If you cheat on me, you are crazy!
What's behind what spouse's do?
What made them do that?
Relationships have confusing moments. Making sense out of the motivations behind what happens is challenging. You know what you see, and what you feel, but are unsure what motivated your partner's actions.
Making sense out of the motives is really confusing when you're unsure what motivates your own actions, much less theirs. Although everyone wants simple answers to their relationship, those simple explanations aren't so easy to find. They're even harder to accept once you find them.
When you see something that puzzles you, you wonder "What made them do that?". More commonly you ask yourself "Why?"
What I don't understand or accept must be insane
When your spouse’s behavior doesn't make sense to you, it doesn't automatically mean that they are ‘insane.’ It means that you don't understand or accept their reason for what they did. This is especially true when assuming that they are insane for cheating on you.
Assuming that your spouse has mental or emotional problems based on your standards is presumptuous. Although you make sense of the world based on your standards, it doesn't mean they use the same standards and mental constructs that you do.
Your spouse may not understand your behavior or the reason you gave them for doing what you did may not make sense to them. Just because they have trouble accepting what you told them does not make you ‘insane’.
Differences in value systems
Differences between your value systems and your spouse’s also show up when you are married to someone from a totally different culture or country. Although you may believe that all cultures are equal, when it comes down to personal choices, one value system will dominate over the other one.
The differences in culture can turn into power and control games between the both of you. Understanding these differences can go a long way in navigating the challenges such differences present.
Before assuming that your spouse is ‘insane’ you may need to find out what you are actually dealing with. Assuming that someone is insane based on them making the choice to cheat on you is a huge narcissistic assumption.
The logic is ‘because you do not stay loyal to me, you are insane’. That kind of logic may work for labeling everyone around you and finding persons to blame, but it will not improve the relationship. Your spouse may assume that for a person not to cheat on you is an insane behavior.
Needs and Patterns
Cheating like many other behaviors is driven by ‘perceived needs’. The cheater assumes that having an affair will meet their needs. Their solution to the problem of an unmet need is ‘cheating’.
There may be other solutions, yet they are either not seeing them or choosing to ignore them. When you attempt understanding your spouse’s behavior, you may not like what you discover. When you discover their motives for cheating or what they assume their needs are, it may make you feel uncomfortable.
Your spouse may have values where cheating is expected or allowed. When your spouse has a long family history of cheating, there may be some strong family patterns that are behind what you are dealing with.
One of the shocking realities behind cheating is that there is a strong family component to it. Yes, that means that cheating runs in families.
They may also have a value system that allows cheating. When their values see nothing wrong with cheating, you will have a hard time convincing them that what they did was ‘wrong’, much less trying to call them insane.
Besides the challenges that come with being married to someone with different values, there is also the possibility that they are inconsistent in living the values they espouse. Inconsistency in values does not automatically mean that they are insane.
Many people are inconsistent in living according to the values they espouse. Having double standards or inconsistent standards is common. It is confusing to live with someone who has double standards, but it does not automatically mean that they are insane.
Your spouse’s value system may be more akin to ‘love the one your with’ rather than one where they are 100% committed to you. The two of you may have different value systems when it comes to the institution of marriage.
In a survey I conducted with over 500 couples, I found that the connection between the values a cheater believes about cheating and whether or not they cheat are not connected.
You may have a totally different definition of commitment and marriage than your spouse does. When you and your spouse have different expectations in that area of what ‘marriage’ is, it leaves little common ground on which to build a relationship. It also leads to many misunderstandings about cheating and what constitutes ‘cheating’.
And then there's the possibility of sexual addiction
If your spouse has a sexual addiction, the relationship dynamics change. In the case of sexual addiction, they may still be committed to you, yet find themselves unable to deny their addiction.
Engaging in their addiction makes sense to them. Even with the potential dangers, it makes perfect sense for them to ‘get their fix’. While in the midst of the addictive cycle, you may not be able to make sense out of what they are doing, but for the addict, their behavior makes perfect sense.
Your spouse may not be insane. There could be some other explanations underlying behavior that you do not understand. Finding out what you are dealing with is important in finding a workable solution to the situation.