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?







Thank you for sharing!

22 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. 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 –

  3. 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!

  4. SassaFrassTheFeisty – Indianapolis, IN – I'm a mother of two-mostly amazing-kids. This is my journey towards healing from the ruin of my marriage and 10 year relationship to my kid's "dad", my stories of dealing with really good and really bad days, learning to cope and move on. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 with mania and ADHD-look! Something shiny!!-and Postpartum Depression. I love completely and passionately. Just don't piss me off, because I'll burn that bridge-and I'll stand on it and watch the flames consume everything. Sass 101 First-As my name suggests I am a Feisty Lil Thang. I tell it like it is. It is no holds barred on my blog. If you expect fluffy puppies, rainbows and sunshine, exit Stage Right because it ain't gonna be here. If you expect no cussing and positivity, and that I pray to a God or deity, exit Stage Left. That's not here either. What's here is real, honest, raw and truthful. This is my journey through the last 18 months from the separation of my husband and the JOYOUS roller coaster my family has been on. Oh yes, I did forget to mention-I am a sarcastic quick witted one. Sasscasm is trademarked by the ever Butch Blah. Don't mess with her Dragon, he eats assholes for breakfast. We have a tribe here that is very exclusive-seriously. If you're lucky enough to enter, you are worthy enough to partake in our Femme Speak. If not, just nod your head yes, and move on. I have Bipolar 1 with mania and I cycle into depression 2 times a year. This year has been an exception to the rule considering this year has just been shit. I've been to my local psych hospital twice in less than 10 months-once for depression, once for a psychotic episode resulting from over medication. YAY! Piss on that shit. If it hadn't been for Blah, I never would have gone. Thank you Blah. I lurve you! I have 2 kids-a boy I call NSLM-Not So Little Man-because Anxious Mom has her LM. Didn't want to steal her LM's thunder :) And I have a daughter referred to as Monkey-it's self explanatory. They are also referred to as my Heathens-yes I can call them that because I gave birth to them, I know them and they act like Heathens at times-just thank the Good Lord they aren't Hellians or I'd be in jail. I have an almost 5 year old purebred Red and Black German Shepherd named May-she's momma's baby, and Monkey is on her THRID guinea pig in about a year-thank her dad for that one. This one is S'mores and he's a wheeker and fat and fluffy. My kids and I live with my parents, because I'm not stable or healthy enough to work and live on my own. I have FINALLY found my magic pill cocktail-for now-and I have clarity for the first time in my life. I no longer use the word "stable" I use baseline. I've been on a lot of meds over the years, and since the last med I was on and overmedicated I have become med sensitive-SUPER YAY. I'm good at recognizing side effects and can tweak a med time better than a dr. Not cocky, just fact. I'm that in tune with my body. I'm also very emotionally charged. My emotions have always ruled my decisions, and I don't see that changing, but I am now better to stop and think things through before making a decision-some of the time. I'm mouthy, but I have a huge heart of gold, and I get hurt easily. And when I talk about people on here in my life off of WordPress they get their own special nicknames. DB-Douchebag. BBFL-Best Bitch For Life-My best friend in Alaska that I HOPE I get to see soon. EG-English Gentleman-a guy that I've bee talking to for a year that lives near Scotland and is on an 8 month trip around the world, and will be stateside in January. I can't wait to meet him in person! Cute Neighbor Guy. There were two guys that were named for the states they lived in, and I think I've deleted everything about Florida but the last post-Thank you Andrew for the title, you brilliant dictionary, you. Then there are my most supportive friends here: Anxious Mom, Andi, Zoe, Diane, Morgue, Blah, Chris, Sparkly Pants ;) Victo, Tessa, Bipolarfirst, bp7o9, Vic, Kitt, Leslie, and my newest BUDDY Andrew. I know I've forgotten some people and I SERIOUSLY apologize given the state of my brain haze, I hope you don't hate me!! I know you don't, I'm just overly dramatic. No I'm not...yeah, yes I am. ;) So, if you can't handle my sarcastic tongue and my cursing that can make sailors blush, the lobby exit is in the top right corner with a little X. That being said, I hope you new arrivals aren't just looking for blogs for numbers-this isn't that kind of blog. And I rather like interactive people on my little slice of the crazy pie-well, more like peach cobbler because it's my favorite but ANYWAY. I don't follow back just because you follow me. I may not be too picky about my food, but I'm picky about my men and the blogs I follow. With that, I shall bid you Welcome to Sasstopia, and may you stay to be among my Sassafrains. Reggie my Pegacorn is tethered out back as he doesn't do well with new people. I shall be shining my spork launcher on the table, next to my melon baller and grapefruit spoon all soaked in syphilis. If you have any questions, fucking ask. I don't do vague. LOVE YOU! <3
    SassaFrassTheFeisty says:

