If you spend any time on reconciliation boards, you’ll read a lot of creative excuses being thrown around about the deep shame and inadequacy that cheaters feel. Really, it’s there buried deep under their secret cell phones, dating profiles, and FOO issues. The whole time they were screwing around on you, somewhere deep in their black little hearts was a sense of… inadequacy and self-loathing.
It took D-Day and being carted off to therapy under duress for them to realize that gosh, they suffer from low self-esteem. They needed the validation of an affair… and hey, they’re really fragile right now, so they can’t deal with your distress about being cheated on. Their issues are complicated. But perhaps you could do a bit of bolstering? You know, BE there for them during this difficult time of self-awareness? Hold their hand, and maybe reinforce how much you care and how much you value being with them? Because you know, if this self-esteem thing flags again, they might be out trolling Craigslist. It’s a delicate thing.
Now read on a cheater board and see how much low self-esteem you spot, as the cheaters dish about how they keep their affairs secret, the best places to fuck, and managing the occasional guilt pang. (“It passes. Hang in there!”)
Newsflash chumps — cheaters don’t suffer from low self-esteem. On the contrary, they think they’re splendid. It’s YOU who are lacking. You don’t appreciate them enough. You don’t fuck them often enough or well enough. You’re a little dim.
Cheaters cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. You know who feels entitled? People who think they’re better and more deserving than you are. Not people with low self-esteem.
But wait! No, it’s really their low self-esteem that made them gin up this false self! The arrogance and entitlement is just masking deeper inadequacies! It’s their insecurity that makes them have to puff themselves up so much!
Hogwash. Their arrogance and entitlement is actually masking deeper arrogance and entitlement. If you do any reading about schoolyard bullies, you’ll see that this myth, that bullies suffer from low self-esteem, has been debunked by researchers. Actually, bullies are little narcissists. They think they’re tops and feel perfectly free to trample over anyone they deem a lesser being. What they need is for a nun to whack them with a ruler and shame them in the name of God. Not a self-esteem intervention.
Similarly, cheaters don’t need your patience and understanding. They need a whack upside the head with a divorce summons.
Why do chumps persist in thinking cheaters feel bad, really somewhere deep down? Because we need to think they’re human and they care and we matter. People in reconciliation especially need to see their cheater as sad, soft sausages who didn’t act with agency. Also, chumps tend to project their moral world view on cheaters. Boy, only someone really sad and depraved would do such a thing — ergo, the cheater must be sad and depraved. No, the cheater actually ENJOYS being “sad” and “depraved.” At your expense. They weren’t thinking of you one bit while they were getting their jollies.
If you think I’m wrong? Go read on those cheater boards — they’ll admit it to each other. Just not to the chumps in their lives. The truth has the unintended consequence of a decline in ego kibble production as the chumps take umbrage. So better to just go along with the low self-esteem narrative… more kibbles in that. Tell me again how great I am. I suffer from low self-esteem.
This column ran previously. Sad sausages still abound.