An alert chump sent me this appalling tripe from “Affair Resources and Advice” — a blog written by a former cheater, “Jack,” who reconciled.
Jack would like you to know that affairs are 100% wrong and there is no excuse for them. And then he devotes an entire blog to his excuses, and how you should never judge or be angry at that “100% wrong” thing. Hey, he said it was wrong. (You drove him to it, but whatever.)
Frankly, the litany of chump “mistakes” is so long, I’m just hitting on the highlights. Enjoy.
Believing that once your spouse agrees to end the affair or the behavior, it is truly ended. Quite often the betrayed spouse is somewhat naïve and actually believes that his or her mate is able to effectively flip and stop the behavior or talking to the affair partner. It is a lovely thought, but very unrealistic. Recovery may involve seeking out helping professionals as well as support groups. It takes time. Most people need help getting out of an affair. They are like addicts and it’s hard to kick an addiction by flipping a switch. Again, much depends on the type of affair they engaged in. If it was a one night stand, affair of “sexual opportunity”, then ending it is easy since it was just that. If it was a multi-year affair, few cheaters can instantly turn off all feelings. I have a blog entry on this subject.
I’m lying to you. That’s not a problem. Your naivety is the problem.
Cake is delicious. One does not effectively stop eating cake when one enjoys cake. Don’t you DARE take my fork from me!
Demanding that your spouse pledge 100% commitment to the marriage right at the moment of disclosure. Even if your mate is willing to make such a pledge it does not really mean anything. Your spouse may mean it in the moment, but not realize how big of a problem they actually have. Addicts cannot just stop using. People in emotionally entangled affairs have trouble disengaging.
Yeah, that 100% commitment I made on my wedding day? It didn’t mean anything either.
Not seeing forgiveness for what it is. Forgiveness is not a “free pass” or pretending it never happened, or saying what happened was ok. Instead, it’s an acknowledgment that you are going to let go of the anger associated with this. That at some level, you are choosing to put it aside and work on your marriage. I have a blog on the topic. I hear far too often Betrayed Spouses indicate that somehow if they forgive the affair, that their spouse “won” or “got away with it.” Far from it. This type of thinking is corrosive. I assure you, inside, they have paid a huge price and don’t feel like “winners.” Healing cannot occur until forgiveness is given. If you refuse to truly forgive, your marriage is doomed anyway.
I paid a huge price! Like, inside. You can’t see my bowels, but they’re irritable. I get gassy sometimes and I suffer shame and embarrassment from that. So enough with the judgment!
You don’t know what forgiveness is. It’s accepting my false equivalencies.
Not being in reconciliation mode, but instead, being in revenge and punishment mode continuously and/or bludgeoning your spouse with guilt, thinking that this will be helpful. Your spouse already knows that what they have been doing is wrong, even if they will not admit it to you. Pointing such things out over and over again, especially after months or even years have elapsed since recovery was agreed upon, will usually only serve to push them away. It’s time consuming and counterproductive for you to concern yourself with punishing your cheating husband or wife, seeking revenge, or trying to pay him/her back for having an affair.
The UBT would like to point out that bludgeoning you would be exceedingly helpful.
But back to the translation…
Trust that even though they won’t admit cheating was wrong, or say it was wrong, they know it. And that should be enough for you shrieking harridans.
Your interests would be best served if you focus your energy and efforts on what the two of you can do to get their derailed marriage back on track. You cannot seek reconciliation and justice simultaneously. You must choose. If you seek to punish, to “even the score”, to continuously remind them how they betrayed you, don’t bother pretending that you are trying to fix things. If you are going to forever throw the affair in his/her face, your marriage is over.Of course, especially initially, you will have rage and anger. This is normal and expected.
But at some point, if you forgive, you to put this aside. Nasty comments. Sarcasm. Sneaky tricks like spying on them or trying to hack their phone or accounts. Withholding love or sex. Verbal assaults on your Wayward Spouse might make you feel better, but if you truly want to save your marriage, there has to be a point where this ends. If tantrums go on endlessly and unpredictably, only a spouse with no options and no self-respect will stay. They will leave you anyway.
You can’t expect someone with any self-respect to endure a marriage with sarcasm. Affairs though? Carry on!
Accountability is a sneaky trick! Don’t look at my phone. Marriages are derailed by transparency.
