If you’ve spent any time trolling the infidelity online forums and support groups, you’ve invariably encountered some of the following dreadful nuggets of craptacular advice. If I’ve left any off, I’m sure you can add to the list. Who made me God and how do I know this is bad advice? Because either I have followed it with dismal, painful results or I’ve watched hundreds of other people (reading on boards for years) follow this advice with dismal, painful results.
The bad advice is predicated on chumps remaining chumps and generally centers around two tenets of chumpdom — a) doing the humiliating dance of “pick me!” and b) spackle. Either — you can improve yourself to make them change! (because really this is all your fault) — or — let’s call it something else! (something with potential!) because it’s really Not That Bad and If We Wait It Out Things Will Improve.
Without further ado, don’t do this:
1. Wait six months to make a decision. The mother of all malarky. It’s also sometimes expressed as, wait one month for every year of the marriage to make a decision.
Would we give this advice to people being physically abused? Hey, I know he’s beating you senseless, but that may stop. Don’t leave now because you’re upset about being slugged. He’ll get tired of slugging you, see the error of his ways, and then you can fix this!
Well, when you put it that way, it looks pretty ridiculous. And yet anyone who has experienced infidelity can tell you, they’d much prefer to have been hit than to have been cheated on. The psychic wounds of betrayal are worse than physical assault. A person who is engaged in an affair, who is eating cake, who can’t “decide” is actively disrespecting and abusing you. You should not stick around six months for them to continue to treat you like crap. Why not just decorate yourself with chocolate frosting and marzipan letters than spell C-H-U-M-P so they can enjoy more cake?
The wait-six-months advice feels good to Limbo Chumps who can’t seem to bust a move to save themselves. It justifies their indecision and fuels their false hope. Oh! Maybe my cheater will snap out of it and reconcile with me! Reconciliation is a timid forest creature and I must not scare it away! Which brings me to my next piece of craptacular advice…
2. There is a wayward fog and they’re going to come out of it. Just wait. Poor cheaters, they know not what they do. All their self serving bullshit excuses? That’s just “fog speak.” They don’t really mean it. (They do, they’re manipulating you. It’s very deliberate.)
Did they quit the affair partner because you huffed and puffed and threatened divorce? Are they sulky? That’s just the fog! Wait, it will pass. It takes awhile for them to “grieve” their affair partner. Well yes, you don’t want to have to hear the details of their sordid fuckfests, but they’re in mourning. It’s all “fog think.”
Essentially, any time a cheater does something stupid and thoughtless, you can attach the word “fog” to it and excuse it. No remorse? They’re in the fog. Can’t go no contact with their fuckbuddies? Fog again. Said she never would’ve cheated if you made more money? Foggy talk!
Real fog is a temporary weather condition. It clears. Not so with cheaters. They’re fog machines. The obfuscation and narcissistic whinnying are deliberate. They do what they do because they want what they want. It’s that simple.
Who’s in a fog then? Chumps. It clears when you see them for who they are, not who you want them to be.
3. Make the marriage a good place to be. This of course is another variation of the Humiliating Dance of “Pick Me.” Marriage Builders recommends this utterly schizophrenic dance — make the marriage and home lovely. Keep things clean and tidy, go to the gym more, dress spiffy! Be pleasant! At the same time — communicate your desire to stay married but tell them you won’t tolerate cheating. Maybe see a lawyer, that’ll scare them! Everything you do to shake them out of the affair should be done with a nod towards — see what you’re missing?
Oh that works. Yes, reward cheaters with a better marriage that they are not participating in. Excellent idea. While we’re at it, lets bailout Wall St. and reward them with tax breaks for fucking up our economy with the subprime mortgage crisis. (Oh hang on, we already did this? And they rewarded us with stock market volatility and higher ATM fees? Fuck that!) Rewarding people for bad behavior generally tends to encourage MORE bad behavior, not less.
And cheaters aren’t missing their “good” marriage. They tend to feel they deserve good as their baseline and you could do better. Dance that dance! You cannot miss what is still there in the kitchen packing your lunch each day. You want them to miss the marriage? LEAVE THE MARRIAGE. That’s how that works.
We’ll explore the other lousy advice tomorrow. I might have a whole week’s worth. Feel free to add your own in the comments — and remember — don’t be a chump!