Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know.

It seems that every 3 months or so we learn of another celebrity caught cheating on his or her spouse.  To say adultery is an epidemic in our current culture is an understatement.  And it doesn’t seem to be a respecter of position.  Regardless of what we do for a living, (Politicians, Pastors, teachers, athletes, actors, musicians, etc) cheaters are in our midst.   It seems to be so prevalent today that the question isn’t who is cheating but rather – who isn’t?

Too many treat their most important relationships casually and their commitments to them as optional.  Our microwave society mentality (quick and easy) has infiltrated our most sacred institution, marriage.  Many cheaters try to justify their reasons for infidelity.  To a cheater, their reasons make sense.  Perfect sense.  To those who have never strayed they just don’t understand why.

Our thirst for affairs has become so accepted and normal in our culture that most shows on television mention an infidelity reference somewhere throughout the episode.  Not to be outdone, we even have a reality show (called Cheaters) that is designed to reveal an indiscretion and exploit the humiliation on national television.  Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse – the immoral action of the cheater or the people who produce the show.  The fact that the series is in its 12th season is an indictment against us.  I’m not sure which is more devastating – discovering your lover’s unfaithfulness or discovering the crushing news at the same time as the train-wreck watching public.   We live in a very sad day and age.

I have seen first-hand the destruction of adultery.  Cheating devastates relationships and shatters dreams.  If you have entertained the idea of cheating on your spouse or significant other, let this serve as your official warning.   Your handsome boss, cute office secretary or sultry neighbor down the street comes with a price tag that you cannot afford.   Before you cheat here are 14 things you really need to know.

  1. You will become a liar.   It’s bad enough to bear the title of “Cheater,” but if you cheat, you will also wear the hat of “Liar.”   Cheating cannot occur without deceit on some level and normally the white lies in the beginning become full-fledged lies at the end.  “I’m working late at the office tonight” may be a half-truth but you’ll need to redefine the word “working” to silence your compromised conscience.  Cheating and lying go hand in hand.  (For more about the lies that cheaters tell, click here.)
  2. You will get caught.  It may not be today.  It may not be tomorrow.  But eventually, your affair will come to light.   Your world will come crashing down on you.  If you are fortunate, the story of your indiscretion may avoid the evening news or the front page of your local paper, but your circle of friends will know your deeds.  And everyone likes to share juicy news.  Your poor decision will become as public as a billboard.  It’s not a matter of if but when.  As Pastor Rick Warren tweeted recently, “If the Director of the CIA can’t hide and cover up an affair, no one can.”  As the Chinese proverb goes, “If you don’t want anyone to know it, don’t do it.”
  3. You will disappoint everyone.   Everyone.  Your spouse.  Your friends.  Your co-workers.   Your God.  Your parents.   Your nephew.  Your children.  Yourself.  The disappointment you cause will be like the stench of skunks and it will take a long time to remove the smell.
  4. You will be a bad example.   Everyone is either a good example or a bad example in all things that we do.  Cheating is a not only a very bad example in relationships but brings with it a cloud of doubt that hovers over you in other areas of your life.  If you cheated in one area, would you cheat in another?  Cheating communicates to everyone that you took the easy road.   It tells others that you were willing to cut corners in your most primary relationship.  It reveals that you were not willing to do the hard work and get the help you needed.  No one ever admires a cheater.  No one looks up to an adulterer.  Even if you did a lifetime of good, this one bad deed can erase it all.
  5. You will lose your moral authority.  It’s hard to tell your children (or others) to do the right thing when they know you didn’t.  Saying “Do as I say, not as I do” is the fastest way to lose the respect of others.  Not only will you lose their respect, you’ll lose yours.  Every moral judgment you make in the future will be weighed against your adulterous action of the past.   It doesn’t mean you can’t speak the truth in the future, it just means that few will listen to you.
  6. You will create trust issues for your spouse.  Forever.  You will single-handedly damage the precious self-esteem of the one you promised to love.  Every relationship they have after you will be one that they struggle to trust.  If that were not enough, you will rock the world of children and cause them to question the stability of every meaningful relationship they have.   For children, their parents relationship is their anchor and cheating cuts the line.
  7. You will lose your standard of living.  Depending on what you do for a living, you may lose your job.  Many lose their home.  Most end up with enormous court fees since cheating is usually the precursor to divorce.  Betrayed spouses have a way of making you pay and that payment is always expensive.  Every check you write is a constant reminder of your foolishness.
  8. You will spend years trying to rebuild your life.   Literally years.   Even if you somehow weathered the storm financially, you will find it takes years for you to recover emotionally.  It takes years for you to restore certain friendships, if you even do.  It takes years for you to rebuild your character.  It takes years to rebuild trust.  It takes years to truly forgive yourself.
  9. You will lose relationships.   You will lose a LOT of relationships.  Lifelong friends will walk away.  Close friends that you have helped countless times will not be around to help you.  Even some family members who are supposed to love you no matter what will vanish.   A cheater can end up living a very lonely life.  It’s hard for many people who used to call you friend to get past that skunk smell of disappointment.
  10. You will increase your chances of getting an STD.   Sexually transmitted diseases run rampant among promiscuous people.   But your paramour is “clean,” right?   After all, they told you so.  And if there is one thing we all know – we can trust a cheater and their word.  As the saying goes, “There is honor among thieves.”   One helpful thought may be to assume that everyone but your spouse has an STD.  That should curb your appetite for destruction.
  11. The grass is not greener on the other side.   The “grass is greener” idea is a common misconception.  Because we have never been on that grass, we assume it must be better than where we currently stand.  It’s not.  In fact, though it may look greener from a distance – once you get there and make yourself comfortable, something interesting happens – the grass changes color.  This usually happens soon after you get caught.  You will then see that patch of land differently.  You will also have a strange desire for the green grass you left… except now it is burned and won’t let you back.   The best way to enjoy green grass is to water your own yard.
  12. Would you want this done to you?   Thieves like to steal wallets but hate when it’s done to them.  If we all lived by the Golden Rule (“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”) most of life’s problems would be solved overnight.   Think about this action as if it were being done to you.  The problem is that it requires thought and thinking is often the last thing a cheater has on his/her mind.
  13. You will eventually regret this decision.  In the heat of the moment, cheating appears to make sense.  It feels good and sometimes even feels right.  Feelings are deceitful.  Soon afterward, your eyes will be opened and you will regret that you ever partook of the forbidden fruit.   Don’t we all have enough regrets in our lives?   Why add another one – particularly one that can only destroy everything you have worked so hard to build?  Your home may not be perfect but it sure beats living in a tent.
  14. The pain outweighs the gain.  No one ever says from their deathbed, I wish I would have had an affair.  No one ever leaves their lawyer’s office with a smile on their face – grateful for the experience.  No one loses dear friends and is glad they have one less Christmas card to receive this year.   The loss is immeasurable.  The pain can be unbearable.   Entire kingdoms can be lost for a few minutes of pleasure.  It is just not worth it.

