Your Cheating Spouse Is Trying To Tell You Something!


Infidelity: Your Cheating Spouse Is Trying To Tell You Something!
Is infidelity really just a way to communicate unmet needs in a relationship?

Infidelity doesn't always signal the end of a relationship. I worked with a couple several years ago who came into the mediation session with their very young baby, and told me they were planning to divorce. During the discussion, I learned that the husband, Charles, who traveled extensively on business, had cheated on his wife, Jesse, while she was pregnant. During another discussion, Charles told me that Jesse had, in the second year of their marriage (four years earlier), had a brief affair.

Charles had not fully worked through the pain he experienced at that initial betrayal, so early in their marriage, even though he outwardly forgave Jesse and took her back, and they subsequently had two children. When she was pregnant and not feeling well — thus less sexually available to him — and he was traveling, all his feelings of pain and abandonment welled up and led him to seek solace in another woman's arms.


Infidelity is often an expression of unhappiness with the relationship. In some important ways, the cheater's needs are not being met. It is a poor method of communication, but is often an attempt to communicate a message, nonetheless. This is why, for so many couples, infidelity is discovered because the cheating person "inadvertently" leaves an e-mail open on a computer, or a photo lying on the desk, or a note left in a pocket, where the spouse will likely find it. The cheater has an unconscious wish to be caught because he or she is trying to communicate with the spouse.

We all feel vulnerable about showing our sexual selves to another person, which is one of the reasons that sexual intimacy is so exciting. To have your partner choose to be sexual with someone else can feel like the deepest kind of rejection. It can be (though isn't always) the most painful thing to deal with in a marriage.

In order for a relationship to heal after infidelity, the couple has to work together to get to the core of the original problem. During discussions in mediation, Jesse said, "I thought you forgave me for that!" and Charles was able to talk about how hurt he had been at the time, how Jesse had burst all his newlywed hopes and ideals. They realized that they had both felt the same hurt, and as they began to talk, each was able to acknowledge, and apologize for, the pain of the other. They began to discuss where their relationship could go, and started couples therapy. Nine years later, they are still married.

By gaining understanding of what motivated the cheater, the spouse may come to learn that it was a desperate act. If the cheater had the insight and vocabulary to speak more directly to the spouse, perhaps they could have worked more directly on the difficult issues of the marriage. I have come to believe that most people are doing the best that they can, and if they could have found another way to express these issues, they would have.

Years ago, I worked with a couple in which the husband had left his wife for another woman. I quickly saw that the wife was a bully who did not let the husband get a word in edgewise. The wife offered a very unequal division of assets during their mediation, and she also blocked the husband's access to their child. I could see that the husband had felt stuck in an abusive relationship, and he could not figure out any way to leave it — other than to sleep with someone else. Because the wife was not able or willing to open herself up to seeing things from the husband's perspective, they were not able to finish their divorce in mediation.

If you are not able or don't want to reconcile with your ex, you should try to get the support you need to move on. Not forgiving won't get you very far, and anger hurts you more than it hurts your ex: You are the one carrying it around while walking through the grocery store, walking down the block, picking up your kids. 

When I'm angry, I often feel the desire to "teach them a lesson." But only life can do that — that's not our place. If someone has cheated on you, they have fired you from taking responsibility for them.

Your first priority, if you have found out that you've been cheated on, is to take care of yourself! This discovery may be the trigger for a lot of restructuring in your life, and you may have to let go of hopes and dreams that will no longer be in your future. Be sympathetic to yourself; an affair is a lot of take in and adjust to. Spend time with people who you know, love and support you. Find a therapist to help you feel the pain and anger. Give yourself time to grieve.

And remember: the best revenge is a life well-lived!

Rachel Fishman Green, Esq.
ReSolutions Mediation Services

More infidelity advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Rachel Green


Rachel Green

Owner of ReSolutions Mediation Services in NYC - helping families to resolve conflicts.

Location: BROOKLYN, NY
Credentials: JD
Other Articles/News by Rachel Green:

The #1 Way To Survive The Roller Coaster That Is Divorce [VIDEO]


Divorces are ugly, messy and utterly heartbreaking. It doesn't matter how you slice it; there is no way to get around the fact that separating from someone that you thought was your soulmate can be devastating. It is seriously one of THE worst feelings in the world. There's no question that going through something like that can change you and your ... Read more

How To Make It Work When You Just Can't Stand Your Ex [VIDEO]


There's no question that getting divorced is complicated. Having to plan ahead for what holidays will be like, not to mention what it means for your family, would give anyone mixed feelings. In fact, being angry about what happened and how you guys got here when everything seemed to be going right is only natural. Marrying someone and figuring out that they ... Read more

The #1 Thing That Will Make Dealing With Your Divorce Easier


Making the decision to get a divorce is seriously scary. No one ever really expects that they'll wake up one day and realize that their relationship isn't working out and there's nothing they can do to save it — Not to mention having to face the fact that they'll be living apart after being together for so long. But do you know ... Read more

See More

My Videos
Must-see Videos
Most Popular