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Is There a Connection Between Cheaters and Narcissist's?

12 Steps to Dealing with Narcissists - Emotional Self Protection and Boundary Setting


Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt

Seventeen-years-ago, I had three children, one, three, and five years old. I had been married for five years. If you do the math you will quickly figure out that I was pregnant when we got married. We were young, both twenty years old. We weren’t ecstatic, but I thought we were happy. We never really got a chance to be just a couple, I was either pregnant or nursing the entire time we were married. Having a home computer was new for us, we had just figured out how to use e-mail when I received an e-mail from a girl, claiming to know my husband. I recognized her name right away, my husband had called her his high school sweetheart. Their relationship had ended badly and he stated that he could never trust her again. One of the important lessons I learned from the traumatic event of cheating, was you can never know another person fully. You can never predict what they could be capable of. I thought I knew my husband. I loved him, and I would have made a bet that he loved me, at the very least I thought he loved the children. After I received the e-mail I looked at it for quite a while. I then decided to respond to it, tell her women to women that my husband was happily married with three children. She responded back, and assured me that she was also married, and I had nothing to worry about. She said that she also had children, she just wanted to catch up with her high school friend. She wanted to talk about old times. I looked at the e-mails and thought some more. I thought about what it would be like if my high school flame had contacted my husband, would I want to know? Would I want to catch up, and talk about old times? It seemed deceptive to not tell him, and I always wanted to have a truthful and trusting relationship. I should have known better, I shouldn’t have been so naïve. Maybe a part of me knew. We weren’t the happiest couple there ever was. Maybe I was testing him. Whatever the reason, I showed him the e-mail that he would have otherwise never known about without my help.



Under my careful supervision they chatted back and forth, talking about old times, and catching up. My husband worked nights, one morning he came home, and I woke up. He was sitting at the computer, and he turned his head and looked at me. I suddenly knew that the world had shifted, something was wrong. I blurted out to him that he cheated on me, and his first spoken sentence that morning changed our lives forever. He asked me the question,“what if I had?” A punch right to my mid section, he couldn’t even lie. I was beside myself, a very stubborn and determined twenty-five year old. I got up and got dressed, and called my mother to come sit with the kids. I went in the bedroom and told him he wasn’t leaving with anything that he didn’t come into the marriage with, he defaulted everything the moment he cheated. He didn’t say much. He packed a duffel bag, and said goodbye to the kids. When he finally realized I was serious, he begged me to let him sleep in the garage. You see, we were in between pay checks, and he didn’t have any money to get a place of his own. My answer to every pleading was, well you should have thought about that I guess. He should have possibly waited to cheat until after we got paid. The funny thing about this story is that we only had one car, and I had to drive him about two hours to his job in the middle of the desert. That was a long two hour car ride. I found that instead of going to work the night before, he plotted and planned to meet with her. I later found the lunch I had packed him crumpled up in the back seat next to a pair of underwear.


Understanding the Possible Cause

I was then on my own with three kids to take care, no job or education. I became very interested in the why. Why did this happen? Why did he cheat? What makes people cheat? Was the key reason a personality flaw, a fluke? Should we blame the spouse? Was there anything that I did, or didn’t do. Some of the research pointed to a lacking of love and affection the cheater feels, possibly after children enter the picture taking time away from the cheater. That may very well be true, spouses need to do a better job, make sure their husband or wife know that they are high on list of priorities, and remember to be kind and affectionate to them. Although that is a valid complaint, I do not think that is the only reason, or even a reason. An excuse is what it really is. No matter how perfect a situation is, a cheater will find an excuse to cheat. There is something about their make-up, their very existence that helps them be more prone to cheat. Whether it is nurture or nature, or the combination of bad genes and a difficult childhood environment, something goes wrong. This person, a cheater, never really feels good about themselves. They may be very charismatic, and often are, but deep down they do not think they are good enough. Something is missing within themselves, and cheating help’s to fill the hole in their very being. Years later he told me that I stopped paying attention to him, I was always taking care of the kids. I took a deep breath and said the kids were really little, they needed me to take care of them. He told me that this girl, his high school sweetheart who left her husband and children to fend for themselves, waited on him hand and foot. She did everything for him, like a second mommy. He was right, I was never going to be that girl.


Cheating Is More Than Betrayal

Not only does the cheater betray your trust, your love, and your vows; they alter your life, and change your dreams. At one point you think this is the person you will be rocking with on your porch when your eighty, and than the whole road map of your future goes up in flames. This was the person that knew everything about you, because you were probably the only honest one. (S)he has probably always lied to you, many cheaters are very experienced and talented liars. They are charming, captivating, and at one point you cannot believe they are yours. And what about the children? The Christmas before D day my husband and I watched a made for TV movie, about a single mother who had to paint her children’s old toys to pass off as new toys at Christmas because their dad had left their mom, and he refused to pay child support. My husband went on and on about what a bum the man was, how could anyone do that their children? Less than a year later, that is exactly what he did. I could have played in the next made for TV movie of the week on deadbeat dads, and the children they left behind. There are also plenty of deadbeat moms out there, and both sexes should be extremely ashamed of themselves.