In November 2008, I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw.  I did not like who I had become.  I was finally at the point where I was willing to admit the dark side of my soul.   The Dark Knight within me had risen indeed.  Days later, I confessed to my wife, children and church that I had been unfaithful during my marriage.  Needless to say, it was the most difficult series of conversations I have ever had in my life.  There is no pain like watching people you love sob in tears because of your selfish actions.  Within one year, I had lost everything dear and precious to me.

The 14 points above come from an extremely painful personal experience.  I know what it’s like to fall and not be able to get up.  Over the last four years, I have had to learn how to tear down my emotional walls – walls that assisted me in getting in trouble in the first place.  I have come to understand the problem with pedastals, especially in the church, and have wrestled with the mechanics of forgiveness, even forgiving me.  As difficult as it is, I now embrace my past and appreciate the many regrets.  They have become precious to me.  As a result of my actions, I have accumulated many scars and now try to learn from each and everyone of them.  I have hit “rock bottom” and realized something amazing in the process.  God is still here, even if others are not.

That’s my story.  Chapters are still being written.  It’s not easy to share but it’s mine nonetheless and I finally accept it as part of HIStory.  As I read the Bible with a humble set of eyes these days, I see that the Book is filled with great men and women who have fallen in some pretty huge ways.  God picks them up and uses them in spite of their past.   I’ve come to learn that we all fall, just in different ways.

If I can help any of you get up from a fall, let me know.  I’m merely one beggar telling other beggars where to find Bread.

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About Rod Arters

As a former youth worker, business owner, school teacher, coach and inmate, Rod has the unique ability to relate to almost anyone in whatever situation they are in. His thought-provoking blog about life, mistakes, faith, hope & grace has been read in over 175 countries. A popular writer & speaker, Rod draws from his deep well of biblical knowledge and personal pain to encourage others along the broken journey to wholeness. He hosts an invitation-only private Facebook group for men (called the Man Cave) and enjoys helping others find Hope in the midst of their painful situations. He currently resides in Columbia, SC.
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67 Responses to Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know.

  1. Ms. Marie says:

    Reblogged this on Ms. Marie's Writing Block and commented:
    Sad thing is, a person who is contemplates having an affair will read this post, and still go through with it. People are so selfish.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Miss Marie, You are right. If someone is bent on wrong, they will do it. Hopefully my blog will help wake people up to the imminent consequences. No one comes out unscathed. Thanks for responding!

    • bukisso says:

      Yes. Because others will think, he had all the resources available to make him not cheat but he still did and found forgiveness. So they too with cheat and find forgiveness.

      I suppose if the story had been, in the face of temptation, these 14 points occurred to me and because of these and the grace of God ( which is available to everyone) I stood and banished the desire and the person from my life…. I sort help and here I am standing and saying y’all listen up, wise up- sin can be resisted. Then, it will be a different message.

      • Rod Arters says:

        You seem to be implying that because I (or others who cheat) received forgiveness it means we “got away with it.” As if we robbed the bank, got caught, but still got to keep the money. You are sadly mistaken about sin and misunderstand the purpose of forgiveness. Even if one never confesses this sin or never gets caught, they lose. Even if forgiveness is extended in this situation, the cheater still loses. There is NO winner in this. NONE. In my case, I lost my family and have yet to receive true forgiveness as is made clear by the actions of those I offended. Forgiveness should not be extended simply because someone is sorry, repentant or asking for it. Forgiveness should be extended for the benefit of those who have been wronged. It is impossible to move on (from any wrong done to you) while keeping a bitter, resentful spirit. Forgiveness can heal both parties, to be sure. But what it does not do is pardon the wrongdoer or his wrong. This is what the Apostle Paul was talking about in Romans 6. There were PLENTY of times that I faced temptation and chose not to indulge in it. There is a painful credibility I now bring to the table when I write about the things I experienced. Anybody can write an article about the dangers of touching the stove. Hearing about the experience and scars left behind from someone who actually touched it, can be powerful and life-changing for those who are considering it.

