5 Reasons You May Be Blaming Yourself For Your Spouse Cheating

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Heartbreak

Tell me the truth — do you find that you are blaming yourself after your spouse cheated?

Are you angry and sad and overwhelmed, but find that you are ultimately taking responsibility for the cheating that occurred?

Your partner is the one who cheated, but you're blaming yourself. And this self-blame is preventing you from moving forward in any direction, which isn’t healthy.

When your spouse cheats, it's natural to want to look for reasons why it happened and what you could have done differently.

However, deciding the blame lays entirely on you isn't beneficial for your mental and emotional state and will leave you feeling stuck, wondering how you could have changed the past.

So, why might you be blaming yourself after your spouse cheated? And how can you get past that self-blame and move forward into a healthy relationship?

RELATED: Why Do People Cheat? 5 Excuses People Give For Infidelity (That Are Total Lies)

Here are 5 reasons you're blaming yourself for your spouse cheated and how you can heal.

1. You feel rejected.

When you find out that your partner cheated, it's devastating. While there are many emotions at play, the predominant one is rejection — that you weren’t good enough.

For example, one woman thought that she and her husband were happy. They'd just returned from a vacation where they really enjoyed each other and were planning to take another.

Then she looked at his phone and saw messages from another woman. Yes, she was furious.

But at the same time, she immediately questioned why she wasn’t good enough for her husband. Why did he have to go seek love and affection somewhere else?

Was it because she worked too much, had gained some weight, or that she spent too much time with the kids? Was she no longer young or pretty enough?

What could she have done to have kept him interested enough that he wouldn’t have strayed?

Affairs happen for many reasons, but none of them is usually because of something that you did or didn’t have, that you did or didn’t do.

People are attracted to each other for a variety of reasons, and attraction in affairs often has nothing to do with the original partner — it has to do with the bubble the cheaters find themselves in as their relationship developed.

It’s not what you didn’t have or do that caused the infidelity. It’s what existed in that relationship that caused the affair.

2. You feel gullible.

If you're honest with yourself, were there times when you wondered if there was something going on with your spouse?

Did you sense they were distant or not always properly accounting for their time or keeping their phone close? Did you notice those things but push the thoughts away as unthinkable?

Or maybe you truly had no sense that anything was off and learning of this infidelity has made you feel incredibly stupid for missing the signs?

Many of us do this. We don’t even consider that our partner might be unfaithful or we ignore red flags because we just don’t think our partner capable of cheating.

And, when we discover that our partner has cheated, we are mortified that we didn’t know and that the person who swore to love us forever willingly deceived us.

I can promise you that you aren’t gullible for not speaking up when you noticed signs. That you aren’t stupid for being totally unaware of what was happening behind your back.

You are a person in the world trying to get by, to be the best that you can be in a relationship, and to trust your partner to be true.

Your partner lied to you. They deceived you. This is not on you — it is on them!

RELATED: 6 Brutal Questions You’ll Ask Yourself After Being Cheated On (& The Answers)

3. Your trust was betrayed.

When you find out your partner cheated, you simply cannot conceive it to be true.

I mean, this is your person, the person who stood up in front of your friends and family and promised to love you forever. How could this person who you shared a life with for years betray you so completely?

Ironically, this trust is exactly why you're blaming yourself after your spouse cheated. You're so programmed to love and trust your partner, that the instinct to look inward at your own deficiencies is a profound one.

When I found out that my ex was having an affair, I went right to that dark place.

This person was the father of my children, a man I greatly respected, with whom I'd made a life. That he could betray me in that way made me doubt everything about me and us.

If I was questioning everything about my relationship, how could I not question myself for my role in the fact that it happened?

I now know that, yes, my ex had an affair, but that affair didn’t nullify everything in our past. Yes, he let me down in the biggest way — but that doesn’t mean that I bore any responsibility for his actions. What he did was all on him.

4. The impact on your kids.

The biggest victims of infidelity are your children. They are innocent bystanders to their parents' marriage, and when someone cheats, they are often directly affected.

I am the child of divorce and I didn’t want that for my children. When I found out my spouse cheated and wanted a divorce, my first thought went to my kids — and to the family they would lose.

I promised them I would do everything in my power to try to hold our family together, and I failed. All of my efforts were met with anger and disrespect, and I ultimately had to walk away.

For years, I blamed myself for taking the family away from my kids. But I know now that it wasn’t on me.

My partner was the one who strayed in the first place. He was the one willing to put our family on the line for his selfish needs.

While I tried to fix things, I couldn’t do it in a void. If he wasn’t in, there was nothing I could do.

Blaming myself was a huge waste of time. I see that now.

5. You naturally want to blame something.

There is a quote I read sometime: If you are willing to take the blame, someone is happy to give it to you.

As someone who is chronically willing to take the blame for anything — whether it’s my fault or not — that quote really speaks to me.

In the aftermath of an affair, when you're questioning every single thing in your lives, it’s so easy to go down the path of self-blame. It’s what you do.

If a friend is upset, you immediately take stock of what you might have done to make them.

If you bump into someone and spill coffee, you immediately apologize, even if you were the ones bumped into.

If something goes wrong at work, you're willing to take blame, whether or not you deserve it to save your job.

Self-blame is what people do — especially women. But you don’t have to do it. You don’t have to blame yourself for everything that's wrong in the world. And you don’t have to blame yourself for the fact that your spouse cheated.

Blaming yourself when you're cheated on is a common reaction.

It does seem crazy that you're blaming yourself after your spouse cheated, but it's a very common occurrence.

The feelings of rejection, of feeling gullible and deceived, the guilt around the loss of the family, and your tendency to accept blame more often than not are all present as you're struggling with the aftermath of the affair.

All of those things are cloud your judgment and your ability to think clearly.

I would encourage you to push back on those feelings of self-blame. This is not your fault.

You are responsible for your role in the relationship, but not for your partner’s cheating. That is all on them.

And the sooner that you can see this and accept it, the sooner you will be able to move forward and start to heal.

RELATED: 13 Subtle Signs Of Cheating You Probably Would Never Suspect

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.