I often hear from wives who want my help in understanding their husband’s thought process while he was having an affair. It is very important that these women understand what thoughts and feelings were involved in this infidelity. They often tell me that they suspect that if they could begin to understand her motivations and perhaps feel some empathy, then the healing process could begin.
Unfortunately, however, their husbands are often unwilling or unable to share their thoughts and feelings. Or, they may give the wife vague answers like “She wasn’t thinking about anything in particular because she just wasn’t thinking about anything. All my good judgment went out the window.” While there may be a grain of truth to this, this answer does very little to help wives. And, they will often think that if she can’t explain and then correct her thought process, what’s to stop her from repeating the behavior?
I also often hear of husbands in this situation. They often look for ways to help their wives understand their behavior. But honestly, sometimes they don’t understand it themselves. However, with a bit of dialogue, I usually start to see some repetitive thoughts being shared by many of the men. In the following article, I will share some of these ideas with you.
Men often don’t have deep philosophical thoughts while on an affair: Many times, people assume that a man will deeply consider all the possible consequences of his actions and then decide to cheat anyway. I’m not saying this never happens. Some people are very regimented and have very controlled thoughts. But cheating or affairs often happen on impulse. In fact, the vast majority of people who have affairs indicate that they never intended to cheat.
It can infuriate wives when their husbands claim that because their behavior was not premeditated, they are less guilty. It’s hard to buy this and I don’t buy it. They are still responsible for their actions, even if they didn’t think deeply about them. But, assuming that they had long and conflicting conversations with themselves is also not always correct. Because they often have to downplay their doubts and guilt in order to go ahead with the deception. Many know that if they thought deeply about this, the conflicting feelings and guilt would cause them considerable discomfort, and they intuitively want to avoid this.
A man having an affair often has negative thoughts about himself or his life: Often a wife will assume that her husband had very specific thoughts about her and the marriage during or just before the affair. Wives often tell me that they assume her husband thought things like, “My wife doesn’t understand or appreciate me” or “I’m just not attracted to my wife anymore.” While men can sometimes have these thoughts, what is more common is for a man to have these same thoughts about himself rather than his wife.
Sometimes you are not even aware of it. But it’s no coincidence that affairs often happen when a man is most vulnerable or struggling in his life. It’s not unusual to see an affair after a job disappointment or a personal loss like the loss of a parent. Getting old or feeling weak in some way is another common culprit. Quite often, the thoughts he has that contribute to the affair are often thoughts about him. Wives almost always assume that the thoughts are about her or even the other woman. But usually it’s his doubts and worries about himself that win out. Adventure is a way to feel more powerful, attractive, and just plain more confident.
Men who are having affairs often assume that no one will get hurt and that eventually their normal lives will resume: Here’s another thing you should know. The thoughts men have about affairs rarely include how things are going to end. Women who cheat often worry about who will get hurt or what the outcome will be when they cheat. This is less likely to happen with a man. They will commonly act on impulse without considering the consequences in the moment. In fact, they often confess to me that their intention was not to have a lasting relationship with the other person. In short, they are often looking for a quick fix that doesn’t hurt anyone because it will be over very quickly and then they can go back to their normal lives.
This is very naive of you, of course. But this is about as detailed as his thought process usually gets. This knowledge probably doesn’t make wives feel much better. In fact, it is often very difficult for a faithful spouse to understand thoughts and motivations that he himself has not had.
No matter what, I would never have been unfaithful to my husband. So, it was very difficult for me to think about the way he did it, although I really tried to understand. Knowing what he was thinking is a tempting idea, but it’s often difficult in real life. Most of the time, he didn’t have specific thoughts and instead acted on impulse. And, his thoughts often have more to do with him and less to do with anyone else.