I would be very careful of the words you use in your anger — they will be remembered and can become an obstacle. Remember, they too have grievances against you and probably the underpinnings of why they sought love and understanding outside of the marriage. Don’t add to the grievances, if at all possible.
I see this as the number one mistake Betrayeds make in marital recovery. I read it constantly on message boards and blogs. Year or more later, and still nit-picking. Still punishing. Still humiliating their spouse. Still having meltdowns, and wondering why their marriage still sucks. Go figure. It’s easier to punish than to forgive, but completely counterproductive. Don’t do it.
Anger is humiliating. Cheating? Not so much.
Believing that you, the faithful spouse, are “blameless” and the only one who has things to forgive. Even if you were a good spouse, no one is perfect. Your unfaithful mate probably has hurts and things for which he or she must forgive you. After dealing with the pain of the affair, it will be helpful to look at the marital relationship completely and be honest enough to understand that affairs rarely happen in a vacuum — they are almost always in reaction to vast, unmet needs in the marriage — or outright abuse or neglect.
Affairs are wrong and there is no excuse for them, except that they’re almost always in reaction to VAST UNMET NEEDS or outright ABUSE and NEGLECT!
Not saying you did those things, just saying you’re not “blameless.” Am I blaming you? No, you should be blaming yourself. The mindfuck works better that way.
Happy and content spouses rarely have affairs. Once you understand this you are in a better place to pursue marital reconciliation. I constantly read how many Betrayed Spouses have an impossible time accepting this very basic concept. A poor marriage is not an excuse for an affair — there is no excuse – but it is almost always the reason. So don’t try and pretend it’s not.
It’s not an excuse, it’s a reason.
You weren’t working hard enough to make me happy. Work on that.
Being a “helicopter spouse.” Believing that you can keep your mate safe and away from temptation by keeping them under total surveillance. As tempting as it may be to make sure your mate is always safe and monitored, it is impossible. You can try to be with your mate 24/7, but unless you work together, it is not near possible. Honestly, it is not even possible if you work together. One of you may have meetings or errands that the other one may not be a part of. But if you think that the only way to keep your spouse faithful is to have them on some sort of “Virtual Leash”, then your marriage is already over. You can’t hover over them like some perpetual helicopter. Secretly tapping into their computer or phone, or putting GPS trackers on their car, etc. These are REALLY bad ideas. I wouldn’t do it. It turns YOU into the dishonest person. That type of control is not only likely to not work, but it will breed resentment.
The problem isn’t what I did — have a two-year affair — the problem is your reaction to that — demanding transparency.
The UBT is coughing up a hairball at “It turns YOU into the dishonest person.” (Yes, snooping is so much worse than cheating and lying…) but it would like to agree with you that hyper vigilance is untenable. So is reconciliation.
Trying to convince your spouse that nobody will ever love him/her as much as you do. If your spouse is in an emotionally entangled affair, chances are good that he or she may already believe this is not true. It may even encourage an “I’ll show you I’m not such a loser” attitude. The reality is likely that their Affair Partner DID love them more than you did or showed and that’s why they were drawn to them — they felt more loved, desired, appreciated and understood by their Affair Partner than you. So making this argument to them to recovery may actually make them think in the opposite direction. Advice? Don’t argue it. SHOW them in your actions — your kindness, your love, your understanding, and how much you are willing to be honest and examine yourself as well during marital recovery.
Look, the OW is winning the pick me dance. If you have any hope of winning, you’ll let me eat cake. I love her more, because you suck, just own that.
Exposing the affair to your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers. Threatening to expose your mate’s affair to everyone will only increase their guilt and shame, and may enrage them. More people may know already than you might realize. Some of them perhaps have even offered your unfaithful spouse support or encouragement in the affair or behavior. It will not keep your mate home. I see this suggested constantly on some Betrayed Spouse message boards and blogs — expose the affair to every one. Frankly, this is more about retribution and shaming your Wayward Spouse, and is likely to backfire. If my wife had exposed me to everyone, I am quite sure I would’ve walked out the door instead of reconciling our marriage.
Don’t tell anyone I was 100% wrong! EVER. I feel it silently inside my bowels and that’s ENOUGH.