Beware the Narcissistic Personality

Narcissism has been linked to cheating. The following are traits of a Narcissism:

1. (S)he believes that they are superior

2. They may fantasize about power, success, and/or attractiveness

3. They often exaggerate their achievements or talents

4. They require constant praise and admiration

5. They do not often recognize other people’s feelings or emotions

6. They want others to buy in to their plans, however unrealistic they may be

7. They know how, and delight in taking advantage of others

8. They are often envious and jealous of what others have

9. They also have an unrealistic view of self, and believe everyone envies them

10. They cannot maintain healthy relationships

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11. They set unrealistic, and unobtainable goals

12. They are easily wounded and feel unconventionally rejected

13. They have a very hollow self esteem

14. They can appear and be stubborn and unemotional

If you want to be happy all your life do not marry a narcissistic husband or wife. There can be a happily ever after. Whether you survive infidelity and seek treatment for the causes and take responsibility for your role in the cheating for the sake of staying together, or for moving on, there is a light shining for the hope and possibility of happiness. I am not at all advocating divorce, everyone has their own path to walk. If I had not been a strong willed, and fearless twenty-five year old, I may have tried harder and fought harder for my marriage. Unfortunately, being married to a narcissistic man, there was nothing I could have done that would have really helped him, or us. You have to know when it is time to move on. My aunt used to say people like doormats, they need them to wipe their feet off, but no one ever loves a doormat. Do not be anyone’s doormat.


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C L Grant from United Kingdom on July 12, 2017:

Narcissists are known for their ability to cheat. They have fragile egos which constantly need feeding. However, it is important to differentiate between those who stray due to an unfulfilling relationship, and narcissists who are always on the look out for someone better.

Cinderella on January 04, 2015:

No more s***. All posts of this quaitly from now on

Susannah on January 04, 2015:

I like to party, not look arlictes up online. You made it happen.

Kimberly Shelden (author) from Idaho on June 20, 2012:

I know... I am sorry, your reasons are probably your children. If I had it to again, I may have not been so stubborn- and stayed and fought for my marriage. Every marriage is different, as we are all individuals- what a wife has to know is, was it an isolated incident- or is it a problem based on a character flaw- those issues are much harder to resolve. Will he do it again, will you ever be able to trust him. I will say- anything is possible with God.

Sima on June 20, 2012:

Kim, cheating broke my heart but for some (silly) reason I'm still with him. Maybe I'm still in shock, who knows? Only time will tell.

Kimberly Shelden (author) from Idaho on June 15, 2012:

It definitely broke my heart, and I was probably jaded for a while.. actually you just gave me a new idea for a Hub:) but I think I learned a lot about myself- the strength that I didn't know I had- so I guess it served a purpose. I think the key to my eventual success, was not rushing into another long term relationship. I dated off and on for years, never serious. I had a couple rules, I seldom brought anyone around my kids- I never wanted them to get attached to anyone. When I finally got married my kids had total buy in. It was a peaceful and amazing transition. It is like we have always been together. Thank you so much for reading and providing sincere and lovely comments` kimberly

LouLou617 from Massachusetts on June 15, 2012:

It probably broke your heart at the time. I don't care what anyone says. A broken heart will stop hurting after a while, but the trauma remains, causing you to become a little jaded about love and relationships. And that's the worst part about it-that cheater took away some of your innocence by doing that to you. And that's not fair. I have never cheated and I am so happy about it. I would die of guilt!

Great hub, as usual!

Kimberly Shelden (author) from Idaho on June 15, 2012:

WOW, you could have really added to my Hub- you are absolutely right, the odds were against us. There were items that I didn't add to the hub like we were from two different worlds, significantly different raising, religious views, and moral Inclinations. But at the end of the day the man was a narcissist. Thank you for reading and providing your valuable comments. Good news is I waited for ten years and raised my children. I really got to know myself and what I wanted in a mate, and then I found him, or he found me.~ Kimberly

dashingscorpio from Chicago on June 15, 2012:

This was a very well written hub!

I trully empathize with your situation. However I think there were several mistakes made by both you and your former huband which I am certain you would advise your children not to follow. (Using your own statements).

"I was pregnant when we got married. We were young, both twenty years old." Not many 20 year olds are mentally mature or financially prepared to start a family.

"We never really got a chance to be just a couple, I was either pregnant or nursing the entire time we were married." You also probably never got to live as an "adult" having your own apartments, traveling, and building a career path... In essence learning (who you are) or (what you want) out of life.

"Maybe a part of me knew. We weren’t the happiest couple there ever was. Maybe I was testing him." I truly admire your honesty with this statement. Not many people in your situation would be "happy" essentially going from high school to having a boat load of responsibilities and feeling somewhat like your whole life was already laid out for you at such an early age. Most young people are in no rush to be like their parents.

Lastly you stated the following (key statement). "She did everything for him, like a second mommy. He was right, I was never going to be that girl" The deck was stacked against you in so many ways! However now knowing you were not the kind of woman who (truly) wanted/needed just proves either he did not know (himself) well enough or you did not know him or yourself well enough before exchanging vows. The divorce rate is around 50%. Cheating may be the "final straw" that leads to divorce but there is always "something" that proceeds the act in a cheater's mind.

A hurt person who asks “Why”? is usually doing so as a reflex reaction. They pretty much have already made up their mind that there is nothing their mate could say that would justify their actions. Essentially asking (why) is a rhetorical question!

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