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Excuses with Validity

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

Hear me out, validity does not mean that these justify infidelity. But no marriage is perfect and within your MLCers excuses will be some valid criticisms rather than words tossed out to get you off his back. It is wise to listen to what he's trying to say, rather than what is coming out of his mouth.

You weren't interested in sex.
Why does he feel this way? Did you recently have a child? Is there some other medical reason? Could you have a hormonal imbalance? Is he just making it up or is this his perception? Be careful with that last question; are you dismissing his complaint? How would you feel or do you feel when he does the same to you? Did you refuse sex in favour of television? Raising children is work and you are tired. Working full time in or out of the home keeps you busy and you are tired. Sometimes life can be tiring. What can you do to feel more energetic and interested? What do you need to do to make your relationship a priority? What could you have done different in the past and how do you make changes now when your spouse may no longer live at home?

We lost the passion and excitement.
I love you but I'm not in-love with you.
I was bored.
Life has become stagnant and mundane. He may feel like Sisyphus eternally pushing the rock uphill or a man on a never-ending treadmill. Or he may be seeking energetic thrills as he felt during the in-fatuation stage of your relationship. Life and love are not in-fatuation. The chemical highs are not permanent. What did you not do that enabled energy to dissipate and what can you do to bring emotional energy to your life and relationship?

You gained weight and I don't find you attractive anymore.
Ouch. This is one I don't want to include, but it a common excuse and in some cases has validity. Maybe you are a size 5 with perfect curves and he's into anorexic women. Or maybe not. Are you within a healthy weight range? How do you feel about your body? Are you comfortable being naked in front of your spouse? Men are visual and though it makes me cringe to say it, I will; they want someone that matches a certain size range--this varies with each man. Some are not so shallow as to use your weight as a reason for infidelity, but being physically attracted to your spouse is important. The lack of attraction may also be another form of I love you but I'm not in-love with you.

You were never available.
You were too busy.
Did the kids become more important than your spouse and marriage? Are you married to your career or your hobbies? Has your spouse and your relationship been an afterthought?

You don't listen to me.
He feels as though you have neglected him and that you are dismissive. He doesn't feel important to you. He needs you to validate and affirm him. Is your response to defend how you do listen? Often such defenses are literal--you defend that you do hear his words; but listening involves an understanding which is often buried in subtext. What are you listening to, words or meaning?

You don't need me.
This is indicative of low self-esteem. He feels unnecessary to you; he's an accessory in your life. It is important that you be a strong and capable person who is able to support yourself emotionally. But we all need to feel that we provide a value and this excuse shows he doesn't feel he has any value in your life. Some people fear independence in their spouse. Though this is a sign of their fears and not something wrong with you, what can you do to help him feel of value to you?

Men are fixers; do you resolve all the problems in your family without his input? Are you Superwoman, able to work overtime, build fences, unclog drains, overhaul an engine and wipe kid's tears and scraped knees all in a day? If your answer is yes, are you over-exhausted? Why are you trying to do everything yourself? Do you not trust your spouse? Why not? This could be indicative of a fear of abandonment in you. You may be trying to shut him out by doing everything yourself--effectively abandoning him without leaving; or you may be trying to prevent him from abandoning you by showing how useful you are.

It is healthier to be in a relationship because you want your partner and the relationship rather than out of need, but this is an ideal situation and even in these healthier circumstances a person needs to feel they provide a value and serve a purpose.

You never paid attention to me.
I wasn't important to you.
Though similar to the excuse given above, this may be different. When you were both home and available, did you bury yourself in personal activities that excluded your spouse?

There is a common thread running through these valid excuses. They are all about becoming so involved with life that you take the relationship for granted because it is the element that will always be there--so you think. You are each busy raising kids, earning money, volunteering on committees, watching TV, playing on the Internet helping your friends and family. At first neither of you noticed, but over time you noticed that you had drifted apart and were living separate lives in the same household. You existed but did not relate.

Excuses are not causes. Boredom, sexual dysfunction or disinterest, separate lives, changing physical attributes... are commonplace in marriages. Such conditions may set the stage for infidelity, but there are many in those conditions who honour their fidelity. The excuses, whether valid or not, are shallow explorations for something with deep roots. There are those who believe that since they do not know their Shadow they are simply shallow, but if it were known it would not be the Shadow. Searching the conscious mind for the causes of infidelity is futile; they are not in the light; a person must instead venture into the dark recesses of his Shadow.

What kind of person asks someone to be in a relationship with them while refusing to first exit their own present relationship? What does that person think of the person who agrees to enter into such a relationship?

It is the sort of person who is unwilling to do the difficult work to change his own Self and prepare for the relationship he desires. He seeks only the easy solution. For such a person, starting a new relationship constitutes proof, or at least evidence, that the other relationship is over. Each relationship thus serves as a back-up--insurance in the event that one fails. He fears leaping without a net of safety and fears solitude–the darkness and silence within aloneness. He avoids and even consciously refuses to inhabit the Liminal space between, wherein he may heal and grow.

Though alienators are mere band aids during MLC, they are infected band aids; it is the adultery more than anything else that causes the most hurt and damage. They infect the relationship and they infect each individual. Adultery is a single straw strong enough to break the camel's back. It doesn't matter if there is nothing else negative and there are a million positives. He will have to fix the camel's back first. Infidelity may be the most painful symptom of your spouse's MLC. Who cares if the alienator is a band-aid; you still hurt. It's the infidelity that does the most damage and leads to divorce.

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
Are you tired of hearing...
  • Once a cheater always a cheater?
  • You're better off without him?
  • She doesn't deserve you?
  • I guess it just wasn't meant to last?
  • Divorce is no big deal?
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