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This Is Who Most People Blame for an Affair — and the Answer May Surprise You

Updated on November 14, 2018
Farawaytree profile image

Michelle's experience with domestic abuse and adultery drive her to learn about human relationships and the psychology behind them.

I once wrote an article about mistresses and how an affair felt from the perspective of one. I fully expected the piece to be utterly crucified. I assumed that absolutely NO ONE wanted to hear anything that related to the feelings of a woman who embarked on an affair with a married man. Nonetheless, I published the article.

And the response stunned me.

The outpouring of confessions and stories from those who had been involved in an affair at some point in their lives or were still involved in an affair absolutely floored me. There were so many.

... in an online survey I created in which 18,561 people have participated in so far, only 2% of people solely blame the mistress for an affair.

It wasn’t just women who were writing to me privately about being involved with a married man — it was men as well. It was also wives who had been destroyed by their husband’s love for another woman or by their serial cheating. Families were desecrated. People’s lives were shattered. All in all, the descriptions of how affairs affected people in the real world were deeply tragic.

The purpose of the original article was to bring attention to the fact that, quite often, it’s usually the “other woman” who gets blamed for an affair and to also point out that that there could be many other dynamics at play in the scenario of a woman deciding to be with a married man.

Who is really to blame for an affair?
Who is really to blame for an affair? | Source

Usually, the scorned wife will immediately lay blame to the hussy who stole her man away — or so I thought. As times have changed, apparently so have people’s attitudes about who is responsible for an affair to begin with.

In fact, in an online survey I created in which 18,561 people have participated in so far, only 2% of people solely blame the mistress for an affair.

The highest percentage of the blame goes to the husband and the mistress together at 34%, with blame placed solely on the husband coming in — not far behind — at 31%.

Furthermore, 24% of people blame all three parties involved. This can only lead me to believe that many people think both a husband and a wife are responsible for keeping their marriage in good condition to begin with but that the mistress should definitely carry some of the blame as well.

The outpouring of confessions and stories from those who had been involved in an affair at some point in their lives or were still involved in an affair absolutely floored me.
The outpouring of confessions and stories from those who had been involved in an affair at some point in their lives or were still involved in an affair absolutely floored me. | Source

Many people have commented that if the wife were doing “her part” in the relationship, an affair would never happen at all, while others maintain that a cheater will always be a cheater, no matter how good the marriage is.

The husband and wife as responsible parties together for an affair have taken 5% of the blame in the survey, while the wife as the sole responsible party for an affair has garnered 2% of the blame, to match the results of the mistress.

The thing that stands out most to me about the results of this survey is that contrary to what I had previously thought, a lot of women actually don’t solely blame the “other woman” for an affair. They do hold their husbands accountable for their actions. They do recognize that no matter how wrong a mistress may be in her actions, the husband was the one who took a vow to stay faithful within the marriage.

These "other women" are often so completely convinced that the men they’re sleeping with are going to leave their wives for them that they forsake everything else in their lives, such as their friends, families, and careers.

Who is more responsible for an affair?
Who is more responsible for an affair? | Source

Time and time again, I hear from women who are involved with older, married men. These "other women" are often so completely convinced that the men they’re sleeping with are going to leave their wives for them that they forsake everything else in their lives, such as their friends, families, and careers.

A lot of the time, sex does play a huge role in keeping an affair alive. It’s the thrill, the secrecy, and the attention. A lot of the time within an affair, sex is interpreted as actual love, caring, and concern.

Ultimately and sadly, the stories I hear involving women getting involved with married men usually ends the same. The woman ends up alone, insecure and full of regret. Many times, depression becomes an issue and it can take years of therapy to get back on track — if that ever happens. The husband never leaves his wife and he goes on with his life and family. The debris of emotional damage gets left behind for someone else to clean up.

The aftermath of an affair can be devastating
The aftermath of an affair can be devastating | Source

Though the results of my survey gave me hope that women solely blaming other women for their husband’s infidelities is not actually a thing anymore, it also opened up my eyes to how many people out there are struggling with the heartache of being lied to, cheated on, and broken by the pain of relationships that altered their lives forever.