    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.

  5. 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.

    1. Many people believe cheating is a symptom of a broken relationship until they’re cheated on and work to repair the relationship in vain. Most people accept the alternative thought when they lack experience and reject it when they unfortunately gain the experience. There is a minority of people who are able to do the opposite mainly due to their cheater being different from the norm. If you are in that minority, congratulations.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.
      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

  9. 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.

  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. dollyallenauthor – Dolly Allen is a mom, wife and all around bad bitch. She swears like a trucker, enjoys yoga pants, wine, cooking & photography.
    Dolly says:

    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.

  12. My spouse cheated on me after 27 years of marriage. I was shocked, to say the least, hurt, jealous, angry. I think it is a character flaw. Our character is who we are on the inside, not necessarily who we show to the world. If we cheat, it is a reflection of our character and we need to take a long deep look inside ourselves to ask ourselves why lying and manipulation was stronger in us than trust and communication. A marriage isn’t only based on love, but more importantly it is based on trust. We can love a person who hurts us, that is marriage 101, but trust is the reason people leave after infidelity. A serial cheater has a deep seeded character flaw, usually very selfish individuals, a cheater who has cheated once after many years, a long term affair, not a one night stand, has fought against it, but selfishness and opportunity finally push them over the edge. Then it becomes an addiction of sorts. Once caught or the true nature of who they are seeing starts to show their true colors, this cheater reflects deeply about what they have done and, sadly in my case, the children also find out, that deep reflection of themselves is so disgusting and completely unlike who they want to be, they see all they have built and can lose, they see the devastation of the family, and it changes them down to their very core, their character. Sometimes a persons character can be adjusted when they are honest with themselves first and foremost. Then honesty can take hold with those around them, especially a spouse. My husband did a 180 and I am thankful that he can now see how much me and my children mean to him, and that deserves forgiveness, although trust will take a lot longer. We are not perfect, but as scripture says, perfect love casts out all fear. Love, the true definition of love is unconditional love. If we love only those who love us back perfectly then we don’t understand the way God wants us to love. He loves us and we betray and reject and hurt Him. True remorse can change a hurt heart into a forgiving one. Jesus helped me understand that and it helped me to find peace and joy again. It did take a deep reflection within myself to learn to truly forgive my husband because to me that was always a deal breaker. But when I saw true remorse and true love pouring out toward me from my husband, my heart softened and my love for him slowly and carefully started filling my heart again. I was hyper vigilant for a while, but he was a new man. How could I ignore such a change. Don’t underestimate the power of love, An affair isn’t love, it’s just selfishness and lust, love is selfless and forgiving.

  13. In the Bible, Jesus says that adultery and various other sins come from within the heart of the sinner. (Mark 7:20-23). Of course, the person who sins can choose to repent and turn from that sin. It doesn’t have to be an enduring character flaw. They can choose to change their character. However, it is biblical to expect repentance before reconciliation of the marriage. God divorced Israel and sent her away for her adulteries. (Jeremiah 3:8). Then, he bought back those in Israel who were repentant. (Isaiah 59:20). He did not reconcile with those who were unrepentant. It would be a huge risk to the health of the spouse if he or she had to keep having sex with an unrepentant adulterer. There is a lot out there that contradicts Jesus by trying to say adultery is merely a symptom of marriage problems. When we gloss over the fact that someone needs to repent and take responsibility for their own thoughts, actions and character, it puts the health of both spouses at risk and it puts the spiritual well being of the adulterer at risk. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Hebrews 13:4)

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