Why, oh why, did he or she cheat? You’ve been loyal. You’ve been good. You worked hard to be a model spouse. But your partner still cheated on you. What are the reasons behind this betrayal, other than your partner is a low-life, good-for-nothing scum?
Of course, he’s probably not all those things, or you wouldn’t have married him in the first place. But it’s okay to rant and wallow for a bit. Just don’t spend too long doing it, or you’ll end up being bitter.
While every situation is different, there are some common causes for infidelity.
- Growing Apart. You know it in your heart of hearts. The two of you haven’t been as close as you once were. It’s nobody’s fault. It just happens. In the beginning, you had a good relationship. You thought you were in love. Sometimes people talk themselves into being in love and sometimes they really are in love. But times change and people change and love can fade.
- Feeling Bored. How does anyone have time enough to feel bored? Let alone have time for an affair? But people make time for what they desire. If your partner is feeling bored, or overworked, or tired with his life, he might think an affair is the spice he needs. Maybe even deserves. Or maybe he’s feeling bored and lonely and an affair will fill the void and give his life some excitement.
- Escape strategy. It seems crazy that some people choose to have an affair rather than ask for a divorce. But once he utters the “d” word, there’s no taking it back. An affair is an indirect way of saying the marriage is not good. It sends a message. It may even be an unconscious message. The affair helps him realize that he’s seeking something more in a relationship. It can be a signal to both partners that it’s time to move on.
- Insecurity Compensation. He feels too old, too fat, too bald, too bad about himself. You name it, he needs to compensate for it. A successful flirtation may spark enough endorphins to make him try an affair. Anything to make himself feel better. Porn is another kind of infidelity and another way to feed his need to feel good. He may also feel insecure due to early childhood abuse, causing him to seek extramarital sex to soothe his emotional pain.
- Feeling Neglected. He’s feeling like he doesn’t matter in the relationship. He’s unappreciated and possibly ignored. A love affair with a new woman will make him feel better and prove to himself that he can still command attention. His thinking might go something like, “I’ll show my spouse I don’t deserve to be ignored. I’ll find someone who appreciates me.” And that other person who shows appreciation is the perfect candidate for a sexual partner.
Infidelity is one of the most lethal problems in a marriage. Next week we’ll talk about how to survive infidelity if it happens to you.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact