Because, God, it sounds so virtuous. Who are you to call them on their shit when they are busting their ass for their family working over time? Aside from the fact that so many affairs are with co-workers, working late is the perfect front for cheaters — work phone, work email the spouse cannot access, work trips partners don’t often go on. The workplace is the ideal place for secret kibble production. Best of all, “working late” fits the cheater image of a Very Important Person with Very Important Things to Do.
You don’t understand that? Well, I think you fail to appreciate how hard they are working! Gee, don’t you have the cushy life. Perhaps you are not working hard enough. I think you missed a few things here at home. Could you pick the place up more? That’s NOT the way you make stewed tomatoes. Why are we out of coffee? Jesus, can’t you see the cheater is working over time for YOU? Can’t you be more understanding and helpful? You’re very selfish.
The “I gotta work late” excuse is such a mindfuck precisely because cheaters cloak themselves in the mantle of exactly what they are not — a team player. Someone who is going above and beyond for others at work and at home. Meanwhile, the truth of the matter is that they’re out whoring around, partying, drinking, “hiking the Appalachian trail,” doing what cheaters do — indulging themselves at the expense of others.
Do they really believe that they’re such hard workers? I would imagine what little work they do manage to do feels very unfair to them, unless it brings about mounds of kibbles (ego, monetary, and otherwise). But no one sufficiently appreciates them, of course. Funny thing about cheaters and work ethics — their entitlement often slops over into their working life. No surprise that narcissists tend to make poor employees — they just don’t think the rules apply to them. And work tends to have a lot of rules. It’s not uncommon that these are the people who can’t advance in their jobs, whose contracts don’t get renewed, who have a lot of bosses who don’t like them, and they have a lot of sad stories about that. Jealous coworkers, supervisors who have it in for them, batshit crazy women making allegations about harassment. They try so hard. There are just a lot of idiots in the workplace.
Then there are a whole host of cheaters who don’t work at all, or are under-employed, quite content to let the chump do all the heavy lifting of adult life. These people tend to overvalue their contribution to the marital home (“I shook something out of a bag and called it dinner — what’s your problem?”) and undervalue yours.
When D-Day hit, I found a certain amount of relief — oh, so THAT’s where you were! One of the great advantage of escaping a cheater is the peace that comes from not relying on these jerks. You’ll feel a burden has been lifted, because you realize quite quickly how much work you were doing to keep their chaotic, uninvested life whole. Direct that energy towards yourself. Let Mr/s Cheaterpants find a new personal assistant.
This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!