In many instances, betrayal through infidelity can be very close to what we term domestic violence. Unfaithful husbands, especially if your husband has passive aggressive tendencies, are often insensitive to the pain they inflict, just as are perpetrators of physical and psychological violence.
Often a wife is as vulnerable and dependent as the victim of repeated beatings. The behavior patterns of ongoing infidelity often parallel the well-documented stages in the cycle of domestic abuse.
In coaching women who are going through divorce due to a husband’s infidelity, I’ve found they common characteristics with victims of domestic abuse:
- Infidelity and domestic abuse can both become an ongoing aspect of marriage. There is a recurring cycle in which the abusive or cheating husband is repentant and the marital relationship functions well. Then there is another episode of abuse or infidelity.
- The cheating husband may show brief periods of guilt or remorse, but usually seem insensitive to the pain they have caused. And will not accept responsibility for the suffering they cause.
- The wife suffers from low self-esteem, a sense of worthlessness, a lack of control over her life, a dependency on her husband, and a distorted sense of reality in which she believes that what happens is her fault.
- Women who stay for significant periods of time with partners who are unfaithful, often display the same psychological and social symptoms exhibited by victims of systematic abuse.
If you have become an unwitting victim of domestic abuse due to your husband’s infidelity isn’t it time to break the cycle? Instead of driving yourself to distraction why not face the simple fact that your husband’s infidelity is his choice and that choice was abusive in nature. His choices may leave you with no choice but to end the marriage.
If your husband is cheating, take action. Tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. Set boundaries and stand by those boundaries. Don’t allow dependence on an unhealthy marriage to tear down your ability to live life on your own terms and free of abuse.