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Webster’s defines infidelity as unfaithfulness to the marriage vow or contract; a violation of the marriage contract by adultery. If you have ever been the victim of a cheating husband, you know it is much more.

Infidelity is the breaking of trust that has negative consequences in every area of your life. The first step in surviving a husband’s infidelity is being able to rationalize and understand the actions that have caused so much harm.

There are two types of infidelity, sexual infidelity and emotional infidelity:

Sexual Infidelity:

Sexual infidelity, as its name suggests, refers to sexual activities that are engaged in with someone other than one’s spouse. Activities that constitute sexual infidelity include all forms of physical intimacy, from kissing to sexual intercourse.

Emotional Infidelity:

Emotional infidelity refers to becoming emotionally involved with someone other that one’s spouse. Dr. Seth Meyers, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, describes emotional infidelity as “behavior that one partner engages in that fosters emotional intimacy in the here-and-now and sometimes promotes the possibility of sexual intimacy in the future.”

It all sounds fairly simple, huh? Either your husband did the hanky panky with someone else or he has put someone else’s emotional needs before your emotional needs. If you’ve been on the receiving end of infidelity, the need to understand runs a bit deeper, doesn’t it?

It has been my experience, after coaching many women who were victims of infidelity, that the roots of the infidelity can generally be traced back to one of three underlying causes.


Men who suffer emotional injuries during childhood are more likely to cheat on a spouse. Emotional childhood injuries may cause a fear of intimacy, a fear of commitment, and a fear of being unworthy of love.

If your husband has had problems with attaching himself to you intimately, was commitment phobic, and suffers from low self-esteem, these traits probably played a role in his infidelity.


Some men cheat because of the sense of loneliness they feel in the marriage. Usually this type of man is not able to fully engage with his wife. He doesn’t fully participate in the relationship and is a sitting duck for any woman who can give him the companionship he feels is missing in his marriage.


Are you married to a conflict avoider -- a man who thinks that any show of disappointment by you is an affront to the relationship?

According to Emily M. Brown, author of Affairs: A Guide to Working Through the Repercussions of Infidelity, the conflict avoider is “terrified to be anything but nice for fear that conflict will lead to abandonment.” They don’t have a way to stand up to their spouse where there are marital problems, so the problems go unresolved and the marriage erodes.

This guy acts as if he is happy, everything is coming up roses and all the while, he is seething with anger inside. He is angry because you poked fun at his bald spot. We all know that a woman who truly loves her husband would never poke fun or so he believes.

He is angry because you failed to pick up his dry cleaning. You will be the last to know how angry he is, though, because of his skewed belief that his marriage is perfect and perfection means putting a lid on anger.

He doesn’t even realize how angry he is until he meets a woman who would never poke fun at his bald spot and never forget to pick up his dry cleaning. Not until she got comfortable in the relationship, anyway. Once she becomes comfortable and turns into a normal human being, he can go back to repressing anger again.

Whatever drives a man to cheat, be it fear, loneliness, or anger, it is important to know that the decision to cheat was his. Infidelity has nothing to do with a shortcoming on the part of his wife.

There are many things a wife can do to improve the quality of her marriage.

There is absolutely nothing she can do that will guarantee with 100 percent certainty that her husband will never cheat.

She can know though with 100 percent certainty that if he does cheat it is about him and whatever issues he is dealing with.


Related Content:

Is He A Cheater — a video interview with private investigator, Jerry Palace

How To Catch A Cheating Husband, 15 Signs to look for if you suspect your mate is cheating 

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  • Comment Link Jane Monday, 02 March 2015 20:02 posted by Jane

    I wish I would have read this article MANY years ago.
    When I discovered my husband affair 5 years ago, I opened a gigantic can of worms.
    After "trying to save our marriage" alone, he had refused to give me any information about his affair using a variety of excuses.
    He had good reason to as he had been hiding the real identity of his AP and continued to communicate with her during our "reconciliation"
    When he became resistant to looking into therapy or wasn't even willing to read information about recovery, I did some soul searching and reached out.

    I am in the process of divorce, but in this disaster, our two beautiful kids are the one's who have had to suffer.

    I have learned that what is a "horrible loss" at the time can actually be a blessing in disquise.
    Thank you universe for including me in this process because it has allowed me to transform myself.