I wrote a blog entry about the mistake, and pitfalls, of focusing too much on the Other Man/Woman during recovery. This is a trap. It might make you feel better, but it gets you nowhere in recovery and it made breed resentment in your Wayward Spouse. Obviously, at some level, they thought enough of this person to share very personal things with them. You trashing them out is as good as saying your Wayward Spouse is an idiot. Is this the message you want to send? Seethe if you wish. hate them. Assume that you are so much better looking/sexy/smarter/worldly/better for your spouse than them. But do it quietly.
Love me, love my affair partner. It’s that simple. She’s an extension of me and I’m perfect.
Trying to “woo” your spouse back and expecting instant gratitude and immediate results. Wooing can be more effective with certain types of affairs, but in any case, it will not produce immediate results. For example, a man with a sexual addiction may be grateful for the efforts, but it will not solve the problem. Understand, that at some level, in the immediate aftermath of an affair, your Wayward Spouse, while agreeing to marital reconciliation, may still be somewhat on the fence about your marriage. They need to be convinced too that the marriage can be saved. It takes time. They are shell-shocked and probably not unlike an addict concerning their affair. They too have to grieve to some extent. Results will come for both of you, but you must show patience and perseverance.
The pick me dance is assumed. One isn’t grateful for the pick me dance, it is a given. Persevere at the pick me dance and perhaps, just perhaps, I will pick you.
(Maybe. I’m a timid, shell-shocked, forest creature.)
Engaging in a “Revenge Affair”. In this emotional time, you may feel a desire to show your unfaithful spouse how it feels to be so betrayed and that if you do, your spouse will ultimately come humbly back. This is one of the most foolish things you can do. It will backfire. Not only will you enrage your Wayward Spouse, but now you will have your own guilt and shame to deal with. And frankly what you did is worse — why? It’s unlikely your Wayward had their affair purposely to hurt you. But if you engage in a “revenge affair”, you did it for one reason and one reason only — to hurt your spouse. To me, it would be unforgivable. You might as well have your divorce papers drawn up. Two wrongs never make a right, and engaging in a wrong to hurt your spouse doesn’t show character or a desire to reconcile. It’s simple childish retribution. I also have a blog entry on the dangers of the revenge affair. I wrote more on the topic here.
See, cheaters only have affairs because of what’s lacking in the marriage and your abuse and neglect. Which isn’t about you at all! But a revenge affair? That’s a personal affront! All that shit I said about forgiveness and patience? It doesn’t pertain to you.
Affairs are what you do when another person hurts you so badly you have to fuck someone else. Revenge affairs
are what you do when another person hurts you so badly you have to fuck someone else are WRONG.
Relying on advice from “Infidelity” Message Boards: They are almost always dominated by Betrayed Spouses, usually who have a huge chip on their shoulders. Former Cheaters are rarely welcome there, unless they are the complete self-loathing variety. Opinions that contradict the standard POV on these boards are RUTHLESSLY censored. So you end up with one, monolithic set of opinions — usually those of the militant, negative variety. One set of advice from a group of bitter, vicious Betrayed Spouses, most likely.
Unlike my blog, I don’t ruthlessly censor anyone. I just refuse to publish anyone that judges me.
Bitter, militant, vicious chumps scare me. They might liberate my wife.
In general, a spouse recovers from the pain more readily to the extent that s/he is able to see his/her own part in the marriage difficulties that may have made the relationship vulnerable. These mistakes may include not following up on early hints of potential infidelity. It’s paradoxical, but the more someone feels that they had a role in the development of the affair, the more empowered that person will feel to make changes that will strengthen the marriage in the future.
Don’t keep me on a virtual leash, but DO follow up at the earliest HINT of potential infidelity.
Recovery for the deceiver — the Wayward Spouse — needs to include a full assessment of how the affair happened. Understanding history enables one to prevent its reoccurence. This understanding however has to be observational rather than self-flagellating. Being excessively angry at oneself can block real learning. “Shame and blame” do little toward prevention. Understanding of the series of unfortunate actions and decisions that led to the affair is critically important. So is desire to put one’s life on a totally different course, a course of true marriage commitment.
Yes, direct that shame and blame at the chump. Blame for neglecting the marriage. Shame for not being as loving and sparkly as the affair partner.
Thanks Jack. You’ve done a public service giving us this look inside the brains of cheaters — the staggering entitlement, the flamboyant narcissism, the silly pomposity.
Militant, vicious, bitter chumpdom salutes you.