My friend’s wife has problem with cheating

After 1.5 yrs of marriage I found out my wife was having an affair. She ended it immediately and we went to marriage counseling for 6 months. We put all our cards on the table in counseling and decided to make another ‘go’ at it. 2 daughters and 11 years later I find her at it again. Being distraught I enter counseling; she appears to have no interest in any counseling. In the following weeks I discovered she had somewhere between 7-9 partners over the years including my best friend/best man and my sister’s husband. Don’t make my mistake—once a cheater always a cheater. As she said, "each time got a little easier." As it turned out there were multiple affairs prior to the ‘first’ counseling period. If she had been truthful at that point we could have ended the marriage after just 1.5 years. If your wife is screwing around then you have spent those agonizing nights wondering where she is -only to hear some bullshit excuse that you want to believe despite overwhelming evidence against it. Grow a backbone and call a lawyer—even if you end up settling out of court the lawyer will have good advice. Your marriage is a sham and you need to deal with it or you will die a little every day.

Written by a guy named Jeff

Jeff is a friend of mine. He was obviously hurt by what Joy did. Who wouldn’t be? I was wondering if this story is an example of anxious attachment. Would it be possible for his wife to love him still despite her habitual cheating? By no means am I excusing what Joy did, but do you believe that she was troubled, unhappy and that she had affairs because of self-esteem issues and for sexual thrills. She seemed to have loved Jeff very much but she was dishonest and disrespectful to him by having these affairs, including people that he was close to. She loved him enough to go to counseling and be with him all those years. However, it seemed that it became a compulsion to her, not something malicious. Could it also be that because she no longer seemed interested, that she was no longer happy with Jeff and that she wasn’t sure she wanted to be in the marriage? I am concerned that maybe she was never really happy in the marriage or if she ever loved Jeff. I am also concerned that she was stringing him along. Am I right about those concerns? I am writing to help Jeff out as to why Joy did what she did.

Response:

From your question it is difficult to tell if her behavior is an example of anxious attachment. Anxious attachment stems from a chronic fear of being abandoned—a terrible fear of being alone (see anxious attachment). But, people who are anxiously attached are often more likely to have affairs—affairs which are driven by their desire to be needed.

Extramarital affairs can also be caused by many other factors—the need for attention, sexual desire, an attempt to prove that one is sexually attractive, a troubled marriage, the need for excitement, and so on (see likely to cheat).

But, given the consistent nature of her behavior, her cheating most likely is rooted in her personality, which is more difficult to change and control (see once a cheater). If this is the case, she probably would have cheated no matter who she was married to.

And her cheating doesn’t necessarily mean that she didn’t love her husband. Many people who are in love end up cheating. But, while she may not have been able to control her sexual behavior, she wasn’t honest about it. She hid this aspect of personality from her husband, denying him of the chance to make decisions about what’s in his best interest (see limits choice).

In an ideal world, people would have more control over their sexual behavior or they would at least be more honest about their lack of control when it comes to sex. Unfortunately, many people have a difficult time dealing with their sexual desires and they lack of the courage to be honest about it.

But, such behavior, while relationally destructive, doesn’t necessarily mean that she was unhappy in her marriage.

Hope this helps.

 anxious attachment | cheating wife | lying wife

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