5 Ignorant Things People Say About Infidelity

"Home wrecker, thief, selfish, for shame." Time to check your judgement.

Last updated on Sep 13, 2023

pointing blame everywhere  perfectwave, Kenruen | Canva

I’ve heard so many common misconceptions about extramarital affairs. From blaming the other woman to assuming you know every detail of someone else's relationship, these misconceptions only end up harming everyone involved.

RELATED: The Surprising (Real) Reason So Many People Cheat


Here are five ignorant things people say about infidelity.

1. “The other woman (or man) is a home wrecker!”

Here’s the truth: An affair is the last symptom of problems in a marriage, not the first.

When an affair happens, the two people in the marriage have often been hurting for a long time.

The problem develops from neither of them opening the discussion about the marriage problem. Or, when one of them tries to repair the relationship, their partner does not notice or does not reciprocate the communication.

Finally, all attempts at communication can break down, and one person goes outside the marriage to seek comfort from someone else.


Of course, there’s also the possibility a spouse has been acting out the entire time, but the other party didn’t see the signs. Either way, the communication about the relationship has been avoidant, and the problems have been brewing for a long, long time.

The affair did not start the problems in the relationship. The problems could have slowly developed with communication breaking down. Also, the relationship could have been an unsuitable match from the beginning or was based on an abusive relationship dynamic.

This affair happens when the problems become visible in a way neither marriage partner can ignore any longer.

2. “I wish people were kinder to each other. We shouldn’t steal each other’s spouses."

Let's imagine your spouse has a friend who has observed the growing problems in your relationship. They mention to your spouse that your marriage might benefit by going to therapy. You both go to therapy, put in the work, and the results are not good for the future of the marriage.


Your spouse indicates they don’t want to save the marriage, they’re ready to leave, and they want to be with someone else. You both agree to end the marriage.

Once a signed divorce decree and all necessary papers are filed, they start seeing their friend. Is this stealing your spouse, or is it transferring blame for a failed marriage?

Now, Let's consider you both go to counseling based on the friend's advice, communication breaks down, and your spouse leaves counseling without a mutually agreed conclusion, or counseling hasn’t been tried at all.

Then, your spouse starts getting their needs met outside the relationship using dishonestly or secrecy, and their friend is staying involved and encouraging the dishonesty.


This is definitely crossing the lines and could be said to be "stealing" your spouse. And that’s uncool, but you can’t control them, only you.

Each affair is its own unique situation, and we need to pull back and see the big picture.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Why People With Wounded Hearts Are Often Unfaithful

3. “Cheating is selfish.”

I firmly believe cheating is the result of attachment issues that began years ago, often when we were babies or very young children.

Something happened in the home to disrupt our ability to connect fully and freely with another human being, which affected our ability to anticipate and trust our needs would be met.


Something impeded our ability to know and share our emotions. Something made us feel like we were inferior, unlovable human beings.

In my situation, something happened that gave me control issues. My mom had borderline personality disorder, and my dad and stepdad were both codependent on her. I was left to make sense of it all by trying to control anything I could to feel a sense of stability in my world.

We may not remember it. We may think our childhood was normal, or even wonderful.

But the scars show up every time we can’t connect in our marriages. Every time we can’t talk about problems with our spouse. Every time fear prevents us from leaving the relationship when we know we should, and every time we bring our pain to a third party instead of our spouse.


The cure for what ails us is the hard work of seeking therapy to face our pain and brokenness from childhood.

Though some people cheat because they are selfish, other people cheat because they’ve been in serious emotional pain from earliest childhood, they haven’t had exposure to a better way, and they don’t know how else to handle it.

RELATED: 4 Fundamentally Flawed Reasons Cheaters Blame Monogamy

4. “You should be ashamed of staying with someone who cheated.”

If a marriage and family can survive unbroken, then it should.

The best outcome for a family is to heal the wounds and for the marriage to become healthy. The trick here is a healing process requires work, and work is a four-letter word.


In order to save a marriage, you need to work, not on fixing up the other person so they show up as they always used to — but on fixing yourself while your spouse actively works on fixing themselves. This is a challenging experience for everyone involved, especially when there has been an affair.

Marriages start to slide toward divorce when one person in the marriage is ready to do the work and the other person isn’t willing to do their part of the work to heal the marriage. For the person ready to work and change, divorce could be a matter of self-preservation.

However, when both people are ready to do the work, and the relationship makes an amazing and beautiful breakthrough, this is a great triumph of the spirit and in no way shameful. A couple who can recover from an affair to cultivate a healthy marriage is something to celebrate!


If you are on the outside looking in at the relationship, you have no way of knowing for sure what happened (unless you were a fly on the wall in their counselor’s office).

In short, if they’re holding hands and they’re happy and they’re glad they stayed together, be happy for them.

5. “I can pass judgement on what you did.”

Don't assume you know all the issues involved in your friends marriage because you’ve known the person socially for thirty years, or more or less.

Living with the results of making a choice hurtful to another person usually takes tons of work. And when all the work is done, it can still be difficult to admit being wrong. Most people are not going to spill all the details of all their wrongs to everyone they know.


So, as onlookers to an affair, we need to be prepared we don't, and won't have all the information.

RELATED: 5 Brutal Truths About Being The 'Other Woman' In Affairs With Married Men

P.D. Reader is a level one student in the NCGR School of Astrology, but her work focuses on spirituality, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She runs Unfaithful: Perspectives on the Third-Party Relationship Medium.