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MC philosophy. Affairs are a symptom of a failing marriage

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allatsea posted 6/6/2013 07:20 AM

I've been looking on the internet to see the philosophies that marriage counsellors have in the UK. Do they consider that the affair is a symptom of a bad marriage?
Do they think that the betrayed should take some responsibility for the affair?
Does the cheater have a point when they say that I had no choice but to have an affair?

From what I've read the overwhelming conlusion is that the betrayed must shoulder some of the responsibility of the affair. Obviously we must accept at least 50% of the problems in the marriage but I haven't seen one therapist website that says that the cheater must accept 100% of the affair and should have dealt with it another way.

My WW keeps telling me "people don't have affairs for no reason". "I was unhappy in the marriage and I found someone who made me happy"

Does she have a point? Should I shoulder the blame, too?

alphakitte posted 6/6/2013 07:24 AM

If she murdered someone would the victim be responsible for her behavior?

Hurtherbadly posted 6/6/2013 07:25 AM


NO!! I am a WS and I will tell you that it is not the fault of the spouse that the wayward betrayed you. You did NOTHING to deserve what she did to you...........PERIOD!!

debbysbaby posted 6/6/2013 07:28 AM

I certainly think the betrayed spouse should take responsibility for their part of the problems in the marriage, but the wayward spouse is the only one responsible for making the decision to have an affair.

Ashland13 posted 6/6/2013 07:30 AM

BS Here, I didn't see a stop sign.

Yes, one counselor we attempted to go to in the US believes that.

I do not believe that and it may be said that I am a tainted, bitter BS.

However, I was honestly, sincerely given not one iota of a clue that STBX was fooling around on the side.

So my counterpoint would be, how can we shoulder a burden we aren't aware of, when the WS acts out the marriage as if nothing is wrong and then re-writes it to counselors to justify what was done?

And, if I had any inkling, FWIW, I remember saying to him, "Let's go buy a book and read it together", "let's go to MC together or alone"...I worked 'til I was physically and emotionally sick to fix what he claimed was "wrong".

rivenheart posted 6/6/2013 07:30 AM

In a word: nope. Cheaters are 100% responsible for their decisions to cheat. Responsibility for the problems of the marriage can be divided up any which way. After all, it only takes one spouse to wreck a M. It could even be that the BS was 95% responsible for the M problems. But that only justifies D, not an A. More often, it's the WS who's less invested in the M than the BS though. The less invested S is the one more inclined to cheat. However, there are cases of terrible M's where the WW looks for an easy exit, has an A, and turns it into an exit A. Not saying that's your case, and it's still not a valid excuse for an A. Again, bad marriage is a perfectly valid reason to D, but not to go screwing around.

Ashland13 posted 6/6/2013 07:33 AM

I'm sorry if that's conflicting, for you see, when he finally spit what he was mad at, he was already gone but never told me he wasn't coming back, either.

He was out trying to fix his problems with other people and not with his wife.

LonelyHusband posted 6/6/2013 08:01 AM

An affair is a symtom of someone wanting to have an affair and not having the boundaries to stop themselves.

Beyond that every marriage is unique, every reason different, every cause personal.

sailorgirl posted 6/6/2013 08:38 AM

So if my marriage was failing, why was it healthy, honest, passionate, fun, and functional up until WH went down the slippery slope? Because an affair is not a symptom of a "sick" marriage. An affair is a symptom of a "sick" person. Most WS's are not mentally ill--the disease is metaphorical. Their soul is suffering.

In my case, WH was suppressing his damaged psyche and hiding his insecurities. He was compensating, as if he had dyslexia. Since he is a caring person at the core, he was a good husband. UNTIL he got into a situation which required him to cope with extreme stress and manage emotional manipulation from FOO and OW.

The affair was a symptom of his inability to act like a responsible adult. No matter how great a wife I was, I couldn't make him grow up and deal with his FOO and weaknesses. Marriage itself doesn't have magical healing powers.

What about a situation where the marriage is going through difficulties? Ok, if tough issues in a marriage make people have affairs, why doesn't the BS cheat? Because healthy people do not lie to those who love them best, break sacred vows, sneak, deceive and act out like teenagers.

People do have affairs for a reason-- they are emotionally broken. If someone has a broken back, how ridiculous would it be for the doctor to insist on their spouse having surgery and being in a full body cast, too?

allatsea posted 6/6/2013 09:12 AM

I agree with everything you guys are saying. Obviously her blameshifting is hard to ignore. I know that we had a good and functional, passionate marriage right up to the point where she started to flirt with her boss and he flirted back. Then it spiralled and her loins took over.

But if what we are all saying on this forum is true,(and we would say that, wouldn't we?) why are the websites for counselling and lawyers full of statements about affairs being a symptom of a failing marriage? Why isn't our belief the most commonly held view out there in the real world?

Bystanders seem to nod sagely that she must have had a reason, after all she isn't a bad person......

allatsea posted 6/6/2013 09:15 AM

An affair is a symptom of someone wanting to have an affair and not having the boundaries to stop themselves

I do like this line

[This message edited by allatsea at 9:15 AM, June 6th (Thursday)]

KeepCalm_CarryOn posted 6/6/2013 09:22 AM

Why isn't our belief the most commonly held view out there in the real world?

Because the media and other outlets have glorified As. Because for the most part our society embraces bad behavior. And because, most of all, people don't talk about the emotions of an A. No one understands the pain/confusion/anger/etc. until they're in our position.

