So… thinking some more about this divorce shame phenomena. And I’ve concluded that most of this divorce shame comes from cheaters. Yep. Cheaters and their apologists.
Insofar as cheaters feel shame (I have my doubts about how robustly they feel shame), they feel divorce shame. People will wonder about them exactly what we fear they wonder about us — what did you do to wind up divorced? But unlike chumps, cheaters actually have a skeleton to bury. They’ve got a damn good reason why they’re divorced — they cheated. So, let’s avoid all the ugliness and consequences and not divorce. Narcissists care very much what other people think of them.
Which is why the majority of cheaters do not file for divorce — they cake eat, neglect, gaslight, and drive their poor chump to do it. The ones that run off for the affair partner — the clean exit affair types (IMO a minority of cheaters) — they can avoid divorce shame because they’re heading straight toward the greater glory of The Love That Was Meant to Be. It was bigger than the two of them, it could not be denied. There’s no shame when the heart wants what it wants. These are the cheaters that want to stay friends. Hey, we just weren’t working out, I fell in love with someone else. You’re over it, right?
I can’t think of a single cheater who has ever initiated a divorce simply for the pleasure of fucking around unhindered. No, these people cannot be alone. They need several suckers lined up at once.
But oddly, that is EXACTLY what the divorce shamers accuse chumps of — justing wanting to be free. Of neglecting their station. Of valuing their independence over the welfare of their children. Yes, single parenting is a big party… You can buy a lot of booze and cheese doodles on food stamps…
Cheaters project their divorce shame on us — so many of them are just FURIOUS, even years later that we divorced them.
My cheater was married three times, (who knows, maybe more) — cheated on everyone. He was INCENSED that I divorced him. Dragged it out as long as he could. He was incensed his exes divorced him. Don’t you think by the third wife he would’ve connected the dots? The guy had advanced engineering degrees, but this basic logic eluded him — if you cheat, you will be found out and left. The cake disappears. Ergo — Learn to live without cake. Or stay single.
The more divorces you rack up, the harder it is to find a good sucker to take you on. You have to explain this shit away. His excuse was those women cheated on him. So let’s shame those women for being Bad Wives Who Left Him.
Cake must be awfully precious. Imagine you have no conscience for a moment. You get all the kibbles of home, and all the kibbles of fucking around on the side. You can tell yourself each day, that despite your secret kibble sources, you’re a good person. Heck, you’d never LEAVE your spouse. You might siphon off resources. You might endanger that person with STDs. You might emotionally abuse them (kibble production cannot be threatened!) But you have the status of Family. Of normalcy. You are secure.
Some uppity chump rocks your place on the hierarchy? They presume to make demands of accountability? Shame! Shame! Back in your box!
As Dr. Simon points out in his book, shame is a very good manipulation tool for those who feel it — chumps.
I would add — shame is effective on cheaters too. They fear judgment. They care what people think of them, which is why they try to control the narrative. So put the divorce shame back where it belongs — on cheaters. Who cares who initiated the divorce? Who CAUSED the divorce? Who wasn’t the full partner? Who didn’t do the hard work to repair what they broke?
Cheaters. Shame on them.