Rebuilding Tips & Advice
Lies and Lying
Save Your Marriage
Break Up and a Broken Heart
About Susie and Otto
Your Partner's Affair Does NOT Mean that You Take the Blame
By Susie and Otto Collins
When a couple is trying to rebuild trust and repair their
relationship after infidelity, they can encounter many stumbling
blocks along the way.
After the affair is discovered and long after as well, a dangerous
either/or dynamic can develop.
What we mean is this:
One or both of the people in the marriage or love relationship might
look at the affair as EITHER my fault OR my partner's fault.
Quite often, the one who actually cheated is assumed to be to solely
to blame for the mess that the relationship is in at the moment.
We aren't for one minute denying the fact that infidelity can
severely cripple a relationship.
The betrayal of trust is something
that can take a long time and a lot of work for a couple to heal
Sometimes, the person who had the affair turns it all around and
blames his or her partner for the infidelity.
In both cases, too many couples who are trying to put the pieces of
their relationship back together again after cheating get so caught
up in assigning one of them as the victim and the other as to blame,
that they can't effectively heal and move on to a healthier, closer
When a couple becomes stuck in these roles and this perception of
what's happened in their relationship, there is little to no room
Chloe could hardly believe her ears...
Her husband Frank just apologized for having an affair-- a mutual
friend of theirs saw him kissing another woman at a bar. He told
Chloe that he wants to make it up to her, that he's ended the affair
and that he is sorry.
But, then, Frank claimed that he wouldn't have had the affair in the
first place if Chloe was more open sexually to him.
After his short
"I'm sorry," Frank spent several minutes listing off all of the
reasons why he thinks that Chloe is to blame for his cheating.
She merely walked away in disbelief. Chloe is dumbfounded that Frank
not only had an affair, but that he blames her for it!
Change your frame.
A change of frame is essentially a change of perspective.
truly want to stay in this relationship and you would like to
things between you and your partner, you cannot remain in an
either/or kind of frame, perspective or mindset.
Instead, it's advisable for both of you to set aside your insistence
that either of you is wholly to blame.
Believe it or not, you don't have to view the affair in terms of
In fact, if you are going to learn what you need to learn
about yourself, your partner and your relationship, it is a good
to change your frame in this way.
This isn't a comfortable or appealing suggestion for many to hear.
What often happens is the one who was cheated on tends to think that
we are suggesting that the partner who had the affair is freed from
This couldn't be further from the truth!
Another way that people understand our suggestion is that we are
blaming the "victim" of infidelity for somehow causing his or her
partner to cheat.
Again, this is absolutely NOT what we mean.
When you change your frame and become less focused on who's to blame
and, instead, begin to look at responsibility, you can widen your
You can also start to see those distance-causing habits that
both you and your partner helped to create that may have contributed
to the affair happening.
Give your partner the opportunity to take responsibility.
As you start to see the communication habits, intimacy tendencies
and other propensities that may have helped drive a wedge between
you and your partner, don't take the responsibility all on your
Own what you did and what you still do that takes you further away
from your partner.
At the same time, give him or her the chance to take responsibility
for making that choice to cheat.
Yes, it is always a choice.
Even as you stop viewing this situation in terms of who's to blame
and who is the victim, make sure that you are giving your mate the
opportunity to take responsibility for his or her own actions.
If your partner says that you "drove him into the arms of another
woman because you..." don't take on that blame.
If your mate claims
that "the other man enticed her to cheat and made her feel... which
you don't do anymore," don't go there.
Instead, make it clear to your partner that you can see that you
played a role in the relationship dynamics that disconnected you
but that you are not taking the blame.
You might ask your partner to come up with 3 things that he or she
is responsible for in terms of the distance between you two. You
could offer to share 3 things that you see that you are responsible
for in turn.
Again, have a discussion with your partner about the difference you
see between responsibility and blame and make sure that he or she
understands it similarly.
When you two can own the habits that you each have that take you
further apart-- including your mate's choice to have an affair-- you
can then begin to learn from what happened.
You can start to change
those disconnecting habits and develop new ones that will help you
heal and rebuild trust.
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