  2. Ms. Marie says:

    (who contemplates*) Oops 😛

  3. Powerful and moving post, Rod! I can see why you are passionate about this issue; God is using you to keep others from going down this road.

  4. phoenixrisingk says:

    The glitch here is #2. No one thinks they will get caught. They think they are the exception to the rule. They are special, or careful or something. This was my husband’s thinking anyway.

    • Rod Arters says:

      You are so right. It is like robbing a bank. No one in their right mind would think you can actually get away with that. But people try it every day because their methods will work, so they think. At the heart of such thinking is pride and “pride comes before a fall.” If the Director of the CIA can’t get away with an affair, the rest of us don’t have a chance. I’m sorry you went through this. I hope your husband has learned from his mistake.

  5. Wonderful points. Thank you for sharing. I hope your message helps give people pause before they head down that road.

  6. What a fantastic article from your experience. Way to challenge people to stay moral. This is excellent.

  7. Pingback: Liars, cheaters, thieves and me. | The Official blog of Rod Arters

  8. Kim says:

    I admire your honesty and your fortitude in sharing your experience; I’m sure that many will be helped as a result…..may the Lord replenish, restore and rebuild all that was lost or damaged and show you His love and power more than ever before……..Shalom!…….Kim

    • Rod Arters says:

      Kim, thank you for reading and commenting! I’m grateful for your encouragement. God is slowly restoring what the locusts have eaten and showing Himself to me in ways I did not know before. I do hope my experience can help save others a lot of pain. Keep spreading the word in the Bahamas! What a tough place to be! 🙂

  9. Lori says:

    Rod, I remember when this all happened 4 years ago. I told Frank then, that God would use this experience in some way for you to help others. I commend you for your openness and honesty. You are such and incredible writer and speaker. So glad to see the positive changes that are happening in your life now. Love you, cuz!

    • Rod Arters says:

      Thank you, Lori! It’s been a hard, long, four years but God is slowly “restoring what the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25). I do hope that others may benefit from my story and that marriages may be strengthened as a result. Thank you for your love and support over the last four years. I couldn’t be where I am today without it. Love y’all!

  10. TJ says:

    Yep you’re right I’m in the same boat got caught the day it happened then I abandon my wife and now my mistress and I are broken up and my wife has moved on. I’m happy for her though and the changes she made. I lost everything almost my military career. Running low on funds but the good thing is I’m in therapy which helps and god tis pushing me thru. Somedays are better but I wrestle with the fact that no one is going to want me after finding out I was an adulterer. I miss my wife and don’t think I’ll find anyone like her again. I might not even be able to have a family of my own. She doesn’t hate me at least but won’t forgive me. I’m glad she found someone who makes her happy though. Truly I am. Even though we both are to blame I’m ultimately responsible for the actions that brought this on. I learned from this and that all I can do in able to move forward. I wish I would if thought this through more but I was unhappy with myself and her and life. I was tired but that is no excuse for my actions now I’m all alone except for my family, few prior marriage friends, and church mentors who are helping me. This year is all about rebuilding and restoring and hopefully next year is transformation. It’s gotten to the point where I stalk her instagram just to see how she is doing(I don’t bother her or anything). I was a fool and I deserve everything. I hold myself accountable and hope one day she forgives me. She has her life put back together pretty quickly. I’m glad she did though cause I still love her and want the best for her. I just wish I was a better man cause I miss her and being married. Now I feel like I have a permanent scarlet letter even though god has forgiven me.

    • Rod Arters says:

      TJ,
      I’m sorry to hear about your pain in the process. It comes with the territory for those who stray. It sounds like you are doing what you need to (own the past and trying to move on with your future.) It’s probably hardest to forgive yourself, particularly if you have others in your life condemning you for the action. God has forgiven you, that’s all that matters. You may never obtain the forgiveness of others, but as long as you ask and do what you can to fix it – there is no more that you can do. Hang in there! Embrace your scarlet letter… it can become a trophy of God’s work in your life. 🙂

    • aineverfails says:

      TJ, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your honesty and wanting to get help. I hope more men are like you and Rod, who can really confess how bad cheating is and how much pain they felt. God bless you, and hope you forgive yourself as well.

  11. Angela says:

    Hi Rod. Thank you for this insightful article. I actually came across your blog because I caught my husband very recently cheating on me with a woman who posts replies regularly on your blogs. I was researching her and discovered your story.

    I so wish that my husband had read your candid list before he decided to cheat, as it has ripped the foundation out from under our marriage. He is beginning to feel all 14 points you discussed above, and I know that he is miserable. I am trying very hard to forgive him for this betrayal, but it is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. I don’t know if “we” will be able to survive it.

    I am praying every moment for strength, love and self-control, I continue reading the Word, and I am clinging to my Savior. I have to admit that I am having tremendous difficulty ever imagining that I will be able to trust my husband (or any man) ever again. My trust in God, however, remains steadfast. I do know that no matter what happens to our marriage, I will continue to serve the Lord and trust Him to protect and provide for me.

