On the face of it, this looks like a decent observation — hey, I might not be perfect, I own half the problems here, but I did not cheat. That’s on you.
On the other hand, why mention the marriage at all, if it’s not somehow relevant to the cheating?
“I own 50 percent of the problems in our marriage, but the decision to rob senior citizens at gun point is entirely on you.”
Huh? It’s like that Doug Stanhope joke — “Jesus died for your sins. How does one affect the other? I fucking hit myself in the foot with a shovel for your mortgage.”
The 50-50 fault thing is a subtle blameshift. Or as the teenagers would say “Just sayin’!” You have a lot of issues! Did it make me cheat? Just sayin!
The 50-50 comes up again in therapy. The whole I’m okay, you’re okay, approach to warm fuzzy enlightenment. What the Everyone Is At Fault Here spackle fails to acknowledge is that yes, sometimes there is fault. Someone does a Bad Thing. It’s bad. They did it. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with me, or Jesus, or Bernie Sanders, or your eighth grade algebra teacher, or your pet iguana. It just belongs to the Bad Person who did the Bad Thing.
That’s so black and white of you, Chump Lady. I think you’re failing to recognize your responsibility for other people’s actions here. Like chumps are some sainted minority of flawless people. You and your chorus of victims!
Oh, I think chumps have faults. We’ll get to that in a minute. What the 50-50 doesn’t get is that sometimes one person in the marriage is a fucking train wreck. Addicted, impulsive, irresponsible, entitled. They’re manufacturing chaos faster than you can book therapy appointments. Their disordered shittiness, yes, is lopsided and unfair.
And — it should be noted as well — that sometimes chumps suck. Yes they do. You might be addicted, impulsive, irresponsible, and entitled. But those things don’t compel another to cheat. They’re just another crappy way to handle life. People who suck should be divorced honestly and openly.
The state of your marriage doesn’t cause cheating, the state of your character does.
Now then, chumps — you do have a problem. You put up with this shit. I read the litany of emotional abuse, withholding, sexlessness, lopsided responsibilities, grandiosity, financial mismanagement complaints in your marriages, and I think “Why the hell did you TOLERATE that?!” (I yell it to myself as well, when I review my earlier marriages.) I’ve explored it in 5 Things That Keep You Stuck With Cheaters. We have to own our spackle and trying to control things over which we have no control. Some of those efforts are noble (saving marriages good!), some of them are downright codependent and whackadoodle.
Many of us tried to work with our partners, but at some point you have to get the message that the other person isn’t invested. You can’t spackle over addicted, impulsive, irresponsible, and entitled. You have to buy a clue and take control of your life.
Find your boundaries, know your self-worth, fix the picker. (You know the drill.)
You were a chump? Okay. Fix that. But the cheating? That was never on you.