He’s the one who broke your sacred vows, and tore your heart to shreds by cheating on you; so why do you feel guilty?
It may not help you actually feel better, but at least it will give you a starting point as you sort out all those agonizing, gut wrenching feelings and conflicts that your cheating husband has triggered in you; the shock, the denial, the nausea, sense of loss, betrayal, abandonment … and the inexplicable guilt you feel for being angry at him.
You’re afraid to even discuss it with your friends. They’d think you were nuts. Why feel guilty when he’s the one who messed everything up?
For one, as women, we’re nurturers and caretakers. Society expects us to be kind, forgiving, poised. In other words, to never show our anger. Yet, that’s not the whole story. We also tend to blame ourselves for things that are too emotionally hard to deal with, like a husband’s infidelity.
There’s more. It’s a documented phenomenon that oft-times the abused will placate or seek forgiveness from the abuser. It’s called the Stockholm syndrome (when a hostage, for instance, begins to feel friendship for her abusers.) A dog will often cling to an owner who has punished him, licking and begging for his master to ‘love him’ again. Same idea.
There’s also another dynamic; a psychological tactic called diversion or misdirection (distracting your attention from what’s really going on, in this case, his guilt), which could be compounded by his use of ‘projection’. Projection is a way of royally turning the tables on you, like ‘the pot calling the kettle black’.
So, not only are you sincerely grappling with your own painful feelings while trying to ‘own’ who’s at fault for your husband cheating, he’s adding fuel to your fire. By making you doubt yourself, he moves the blame from himself, buying time and relief from the drama — at your expense.
Feeling anger at your cheating husband is normal. It’s a natural, justifiable and healthy response. Don’t let him take that from you, too.
Once you acknowledge the anger, you can start to move towards healing (whatever form that takes, be it reconciliation or divorce.)
You need help to be able to deal with all this. Seek out a professional counselor; join a support group; enlist a trusted friend; or get comfort and guidance at your church. The important thing is that you shouldn’t go it alone, and you don’t have to; there is help out there. Be open to help.
Yes... it can. Just like thousands of other couples, you can avoid divorce after an affair by working together through a marriage-healing plan. You follow the right steps... in the right order... and end up with a marriage stronger than it ever was before the infidelity.
Recent studies show divorce doesn't make women happier. And besides that, if you never work through the trust issues caused by the affair you'll later find it impossible to trust the next man you get close to.
This site is dedicated to giving you hope. Let us help you and your husband start your marriage over with a clean slate.