Wonder if I gave you diamonds
Out of my own womb
Would you feel the love in that
Or ask why not the moon?
One thing that seems to be a near universal experience among betrayed folks, is that after a divorce, the cheater hates their guts. People are just BAFFLED by this, and rightfully indignant. Hang on… you cheat on me, eat cake, refuse to fix your marriage, compel me to divorce your sorry ass — and now you HATE me? WTF?! I mean, haven’t I suffered ENOUGH?
And by hate, I mean — runs you down to friends and neighbors. Tells their family lies about your conduct and their innocence. Acts like a jackass in a divorce and either refuses to settle a divorce, or prolongs custody litigation for shits and giggles. Attempts to poison your relationship with your children. Behaves condescendingly or brazenly insults you.
And nine times out of ten, the cheater got what they wanted — Unfettered access to their fuckbuddies! Alimony! Child support! All the wedding dishes!
But still they HATE.
What is that about?!
Chump Lady cannot get inside the head of cheaters, but let me posit a few theories.
1. No more cake. Chump Lady’s first rule of infidelity is the Unified Theory of Cake — that cheaters’ ultimate goal is to attain the Nirvanic state of cake eating. To have all the comforts and securities of marriage, with all the illicit fun and hijinks of cheating. When you divorced them, you took away their cake. And it’s really a lot of work to get back to a perfect cake situation again. For one thing, you need a good caliber of sucker, and you were a terrific sucker and suckers are hard to come by. Alas, the affair partner (AP) is not a good caliber of sucker, because the AP is already aware they’re a cheater (but they probably will try and cultivate the AP anyway). And if they wound up with the AP, now there is a vacancy they have to fill.
It’s all very distressing to the cheater, and this is clearly your fault.
2. Spin and image control. If the cheater is saying rotten things about you to other people, this is probably not anything new. This is what they had to tell themselves and others to justify their cheating. But now that you’re divorced, what was once a contained threat to their image (you did not know they were blackballing you), is now an uncontained threat, You might be out there telling people unflattering things about them… and (gasp) true things about their infidelity. The cheater needs to claim the narrative first. And cheaters are method actors. They have to live the part. Whether they hate you or don’t hate you, believe the lies they tell, or don’t really believe them — it doesn’t matter. They need to behave as if they do. Their image as The Real Victim Here is paramount.
3. Divorce is very unpleasant. People can be so judgy. They had a nice place in the firmament, and now they’re single. (If only for a few weeks, perhaps.) It’s a lowering of status. The financial repercussions are no fun. The kids need to be bought off and placated with Disney crap. It’s a lot of effort and there’s court orders and shit. Judges ORDERING them to do stuff. You know how they hate it when you’re the boss of them.
4. This is not what they expected. Maybe the cheater left for the AP. And now instead of getting diamond earrings for Christmas from her husband, the AP gives the cheater a copy of Microsoft Office Suite. The fantasy is dying. And this is your fault for not doing the Humiliating Dance of Pick Me and wooing them harder. You didn’t fight hard enough to save the marriage!
Someone needs to take the blame. It can’t ever be the cheater.
So, betrayed people — if you find yourself on the receiving end of hatred from your ex, do like Jill Scott does in the song above — laugh. Go ahead and hate on me, hater.
You can try as you may
Break me down when I say
That it ain’t up to you
Gonna do what you do