Who destroys the marriage – the cheating husband, wife or other woman?

A friend of mine had an affair and got caught by his wife. My friend blamed his wife because, as he saw it, ‘if she was a better wife, he wouldn’t have strayed’. His wife blamed the other woman and her husband. So what we have is a three-way situation, and basic human theory tells me that not all three people can be to blame right? Wrong, because in real life we are all responsible.

His wife blamed the other woman. Why? ‘She should have known that he was out of bounds. It is therefore a personal slight and she showed a lack of respect for me. If I see her on the street I will open a can of whup ass on her and slap her senseless. How dare she do that to me? What kind of woman goes after another woman’s man? The dirty slapper bitch! I am going to phone her right now, tell her husband. She’s gonna regret trying to take mine.’

His wife also blamed him. Why? ‘You low down dirty, sleezy rat bastard!! How could you do that to me, to us. I loved you. This means you don’t love me and never have done. I gave you everything. I cleaned your shit when I had to clean, fed you when you were hungry and fucked you when you wanted to get fucked. I raised your kids and sat through endless hours of your family reunions because another one of your fuckin’ siblings was getting married. You hurt me and I can never forgive you. I gave you everything and this is how you repay me?’

My friend blamed his wife. ‘If you weren’t so fuckin boring I wouldn’t have strayed in the first place. You don’t notice me anymore. I have to get a goddamn appointment to stroke your fuckin knee for chrissakes! All I do is work to put food on your table and clothes on your back and shoes on your fuckin feet. To you, I am just a walking credit card which was fine at first, but lately you been holding back the interest payments. So I lost interest. You don’t even wear nice things to bed anymore, just a pair of jogging bottoms and that fuckin’ face cream that’s supposed to make you look younger. It doesn’t by the way! It was just sex. It didn’t mean anything.’

Blame shifts from one person to the other like a bad tempered STD, but eventually the truth comes out. Before that though, there is a lot of shouting, a lot of nasty things said  and a lot of hatred that spills out, affecting those we care about. Children get a raw deal being thrown from pillar to post and having to endure nasty words that are spat out about their errant dad, or bitch of a mum. When the smoke clears do you think your children forget? Do you think they can? Read more on why it’s smarter not to blame.

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that every cause has an effect. You have to decide how big you want that to be. Some people choose violence, opting to respond to an emotinal battering with their fists by beating the shit out of the other guy and/or woman as if violence ever really sorts things out. Some people go too far, people get maimed or even murdered and they think taking a human life in exchange for hurt feelings is justifiable.

Another friend of mine beat the shit out of the guy who had an affair with his wife. He was congratulated by all but one of his ‘friends’. The one who went against public opinion took him aside and pointed out that you get arrested for ABH but not for adultery and ironically my friend’s future now lay in the hands of someone who had no reason at all to want to help him.  Talk about a stupid situation to put yourself in.

So, your partner cheated on you, the dust has settled, and you are ready to answer the hardest question – why? Ultimately you can only speak from your own perspective. Your answers can only start with ‘I’, not ‘he’ or ‘she’, so that you can take the first step towards closure by knowing what role you played in it. You may not like it but just like taking milk of magnesia, when you feel better, who cares.

In my friend’s situation, his wife eventually stopped blaming him and the other woman.  He also stopped blaming her. Ultimately they admitted that their marriage was over, separated but remain good friends. No, this is not a fairy tale ending but it is a real world resolution.

Remember just 3 things:

  1. Don’t rush the process – take a deep breath and take yourself out of the picture. Give yourself time to go on the emotional rollercoaster where anger meets hate and explodes and see your way through it. On the other side you will avoid making rash decisions and be better prepared to talk.
  2. Look at yourself – be honest and realistic about your needs and your partner’s needs. An infidelity, like self harm, can be a cry for help or attention. If your partner says he/she cheated because you did something, then look at that. If you disagree it doesn’t mean they are wrong or you are right so you can’t really argue that point. But what it can give you is an insight into things that you perhaps hadn’t noticed before this.
  3. Take control – know what you want the outcome to be. In short don’t go down the route of making him/her pay for their indiscretion for as long as you can. This will not make you happy, it will just create an unsuitable and toxic environment for all involved. An affair may signal the end of the relationship and if so you can at least work to make sure the relationship ends the way you want it to. It can also signal an opportunity for growth and sometimes people come out on the other side, stronger and together.

However it ends, you can choose to come out on the other side having learned something about yourself and a bit wiser for the experience.

Join the conversation and leave a comment.

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2 Responses to “Who destroys the marriage – the cheating husband, wife or other woman?”

  1. The first things as women, we will blame the other woman, because it is so much easier!

  2. a man is a man anyday,its just natural for men to fall once in while even if the wife is at his beck n call,men will always be men.am a man so i know what am talking about,even if the man is a saint,outside the home,we are tempted,their are a whole reason in the world for men to fall,a quickie like u know,let me just try this n hey,its nice n we r like wow,lets do this again and it goes on and on until we are caught.

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