In this post we will briefly answer a question that was asked by one of our clients. Here is today’s question:
“I’m sick and tired of people saying that I must share at least some of the blame for my husband using porn and having online affairs. This is so hurtful me because I honestly believe I tried to be a thoughtful, loving wife. I really did. And I had no idea he was involved in all of this. Am I right to feel this way?”
Yes, you are right to feel this way. These comments are hurtful and undeserved.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard it said: “It takes two tango” … or that both people must have contributed to an affair. But that isn’t always the case.
Let me start by saying, here-and-now that, no: It doesn’t take two to tango.
There are some very caring and committed partners, who truly share none of the blame at all. Of course, they weren’t perfect – for none of us are. We all have our weaknesses and flaws. But there are plenty of spouses who are lovely, decent people. They truly love their partner and they treat them well. And yet they are betrayed and lied to by their spouse. Did they deserve this? No, they did not.
The cheater alone is responsible for this.
We each make our own decisions in life.
Also, in my work as a counsellor, I have talked to plenty of women who didn’t know their husband was addicted to porn, or who had absolutely no idea that another woman was trying to lure their husband away.
In fact, often these women were trying hard to please their husband. They bought new lingerie. They suggested new things. They made themselves available, despite being ignored or brushed off by a partner who had kept turning them down. They made that extra effort. They tried their very best.
But let’s assume, for a minute that the spouse was difficult to live with, or was emotionally unavailable, or was uninterested in sex (or in a different kind of sex). Does that give the partner permission to cheat?
Surely the appropriate thing would be to talk things through. Or maybe to go for couple counselling. There are other options. Other choices. Other possibilities. You don’t have to cheat, or go online.
Also, if your partner’s loyalty depends on you meeting certain criteria, what will happen the next time he or she is sick, or stressed, or tired, or doesn’t want to have sex – for whatever reason? Or what happens the next time one or both of you are caught in a busy cycle, and the stress of life is starting to push you apart? Does this mean “being committed” no longer applies? I’m guessing most people would say “no” to that question.
Because isn’t that whole point of commitment. Doesn’t being committed mean “I can trust and rely on you all the time, and under all circumstances?”
Yes, people change … and sometimes one partner may decide they want to leave the relationship. However, if that happens, wouldn’t the appropriate approach be to be honest about what you are thinking and feeling, and to talk it through together … like mature adults who respect one another? Cheating is not the appropriate response.
So, no, your partner’s cheating was not your fault. And you’re right to be hurt by the accusation. You have been betrayed and traumatized, and you deserve support, not accusations and attack.