Coping with a Cheating Spouse and the Blaming Game

Coping with a Cheating Spouse and the Blaming Game

Infidelity can inflict deep emotional wounds on the betrayed partner. And when the cheating spouse refuses to work on addressing the breach of trust and mending the relationship, it can lead to the betrayed pattern being retraumatized. This is especially common when the cheater resorts to blaming their partners as a defense mechanism. 

As a therapist, I’ll share strategies on how to deal with a cheating spouse and those feelings of betrayal, emphasizing the importance of marriage counseling after infidelity and for cheating to rebuild trust.

We’ll begin by unpacking what cheating is in a marriage or relationship and how it is commonly defined.

Cheating is essentially when one partner engages in deceitful behavior outside the relationship. Therefore, they have breached the trust established between them and their partner and failed to honor their relationship’s commitment.

When an individual cheats, they are accountable for their actions. However, many cheaters often shift the blame onto their partner. They may deny the significance of the affair, pressure the betrayed partner to move on or manipulate their emotions to force them to accept the infidelity. 

Why Cheaters Blame Their Partners

Those who cheat often tend to blame their partners in hopes of denying the severity of their actions. They refuse accountability and sometimes exhibit little remorse or empathy. Oftentimes, he or she would say, “it meant nothing, I didn’t even have sex” and they are angry that you can’t just take their word for it. In fact, they blame you for digging and still talking about it. Some might try to justify and apologize superficially and demand immediate trust without acknowledging the impact of their infidelity. And when you bring up the topic of visiting a family therapy center, you might get a defensive or gaslighting response. By blaming their partner, they successfully evade responsibility. However, this avoidance only exacerbates the pain of betrayal while justifying the action within themselves. At some point, cheaters may selfishly disregard how it feels to go through marriage infidelity

The Impact of Blame on the Betrayed Partner

Being wrongfully blamed for the cheater’s actions deeply wounds the betrayed partner, exacerbating their feelings of betrayal and inadequacy. This blame erodes trust and leads to feelings of resentment and guilt. These feelings then linger and put a growing strain on the betrayed. This eventually incites more mistrust, hostility, and self-doubt, preventing emotional healing. When it reaches this point, one might choose to keep it all in and stay on with the marriage in hopes of surviving an affair or simply let it.

How to Deal with a Cheating Spouse

To navigate the complexities of betrayal and trust issues, here are ways to deal with a cheating spouse:

Validate Your Feelings

Recognize the impact of betrayal and honor your emotions. Understanding how to deal with betrayal involves acknowledging your hurt and allowing yourself to process it.

Focus on Self-Care

Prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being amidst the turmoil. Engage in self-care practices that bring you joy and relaxation, and be gentle with yourself during this challenging time.

Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries to protect yourself emotionally. Defining boundaries is essential for managing the aftermath of infidelity and understanding how to cope and move forward.

Seek Professional Help

Consider marriage counseling after infidelity to facilitate healing and rebuild trust. Professional support is invaluable for navigating the complexities of infidelity.

Marriage Counseling for Infidelity

If this is something you are facing, I can help you individually or as a couple through our counseling for cheating spouses. This is a complex issue that is approached by several stages:

  1. Establishing and agreeing on what has happened and why this is such a big deal and so traumatizing.
  2. Exploring what does trust mean, how it works and what will happen down the road?
  3. Establishing an understanding of many existential issues: the death of the marriage, the death of the idea of your partner, the death of the status quo.
  4. An examination of how the marriage has been.
  5. Evaluation to see if there is anything to save.
  6. Exploring what a new marriage within the couple would look like, is it realistic and what will be required.

Addressing the healing and trauma of gaslighting, lying and deceiving and betrayal.

Tammy Fontana

M.S., NCC, CTRT, USA Sex Therapist, Hypnotherapist

A seasoned counselor with years of experience specializing in marriage counseling for those grappling with cheating spouses. Her background includes roles at organizations like and Alife, emphasizing her expertise in dealing with betrayal within a marriage. Recognized as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) in the USA, she holds an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University, ensuring clients receive the necessary support. With a compassionate approach and unwavering advocacy, Ms. Fontana guides individuals toward well-being and growth amidst relationship challenges.

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