    My husband is repentant, and as far as I can tell he wishes to embrace God’s forgiveness, become a godly husband and rebuild the shambles that is now our “marriage.” He says that he has rededicated his life to following Christ and is now reading and praying faithfully (well, at least during the last two weeks since I caught him). I want to believe him. Really I do! But he has secretly maintained a friendship with this woman since before we were married, and claims that the affair was only the last 3-4 months… how can I trust anything he says? How can I ever trust that this would not happen again? It is devastating. Every day, I wake up and am forced to remember that this sweet man that I trusted completely was lying to me our entire marriage. How can I trust someone who has been such a good liar?

    That being said, I do believe that Christ can work in anyone who is willing to change and turn that life around 180 degrees from a sinful past to a right relationship with Him. All of us who are truly born again are evidence of that fact. I hope and pray that my husband’s resolve is genuine and that he is able to “embrace his scarlet letter” (as you mentioned above) and let God do a mighty work in his life. I want him to be the man of God that he used to only pretend to be. Check that. I hope he becomes even better and that God can use him mightily as a result of this pain.

    The questions still remain, however. How can I ever really trust him? How can I stay with him after such a betrayal? I can’t even look at him most days now. I grieve the loss of my marriage, my husband, my best friend and confidante. I don’t think I could survive another betrayal like this. I’m barely surviving this one.

    Any thoughts? Since you’ve experienced this on the flip side, and seen God work in your own life, I’m interested to know what insights you might have.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Angela,
      I am so sorry to hear of this. I know all too well of the pain that your family is going through. It saddens me at a core level. You are asking all the right questions and have every reason to doubt your husband’s heart at this point. He has a long long road ahead of him and it will take years of consistent effort to win you back. You also have a very long long road ahead of you as it will take years of consistent effort to forgive him and learn to trust again. I’m reluctant to say more in this public arena as I desire to protect you and your family during this difficult time. If you would like to talk more candidly and privately, feel free to email me at rodarters@gmail.com. If I can be a resource to him, please encourage him to contact me as well. As you might expect, I receive emails weekly from people struggling with the devastation of this cultural epidemic. I will pray for you and your family today. My heart is with you both.

  12. Pingback: Before you cheat… 14 things you need to know. | AFFAIRCARE

  13. I reblogged this exactly, word-for-word, at Affaircare and I just wanted to say thank you for this well-written article. As someone who is a former-wayward myself, I do believe more articles need to be written to help combat the justifications that waywards tell themselves before the affair.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Thanks Cindy! Yes, more needs to be written, I agree. This type of thing is rampant IN the church and yet so few are willing to talk about it.

  14. brokenjoan says:

    Rod, I happened upon your blog today, as all I seem to do lately is read about affairs. I am 7 months past D-day, but mine seems so unlikely, at least to me. My husband started an affair with a woman he met playing pogo games, but to me the part I am having a hard time with, is we have been married almost 48 years, you just don’t expect something like this from a man you have loved and trusted for all that time. We have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. My heart is broken, I am just now to a point where I don’t think about suicide on a daily basis. I can’t eat or sleep, my days are consumed with nothing but thoughts of his affair. I have lost over 30 lbs., I now barely weigh 100 lbs. I take anti-depressants to get thru the day and sleeping pills at night, though most of the time now they don’t even put me to sleep. The devastation to our family will never be repaired. His relationship with our youngest son is gone.
    Of course now he is repentant and wants to stay in our marriage. I guess what I am asking you, as a man who has been unfaithful, ” why don’t you stop and think about what you will be losing”? How can someone value sex over love, I am so confused.
    Just thought some insight from a man who has cheated would help in someway. I am grasping at straws I know, but I am feeling so lost and hopeless right now. brokenjoan

    • Rod Arters says:

      Dear Joan,
      I am so sorry to learn of your situation. My heart is heavy for all the pain that has been caused. I seem to receive an email like yours at least once a week now. Sadly, it is becoming more frequent. I am glad that you are moving away from suicidal thoughts as that will only complicate the pain for others while relieving yours. You ask the question why those who stray do not think about the consequences of their actions. Your question is logical from someone in your position. Unfortunately, logic is the furthest thing from the mind of those who are cheating. Did you read the blog called, “Liars, cheaters, thieves and me”? You can access it here: https://rodarters.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/liars-cheaters-thieves-and-me/

      It may give you some access into our mind and why we think the things we do/ did. There is rational excuse or legit reason to do what we have done. period. If you would like to talk further, you an reach me via email at rodarters@gmail.com If I can do anything for you, your husband or even your son, let me know. I will say a prayer for you tonight! Hang in there, Joan. God will sustain you during this most difficult time.

  15. brokenjoan says:

    Dear Rod,
    Thank you for your concern and I certainly can use all the prayers I can get, but my main priority
    right now is my family, especially my youngest son, other than me he is having the hardest time
    dealing with what his dad has done. Our whole family torn apart, nothing will ever be the same.
    My husband proved there is no age limit on infidelity, and now we are all paying the price.
    brokenjoan

    • Rod Arters says:

      Dear Joan,
      My heart is crushed hearing your story, particularly in regards to your son. What has been your husband’s response to his sin, you, your children now that this is out in the light?

