So, when last we spoke I had just left my husband of 15 years. Now despite the fact that I leaked a little of the plot, in Episode 1, when I left our home, it was because he had told me our marriage was over because of a myriad of reasons why I was a terrible person, a worse wife, and kind of a crappy mother. He blamed me for anything and everything that was wrong in his life including his ongoing battle with his weight (it was because I didn’t cook healthy meals for him) (laugh). But in the midst of these nightly sessions of yelling and blame, he also confessed to something I had suspected (and he had repeatedly denied) for 13 years. Early in our marriage, he had had an affair. She, we will call her Carrie, and her husband were friends of ours when Gary was in the Navy. When her husband took an assignment in another state and I returned home so that we wouldn’t both be transitioning into new jobs a few months later after his release from the military, the opportunity was there, and they took it. I kind of knew, but denied it—it’s a personality trait I have, which we will discuss another time, and Gary denied it too many times over the years when I would get up the nerve to ask. Always the same story, nothing happened. So one night He confessed to me that he was in love with her and that if they had not gotten caught, he would have left me for her. I felt like our whole lives had been a lie at that point, and I was out. Done. Finished.
More than anything else though, you guys, he was my best friend. And as stupid as it sounds, I didn’t want to lose that part of our relationship. I really believed that we could divorce and move on and stay friends. How nice for the kids, right? Yeah. I tried to keep things amicable but he was so angry, and he really hated me. I couldn’t believe that we went from happy to hate in what seemed to me in about 30 seconds! And he would go from his warm friendly self to going for the jugular in a flash, it was so confusing! My friends told me he must be cheating (at the time I didn’t think he was) and that he was being mean to me because he felt guilty. I thought they were crazy. I might have even told them so.
Fast forward to present day. I friend of mine was at work one day when she got a phone call from her husband. He travels a ton for his job and was home for the weekend. He called her on the phone, told her he needed to talk to her, and right then and there, on the phone, he tells her that she has ruined his life and he wants out. His main reason for suddenly wanting out of the marriage in which they shared a child? This one will burn your butts…and if it doesn’t, turn in your girl card right now because you are out of the club!! She recently had survived breast cancer and her lack of energy and cheer was too much for him. Yep! Let that percolate for a minute. Every time I say it I get more disgusted. What a puke! When I heard the story, everything I had personally been through came rushing back. He was cheating! There was no doubt in my mind. I asked my friend, and she said (just like I did) that she didn’t think he was, but that others had asked the same thing. I explained the blame game and my experience with it to her, and she said it did make her feel a little bit better. Was he cheating? We still don’t know if he is or isn’t, but I didn’t find out (well at least not for SURE) that my ex-was until later on too… so, who knows.
But the question is there…
WHY do guys who cheat need to displace all of that guilt and lay it squarely on the woman that they have just devastated?? I mean WTF?
Enter Kurt Smith, Marriage and Family Therapist and his blog, Guy Stuff Counseling and Coaching. Kurt was not available for an interview but invited me to share his blog and any information that I found helpful with you.
I will include the link to his blog in the show notes, http://www.guystuffcounseling.com/counseling-men-blog/bid/86041/why-do-men-cheat-blame-their-partner
Here are just a few snippets from Kurt’s blog post entitled “Why Do Men Cheat & Blame Their Partner?”
Why do cheating men re-write history & blame everything on their partners?
I wrote, “How men cheat is by dealing with the reality that they’ve hurt another by denying it. You don’t have to deal with something that is not a reality to you.” Since denial is one of the coping mechanisms that cheating men use to mentally make it okay to cheat, rewriting history and blaming their partners shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
When cheaters rewrite history and blame everything on their partners, there’s even less that they have to deny. Men who are cheating will try anything to avoid taking responsibility for their wrong behavior, and re-writing history and blaming others is one of the best ways to do that.
How do cheaters deal with the fact that they’ve hurt another?
They don’t deal with it since it’s not something that they think about (see the denial technique described above). Cheating is selfish. It says my needs are more important than anyone else’s.
When you’re cheating, you’re in “it’s all about me” mode. The obsession on meeting your needs doesn’t allow for thinking about your partner’s feelings. Meeting one’s own needs is at the core of the question why do men cheat.
Why do the partners who have been left become the bad guy?
Kurt’s response to this is, “repeat” Cheating is Selfish. They don’t care about anyone’s needs but their own. They avoid taking responsibility for their actions, and they don’t care about your feelings, only their own… Okay, now you have some idea of the cheater’s mindset. When you’re denying reality, seeking to blame others and avoid responsibility, then making your ex-partner the bad guy is really pretty easy and makes sense. Making your partner out to be the bad one, and the one who has done wrong can make your wrong behavior seem right.
Why do cheating men continue to lie, even when the affair is out in the open?
One of the core components of cheating is dishonesty. Dishonesty is what allows cheating to occur. Lying is like rolling a snowball rolling downhill. Like a snowball, lies just keep getting bigger and bigger, and they’re hard to stop once started.
I’ve worked with cheating men (and cheating women, too) who’ve been lying for so long, and in so many ways, that they’ve created such a web of lies that even they sometimes don’t remember the truth. For some people lying can become a way of thinking that’s hard to stop.
Ugh, this has such a ring of truth for me. Can I get a hallelujah? An Amen? If I decide to tell the most sordid tales of my custody battle, this will make more sense to you too. The lies! UGH!
Here is the question I wanted the answer to:
Why do they become so selfish often at the expense of their own children?
Cheaters never mean to hurt their children. Some don’t mind hurting their partner, but not their children. Sadly, hurting our kids’ other parent hurts our kids too.
So if cheaters don’t mean to, or want to, hurt their kids, why do they? As I described above, it’s because cheaters are in “it’s all about me” mode. Cheaters put their needs above everyone else’s, even their kids. Many cheaters are cheating to make themselves feel better (another reason why men cheat), and it’s hard to give up something that makes you hurt less, even if it hurts your kids.
Why do cheaters not show any sorrow or remorse?
Having worked with a lot of cheaters I can tell you that many, even most, have remorse. They just hide it really, really well. And since they’re cheating at least partly arises out of displeasure with their partner (why do men cheat answer), showing their partner any remorse is highly unlikely. When I help them tear down the lies, the denial, the blame they’ve built up, hidden beneath is often regret and remorse.
But listen up ladies!! For women who’ve been cheated on, these explanations may not make you sympathetic towards your man, and they shouldn’t, don’t give that bastard one ounce of your precious sympathy! As an attorney advised me years ago, now is not the time to be nice, now is the time to think mean and be ruthless. BUT, and this is a pretty important but, if this info can help you understand more why do men cheat, and more specifically, why did your man cheat, then maybe you can start to heal.
Healing is easier said than done, my friends. A professional counselor or therapist like Kurt Smith can certainly help you get perspective and help you to start trusting yourself again—because that really is the key, isn’t it? You may still trust others, you might not even have trouble trusting a man again, but you feel like you can’t trust YOU, am I right? It can also help to talk about your feelings with friends in an environment that is safe and nurturing. So feel free to leave a comment for me if you want to share and get an Amen or a Hallelujah or a high five or a raise of a glass. I am here, and I have been there. Until next time my loves…