This blog promotes a radical idea — that cheating is about entitlement and lousy character.
Not unmet needs, not the baby weight, or your children, not the impossibility of monogamy, or the 53 ways you’re appallingly inadequate. NO. Entitlement.
We don’t make people abuse us. They have agency. And we have agency in how we will respond. (Get away, rebuild, reinvent.)
Before I started Chump Lady, 99.9 percent of all the infidelity resources blamed victims — what did you do to make them cheat, and how can you improve yourself to win them back? The Reconciliation Industrial Complex (aka “send me $399 and I’ll affair-proof your marriage”) was THE voice. And I’ve spent a good six years trying with Chump Nation to drown out that voice in favor of commonsense and compassion.
Calling out entitlement is having a cultural moment — #MeToo, #WhyIDidntReport — and I’m all for it. Everyone can drop that soggy bag of shame garbage and put it at the curb where it belongs — with abusers.
But I have to say, I’m shocked at the shear magnitude of abuse out there. (Yes, even me and you should see my mail!) Anyone see the grand jury report from Pennsylvania on pedophile priests?
The investigation, one of the broadest inquiries into church sex abuse in U.S. history, identified 1,000 children who were victims, but reported that there probably are thousands more.
THOUSANDS more? That’s a lot of bags of shame garbage out there. I wonder WTF is wrong with people to make them abuse and rape and shame others? And what is wrong with their enablers who laugh at the victims, and spackle, and hide the abuser’s crimes?
I know it’s too simplistic to say there are two kinds of people — abusers and their victims. Because not everyone abuses and not everyone has the misfortune to be a victim. Most of us are bystanders. But I do believe in another kind of divide — those who can be present with vulnerability and those who cannot. And THAT is the mark of your character.
Will you protect the vulnerable? Or will you exploit them? Can you comfort them or will you blame them? Will you be a steward, or will you abandon?
Who are you around:
People who trust you?
The smaller and weaker?
When I try to untangle the skein of pedophile priests (a fucktangle if ever there was one), I wonder what is it about a child that they see as a sexual opportunity?
To cheaters: What is it about the trust and safety of a committed relationship that you see as a sexual opportunity?
To date rape-y frat boy douches — what is it about a passed-out girl that you see as a sexual opportunity?
Are the orgasms that great? Or is it the power high? And WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
To be a terrible person, the entitlement has to intersect with another’s vulnerability. To be a predator, you go in search of others’ vulnerabilities. And if you’re super enterprising, you create some.
But for every freak, there’s a superhero. Remember, Chumps, you’re the strong ones. You have the empathy synapses. You know the correct answers to the human quiz. (Key: protect children, be worthy of other’s trust, care for the sick, help the incapacitated, shelter the weak.)
That’s what makes you MIGHTY.
Us vs. them? I’m glad we’re us.