      • brokenjoan says:

        Dear Rod, my husband is deeply regretful for all the pain he has caused our family. He is ashamed and a broken man. Before he had the affair he was a wonderful husband and father to our children. He could not deal with retirement and getting older, the other woman found him at a very weak time in his life. They both used each other for their own selfish needs and unfortunately my husband has lost the most. I hope my children find peace. Thank you for your concern. Joan

      • Rod Arters says:

        Joan,
        How are you? I prayed for you and your family today.

      • brokenjoan says:

        Dear Rod, thank you so much for remembering my family in your prayers, I need all the help I can get. My husband and I are still together and I am trying so very hard to work on our marriage. He is very sorry for what he did to me and our children. I don’t know how my story will end and it won’t be easy but I won’t give up without a fight. This coming from a woman who thought of ending her life 8 months ago. I dug deep and found the strength to go on for my family. Thanks again, your friend joan

      • Rod Arters says:

        Joan, how are you? I prayed for you again tonight as God brought you to my memory. I hope you are doing well.

      • brokenjoan says:

        Rod, Thank you so much for remembering me after all this time. You are so kind. It has been
        15 months and my husband and I are still together. It hasn’t been easy but I still love him
        and I believe he loves me, I know by his actions how sorry he is. We have been married
        48 years, I still honor those vows I made all those years ago. Again thank you so much
        for your concern, it means so much to me. Your friend, Joan

  16. Ashes to Beauty (by the grace of GOD!) says:

    Thank you so much for posting this blog! Especially from a man’s perspective. Unfortunately, I too, have been the victim of an affair and a one night stand. And, when you say that it will affect you for the rest of your life, you could never be more correct!

    My husband and I have been married for 13 years (since Nov 1999). In 2004, my husband had an affair with a woman at work and even filed for divorce. At one point during the whole ordeal, my husband succumbed to his own regret and wanted me back. It wasn’t easy. But, we managed to work through it all as I listen to the Still Small Voice that sounded as loud as a trumpet instructing me to “Forgive him.” The next few years were difficult but, we were fortunate enough (with the grace of God) to get through it. I was able to learn my mistakes I made as a wife (that I wasn’t being) and he realized the reality of what it meant to lose everything in the blink of an eye.

    In 2009, little did we know what was lurking around the corner. Unfortunately, my husband and I must not have remembered what happens when you allow other people to come between you and your marriage. We didn’t have the best of friends that we thought they were (little did we know they would be so deceiving as they were family and a high school friend) and I didn’t do my job trying to cover my marriage with a hedge of protection like I had done after my husbands affair in 2004.

    So, unfortunately, the next incident came with far more consequences as my husband was involved in a drunken one night stand (with the help of the so-called friends). Later, I would learn that not only was a child conceived from this affair but, I ended up with HPV (and I know it came from him b/c I have only been sexually active with him, EVER). The constant reminder is always there of the effects of adultery in a marriage that we will never be able to forget as we seem to have done in the first incident.

    My husband and I are still together (4 years after the second incident) ONLY by the grace of God. The incident has definitely affected us for the rest of our lives (and our 3 children at this time have no concept of the matter, for now) but, I am just thankful that God has turned our ashes into beauty. And though the enemy was out to destroy us, the Lord took what was meant to harm us and turned it in to something good for us.

    Don’t get me wrong, it has been financially difficult to recover from (especially now paying child support to the mother of the other child and having to provide insurance), emotionally difficult to say the least, and hard to trust ANYONE (even friends). And, NEVER do I encourage ANYONE to have an affair or put themselves in a situation where something could possibly happen (as it did to us). But, I am very grateful for the help I have received from the Lord and pray that he continue his good works in our marriage for a long, happy, and healthy marriage from here on out.

    I love my husband and made a vow to my husband (but more importantly to God) that I would love my husband for richer or poor, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse until death do us part and, that is exactly what I intend to do. For the Lord is my strength, He is my fortress, He is my God in whom I trust!

    With that being said, if anyone is contemplating on cheating on their spouse, please don’t! You are NOT the exception. Take it from my experience as the “victim” and ending up with a lifetime STD and a child born out of wedlock who will never know what it is like to have a “normal” family growing up. Everyone in this situation is or will be paying for the consequences for the rest of their life; and, don’t count on your spouse staying with you when it all falls apart (this day in age). I just happen to be one of the few that has faith my God can help me move mountains and I cannot live apart from Him.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Wow. Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog. You are a truly amazing woman and Christian. I’m humbled by your Christ-like response to your husband’s sin(s) and how you have CHOSEN to stay with him, in spite of him. As painful as your story is to live and even share, I’m grateful that God is able to use it for His glory. Ashes to beauty is so fitting! Thanks again for commenting. I’m a better person for it.

  17. Patti says:

    I discovered almost 2 years ago, that my husband had a year long affair.. I am still struggling with it. He still is not the person he was prior to the affair. He still tells lies, over the dumbest things. I am pretty confident that he is not having any affair or cheating, as I have control of pw’s , cell records & his time sheet from work. But I am not blind to the fact that he could not have other email accounts or a secret cell phone that I don’t know about. But you see, that is the problem, the trust has been forever broken. And until he confronts his “lying” problem, I will never be able to trust him. I just want to know how a person can constantly lie to you & claim they love you at the same time. That’s all I want to know. I no longer trust anyone. I have broken off all my friendships. I don’t even associate with my siblings anymore because they too have betrayed me so many times. Why was I placed on this earth?

