Bad to the Bone: Is Infidelity a Character Flaw?

 

We know infidelity is bad.

But what about the people that commit it?

Do they have some ingrained and persistent defect in their character? Or, are they inherently good people who made a bad choice?

Support For Infidelity As a Character Flaw

It is a selfish decision. Cheating happens because somebody is incapable of considering – or caring about – the impact on another. There is a distinct lack of empathy and consideration.

Deception and manipulation are employed. The ends justify the means and in order to maintain their affair, cheaters knowingly and coldly lie and control others for their gain.

There is a distinct lack of grit and perseverance. When the going gets tough, the cheater gets going into the arms of another. Hard work and effort is traded in for the fast appeal of a new model.

They are cowards. Instead of summoning the courage for the difficult conversations, they express their unhappiness and dissatisfaction from afar.

Integrity is absent. There is no moral compass, no ethical code guiding their behavior. Words may say one thing, but the actions speak something entirely different.

 

Support For Infidelity As a Faulty Decision

A slippery slope led to a catastrophe. A bad choice was made for something that seemed minor. But then the effects compounded like falling dominos after reaching a critical point.

There is a lack of self-awareness. Discontentment wasn’t brought up because it wasn’t realized. Instead, attention was focused on work or others, leaving a gap for an affair to slide in.

Maturity is lacking. And with it, an understanding of personal responsibility or cause and effect. Immaturity also contributes to a desire for instant gratification over sustained effort.

Loneliness and disconnection cloud the thinking. A sense of perceived rejection or being unappreciated contributes to more primal and basic instincts as it plays upon the need for social ties and acceptance.

There is a deficit of coping mechanisms. They never learned how to be in a relationship and how to navigate both inter- and intra-personal conflicts. And this leads to a poor choice.

So what do you think? Is infidelity a sign of an enduring character flaw or is it a consequence of a fallible, yet overall good, person?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Bad to the Bone: Is Infidelity a Character Flaw?

    1. I think it could be either depending on the individual. Different aspects of each theory could apply to the cheater. Not that one is more preferable to the other. Both end with the same result.

  1. Interesting approach Lisa! I’ve been away from WP for so long, but your post came through my email as I was checking and I couldn’t resist. I think for me I would say that my ex has characteristics from both categories. He was definitely a coward and believed that the ends justified the means, but he was also immature and allowed his own loneliness and the ‘primal urges’ he felt to pull him the direction he went. I don’t know that cheating can be that distinctly categorized. I think the fact that one is so self absorbed to believe that lying and cheating are the best alternative exhibits a character flaw regardless, but at the same time, I know many people who are perfectly nice people generally who also have major character flaws of other nature’s as well! 🙂 So my vote, it’s a faulty decision based on an underlying character flaw.

  2. In my case…personality disorder. Serial cheater, porn addicted. He blames his behavior on everything but himself.

  3. You are either committed to your marriage/relationship or not. If you love someone there are many things that you can do to keep the love alive. At least divorce before you cheat. Men have discipline for what they eat, working out, getting up for work etc so the choice to cheat is selfish.

    1. Honestly, in 2010 I took my son and left a bad marriage but at the end of the summer, I went back because of his promises to change and go to counseling for himself. He didn’t keep his word and before long the abuses started. I was gaslighted all the way to court and a mental health facility. When I got out, I had no job and no place to go, so I went back. I divorced in 2014
      You are right. These men make a choice not to be committed –

  4. People make mistakes. I suppose the difference is whether or not it is one mistake or multiple. In the Bible, infedelity is the only excusable reason for divorce. But I don’t think it is infedelity as it pertains to a person who has made a mistake and truly feels remorseful but rather those people who continue to do it. I guess I just made a short answer really long. Both!

    1. In God’s Word, adultery and a hardened heart are reasons for divorce. There are also examples of Jesus intervening on women’s behalf for verbal and physical abuse.

