Yet every now and then chumps get this particular bit of mindfuckery from the self-pity channel:
“I cheated because I was insecure and needed a distraction. I suffer from low self-esteem and every time we were together I just kept thinking ‘What do I have to offer this perfect woman?’ and it ate me up. Cheating gave me the distraction I needed to escape my thoughts.”
(This is an actual bit of mindfuckery sent to the Universal Bullshit Translator.)
I give it points for sophistication. To simply blameshift — “You suck, ergo I had to cheat on you” — is like being attacked with a blunt force object. Maybe a hammer or a piano leg.
To say “I had to cheat on you because you’re too perfect” is like being assassinated by a radio-isotope-poison-tipped umbrella.
It’s cunning! It’s clever!
What’s a chump to do with this? Be flattered? “He thinks I’m perfect!”
Be angry? But you can’t be angry because a) he just flattered you and b) he is a Timid Forest Creature who suffers from low-self-esteem! Any anger directed at him could cause the esteem indexes to crash and could result in calamity — a three-way with the Subway guy.
Look, I don’t know, but it could be DIRE. This man is so distracted by your perfection, there’s no telling what he might do!
How about you stop being so perfect and loosen up a bit? Let this affair(s) slide. Show us your humanity Ice Princess, the one without all the morals and boundaries and shit. Let your hair down and slum with Mr. Low Self-Esteem until he feels less threatened by you. You could have an affair too and let him watch! That would even the score.
Or how about you help him with his insecurity? He just betrayed you, yes. Risked your health, humiliated you. I get it. But why not bolster his self-esteem? Compliment him! “Lovely sweater you’re wearing today, Conrad!” Did he wipe the crumbs off the counter today? Notice!!!
Or how about you answer the cheater’s question: “What do I have to offer this perfect woman?”
Nothing, dude. Absolutely nothing.
This column ran previously.