This next month or so I want to respond to some of the most commonly asked questions I get as a Betrayal Trauma Coach. This week let’s discuss the question of “Why did my Husband Cheat?”
First I want to reply to the other part of this question that is always the next breath after the first question, NO it is not your fault. It is not because you were not good enough, pretty enough, cook enough, or ANY___________ enough.
In previous blog posts I’ve explained that human behavior can be broken down into 5 things: Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, and Results. We call this The Model. We can use these 5 elements of The Model to explain human behavior, including cheating.
Cheating is an action, or series of actions. Our actions come from our feelings. Depending on how a person is feeling, they will take certain actions. And feelings always come from our THOUGHTS. They do not come from circumstances. Ever.
Humans are often told “Don’t say/do that, it will hurt their feelings.” Really what that teaches is that our actions cause other people’s feelings. And that just isn’t true. We know that because two people can experience the same thing, have different thoughts about it and then FEEL differently.
For instance, 2 students could both receive a B on the same test. So the circumstances are the same. However, both students might have very different thoughts. One might think “This is the highest score I’ve ever gotten!” That thought would make them feel excited, and the actions that that feeling will produce are things like: running home to tell their parents, telling all their friends what a great score they got, getting ice cream in celebration, and the result is that the student celebrates their work.
However, the second student to get a B might think, “my parents are going to be so mad! This is going to ruin my 4.0.” They might feel worried, or defeated. From one of those feelings they might hide the test score from their parents, sulk in their room all night, not eat dinner, and not do any homework. The result they created for themselves is ruining future grades ahead of time.
It’s really important to know that the circumstance of a B grade is totally neutral on its own. It only gains meaning when we have a THOUGHT about it. Understanding the order of things matters. It matters that our feelings really come from our own thoughts, NOT from what other people are doing.
It is important to remember that you, the spouse, can only ever show up in your husband’s Circumstance line. Truly you could do anything you want, and that would be neutral in their life, until they have a thought about it. And since it is true for them that thoughts create their feelings, and feelings drive their actions, and cheating is an action, it can never be your fault that the cheater cheats.
Each human’s actions are totally and completely their own fault. You cannot blame anyone else for your actions. Other adult humans can do whatever they want. We can’t control them. We can, however, control what we think about their actions. And that matters a lot because our thoughts drive our own feelings, that then drive our actions and create our results.
I know that when you think about your husband’s cheating it may not feel like it is a neutral circumstance. I hear you. It might really feel like his actions are causing your feelings, because your feelings about it are SO BIG! Your feelings are so big because your THOUGHT about what he did creates a big emotion.
As hard as it might be to imagine this, another wife might experience their husband’s cheating, and think something different, and then feel very differently from you. Let’s say you have the thought, “He’s ruined our marriage!” You might feel devastated. From that feeling your actions might include yelling at him, calling all your friends crying, looking through his phone to see what other evidence you might find, or staying in bed crying for days.
Another woman might have a very clear boundary that if he cheats, she will divorce him. So when she finds evidence that he has crossed that line, and cheated, she might have the thought, “Now I have the evidence I need to move forward with keeping myself safe and holding my boundary.” She might feel resolved and peaceful. Her actions might include kicking him out, filing for divorce, and calling to chat with friends.
These two women have created very different results for themselves, and it all comes from their different thoughts.
In the same way, the results your husband creates are a result of his thoughts. We know this because some married men have thoughts that prevent them from cheating and some married men that have thoughts that drive them to cheat. In either case, the blame or credit does not belong to the wife. She is not responsible for him staying, or straying.
So you can’t take on blame for anything your husband does. Now, I know you might want to know WHY your husband cheated. You might really want to know what his model is. I don’t know what his model is, and to be honest, we likely will never know. But it is very clear that it is not your fault.
The power for you lies in your ability to make decisions for yourself, own your own thoughts, feelings and actions, and create firm, healthy boundaries for yourself.
Here is the basic formula for boundaries. “If you _____________, then I will __________.” It is giving the other person the power to do whatever they want (power they already have), and deciding ahead of time what you will do if/when they take certain actions.
Another common question that I get around boundaries is, “Do I need to tell the other person my boundaries about (whatever the boundary is about).” No. I have a boundary that strangers can’t hit me at the grocery store or I’ll call the police. I don’t walk around the store yelling that I’ll call the police if someone hits me. Because the purpose is for YOU to know what YOU will do ahead of time, and then be ready to do that thing.
So your boundary could be, “If you have sex with another woman, I will divorce you.” Or “If you chat with other women online, then I will move into the spare bedroom.” There is no wrong choice about the action statement of your boundary, as long as it is something that you feel good about following through on.
Where many people get hung up is thinking they are setting boundaries, when really they are just trying to control their partner. They say “You have to stop looking at porn.” Or “I have a boundary that you can’t go on Only Fans.” The problem is that the partner can look at porn or Only Fans or chat with other women, or have sex with them if they really wanted to. Where a boundary comes in is when you choose what YOU will do after that thing happens.
I love helping women learn to create and hold firm, healthy boundaries. I love to help them untangle in their minds why something happened and what they will do about their own lives after it happened. I am not pro or anti divorce, I am pro-healthy, happy women. After betrayal, you can be happy whether you are divorced or married. The choice is yours, and it’s created with the thoughts you think.
If you are ready to finally feel better after betrayal, if you are ready to take action and take care of yourself, I am here to help you. I will support you as you rebuild trust in your marriage or I will support you as you find freedom in divorce.
I help women, like you, get YOU back. After all the chaos, betrayal, and hurt, I help you return to yourself, full of love, confident, and trusting yourself to have your back completely. You will feel like YOU again, and never feel broken again.
I’m offering you a free session so you can start to get YOU back sooner. Use this link to schedule a free session and see how Life Coaching can help you feel better faster.
If this story has resonated with you, and you’d like help finding your own emotional freedom, I’d love to help you. I have devoted my Life Coaching practice to helping people just like you find the freedom and happiness I now enjoy. I’ve been in your shoes, and I know it can be hard to find help. No worries, I’m here and ready to help you. Schedule a FREE call HERE with me to see if Life Coaching is right for you.
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