So the other day, we had a discussion going in the comments about cheaters who do it in the marital bed, the family motorhome, the truck, etc. My opinion is these freaks are a certain subset of cheaters — the real sickos. It’s not enough to cheat, they get an extra kick from secretly debasing their chumps.
I Know a Secret You Don’t Know. It makes them feel powerful to see you unknowingly humiliated this way. Sleeping in their cum-covered sheets. Using the same towels as the affair partner. Sitting down to a nice dinner with their fuckbuddy. Accepting the affair partner’s gifts and presence at your significant life events. They get to revel in your chumpdom and feel superior, united in their dirty little secret. Co-conspirators. Partners in crime.
How delicious. How exciting.
I imagine there are the cheaters who keep their lives more nicely compartmentalized. Home life and double life do not intersect. You visit the escort, you rate the escort. You travel for work, you fuck at the conference. They enjoy a safer kind of cake. (Well, safe in terms of exposure. Not safe in terms of risk and STDs.)
So why the sicko cheater? Why the great big FUCK YOU to the chump?
I have some theories.
1) They’re lazy. People who want to fuck around unfortunately often don’t have to look too far to find someone willing. A co-worker, a neighbor, a family friend. All it takes is someone similarly characterless who’s up for no-strings attached sex.
So, this person was in your circle before, and in your circle they remain. How can they look you in the eye? Invite your kid over for a play date? Bring you homemade banana muffins? It’s part of the “fuck you.” They’re doing a little competition with you — the pick me dance that affair partners do. Even when they tell themselves how uninvested they are, they want those constant reminders how much better they are than you, how moister their muffins are, how much more accomplished their children, how deserving. How lacking you are.
Of course, you’re blindfolded, with both hands tied behind your back, but they’re happy to stand in the ring and sucker punch you and declare themselves the “winner.”
Your spouse, on the other hand, is not just a sicko, they’re probably also just lazy. Why pay by the hour for a hotel when your bed is available? Why make special transportation arrangements when they can drive your truck?
You assign meaning and significance to things because you are a chump. You care. You see the connectedness of things. You ascribe meaning.
Cheaters don’t care and they aren’t connected. It’s about kibbles. Will using our marital bed get me kibbles right now? Okay! Nothing is sacred.
Nothing that is except kibbles.
2) They get off on the deceit. Who gets off on duping delight? Sociopaths. Sicko cheaters feel a contemptuousness for the chump and revel in their superiority at games. Uh, isn’t it a game unless we both know we’re playing a game? Nope, not if you’re a sociopath. We can’t have a level playing field here! The game is duping you! Making you pay for all the slights and grudges to their ego.
Or on the other hand, it’s nothing personal. They’re bored. They’ll chump you for shits and giggles.
How else do you explain one of the OW being invited to your wedding? (Raising my hand here.) Yep, I paid the bar tab for one of my cheater’s OW. Isn’t that special?
I’m sure having one of your OW in attendance at your wedding is a keen reminder that you are Not The Boss of Him. See, he’s “agreeing” to rules he’s already broken! Winning!
And it’s high stakes poker. It’s not enough risk-taking to just cheat, you have to amp up the drama — you have to flaunt it right under your chump’s nose. And they deserve it really for being so stupid. For trusting you.
Sex isn’t the high, deceit is the high. Power and humiliating others is the high. Control is the high.
3) They are delusional. Why do they take such risks? Because they’re loons. They never think their affair partner will rat them out. Everyone is just an extension of them, so won’t everyone just do as they wish? Of course they will. It is good to be puppet master.
Like all the Cluster B freaks, they’re special exceptions to the rules and constraints of chump society. In their imaginations, they never draw a deuce in their high stakes poker game. They always win and never get caught. When in truth, they fuck up because… they just don’t think that far ahead.
When I look back at my cheater’s risk taking, I just marvel. It was so stupid, so transparent, so clearly all going to collapse into a pile of ashes. And yet he did it anyway. Not just to me, but to two wives previously as well. He learned nothing from collapses one and two. He just took greater and more outlandish risks. He really couldn’t see past the next kibble quest.
I’ve alluded to this study before, but just found it again online from a New Yorker article on the science of sociopathy — these folks only see “card to card.” They can’t look over the event horizon to see consequences in order to fear them.
Joseph Newman, who chairs the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is the leading advocate of this theory. His model is based on traditional research methods, such as lab work using rats with brain lesions, and studies of humans using a well-known card-playing task, in which players gradually start to lose money; the players in the control group stopped as their earnings diminished, but the psychopaths could focus only on the outcome of the next card choice. Another hypothesis is that psychopaths lack fear of personal injury and, more important, moral fear—fear of punishment.
I’m not saying all cheaters are sociopaths — but the sadistic fucks who take delight in the double life, enjoy flagrantly humiliating you, and never think the day will come when they’re found out? Yeah, I think they’re sickos.
Whatever it is, it’s some kind of super fucked up. The kind of fucked up you need to get the hell away from.
This column ran previously.