It’s really bad to hear that your husband had an affair. It’s even worse to hear that it was a full-blown affair with vacations, love letters, gifts etc.

This Is My Affair

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To really understand the enormity of the pain, betrayal, disbelief and the hopelessness, one has to go through it.  Of course, as a therapist I’m frequently an affair witness.  It’s sort of like giving birth – you can read all the books and manuals about it, but until you go through it, there’s always something words can’t convey.

A recurring theme of the “wife betrayed” is the phenomenon of devoting more time and rage directed at the mistress rather than the husband. Again and again I’ve heard the jilted woman devoting an enormous amount of time and energy to the “fucking bitch”, “the leach”, “the whore” and “the slut”.

Do I understand the anger and rage towards the mistress? I do.

Do I understand the need to use the mistress as a scapegoat; a Delilah; as a temptress of the weak man? I do.

English: Samson and Delilah, Guercino, 1654, o...

However, what makes the process of facing reality so tough is that often, the anger against the mistress far supersedes the one against the husband!

I see women not wanting to feel the proportionate rage towards the husband (and you can substitute husband with partner, boyfriend etc.) It is safer to divert some of the rage towards the “seductress”.

It’s not completely his fault! He was raped!

I see the fear.

Fear: “If it is his fault then I have to stick to declarations I made ten years ago, when I said that if I catch him cheating I will walk out.”  Or, “If it is his fault, then if I have an ounce of self-respect I should kick him out immediately and file for divorce.”

I see divorce –

Divorce: I have four single friends my age and each one of them is complaining about being single.

Divorce: I have not worked in fifteen years. I like my lifestyle. I like having my freedom without a boss I have to please.

Divorce: We’ll have to sell the house where I invested all my decorating chops that I’m so proud of. I’ll probably need to move to a condo. Our dog will have to manage without a yard!

Divorce: Who is going to want me? I am not as beautiful as I used to be. How do I know that my next partner will not do the same?

Divorce: Even if my husband betrayed me I have to admit that he is still pretty decent. He’s generous, he shows up where it counts.  He’s a good dad.

I see “men are weak” –

Men are weak: He was tempted by the new secretary who had her eyes on him right from day one. After all he is a man.

Men are weak: Well, it’s his fault, but not completely. If it were not for the bitch who tried to get into his pants, we would still be this happily married couple. Show me a man who would withstand the temptation of a Barbie?

I see ‘da Bitch –

‘da Bitch:  It is true, that in the last couple of years I started going to bed with sweats, and most of the time I fall asleep way before he comes to bed. But regardless, even if I were wearing sexy pajamas, I still would not be able to combat this little whore who had her design on him.

‘da bitch:  I cannot believe that there are women without any morality and integrity. I cannot believe that there are women who want to take a family man away from his wife, and don’t care at all that he’s married! What’s wrong with them? Obviously they are the scum of the earth!

‘da Bitch: She waited until I was out-of-town, when I went to London to see the Royal Wedding. I did ask Joe to come with me, but he said that he has this big project at work and he cannot come. I went with one of my single friends and we had a blast. Little did I know that while I was a tourist watching one wedding, my own was unraveling!

Da bitch: Obviously she waited for the right circumstances. He was overworked, he was alone, he does not like eating alone, he was resentful that I decided to travel without him,  and then she pounced. She got him when he was weak and tired, and the rest is history.

I see “it can’t be me”

It can’t be me: So you see, it’s partly his fault but it’s mostly hers. I would never do something like that. I am moral, I stick to my principles and I have integrity.

It can’t be me: It’s all because of her; and I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of leaving him.

He’s mine…

The End of the Affair (1999 film)





About rachel bar

Psychotherapist and supervisor.
This entry was posted in AFFAIR, DIVORCE, Relationships, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to AN AFFAIR IS NOT FAIR

  1. Loved the piece..You gave great examples of the mindset of “victim” of the affair..but do we wonder why the affair even occurred…what brought on the search, the chase, and the concur? Or is the betrayal of the affair so devastating that the reason it occurs isn’t important?

