repair the damage that’s been done if each person is willing to do the hard work. 

If you still can’t see that you aren’t to blame for your partner’s affair, I’d love to support you and help you understand what’s happened in your relationship, and explore options for the future. Give me a call at (909) 226-6124 or you can click here to schedule your first session.

How to love your Cheating Partner
 
 

 

Your partner has shattered your world.

The relationship that you once had is no longer, and maybe you’re still on the fence about staying in the relationship, but you certainly don’t know how to love them at the moment, and should you?

I have so many injured partners who sit on my couch and tell me similar stories. Stories of hating and loving their cheating partner all at the same time.

They often say things like, “I feel sick to my stomach when I think about the fact that I still want to be with this person, shouldn’t I hate them for what they’ve done to me?”

Dealing with infidelity is like getting on a roller coaster that you didn’t know you got strapped into. The emotions are high, and they are also really low, and they are incredibly confusing.

The only way to love your partner through something like this is to try understand them. But you also need to understand yourself.  

The greatest misconception that people have about cheaters is if they do it once, they will always do it – “once a cheater, always a cheater, right? Wrong.

Affairs happen more than people think. It’s really easy to say, “If my partner ever did that, I’d leave in a heartbeat!” But when push comes to shove, there’s often way too much at stake. There’s a long history and relationship that’s been cultivated for years, and ending it abruptly is often so difficult to fathom.

More people are staying together after infidelity than the public thinks – they just aren’t talking about it.

I advise my clients who are struggling in this area not to share it with family and friends. When they are working to repair their relationship either by themselves or along with their partner, they are taking the time to heal and to learn new ways of approaching the relationship so that it doesn’t happen again.

When the affair is disclosed to close friends and family that surround them, they are rightfully upset and angered that their sister/brother/friend/daughter/son was treated in such a way. But when the couple comes out on the other end of it with a new perspective, a new relationship, and have healed, their friends and family haven’t done the work that they have, and can be stuck in their anger towards the cheating spouse and often find it difficult to forgive.

Another common misconception about cheating partners is that they are solely responsible for what’s transpired in the relationship. People cheat for many different reasons, but both partners have some responsibility in what was happening in the relationship prior to the infidelity.

It can be incredibly difficult for an injured partner to hear that they somehow played a role in the infidelity. I’m not saying that the infidelity was their fault, and it’s important not to misconstrue or take this out of context, but there are often challenges that are occurring in the relationship prior to a partner stepping outside of it.

It could be as simple as not communicating in a way that one’s partner can hear. Is that totally your fault? No, absolutely not. But that’s when the work in couples counseling becomes about learning how to communicate in a way that will allow your partner to be receptive.

Most people who cheat want their partners to know that they didn’t go into the relationship with the intent to do so.

Sometimes there is a breakdown that happens during the course of the relationship, and the cheating partner feels lost and unable to find their way back. People who cheat don’t always understand why they did it, and it can take months for them to get to a place where they have learned enough about themselves to identify where they got off track, and what lead them to make the horrible decision to cheat.

If your partner has cheated there are a couple of things that you can start doing today to improve your relationship:

1.     Get support. Seek out counseling for yourself with someone who specializes in infidelity issues. You need a sounding board and a safe place to vent your anger and frustration. While it might seem like a good idea to use your partner as that sounding board, it’s really not the greatest way to go about it – you may say things you’ll regret later.

2.     Start journaling. While you’re looking for a therapist get a journal and start writing down your thoughts. This will help you understand your emotions and organize your thoughts in such a way that you can be a better communicator with your partner when you do have those difficult conversations.

3.     Decide what is important to know about the affair and what isn’t. Things like: how does this impact our relationship? Do you understand why you made the decision to go outside of our marriage to find something? Where do you want our relationship to go in the future?

All of those questions are very different than things like: where did you do it? Was she better than me? What types of things did you talk about? These questions fall into the category of what I call, emotional cutting, things that you want to know out of curiosity, even though you know that hearing them is just going to cause you pain.

4.     Start thinking about the boundaries and things that need to happen in order for you to want to move forward and repair your relationship. For most, the first thing is that the affair needs to stop, as does any and all types of communication with the affair partner.

But would you feel more comfortable if you had all email and cell phone passwords for the first few months as you work on the relationship together? Do you need your partner to move to a different department at work so they are no longer in close proximity to the other person? This is where your support and journaling will help to keep you on track, and making sure that you’re asking for things to better your relationship and not just to spite your partner.

It’s difficult to know the exact statistics surrounding infidelity, but it’s estimated that 35% of couples decide to stay together after infidelity, and according to the American Association of Marriage and Family therapists, about 15% of women, and 25% of men say they’ve had sex outside of their marriage. When you factor in things like cyber relationships, and emotional affairs, those numbers increase by 20% according to AAMFT.

