One of the stupidest things cheaters say is: “It wasn’t about you.”
This is both infuriating and true. It wasn’t about you. They were not thinking of you at all.
What they mean, of course, is that hey, they didn’t intend to hurt you. And because they didn’t go out there with Bad Intent, this isn’t quite as bad as it seems. And look at all the trouble they went to — hiding their cell phone and conducting their illicit activities away from home — just to spare your feelings! God, it’s positively generous of them.
When cheaters say “It wasn’t about you” — they’re throwing you a bone. Don’t take it personally. It falls short of actually taking responsibility for the affair and saying, “This is about me. I am a fuck up.” And it’s a step above the truly toxic habit many cheaters have of trying to make it ALL about you — if you weren’t such a horrible/fat/lazy/sexless spouse I Wouldn’t Have Cheated. So, yeah, that’s a mercy.
But how else are you supposed to take cheating except personally? If a tornado blows your roof off, if you get cancer — okay, it’s not personal. The universe was not singling you out. Storms erupt, cell divide, no one is at fault. However, cheating is an intimate crime against you. It’s a violation. And the person entrusted with your personal safety and emotional well-being betrayed you. How can it feel like anything but very, very about you.
The repercussions are very personal. STD testing. The mortification of telling (or not telling) your family. Explaining your distress and/or divorce to your children.
“It wasn’t about you” is cold comfort. Cheaters use weasel words to minimize what they’ve done and how it affects you. The horrible thing is that there is total truth in the statement. They were not considering you or the kids at all. And insomuch as they did think of you — because they had to, affairs require loads of reconnaissance — they determined that the risks were worth it. That your potential devastation was worth the frisson of excitement that fucking new people brings.
The antidote to “It wasn’t about you” is to make it very much about you now. You set the terms of how you move forward. You protect you. The cheater cannot be entrusted with your healing.