Infidelity. It has to be one of the toughest marital problems for any couple to discuss. Trust and honesty serve as the foundation of marriage. People enter their unions believing that they can trust the person they just made a life-long commitment to. When something like infidelity happens, it shakes the foundation that the marriage stands on. Once there is a crack in your foundation, what do you do next?
When a person finds out their spouse broke a wedding vow by failing to remain faithful, the questions begin. Why would he do this? Did I do something wrong? I thought we would last forever. Can I ever forgive her? Does he love the person he cheated with? Is this the person I married? How did we get to this place? Why did this happen to us?
And these are all valid questions, of course. When you trust someone and that trust is broken, you want to know why. Some people even wonder if they played a role in the other person’s behavior—maybe causing them to connect with someone else by making them unhappy? It’s unfortunate, but the person who is being cheated on can even wonder if they did something to deserve it.
The details involved with any case of infidelity can vary a great deal. It is tough and only the people involved can determine if forgiveness is possible, and what they are willing to do if they would like to work on their marriage. But despite the differences that exist in every situation, I do believe there are some commonalities in terms of why a person cheats.
Here are 3 reasons why your spouse may have cheated on you:
A Lack of integrity. Having integrity means that you say what you mean, and you mean what you say. People with integrity do the right thing, even when no one is watching. When you cheat, you lack integrity, even if for a moment. It doesn’t mean you never had integrity, or that you never will again. It just means that during that space in time, your actions proved that there was a lack of integrity at play. There is no denying that.
Being a coward. The decision to cheat is often connected to an earlier decision to avoid dealing with what’s wrong in your marriage. Marriage is tough, and sometimes you need to have painful but necessary conversations. But having those conversations and determining where your marriage stands requires courage. Walking away from your commitment, and any potential problems, for a momentary fix is a punk move. Yep, I said it. Have the guts to work through your marital mess instead of stepping out on the person you promised to stay with forever.
Immaturity. With maturity comes discipline—the ability to do what is right, even if you have an impulse to do something else. Typically the decision to cheat is an impulsive one. Maybe your marriage has been a struggle for years. Maybe it’s been months since you were intimate. Maybe you even feel like your marriage just won’t last. Honestly, I get that and I understand how meeting someone who makes you feel good might be appealing. But as a mature adult, you have to be able to control that impulse you may have and walk away. Everyday we avoid certain decisions that may seem appealing, because we know a severe consequence will follow. If you were mature enough to marry, you should be mature enough to walk away from what you know is wrong.
I firmly believe that cheating is always about the person being unfaithful. Even if the marriage is an unhappy one, and even if a person begins to fall out of love or finds their spouse impossible to live with, there is always a better option. There is always a better way to deal with things.
So if you have ever been cheated on, please know that you are not to blame. If someone made a commitment to you, even if you played a significant role in damaging your relationship, they should still honor the commitment they made.
I am not suggesting that anyone who has ever cheated is a bad person. I have met wonderful people who have cheated before. I am, however, suggesting that the person doing the cheating has to own their behavior. When anyone does something wrong, the best approach is to own it, learn from it, and try to do better. Trying to blame the person you hurt—well, nothing about that approach sits well with me.