If you haven’t read chapters 1-3 of my book teasers, check them out here! This next chapter is near and dear to my heart as it is a slippery slope women can fall into once they’ve found out about their husband’s infidelity. News of an affair is a huge blow to even the most confident person. One thing I can assure you is searching for ways to blame yourself won’t lessen the blow. Enjoy the teaser and I beg of you, steer clear of the blame game.
4. THE BLAME GAME
“Sadly (and believe me, I wish this wasn’t the case), it is not all the seductive act of an adulteress as to why any of this happened. Why she picked him and why he embraced her is not always important. Those details are rarely helpful in the healing process. She may have “came after” him, but life is about choices. Every. Day. And when we talk about severity, he broke his lifelong vows and abandoned his marriage. She cheated on a silly boyfriend. There’s a big difference.
When I first found out about the whirlwind that was my husband’s double life, my mind was playing the rerun on steroids game. I would rethink every conversation, every phone call, every place he had been, doubting the truth in all of it. And how easy it is to assign every personal flaw or insecurity to a different portion of why this happened in the first place. If your mind has the tendency to play this game, STOP IT. The reasons husbands cheat have very little to do with their wives. There is no perfect spouse, so why focus on any flaws you brought to the marriage. Any mature beings would voice unmet needs, work together to improve them, and above all commit to one another regardless of feelings or circumstances. Welcome to marriage!
The reasons given for why an affair happened are never the REAL reasons. There are much deeper emotional issues behind why a man leaves his wife and family. The selfishness is deep rooted. The delusion is thick and the lies are ones they have clung to for far longer than you know. Don’t blame yourself. Nothing about who you are excuses your husband’s choices.
One of my life lines and recommended reads to anyone who has experienced this type of betrayal is, Shattered Vows by Debora Laaser. It’s funny how before this happened to me I would have glanced at this self-help book, thinking to myself, ‘How dramatic! Get a grip, women!’ Now, of course, I see the title of this book as nothing but fitting. Shattered is the only way to describe the state of your world when there has been such an intense deception. This book helped me understand the whys behind affairs. It shed some much needed light on the common issues that lead to an affair.
The chapter I will focus on helps answer, “How Could This Have Happened?” … Who to blame? The wife? The husband? The culture? Well, let’s be real the reason behind this poor of a choice comes from a web of undealt messes.
‘Infidelity of any kind is really about searching for something that is missing in one’s life- and probably has been missing for a very long time. It is about using a false substitute for something genuine that is desired. It is an intimacy disorder- a need to connect at a deep emotional and spiritual level with one’s spouse and with others but a lack of the skills to do so. The problem, then, is much deeper than sexual impurity itself. It is about a yearning for something more and a determination to find more- even at emotional, spiritual, and relational prices no human being can afford.’
‘The problem is never the problem! The way we cope with the problem is the problem … Sexual acting out is always a sinful choice. Still, you need to understand that it is about coping with feelings such as anger, fear, loneliness, sadness, anxiety, boredom, and disappointment.’
‘I want you to hear again: your husband’s sexual betrayal is not about you. You didn’t cause it. It is one of his ways of coping with painful feelings, and it is a horrible, sinful choice. All coping is destructive to those who turn to it. Over time and with repetition, any coping mechanism can become addictive. And whether it is sex or food or work or rage or withdrawal, the consequence of turning toward coping mechanisms instead of safe people and healthy choices is that you will slowly lose your heart- your connection to God and to people you love.’
Oh my!! These words were, and on the hard days, still are my saving grace. It is very important that you do not wear the weight of your husband’s choices in any way, shape or form. New insecurities will be coming at you hard, fight em off. Hold on to the core of who you are. Remind yourself of the amazing qualities that make up your worth. It may seem odd and some may even deem it vain, but for the time being, it’s very necessary. Don’t focus on why your husband made the choices he did. You can’t control his choices. You can’t control his desires. And you sure as hell can’t control the path he will ultimately take. However! You can control your reactions to this horrible hand you’ve been dealt. You can control what you allow your mind to fixate on. Above all, you can control the path you take, the one lined with obedience that WILL move you forward.”
Image by Elissa Anne Photography