    • Rod Arters says:

      Patti,
      I’m so sorry to just now respond to this – unfortunately, my personal life took some pretty dramatic hits over the last few months and I’m just now getting back on my feet. I’m sorry to learn of your story and hear of the heartbreak you are dealing with. No one wins in this situation and the devastation is crushing. I would encourage you to reach out to some new friends and try to reestablish some connections there. It’s not healthy to be alone in this world, particularly when you are struggling at such a core level. yes, people will disappoint us… but we must move on and keep trying. YOu are on this earth for a reason.. God has a plan for all the pain. You could really play a key role in someone else’s healing some day – but you need to find healing and wholeness for yourself first. A great resource for you would be my friend Elisabeth: http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com. Her writings speak directly to someone in your shoes.

  18. Lisa Harvey says:

    Hi Rod,
    I have really enjoyed your articles and they are allowing me some insight into the mind of someone who cheats. My husband left myself and his three children 11 days ago after declaring he was in love with a woman at work. He is denying anything physical (probably due to the fact that they will both lose their jobs). This is his second affair. The first was five years ago and we had both worked hard at restoring our marriage back then. The worst part of this is that only a month ago, we were on a family holiday holding hands, laughing and having fun together. He was being intimate wtih me and pretending he loved me. Then I recieved phone calls from people I knew who worked with him of their suspicions. Aparently he has been cheating on me for almost a year !!!!
    I am so devastated as are my children. Our eldest daugther is quite unwell and awaiting four surguries and I have spent the last year trying to help her in anyway I could and consequently missed the signs of his infidelity.
    He has no regret, remorse and is quite angry with me. I understand that this is ploy to justify his actions. He looks for opportunities to blame me.
    The pain of his rejection, indifference and intense desire to leave is almost unbearable. I cling to God in faith and hope that one day, I will find joy, sleep, peace of mind again.
    LIsa

    • Rod Arters says:

      Lisa, I am so sorry. There are no excuses for his actions and no words I can offer you to comfort you. Only God (and some time) can heal these kind of wounds. One day, he will wake up and realize what he has done. How is your support system?

  19. Pingback: 14 reasons to never cheat on your spouse | love story from the male perspective

  20. outshine says:

    O After the fall, one can pick them self up, ask them self ‘why?’ and in seeking the answer find and fall madly and deeply in love with their Creator, who I now call my Soul Mate and in doing so, fall madly and deeply in love with their spouse and never thirst again!

    • Rod Arters says:

      I so agree! It is possible! Those who have been forgiven much tend to love much. Those who don’t receive that forgiveness struggle to love anyone again, especially themselves.

  21. Bobbi says:

    Thank you for your article! I could’ve written every word of this as I’ve lived through it also. I wish people could see the ripple effects of their decisions before they make them. But thank God that He is a gracious, loving, and forgiving God and that his mercy endures.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Bobbi, thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, it is unfortunate that we often need to see the wake we leave in others lives before we understand what our actions have done. Grateful for God’s grace as well!

  22. Bobbi says:

    I could add a number 15 to this. The affair may result in a pregnancy which adds a whole new set of complications to the situation. Custody battle, child support, stepparent problems, not to mention the high price that the child will pay from being caught in the middle.

  23. Lynn Main says:

    Thank you for your article. My ex believed that our divorce was just between the two of us, that it didn’t affect anyone else. Of course this thought was part of the lies he told himself to justify his decisions. I stayed in the world we lived in, he just walked away. It was tough to go into church after he left. It was tough seeing the teenagers who looked up to him as their Sunday School teacher. It was tough seeing our praise band sing without him. Before we walked into church for the first time after he left I remember telling my children that we didn’t do anything wrong, that he people in our church loved us and were praying for us. It is extremely hard to hold your head up when you know that you and your disintegrating life is the talk of the town. I am thankful to our youth pastor and his wife for letting my oldest join their missionary trip. While on this trip my 2 daughters were able to forgive their father. My oldest gave her testimony when the group put on the next Sunday service. You could have heard a pin drop in the sanctuary as she spoke about when she was washing her sister’s feet, crying, feeling the Holy Spirit work within her and at the same time her sister was crying and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was hard to listen to my oldest daughter find bible verses that she wanted to say to her day, and wanted to remind him of what he taught her in Sunday School with these verses. She worked for him at the time. It broke my human heart to know that the verses won’t work, but I did my best to encourage her and trust in the Holy Spirit. Trust issues are huge for all of us. I am not sure how any of us will ever trust 100% again. The woman my ex-husband left me for was out of his life within a year, is married to someone else and has 3 children, so I know that my ex had to face at some point he wasn’t going to have the life he thought he was going to have. My ex is a person who never regretted anything he did, so I doubt he regrets his choices during our marriage. I truly believe he had a breakdown somewhere along the way, but he would never admit it because he doesn’t believe in those kinds of things happening as it is a sign of weakness. It has been a tough 10 years, but God has blessed us in so many ways. I do not know where we would be without God to help us along the way. The kids and I went to a christian therapist for a short while before he moved to another state. A book that helped me tremendously during this time is called “Deal with It, ‘You cannot conquer what you will not confront,'” by Paula White. It goes through 10 women in the bible and talks about how they faced their problems. Thanks again for your article and the work you are doing for those people who you can help!