The number of couples staying together after infidelity may be even higher, as I stated earlier, many people experiences it but don’t talk about it. It’s a difficult thing to bring up, especially when you’re not sure what the fate of the relationship will be. But the future can be promising if both partners are able to own their faults and learn to create a new relationship that is more fulfilling.

In seeing those statistics, my hope is that you take away the fact that you are not alone.

If your partner has been unfaithful, know that you are not crazy to want to stay, or to want to go, or to have no idea what it is you want, and you’re not crazy for still loving them.

What you’ve experienced is a psychological trauma, and you must treat it as such. Take care of yourself first, and you can make the big decisions later after you’ve started to regain your strength and have gotten the support that you need. 

If you could use some more support in understanding your relationship and what you really want after experiencing infidelity, please reach out and we can talk about ways therapy can help (909) 226-6124

5 Things that come between Couples And Cause Affairs

I’ve sat across from enough couples trying to repair their marriages after an affair to know that they don’t just happen. There are some telltale signs that a relationship is ripe for an affair. No one thinks it will happen to them, and its easy to see in hindsight that there were in fact signals leading up to it.

While we can’t affair-proof our relationships, we can invest in them enough that an affair will be much less likely.

Here are 5 things that commonly come between couples and have the ability to cause an affair:

1.     Time

In the beginning of a relationship things are usually the best they will be. Couples have plenty of time to enjoy one another, they spend a significant amount of time together, they talk openly, and they share hobbies and interests that keep them connected.

As time passes two becomes three and then four, and the focus shifts from the couple to the family. Responsibilities increase, stresses increase, and time and energy decrease. The lack of time and energy once used towards one another dwindles, and a lack of connection that once kept the relationship fresh, diminishes.

2.     Caring for Children

Children are one of the most amazing gifts, and in order to be a good parent it takes time, energy, and a great amount of effort. Sometimes that effort and energy comes at the detriment of the marital relationship.

I often see parents killing themselves to put their kids in all the right sports and extracurricular activities, running them around like an über driver on a Friday night. They angst over participation in activities because “they look good on college admission essays,” or even preschool applications.

All that running around, over-committing, and overextending leads to exhaustion and under-commitment to the marital relationship. Who has the energy for intimate conversation or sex after running on empty with kids all day?

When children leave the nest I often have couples coming into my office wondering who the person is sitting next to them. After years of committing to their children, they forget they were once committed to one another, and lack the intimacy that comes with regular connection. 

3.     Career

Work/life balance is often elusive. As couples work to provide the biggest and the best for their children, it’s easy to continually strive for the next promotion, which usually comes with an increase in responsibility, and longer hours.

Working long hours can lead to a lack of connection at home. Often times, inter-office friendships can spark as a result of all the time spent on the job, and although they may seem innocent at first, feelings of loneliness can surface and be a cause for infidelity.

4.     Outside Hobbies and Interests

I tend to be a big cheerleader when it comes to both partners having interests of their own. I encourage the individuality that comes with doing something that doesn’t include your partner or kids because I think it makes us more whole. It’s what we bring back to the relationship and talk about, and it’s what makes us unique.

However, there is a fine line, and balance is always key. When there’s no regular connection in the relationship, and date nights aren’t happening nearly as often as the kid’s play-dates, it’s difficult to justify an out of town fishing trip with the guys, or a daily 2-hour gym routine.

5.     Difficult life-transitions

The transition into parenthood, a career change, caring for an aging parent, a move to a new state - all of these are examples of life-transitions. When things change in a big way, there are lots of feelings that go along with these transitions.

When the feelings are not outwardly expressed in the relationship, and one partner feels as thought they aren’t able to confide in the other, it can cause a wedge that leads to loneliness.

What all 5 of the things I’ve listed have in common are their ability to cause disconnection and loneliness. Loneliness and disconnection often lead to vulnerability, and vulnerability has the ability to lead to an affair if the right person comes around at the right time.

The bottom line is that connection is key.

If you’re connecting with your partner, sharing intimate moments with one another, and each of you feels valued and satisfied with your relationship, any of the above listed things can come into your lives. While they may be challenging, the strength you feel from the friendship and connection with your partner will help push you through the storm together.  

Find ways to sneak 15 minutes out of your day to be alone.

Create routines that encompass connection. Make it a habit to connect through text or email throughout the day, and sit together after the kids go to bed and talk before getting into bed.

If you’re having trouble finding the connection you need with your partner, I’m just a phone call or email away. My passion is helping couples find their stride and connection with one another, so don’t hesitate to reach out! Let’s set up a quick phone consultation, and I’ll be happy to discuss ways to connect more with your partner (909) 226-6124.