I just had a conversation with my sister about my cheating husband. I can’t seem to get it through her head that his cheating wasn’t because there were marital problems. Nothing pisses me off more than having to listen to people say, “Well, he cheated because he wasn’t getting what he needed at home and you were having problems in your marriage anyway.”
How do I deal with this bullshit?
The conversation goes back and forth for about 10 minutes while I really want to hang up on her because I am so pissed. I don’t see how she and others don’t get it. Especially my sister — her husband cheated on her!
My cheater’s mother also said to me: “It could’ve been you who did this too because there were marital problems.” REALLY!!!!! What words can I use to get these people to GET IT? They make me more angry than my cheater does at times.
Dear Pissed Off,
How do you speak truth to stupid? Wouldn’t we all like to know. If we had that kind of superpower imagine the good we could do in the world. We could have meaningful conversations with world leaders and end global warming! We could persuade the dimwitted public to raise minimum wage! Protect women’s reproductive freedoms! End childhood poverty!
We could just put on our capes and use our Super Sense Powers and they would all see reason!
But as a chump, apparently, the only super power you possess is to compel others to cheat on you.
It’s kind of like being Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you know when she’s just learning she’s a witch and accidentally turns her best friend into a frog? Or she wrinkles her nose and makes her mother disappear? When you’re a chump, you don’t know you’re a chump until you discover that you accidentally made your husband create Ashley Madison dating profiles. I did that? Why yes you did! With your Super Chump Power!
It’s no surprise your sister believes that chumps are responsible for cheating — because she’s still with her husband. That’s the price of admission — eat the “this is my fault” shit sandwich and win the pick me dance. She made that trade, so your narrative, that this is NOT your fault, it’s completely on your cheater, is very threatening to her.
If responsibility for cheating is completely on the cheater, then she has no control over this! She can’t feel secure that she’s a Better Her (always striving!) and the marriage is Better Thanks to the Wake-Up of Infidelity.
Instead, she’d have to trust that her husband has changed character and ultimately she has no control over that either, or whether he cheats again. That’s a scary thought… trusting a person who gutted you. Much easier to imagine, however painfully, that she had some part in the Misfortunate Event That Does Not Define Us. If we just do everything right and don’t upset the apple cart, then we’re safe!
The fact that she has a spouse who lets her think cheating is the fault of the marriage demonstrates that she’s not living with a truly remorseful person, which means she’s not in a true reconciliation, and lives in some sort of limbo hellscape.
Your pain, fresh and new and very real, threatens her. Brings all this shit back into focus. So she needs to shut you up because it underscores the tenuousness of her position.
My advice to you is just go on being your badass self. Don’t accept the blame for your cheater’s shitty conduct and protect yourself with a lawyer. Post-nup and credit report if you’re attempting to reconcile, retainer for the divorce if you’re not.
As for your mother-in-law’s “You could’ve done this too” — the answer is you DIDN’T.
Your reply: Yes, the “crappy” marriage could’ve made me cheat too, but I didn’t. So the only difference between me and him is character.
Don’t expect it to sink in, however. They’re not going to get it because they both have vested interests in not getting it.
This is a rerun. I’m on vacation this week.