  5. It depends on the person, but I believe most times it to be an character flaw. Also, signs of narcissistic behavior. In my personal experience. I admit, I cheated on my ex husband before we were even married. It happened once and I felt beyond guilty and remorseful. It never happened during our marriage-on my side. Also, the cheater will do ALOT of finger pointing and blame the other party for what happened so that they can feel justified in the (continued) cheating,not caring that the spouse isn’t the only one affected. {Hugs} I always like your posts. They do make one stop and think.

  6. So let me offer an alternative thought. In rare cases (note the word “rare”), it can be that the couple is not sexually compatible but love each other otherwise. Cheating can help the relationship survive.

    I personally believe that cheating is a symptom of a broken relationship — not the catalyst. If the couple decides to stay together, both will have some heavy-lifting to do with a couple’s therapist because as we all know — there are 3 sides to every story.

  7. I would say it is a character flaw. Lying about your life and relationships is never okay in my mind. How anyone can think having an affair is okay is beyond my comprehension. I personally could not sleep with another woman and then come home to my spouse (now ex) and act normal. I am no doubt in the minority among men.

  8. I too feel that my husband has characteristics of both, but ultimately I think he is a good person with a character flaw. He said at one point that he wasn’t doing anything to hurt me, but instead to make himself feel better. The problem with that is that he knew that what he was doing would hurt me and instead of saying something to me about the discontent he was feeling because he didn’t want to SAY anything that would hurt me (and he would have to actually deal with seeing me hurt by him), he instead chose to act behind my back, look for someone “else” who would give him all the good new relationship feelings and then leave – still without having a real conversation with me about what was going on in his head. I do think he is a good kind person at his core – but he is also immature, selfish, lacking coping mechanisms and self-awareness and a coward. And ultimately deception was the easiest path for him. Besides once I became the unloving villain in his story is was easy for him to justify leaving me for someone who was now the princess that I had once been.

  9. An affair is a deception to the person doing the cheating, as well. It’s not what you think it is going to be, the satisfaction so temporary that it can end up feeling as much of a trap as the marriage itself. One or both parties discover emotions that they are not ready to handle.. and it is too much.

    I have a hard time putting people who have had an affair into a tidy little box, label them cheaters. As one who commented here stated, infidelity is the only biblical reason for divorce. Try going more than a decade without sex or affection, trying to stay faithful because your spouse hasn’t been unfaithful. It takes an act of God not to crack.. especially in a society where it’s so easy to be unfaithful.

    1. Since you brought the Bible up, unfortunately, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves us. This example is the greatest example of God’s love. We love Him because He first loved us – This husband will not lack sex or affection, however choosing lies, verbal abuse, disrespect, silent treatment, etc. eventually will lose.
      Interesting how the secular defines cheating.
      merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cheat
      1 a : to practice fraud or trickery b : to violate rules dishonestly 2 : to be sexually unfaithful —usually used with on

      1. I wish “this husband will not lack sex or affection” is what I am being promised when I am told to love my wife as Christ loved the church. I am not sure that can even be implied by reading Ephesians 5. Paul does not say that. There are also encouragements for wives in that part of the letter, encouragements to submit and respect.

        God knows that we will make mistakes, especially in the relationship of marriage. He forgives, I believe, and blesses those who keep their eyes on him even when they are at their weakest.

        Ironically, the one who wrote the words in Ephesians 5 also reminds us of the responsibility we have to our spouse, with his words to the Corinthians (I Cor 6 & 7

  10. Pulling out the forgiveness card is not an excuse for bad behavior or continued association. Truth is while man covers up, pride and ego was a choice bearing much reaping. Infidelity or a hardened heart are grounds for divorce.

  11. Pulling out the forgiveness card is not an excuse for bad behavior or continued association. Truth is while man covers up, pride and ego was a choice bearing much reaping. Infidelity or a hardened heart are grounds for divorce.

  12. I believe it can go either way. In the case of a repeat offender, it is a character flaw. In my own circumstances, my husband is not a serial cheater. It happened due to a major breakdown of our marriage where both of us were responsible. And while he is 100% responsible for his choice to cheat, sometimes good people make bad choices. If it were to happen again, I would probably not respond in this manner. I am disappointed in him for going down that road, but I think he is basically a good person who showed extremely poor judgment.

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