I once wrote an article over at Huffington Post on getting revenge on cheaters. (Spoiler alert: You don’t disembowel them, you move on to meh.) But apparently it wasn’t the happy rainbow sparkles narrative of Remaining Friends and Wishing Each Other the Best that some readers were hoping for. (Okay, I copped to imagining gutting my cheater with a fish knife.)
Many commentators took me to the woodshed for not being More Evolved about my ex (a sociopath whom I’d had protective orders against). I got “Schorn” as “scorn” puns (a woman scorned, get it?), and invective that because I write about infidelity and do not write charming fluff about having friendly dinner parties with my ex, this can only mean I Have Not Moved On. No one will ever marry me, I was told. (News to my husband, I’m sure.) I’m fat, angry, bitter, sexless, liberal, puritanical — and my hair is messy. (This was before HuffPo changed their comment policy and took away troll anonymity.)
Okay, my hair is messy.
All this drama for an article essentially saying be indifferent to cheaters! Be meh! Imagine what they’d say if I said, sure, light them all on a funeral pyre and push them off into the drink? It was an article about staying classy. But okay, fine. Whatever. Haters gotta hate.
But what really chaps my ass are the folks who take every discussion about cheating, or single parenting, or divorce as an opportunity to flaunt their moral superiority. How are they better than you? Oh, in every way. They claim to not ever have ANY ugly feelings, ever. And if an ugly feeling were to rear its inconvenient, ugly little head, they would smother that sucker with an embroidered pillow. (I imagine the pillow is embroidered with New Testament Bible verses, or Norman Vincent Peale quotes.)
I don’t understand all this hostility. I don’t do anger. All anger is toxic. I feel sorry for you. I hope you can move on some day and not be consumed by bitterness. I don’t wish anyone ill! Let go! Haven’t you forgiven yet? You really must forgive. MUST. If you don’t forgive, weasels come in the night and steal your soul, and your bowels will shrivel, and your genitals shrink, and no one will ever love you again and you’ll die alone. Yes, you and your anger. Alone. Forever. For eternity.
Okay, that’s not a real comment — but this one is!
I don’t know we have to consider this advice “revenge” — we move on for our own good, not so the person who cheated on us sees us being awesome and we take pleasure in it bothering him/her. Who cares if it bothers him/her or not? We’re done, kaput, finis; nothing to see here folks, move along.
I also don’t believe in wishing for anyone to “nosedive.” He’s still my kids’ dad, and if he nosedives my kids will suffer. He’s actually become a much better man and father, and that pleases me more than seeing him nosedive (another upside of forgiveness). People do learn from their mistakes, and they often can become better people after an affair or other bad deed. Not everyone, obviously, but many. I’d rather encourage that than take pleasure in the nosedive.
Her embroidered pillow says “I don’t do schadenfreude.” It’s a matching set with the one that says “Because I’m better than you.”
Oh fuck off.
I created Chump Lady as a no bullshit oasis in a sea of this kind of shaming nonsense. The internet is full of it. What, you haven’t “affair proofed” your marriage, you loser? Did you give up on reconciliation? Never got a chance? Are you a quitter? A quitter with a bad attitude? Maybe that’s why they cheated on you. Maybe you should examine the ways you are accountable for that, and let go of the anger.
No. Here at Chump Lady we say — fuck ’em. Go ahead and have ugly feelings because you were cheated on — I give you permission. Be real — feel it, speak it, shout the truth at it — and move forward when you feel good and ready. And if the schadenfreude feels right? Do it! If it doesn’t? Don’t.
This is not a competition.