    • Rod Arters says:

      Lynn,
      Thank you for reading & commenting and sharing a bit of your story with me. I’m so sorry for your pain and for the loss of trust you experienced. It is discouraging to see your husband’s unwillingness to repent and try to change and come back to the family. I’m glad to hear your daughters were able to forgive their father – not because he deserves it or asked for it – but because that is in THEIR best interest to heal. I know God can redeem any situation and I’m sure He is using you and your kids in the lives of others who have gone through this horrific ordeal. No one wins in adultery and no one wins in divorce (except the lawyers). May God bless you in your faithfulness and even allow you to love and trust again one day.

  24. brokenjoan says:

    Rod, I know you have been having some problems as of late, I hope things are going better for you. I will always remember your kind words & prayers for me & my family. It has been almost 2 years since I found out about my husbands’ betrayal, we are still together, it is still hard at times but I feel my children are relieved I stayed to try & work things out with their father. May the road ahead become easier for both of us. Thank you, take care, your friend, Joan

    • Rod Arters says:

      Joan, good to hear from you. I appreciate your kind words as well. As much as I would like to have an easier road, I think I need to simply pray for more strength on my current one. I trust God will reward your forgiveness and commitment to your marriage and hope that your marriage will become stronger than it ever was before. May God use your example in the lives of countless others who want to do the easy thing and merely move on to a new relationship. God bless you!

  25. Pingback: 14 Things you should know before you cheat. | RELATIONSHIP MATTERS

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  27. schulalo says:

    Tears are streaming down my face as I realize that this is also my story. The last three paragraphs after #14 are eerily parrell to my story from July, 2011.
    I had just stumbled across and read the Liars, cheaters, thieves and me. Yep, that’s me too…
    I cannot describe the pain, shame, regret and remorse of my selfish actions. It’s weird to say, but I found some relief in hearing it from someone else. It was like I was reading my own thoughts only, I knew, I had never written them down. You very accurately described the turmoil of my life in those last few paragraphs. Thank you so much for sharing your story and struggles. Thanks, too, for providing this starving soul the first few bread crumbs of ‘someone understands.’

    • Rod Arters says:

      I appreciate you reading and commenting. I am so sorry for your pain – sadly, I know it all too well. What is your first name and where are you from? I’d like to pray for you. If i can help you in any way, please let me know. Hang in there brother.

      • Thank you for the article. I am both a perpetrator and victim and what you wrote was so perceptive.

        I never thought in all my years I’d be a cheater; I despised those people; I feared them. Then after 20 years of marriage to my high school sweet heart a series of events happened that changed who I was forever. There are two sides to every story. I am not making excuses for what I did because, indeed, it was a conscious choice. It was a complicated situation and I chose the low road
        It wasn’t until several years later, when it happened to me, that I felt and understood all the pain I had caused.

        By this time, I was “happily” remarried, or so I thought. The pain I have felt over the last two years far exceeds anything I have ever endured or imagined. At first I thought that God was punishing me for what I had did to my first husband. It’s taken a long time for me to realize just the opposite. I think God allowed this to happen to bring me closer to him.

      • Rod Arters says:

        Linda,
        Your words and story are powerful. It goes to show us all that NO ONE is above committing any certain sin. Our hearts are all dark and capable of the worst of sins… and those who say “they would never” are merely deceived by their pride and blinded to their sinfulness. I’m sorry for the pain you went through but now you are uniquely equipped to minister to both prostitute and pharisee alike. Be encouraged, your story will be used to provide hope to others as you point them to Christ.

  28. brokenjoan says:

    Dear Rod, Joan here how are you doing? I think of you often & appreciate all your prayers for me & my family! It has been 2 years since the discovery of my husbands’ affair, we are still together & things are much improved! Thank you again, you are a kind man! Your friend, Joan

    • Rod Arters says:

      hey Joan, great to hear from you. Thanks for the update – so glad you are still together and moving towards healing and wholeness! Your story encourages me and so many others! Forgiveness can happen. Reconciliation is possible. God can mend broken things. Thanks for your encouragement!

  29. I join many in thanking you for writing this. I am sure it took a lot of courage and sorrow reliving the consequences of adultery, but it is really a needed viewpoint in our society today. Like you said, it is so commonplace now for people to have affairs and people really want to believe it isn’t going to be as damaging as it is. And it’s so discouraging to see it so much in the church among believers who should really know better and have more self-control.

    I’m also curious about the way it changes slightly when it’s the woman who cheats. Society seems to have a difficult time with that as well. It’s as if we think, well boys will be boys when a man has sex outside marriage, but there is still a stigma with women who do – as if they are not just horny jerks, but suddenly the husband gets called more into question like there must be something wrong with him. Because it’s more rare for the wife to cheat? Because women aren’t supposed to do that? I don’t know. Just curious about your thoughts on it. Anyway, great post.

    • Rod Arters says:

      Robin,
      Thank you for reading my article and taking the time to comment on it. I am very grateful. You are correct – this is a rampant problem – even in the church. It breaks my heart that I was part of the epidemic. Now I try to do what I can to be part of the solution.

      I’m not sure why the standard is different with women in regards to adultery. Apparently little has changed in 2,000 years in this regard as the story in the gospel of John 8 reveals. It takes two for this sin to occur and I guess people hold women to a higher standard in regards to morality/self-control, integrity. As you know, men are often characterized as being less thoughtful, less self-controlled, less honest, more prone to impulsive passions, etc. Perhaps this is why we are not surprised when we learn of one cheating. Weekly I receive emails from men AND women who have fallen. Clearly this is not something that tempts merely one gender.

