So, yesterday I got to tangling with remorseful cheaters on an infidelity board (Talk About Marriage).
Someone posted my article skewering that Victoria Milan survey published at HuffPo about the reasons women give for cheating, the foremost of which was “lack of a sense of humor.”
For some reason, this article got the dander up of several reformed cheaters who post over there. Look, TAM is a pro-marriage site that is anti-cheating. So, naturally, it’s a place for people in reconciliation, most of those folks chumps, and a few cheaters — or “wayward” spouses as they prefer to be called. (The cheating thing is all in the past.)
The satire in the HuffPo response comes from the fact that the “reasons” active cheaters give for cheating are freaking RIDICULOUS.
But apparently, some reformed cheaters can’t really laugh at stupid shit cheaters say. So skip it, right?
No — kill the messenger. Here’s one thoughtful response.
I went ahead and took the liberty of copying the entire column from the TAM and Huffington Post renowned Chump Lady. To be honest, I think the biggest “chumps” are her faithful readers. You see, she, and her high priced, divorce lawyer, hubby (hubby #2, of course, because without hubby #1, there would be no Chump Lady, at all) make big bucks off of us “bad! Bad! Bad! Idiots.”
Her hubby makes his big bucks off of handling big money divorces. And, the Chump Lady makes hers off of continuously stirring the venom pot, of those who have been affected by infidelity, in her regular column/blog/whatever it is, in The Huffington Post. To quote the famous line from a Seinfeld episode, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” And, I suppose there isn’t…… really??? But, what exactly is good about her column? Well, it’s probably a very good source of income for the Chump Lady, and her high-priced divorce lawyer hubby! In fact, it may even help keep her hubby’s business booming by providing an ongoing, and steady source of disgruntled, stirred, and shaken clientele! And, that, too, would be very good for the Chump Lady, indeed!
She then went on to say she doesn’t read my column.
So, I took the bait. I got on and said, actually my husband is a civil rights attorney for mostly poor people who are victims of race, gender, or pregnancy discrimination, and work place injury. (Texas is the only state in the nation, that doesn’t require workers comp). He does plaintiff side only work, on contingency — which means he takes NO money from his clients, and only collects if he settles or wins their case in court. (In other words, he’s awesome at what he does.) He enforces the Civil Rights Act every day with his own damn money and is not a high priced divorce lawyer. (But we did get a good chuckle about that.)
Oh, and for anyone who is curious — I don’t make money on this blog. You guys are terrifically kind about donating and Amazon sends me about $20 a month for ads, cafe press the occasional $5 for mugs sold — but over all for what I’ve spent to create it, versus any income its generated in two years — it’s a negative cash flow (not adding in my time either). Now, when my book is for sale next month? I will shamelessly promote it, now that I’ve built this community. Just so you know my nefarious plans, chumps.
ANYWAY — back to cheaters. What was fascinating to me is that here is a community of REFORMED cheaters who cannot admit that cheaters give stupid excuses when they cheat.
I guess the fantasy reformed cheater in my mind looks at that shit and goes “Oh yeah, I used to say crap like that. I’m so embarrassed now that I blameshifted my affair on to my chump. I cheated because I was selfish and because I wanted to. That’s on me 100 percent.”
It will probably come as no surprise to any of you who spent 5 minutes in reconciliation that NO, it’s waaaaay more “complicated” than that.
Chumps, you need to own your part in making them cheat.
It is too easy to say that the affair is all on the WS and that’s that.
Yes, it’s easy because it’s common sense. Unless the chump and the cheater were boffing the same person, only ONE person was in the affair, and duh, it’s all on the cheater.
I think that there are many many reasons why spouses cheat. It can be entitlement, it can also be narcissism, it can also be because the wandering spouse just wants hugs.
Yes! Cheaters go out and wander in search of HUGS! Can you imagine that scenario — lonely guy just approaching random people on the sidewalk looking for an embrace. Who does that? A sad person who is hug deficient, that’s who! A person reduced to such circumstances is not a person who is getting hugs at home.
Hug me before I cheat again!
But the biggest reason cheaters give for cheating is their “brokenness.”
You see, they’re splendid people who were in a dark place. And they live with the crushing weight of what they’ve done, so don’t mention it, or make fun of it, or point out that, uh, it was a million times worse for the chump. DON’T YOU THINK THEY KNOW THAT?
I love this trope that cheaters go around with the heavy weight of remorse. I understand that no one wants to be reminded of their mistakes, but I think an element of sincere remorse is the ability to suppress your embarrassment and discomfort and express contrition.
I find it highly suspect that the reason you can’t express displeasure with a cheater, or make satire of remorseless cheaters, is that they’re so sorry already. Isn’t this just a bit of mindfuckery to get chumps to shut up? And make the cheater the real victim here?
Sure, sometimes, perhaps even often, one never knows exactly why it took place. But often the reason is something toxic in the marriage and that needs to be fixed.
What reasons do they now give? That they were deeply broken people. That they had huge psychological flaws and damage and poor mechanisms for coping with them.What do they say about it now? That they live every day with the knowledge that they were not the people they thought they were, that they are people who are capable of inflicting horrific damage on the ones they loved, and that they live with that self-knowledge every day of their lives.I know how bad I feel about the way I neglected my wife and failed to be there for her during my major depression. I cannot imagine how bad these remorseful waywards feel. I wouldn’t trade places with them for all the tea in China.
Some are my friends now, and I worry every day about how deeply they are scarred by what they did and how prone they can be to depression. It is a very, very heavy weight they carry.
Look, just because you have a poor mechanism for coping with stress does NOT absolve you of responsibility for your CHOICES. Infidelity is a choice based in entitlement. Why can’t cheaters who claim to be reformed let the buck stop with them? Why are there addendums and caveats and White Papers on the complicated issues that arose that compelled them to cheat?
From the woman who thinks my husband is a divorce attorney:
though I regrettably, eventually, choose selfishness, as a coping mechanism, during a time when I felt very sad, lonely, hopeless, defeated, demoralized, and broken, before, during, and after my affair, (for quite some time) I am not, was not, and never will be bad! Bad! Bad!
No, you’re just another splendid person who cheated.
Where is the ice pick of shame? (Sigh)