“Wayward” sounds soft in the head. Like they weren’t off pre-meditatedly boinking someone they met on Craigslist but rather got befuddled, lost their car keys, and couldn’t find their way home until a kindly adult came and pinned the directions on their sweater.
It’s a euphemism. It masks all the ugliness of CHEATER, (keyword: cheat, which comes from the Old English, to fuck people you aren’t married to), with the gentler, dulcet sounding waaaywaahrd. Oh poor Wayward. He knows not what he does. He’s lost and a bit dim. You’d stop and help a Wayward. If Cheater were there sticking his thumb out at the side of the road, you’d drive on past lest he rape you in a ditch and leave you dead.
For the record, wayward isn’t the only word I hate. I also hate “fog” and “broken.” They’re other words we use to cover up the stench of infidelity and absolve cheaters of personality responsibility. Oh, they’re not really unrepentant assholes who won’t stop screwing around. No sir. They’re in a fog. Why are they in a fog? Because they’re broken.
Hurt people hurt people, people! Wayward is in a fog because of some brokenness from his FOO issues. His need to take instagrams of his penis and post them on sundry dating sites is emblematic of his fear of intimacy. And spiders. And clowns. He’s just… BROKEN, okay? Take my word for it. Meanwhile, let’s just wait here patiently for the fog to clear. Oh hey! I think I see a rainbow!
This kind of crap makes my head hurt.
Cheaters cheat (or waywards way) because they can. Because they’d like a position of advantage over you — more sex and ego kibbles for them (but don’t YOU do this! That’s why we have secrecy and no open marriage!) They cheat because of their own free will. They CHOOSE to do it because they WANT to.
And they don’t care if you get hurt. Not enough.
I’m really only inclined to believe cheaters if they say “Yes, I fucked around because I wanted to. I didn’t consider anyone but ME. I wanted to fuck around and through deceit and manipulation, I made it happen. I lied and I got what I wanted. And I enjoyed it. Very much, in fact I went back for seconds and thirds.” That’s the unvarnished truth. If they feel any shame about it later, wonderful. But in that moment, they weren’t feeling ashamed or lost or wayward, they were feeling AGENCY. They were getting what they wanted — at your expense.
When a cheater dupes you, they’ve denied your reality. Made you think you were going crazy. That’s why the language we use to describe our experience of infidelity is so important. Tell the truth. Or I’ll pin your euphemism to your sweater and march you into a snow bank.
I’m recycling some columns while I update the site. Feel free to comment!