Why is It That Only Women are Blamed for Infidelity?

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a married woman in my 50s. I was contacted for the first time in more than 20 years by a man whom I had dated for about seven years after graduating from high school, and we met up. We had an affair, but his wife found out about us.

The man and I broke up after exchanging out-of-court settlement papers. But what I regret the most is the loss of the memories of my wonderful youth.

At the time of the settlement, I was called to a location far away for talks. My husband arranged for a lawyer and paid for all the paperwork.

The wife of the man I had an affair with was a wealthy, well-educated, career-minded woman. During the proceeding, she did not utter a word but only shook her head for yes or no.

My husband is the one who has suffered the most from this affair. I have become mentally unstable and am going to be hospitalized.

Both parties are supposed to share the blame for an affair, right? I believe that I have already apologized enough for my part. I accept that the man took advantage of me, but I have no intention of apologizing to his wife.

Why is it that only women get criticized and blamed for infidelity?

C, Mie Prefecture

Dear Ms. C:

As you wrote, the blame for cheating when both parties are married is generally on even terms. You are asking why only women are criticized, but I can only answer that this is not always the case, it just happens to be you who was reproached.

What I cannot overlook, however, is the sentence that says your biggest regret is that you lost the memories of your youth. That is very self-centered.

It seems that your husband was in contact with the other party on your behalf, but have you ever imagined what it must have been like for him to be in such a negotiating role?

You seem to be only looking at things from the perspective that you are the victim, that it was your husband who suffered the most, or that you were taken advantage of by the other man.

In fact, you betrayed your husband and made him clean up your mess. The real victim here is your husband, and there is a possibility that he will demand compensation for emotional damage and hand you divorce papers in the future.

It is not your youth that you will regret losing the most, but your husband who is there now.

The affair has destroyed the trust between you and your spouse, and the time you two have spent together. Your days of atonement must begin now.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 25, 2022)