Should I be thankful I was cheated on?
I’d like to think if God had some wisdom to impart, that He could find a better way to do it than put my ex serial cheating husband on my life path. I mean, hey, God — a burning bush, a colorful United Methodist brochure, a lightening bolt! Really anything other than an shambling, bald, federal employee who couldn’t keep it in his pants.
And yet, if not for my experience of infidelity I would never have met my husband. (Otherwise known as the Great Blessing.) Before him, I would never have experienced living in Lancaster County, Pa. (one of the most beautiful places on earth) or being a farm journalist, or discovering a love of pickled beets. I wouldn’t have lived in a Civil War era farm house. I wouldn’t have learned to weld. I wouldn’t have moved to Texas, have ever owned cowboy boots, or met my friends here.
Heck, had it not been for creepy, serial cheating ex-husband, I’d probably still be living in D.C. editing books on macro-economics and chastising authors for their improper use of serial commas. I’d have loads more money in the bank, that’s for sure. And I would appear to the world as exponentially more normal. Just one divorce instead of two. Let’s face it, two makes you freakish. As Lady Bracknell might say, “To lose one husband may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.”
And of course, were it not for my serial cheating ex-husband, there would be no Chump Lady. I’d have no wisdom to impart. I’d still be a proto-chump, ignorant of my ignorance.
So, should I thank my ex? Was this all just a big blessing in disguise?
Oh fuck that noise.
Look, it’s not that I want to stay trapped in my victimhood (I can read the HuffPo comments now “What IS it with Tracy Schorn that she is so OBSESSED with the trivial matters of infidelity! She must be fueled by rage or irritable bowel syndrome or fallen arches.”) It’s that I really hate the smug read on life post-infidelity as “Tut tut, it’s over. Let it go. Find your compassion! Heck, find it in your heart to be friends again some day!” Vomit. Worse is when the cheater claims responsibility for your happy ending. “See? It was all for the best.” (Read: What I Did Wasn’t So Bad. I Was Aware of the Larger Plan All Along. I Did This For Your Own Good.)
No. Whatever I created for myself after the chaos and destruction of infidelity is on ME. I did that. Yes, cheating was the catalyst, the hurricane that razed my city, but I rebuilt. That’s still on me. And all the good people who helped me through it. My cheater had nothing to do with it. Apparently he’s still the same old lard ass preying on single mothers and fucking around.
Listen, I like the Pollyanna viewpoint. I do. I look at my first marriage — a huge waste — and I think, hey, I got my son out of it. It was worth it whatever bullshit I went through to get my son. But for some reason, I balk at that “it all worked out for the best” perspective when I consider my serial cheating ex. Really? I had to go through that shit? Cheating and rages and protection from abuse orders and scads of therapy? I ordered that combo plate of dysfunction?
Why do we minimize infidelity as “comfort” to chumps? Would anyone say to the Jews — “Oh, I’m sorry about the Holocaust. But hey, you got Israel. Look on the bright side.”
Infidelity is no longer part of my life — thank GOD — but just because I rebuilt a new life with a better partner doesn’t make cheating any less WRONG. What came after does not excuse what went on before. Yes, it’s legitimate to point out that I think about infidelity to the degree that I blog about it, but I do that because I think there is so much bullshit out there. So much blame the victim and forgiveness is imperative and reconcile or die nonsense. Chump Lady is a niche, and I apparently have this niche all to myself. I really don’t think you can heal from this unless you know what you’re healing from. IMO? You’re healing from abuse. See it for the injustice that it is, figure out your chump role in all of that (why did I dance? Why?!) and absofuckingloutley gain that life!
And yet it is a cold, hard fact that I met my husband BECAUSE I was cheated on. (Big reveal) I met him on surviving infidelity (not that they encourage that, they very much do not). He PMed me after I’d given some advice, said something snarky, very similar to the sorts of things I write here. He noticed. We began writing back and forth and became friends. Nothing romantic, but later when I went to Jazzfest in New Orleans with friends he decided to meet up with me because he said he wanted to take me to lunch. There, in front of Solomon Burke, the world’s sexiest 400lb man, crooning “Cry to Me” I met him, and there in New Orleans — a destroyed city that came back to life — I met the man that became my husband.
Cosmically weird, right? Cosmically weirder still, I was introduced to him on an infidelity board that encourages RECONCILIATION.
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Walt Whitman