    • willowsage2 says:

      That majority of information I have read about affairs and/or affair prevention does account for their being problems in the relationship before the affair even occurred. Both parties do share some responsibility for it happening, yet the fact remains if the “cheater” was unhappy, so was the “cheated on” yet the “cheated on” did not commit the ultimate sin against the relationship.
      What tends to happen is the betrayed goes about trying to fix the relationship, the betrayer feels angry for even being caught and “shamed” never taking full responsibility for their own actions and for what I feel is their own character flaw. Wanting the betrayed to “get over it already”, or “it was as much your fault as it was mine”.
      In my opinion, it is much harder to admit you are wrong or see something is wrong and try to fix it then to take the easy way out and seek your comfort elsewhere ignoring the problems at home.
      Everyone makes mistakes; the issue comes in when you do not own up to those mistakes, playing the “if only they would have, then I wouldn’t have” game. I feel that is when the “cheater” plays this game with themselves, they are the only ones they are fooling. When the first sign of trouble arise, and it will, they are going to fall again into their old habits of seeking comfort outside the relationship.
      I have know both men and women who have cheated, some won’t admit their own flaws, others I know realized the depth of the damage they have done in not only their own lives but the lives of others and have worked on fixing that issue within themselves.
      Sadly the ones I know who do not see the damage, who play the “if only game” with themselves, tend to cheat again. These are the only common referred to when you hear the old saying “once a cheater always a cheater”.

      • rachel bar says:

        This is a very well thought of comment, summarizing a lot of the process and the outcome. Read your blog and enjoyed it.

      • All relationships have problems. Sometimes those are problems for only one person…and this is often the one to look elsewhere.
        All long term relationships suffer certain sequences such as temporary losses of lust. If there is a commitment to family, job changes, moves, taking care of sick relatives etc…all can lead to time away from the couple. For one person, it may just be the normal course of action and things that happen when the whole picture is taken into consideration. For the person looking for excuses…it is a problem. Often for them , “their needs” are not being met. They say we have fallen out of love. They look for the rush of something new.
        They may never be satisfied unless they are willing to address their own issues. It’s always hard to admit that we are not perfect. Throw guilt and shame on that and its even harder. Thats when the defenses start up…and the accusations of “being driven” to the other’s arms.

      • rachel bar says:

        I believe that we live in a society that looks for excuses for almost everything in general and betrayal in particular. It’s so hard to look at our own nature, character flaws and to say I am/was weak. So much easier to blame and take the focus of oneself, and focus on the explanation and excuse why it’s someone else’s fault.

        I do it as well from time to time.

    • rachel bar says:

      Yes, Jaded. It is so devestating that the reason seem to not matter.

  2. Maurice Labi says:

    In Western society, after an affair, a man and a woman meet with lawyers. In other cultures, the woman will meet the projectile of a rock. It’s the same offense, different ways of dealing with it. Like everything else, it’s all about perception.

    • Hmm..didn’t think about it from that point…perception..makes me wonder if the emotions are the same between the cheated and the cheater in different cultures…or do Western Society’s romantic views make these affair worst then what they really are?

    • rachel bar says:

      The part that is not about perception is the pain and the enormous sense of betrayal. The outcome may be different in different cultures, but the universality of the emotional injury cuts across nations and oceans.

      • Nicely put…we often feel that our way is the only way and others can’t hurt the same..but pain makes us ALL does not discriminate..and I’m glad it doesn’t..

  3. Recovering Wayward says:

    I wrote about this in my blog and in response to another person’s blog. I don’t think it’s a female phenomenon. How often do you hear about a betrayed husband/boyfriend who goes and confronts the OM? or goes after him physically?

    Understandable emotions, but totally missing the point. If you blame the OM/OW on the fact that your partner has had an affair, it allows you to NOT focus on your marriage/relationship and thus look in the mirror. It’s a displacement of blame.

    but even when you focus the blame squarely where it belongs – on your wayward spouse or partner – it doesn’t mean that you don’t feel visceral hatred of the affair partner. After all, they got involved with your husband or wife, and in many cases, exploit the situation to their own advantage. They tried to take what was yours. They offered the forbidden fruit to your spouse! Hate is normal.

    My wife does not blame the other woman for the decisions I made. Not at all. She has apportioned blame correctly!! HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean on a visceral level that she doesn’t have real hatred for the ex-OW either. My wife both hates and fears the ex-OW. She wishes to destroy she who destroyed, even though logically she knows that I am to blame for all my decisions. Her hatred of the ex-OW coexists side-by-side with her correct focus on me and my bad decisions. She ‘gets it’ — the ex-OW is not the cause of our marital problems, but a very large symptom of them. That being said, “she done hate da bitch too!”

    I can see why people do this. It’s very predictable.

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