Bikingguy posted 6/6/2013 09:23 AM

First I don't think you can have one answer for every A.

The A started with WW and OM when he was single. POS meet someone and eventually got M - WW actually sang at their wedding, how sweet
But POS and WW continued the A for his entire M until this year. At least I had one or maybe two years of being M before it started. How could OM's BW take any of the blame for his fucked up ness?
We like to wrap up this shit sandwich into a nice statistic or one line answer, but I think it is WAY more complicated than that. That's my opinion anyway

jackie89 posted 6/6/2013 09:33 AM

NO WAY! I am not taking any responsibility for HIS affair!

Did he ever come to me in those 3 years of affair, and say, "I'm unhappy, I'm tired of being married, I would like that we work on this, that" ?? Nope

What did he do during those 3 years? We continued to have sex as always, not less that's for sure, other than him picking fights for stupid crap - during that time, I saw no other change from his normal behavior.

So, no in my case there were "no symptoms" in our marriage. Other than him wanting to explore the "unknown" with his COW/My Friend.

Holly-Isis posted 6/6/2013 09:40 AM


You are 100% responsible for your actions, she is 100% responsible for hers. We each have a choice about how we react.

If she saw something in the M that made her unhappy, she could have made a choice to make herself happy. She did, though she says it was the person who did wasn't. It was the validation she got from someone else.

There were other ways. They might have been harder and without instant gratification, but they would've been healthier.

There was the choice of asking you to go to MC in order to work on your issues, better communicate and get closer.

If you refused, she could've sought a good IC to check in and be sure he choices where healthy. What was hers to own and what was yours. Generally a person who cheats isn't being a perfectly loving person in the relationship and could help improve things by looking at themselves.

Finally- she had the option to D.

You only have responsibility for the A if she said something like, "I'm thinking of having an A" and you helped her make the choice to go ahead and have the A.

ETA- all this come from my IC and an abuse recovery program I was in (called Lifeskills International). I believe it to be true not because I need it to be true, but because that's my experience. I see my kids fight and show them they have a choice in how to react. To say someone makes our choices for us gives them too much power. Shitty things happen to us, we decide how to deal with it. The healthier we are, the better choices we make.

[This message edited by Holly-Isis at 9:43 AM, June 6th (Thursday)]

LivinginLimbo posted 6/6/2013 09:41 AM

Hell no!! Our MC has repeatedly said that no matter what issues existed in our marriage, having an affair is never, ever an answer. That's all on him and has nothing to do with me.

Lovedyoumore posted 6/6/2013 09:45 AM

I take 100% of my decision to marry a man that I knew had FOO issues. There was physical abuse by a NPD father, a passive aggressive control freak mother who continued to keep her son on a leash, exposure to porn during preteen years, compartmentalization on a family level ( good, Christian family externally while abusive and sick internally). My mistake was underestimating the damage.

After marriage counseling 15 years ago our marriage seemly broke loose of his family after the MC told my H he needed to emotionally divorce his parents, something that gave my H immense relief to go and live his life with me, free from their critique.

Life has its ups and downs to be dealt with. FOO issues complicate the normal process and what seems so easy to most of us becomes the descent into a pit of bad decisions for emotionally immature spouses. Even flawed, my WH is 100% responsible for making a very stupid, immature decision to cheat on me and our marriage. His IC told him that he used a illegitimate means to address some legitimate problems. These were not issues made by me nor was I allowed the participate in the decision making process. He used a double life, created by himself, for himself, to move into cheating. He learned how to do this at the feet of his parents. While he was learning deceit, distrust, and lying, my parents were teaching me truth, values, and trust. These two styles of living rarely mix well.

I now know this will be a life long struggle for him even after 35 years together. I cannot love him enough, watch him enough, clean enough, cook enough, have sex enough, or look good enough to keep him honest in our marriage. He has to work on himself, constantly, 100%.

ReunitePangea posted 6/6/2013 09:47 AM

My WW keeps telling me "people don't have affairs for no reason". "I was unhappy in the marriage and I found someone who made me happy"

Does she have a point? Should I shoulder the blame, too?

She is absolutely wrong. My WW's affair with OM1 started day one we met. There are others with a similar experience. Based on this it simply does not make logical sense that there has to be issues in the marriage to even have an affair. Your WW is 100% to blame for the A, not you. If there are issues in the marriage that is a separate issue which can be worked on when she starts owning her own shit.

DeadMumWalking posted 6/6/2013 09:51 AM

It doesn't matter whether the M was good or not. Although I agree that people don't have affairs for 'no reason', the reasons that they DO have affairs are within themselves: bad boundaries, bad coping mechanisms, conflict avoidance, poor communication, sense of entitlement, etc.

In a bad M? OK, then the solution to that problem is to either work to fix it or to leave it. How does having an A improve the M?? Oh yeah, it doesn't. It EXPLODES it.

Nothing you did MADE your spouse have an affair. They decided to do that all by themself.

Nature_Girl posted 6/6/2013 09:54 AM

I tried to save our marriage. I did all I could from my end. Had more sex, did sex things that went against my beliefs & past my boundaries, ignored my own needs & desires so I could fully meet his, bought books, bought video tapes, subscribed to helpful emails, got us short-term marital counseling, prayed... Later on after DDay I insisted on more MC, IC, group therapy, tried to open lines of communication again, tried to act in healthy ways for my own mental health...

What more could I have done?

Oh. Right. The problem wasn't me. The problem was him.

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