  • Comment Link Healing and No Longer a Victim Monday, 02 June 2014 06:35 posted by Healing and No Longer a Victim

    Well he became a cheater, and I don't know for sure; but I believe she wasn't the first.
    Inability to commit and lack of intimacy was certainly an issue. But, I did not see fear, just blame on me. He could not engage and did not participate, (pretended to though, sometimes). But I didn't see loneliness; just felt rejection and being pushed away.
    Anger, yes! Always steaming out for unexpected reasons. It was unnerving. Yet he was always so extra nice to everybody, including strangers than he was to me or his boys. In the beginning he used to yell a lot, but prided himself that he had cut back on that, yet he replaced it with porn abuse, neglect, lying and disrespect for me; oh and lots of drinking. I had no idea of the intensity though. After learning of his affair; it took a while but all the truth started coming out, (not from him though)! Maybe there was fear, I never knew I was so scary. All I felt was continued sabotage, and even contempt from him. I I eventually realized it was abuse and everything could not be my fault, except if I kept putting up with it all. I had the fear and loneliness! Then the stab of betrayal; yep I was angry now too! But, I was supposed to suppress it like he thought he did so well.
    I needed to communicate finally, and he just couldn't.
    And it did get physical, which of course he says is my fault too. I drove him to it. And maybe I did, but it didn't take much! I am not perfect and I was angry. And though some of his behaviors got better, the truth was never told; I was still dismissed as "crazy" and told to shut up or he would leave me.
    His passive aggressive behavior made me so upset and frustrated; god forgive me; I showed anger and that was unforgivable from his side. I was supposed to move on, forget and especially be bubbly, sexy and happy (like his girlfriend was) so he would choose me for sex instead of porn or cheating. And I think he really tried, and so did I. But, a broken heart is not so easy to mend and the continued controlling behavior and lies were the deal breakers. We could never talk about it and so many things did not add up, but I had to just forget them. I tried, but I would get on the computer and find totally disgusting porn pages, and if I mentioned that it was offensive he gave me the silent treatment or a terrible fight would happen that would end in the silent treatment. From my view; he abused the young girl he had an affair with. It was a real power thing and of course he blamed her for seducing him. Maybe he was lonely. I know, I was. I became so angry after I learned of the betrayal and that was the recipe for failure. I tried to deal but, I was basically the only person who took any responsibility for our marriage and family. So when I was hurt and depressed, he had no resources to hold it together. That's when it became physical and I knew, it did not matter who was right or wrong or what the details were. Health and safety were now the issue. My mental health was already a shambles as well as the toll it took on our boys, especially our youngest son who was aware of dad's infidelity way before me...

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 15 March 2013 08:11 posted by Guest

    very helpful points from all on this page. Been seperated and living apart for over a year now after him having an affair with my best friend and neighbor. how cliche' i know right!! she was a repeat cheater as is he. guess i just had to learn the hard way and step back and look at how this all was a soap opera waiting to happen. i am still hurt and very angry about it but trying to move on. asking for a divorce on your valentines day, 25th wedding anniversary sucks! I really thought jewelry would have been nicer, but... after reading many of these i now realize he has always had mommy and daddy issues as well as boundery/controll and anger issues. I am now able to see it more clearly that i am not living with him everyday in the "trenches" of his internal war against his youth and self esteem. I do not miss it or him and never goin back for round 3!!!

  • Comment Link mizzbrooklyn Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:56 posted by mizzbrooklyn

    this doesn't help me at all, and its not always up to the woman to make it work it takes two, and if he can ask for dinner and express exactly how his bald ass likes it then he can very well open his mouth and say this hurts, maybe i don't get all this secret code bs, my husband has been through a lot and we used to talk about everything he chose to shut up and shut down and i know if he was really willing we could fix it but he likes his new freedom and as she said once that other woman becomes normal it will be too late to come home but his lost i no longer wish to be taken for granted while i put him so high i couldn't reach his petal stool! ps my husband isnt balled and i used to always compliment him and tell him how much i appreciated him and adored him etc. he just a selfish SOB. but he will someday figure it out and learn! God Bless u all

  • Comment Link cepstein Friday, 08 March 2013 19:20 posted by cepstein

    This article helps expalin the why of it all. My husband is the classic Anger case. He was always happy on the outside we were best friends but he hated conflict of any kind. Never thought he had so much anger on the inside. He did not want to stay and try to fix things once I discovered his affair. He kept saying he didn't want to be in pain anymore but refused to discuss what that meant. He lost not only me but his relationship with our daughter as well because he is still seeing the OW who is married herself. He has also lost his family and most of our friends because of this. He is alone except for some stolen hrs with the other woman. What a waste but at least I have a little better understanding to how this happened.

  • Comment Link pinky1111 Thursday, 28 February 2013 23:38 posted by pinky1111

    This article hits the nail on the head. My ex was always angry, and always pretended everything was fine in company, it was a little harder to do so with me. I was left confused and baffled as he seemed to be doing one thing and feeling another. It wasn't until I realised he had cheated on me that he was truly not happy. Now I realize as he has cheated on the OW that he isn't happy with her either and until he is happy and solved the issues he has inside himself he will never be truly happy within himself. However I have of course moved on and I understand its all about him not me. I suffered serious low self esteem and worries since the break up and this article has put things right with me, and made me feel there was nothing I could have said or done to stop him from cheating or wanting to cheat.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 31 December 2009 00:28 posted by Guest

    Sexual and emotional: Sexual and emotional infidelity is common on married couples now a days, and mostly men are prone to this condition. I agree with you about fear, loneliness and anger, these 3 things are the most common cause for emotional infidelity, however, there are also ways to avoid these circumstances. For me, love and trust might do the work. Nice article Cathy, Thanks for posting.