My hope is that as we see the view from all sides of an affair and attempt to break down the walls of judgment, we can start learning how to build healthy relationships where there’s no need to create all of this chaos and pain just to feel truly loved by someone.

What do YOU think primarily drives people to have extramarital affairs? (If you have your own answer, leave it in the comments section!)

See results

© 2018 Michelle Zunter

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    • Farawaytree profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Zunter 

      8 weeks ago from California

      I always love your comments!! Thank you!!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      8 weeks ago

      "They do recognize that no matter how wrong a mistress may be in her actions, the husband was the one who took a vow to stay faithful within the marriage." - This makes total sense!

      Those people who blame the other woman do so from an emotional place and not a mental place. In some instances the "other woman" may not have known the man was married before she fell for him.

      The goal of most cheaters is to hold onto all that is "good' in their primary relationship while addressing their other "needs" on the side. Very few cheaters are looking to (replace) one relationship with another. Instead they want to "compliment" what they already have.

      There are three basic types of cheaters

      1. The Incessant/Serial Cheater

      This person has never been faithful in any long-term relationship. Monogamy for them is the equivalent of going on a strict diet. It's not a matter of (if) they will cheat but (when) they will cheat. These people usually get bored very easily and are always in search of the thrill that comes with being with someone (new). There's nothing you could ever do that would ever make you "new" again. Their motto is:

      "Variety is the spice of life!"

      2. The Unbelievable Opportunity Cheater

      This person is not "proactively looking to cheat". They may have a secret crush on someone at work, fantasizing about a stranger they see on the train or in Starbucks, or have lingering memories about an ex. One day that person actually hits on them or makes it known there is a chance to turn a fantasy into reality. If it's during a business trip or their spouse is going to be out of town and unlikely to find out they may cave in to temptation. This is especially true if the cheater is young and immature. In some instances they may be egged on by peer pressure from their friends to "go for it" while on a "boys night out" or "girl's getaway" especially if the other person is "hot'. Sometimes this type of cheater will later confess out of guilt.

      3. The Discontented Cheater

      This person blames YOU! If you had not done or stopped doing whatever they would have never stepped outside of the marriage. Ironically a lot of betrayed people want to take some blame because in their mind if it's "their fault" it means they keep it from happening again. It also helps one to save face with family and friends if they've always told them cheating was a "deal breaker".

      Now they can tell their family and friends "I neglected him/her or I was closed off emotionally....etc" It's so much easier to forgive a cheater when you assume responsibility for their actions.

      The bottom line is both monogamy and cheating are (choices) an individual makes. It's not a DNA code. Some people would do better to never attempt to commit while others don't realize they're too young/impulsive and simply not ready to commit.

      However very few people on their wedding day are planning to cheat. I've known lots of men who believed they were hanging up their "player" days after their bachelor party.

      Whether it's having children or boredom at some point all long lasting relationships can slip into a rut if a couple is not careful. Suddenly a person looks to "justify" having a "friend" their spouse knows nothing about or they've coined the term "work spouse" for co-workers. Gradually they become emotionally invested and physically connected. As much as society decries affairs they're also revered as romance tales. "They love each other but can't be together..."

      "He found the (right woman) at the wrong time." "Life is so cruel."

      Obstacles have a way intensifying passion and romance.

    • profile image

      Deb in dallas 

      8 weeks ago

      Interestingly I stated an affair with a man solely because I wanted sex. I had just moved to DFW and had a bad breakup and this man I was instantly attracted to, he was a police officer, whom I met on a 911 call. It was him who moved it to an emotional level, we were talking about him, not about his life with his wife, but all his medical issues, his job, buying s car, house renovations, his partner at work, the cases he worked in, his real estate business, etc. I ended up breaking it off with him, but ended up telling his wife because he wouldn’t let me go. I cared very much for this man, but once I saw his true colors, his narcissistic self serving tendencies, I let him go. I learned about his lies in a police interview regarding our relationship, this man who I thought cared spat all over me, now before you say I deserve it, what do you think he is doing to his wife, his cash cow? If you think he would destroy her if need be, that would be wrong. Some where in his mind, he feels just and doesn’t seem to have the capacity to love anyone, not even himself. He is the every cheating man personified.

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