  30. Six months ago this week, my husband of thirty-five years sat me down and told me that he had been involved in an affair. I forgave him immediately, and that evening we spoke to our pastor who advised us that we did not need to bring the matter before the church, that no discipline was necessary. However, that was not how God wanted it. A few days later, reality set in and I found myself in the hospital suffering from ‘Dissociative Amnesia’. For several hours, I had no memory. I was unaware of anyone in the room other than my husband. I would cry uncontrollably then ask him the same five questions concerning the affair over and over and over. Our pastor was out of town. He assumed I was having a stroke and asked Katarina, our Associate Pastor’s wife to come visit. Our daughter and her husband also came to visit. Because of my babbling, my husband was forced to tell them why I was in the hospital.
    A mental health professional was brought in to talk to me. She told me that what had happened was my body’s way of protecting itself. During the next couple of weeks we had a few sessions with her. She asked if anyone else knew about the affair, and we told her about Katarina. She suggested that I visit with Katarina any time things got overwhelming. One evening we completed one of the health professional’s ‘Active Listening’ assignments. The next morning, I was so angry I couldn’t even speak to my husband. I went outside and bent over and cried and stomped my feet and screamed until my throat was raw. I wanted to beat him black and blue, and he was ready to hop on a train and take off, never to be seen again. But instead, he call Katarina. That afternoon she came over and counseled and consoled me for three hours. The most profound thing she said was, “You have to forgive him…seventy times seven. And do it again tomorrow.” That evening I took the list of grievances that I had read during our ‘Active Listening’ assignment the previous evening. One by one, I read each statement. But this time I followed each statement with the words, “…but I forgive you for that.” Within moments, my husband was weeping and we clung to each other, allowing a restoration to take place.
    We discontinued our visits with the mental health professional, who encouraged me to continue the ‘faith based’ counseling with Katarina. With Katarina’s encouragement, my husband and I decided that we should address the church. It was having to keep our ‘dirty little secret’ that put me in the hospital, and my husband believed that I needed the support of our church family. The next Sunday evening, he stood before the church and told them what he had done. They literally wrapped their arms around us, surrounding us in a cocoon of love and forgiveness. Since then Don has also confessed to all five of our children, his boss and co-workers, to the affair partner’s husband, and my parents. (He says they don’t put any sugar in Humble Pie, but each time a confession was made, he felt a weight lifted.) I have a very good relationship with the affair partner, who came to me and apologized for her actions. Although, I think about the affair daily, I no longer hurt. Our marriage is stronger than it has ever been. I still tell Don frequently that I forgive him, and that I appreciate everything he has done.
    But here is the problem. Preaching from the Word, and daily Bible reading, bring constant reminders to Don of what he did, which it should. Don as asked God for forgiveness and is confident that he has received it. But Don has never forgiven himself. During a recent Wednesday evening, he had to step out of the auditorium when the pastor mentioned ‘integrity’ in his sermon. The pastor, the associate, and a close friend each came to him that evening and assured him that by his actions, he has proven that he IS a man of integrity. Yet he battles depression and a constant reminder of how he hurt me, our children, our church, and his testimony. You have been where he now is. How DOES a man forgive himself? Satan wants my husband living a defeated life, but I don’t. Is there anything more I can do to help him?

    • Rod Arters says:

      Melodie, thank you for taking the time to read my article and share your story with me. I am sorry for all the pain you have gone through but I am glad you have found the ability to forgive your husband for his actions. Clearly, this was essential for your own well being. There are no magic formulas for how to forgive oneself. It is something I struggled with even before my story became public. In fact, if I’m honest, I still struggle with it – not on an intellectual level, but an emotional one. For example, one can believe “God loves you” intellectually but not feel that love applies to him emotionally. The same is true with forgiveness. Your husband knows intellectually he has been forgiven (by you, the Lord, others) but he doesn’t always “feel” forgiven. Every time you struggle with the pain of his past (which you have every right to do), it may trigger his feelings of guilt/shame of what he has done. Every time he hears your pastor preach on integrity (which should be often), it may trigger those feelings again. Every time he hears of infidelity on tv/in movies (which is daily) – it may trigger him again. I say this with experience, his triggers will be many and daily for a long time. Unfortunately, that’s part of the consequence of his actions. Having said that, he (like you did with forgiving him) must CHOOSE to receive forgiveness – daily. He knows it intellectually. He must embrace it emotionally if he is ever to move on from this struggle. Again, not saying it is easy – just saying it is necessary. You have to/had to choose to forgive him on EVERY grievance in order to find peace/health. He must do the same. Unfortunately, your husband has placed himself in Satan’s cross hairs with this action. There are few other actions we commit where guilt and shame are in overdrive like they are with adultery and this level of betrayal. And Satan, as you know, lives at the intersection of Guilt Drive and Shame Lane. Just as you did the hard work of forgiving him, he is going to have to do the hard work of receiving that forgiveness. He will NEVER feel worthy of it. He will NEVER get used to it… he must simply embrace it. I hope this helps. Please feel free to have your husband reach out to me if he ever needs to talk. (He can reach me via my FB writer page). I’m not a counselor nor have I handled my situation perfectly. As I like to say, I’m merely one beggar telling other beggars where to find Bread.

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