Many women I’ve talked to have a quiet question lingering in the back of their minds: “Did I cause this? Did I cause him to turn to other women?”
I’ve been known to say, “If he started before you met, there’s no way you could have been the cause.”
Then I go further, because this doesn’t always erase their doubt:
“You may have added factors that caused a breakdown in the marriage, but they didn’t cause him to turn outside the marriage. You may have, in his words, ‘nagged, been needy, etc.’ but those just gave him more reason to have said, “Look, something is off. I want a better marriage. Will you go to counseling with me?”
Reasons v. Excuses
There is a difference between reasons and excuses. And while the factors you brought into the marriage may be reasons there was distance in the marriage, he can’t use them as excuses for his behavior.
If you look back, you’d probably see there were additional reasons for the distance: his disconnection, his lack of communication, his putting his coping mechanisms.
But most women I’ve talked to dealt with their feelings and needs by tucking them.
That’s much different than dealing with feelings and needs by using them as an excuse to act out.
When my husband tried to blame me for this, at first I fell for it.
For years I fell for it.
And that’s natural! I thought he was telling me exactly what I could do to stop the pain. So where he blamed me, I tried to get better.
But then I learned to say, “You’re right. I didn’t do certain things. Neither one of us did back then. But I will not accept the blame for your actions. You could have could have stayed in the counseling I took us to–so we could work on those things–but you chose not to. I am not to blame for that.”
(As a side note: When we work with couples, I don’t focus on blaming the guy either, because he was probably set up for this, but I do expect him to take ownership for what he is responsible for.)
But the first step is for the woman to stop accepting the blame.
Have you ever felt you were to blame for his actions?
I certainly hope not, but if you have, I hope this article helps you quickly and completely shake off the blame.