Why does the Reconciliation Industrial Complex annoy me so much? I don’t want to name any names, but while looking for support groups, I come across a Twitter of an infidelity survivor who has done podcasts, books, you name it. After some research I find out it’s only been two years. The person admitted to hysterical bonding as well.
Why do people like this give hope to others? Why is it “bitter” to leave a cheater? Why the myth that only healthy people give second chances? Does that mean people who end the marriage aren’t healthy? Wouldn’t healthy people just go?
Why does it mean that you truly love your spouse if you decide to stay, and not if you decide to leave? You can love your spouse but also realize that it’s not safe to stay. And why do people think after two years everything has been solved? That’s nothing compared to the rest of your life with your spouse. I don’t know why this person annoys me, but they do, and I didn’t know where to write about it so here I am.
I guess I’m Bitter not Better
As I’ve written before, being a cold bucket of water isn’t a winning sales approach. False hope, on the other hand, sells like hotcakes. No one likes to feel vulnerable. So the idea that we can control scary outcomes (i.e., “affair-proof” a marriage) is very seductive.
Also, it’s profitable. Chumpdom happens to a lot of people, nearly all of whom try to reconcile, at least for awhile. So, follow the therapy money. Does that sound cynical? Consider then that one of the best-selling books on infidelity of all time is Anne Bercht’s “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”
Better than ice cream! Better than the birth of your children! Better than a week of Sundays!
If you can sell that cognitive dissonance, you can sell anything.
Oh Tracy, she’s just trying to say that Thanks to This Life Challenge, Her Marriage Is Stronger Now. Not that she enjoyed her husband’s fucking around.
Only through devaluing, emotional abuse, and sexual humiliation can you have a better relationship. Let Me Show You How! In four easy installments! (These same folks are part of the Beyond Affairs Network. You can google… I’m not directing traffic to unicorns.)
Anywho… I share your antipathy. Now for your questions.
Why does the Reconciliation Industrial Complex annoy me so much?
Well, I’m not inside your noggin. But maybe you are annoyed by hopium pushers and people who commoditize your grief for their multitiered marketing schemes. Perhaps you were frightened by a life coach as a child. I do not know.
Why do people like this give hope to others?
Why does reconciliation give hope to chumps? That’s an easy answer. Because it’s a message most people want to hear, even if it seems wildly improbable. It’s resurrection after death. That the person who harmed you really, in fact, cherishes you. That your investment wasn’t for nothing. That it’s not a deliberate set of choices to disregard you and weaponize your trust. No, affairs are a “mistake” that “just happens” — and you’re to blame! So fix that. OMG, YOU HAVE THE CONTROL TO FIX IT!
What is this particular’s bloggers motivation to give hope to others? I can’t really say. She (I’ll assume this person is a straight she) probably believes it.
The thing is, just because we believe something, doesn’t make it true or beneficial. (Snake oil! Tastes great! Cures gout!) You can fervently hold a set of beliefs that don’t hold up to critical thinking. And that’s really one of my biggest beefs with the RIC — they hold themselves out as the standard bearers. The default response to infidelity. The assumed position.
And then they skirt around the hard questions. Such as: Where are your longitudinal studies? The actual largest scientific study on infidelity, concluded with the message of this blog — that people who leave cheaters have better life outcomes than those who “win” the pick me dance.
Why is it “bitter” to leave a cheater?
It’s not. Your ability, however, to step into the unknown, champion self-respect, and gain a life may threaten that blogger’s choices and her message/sales pitch.
If she spins the hard stuff (Why should a chump accept a cheater’s entitlement as natural and worthy of further investment?), then she must malign the skeptic as “bitter.”
If reconciliation works for this blogger — okay, great. I’m doubtful, but okay. That’s her choice. But if she feels the need to denounce divorced people as “bitter,” that tells me she isn’t terribly confident in her choices.
Also, consider that the righteous anger that results in consequences (lawyering up, freezing credit, refusing to play hypotenuse) scares the bejesus out of the RIC. Much better to try and convince chumps that a cheater’s entitlement is right and proper. Jesus hates a quitter. DARVO! The problem is you.
I have Larry, who cheated, but who REALLY LOVES ME SO MUCH that he shared his PASSWORDS with me and doesn’t chew through his leather restraints any longer since I bought this shock collar. But YOU ma’am, have NO ONE.
Why the myth that only healthy people give second chances?
One of the greatest lies of the RIC is that people who left didn’t already give their cheaters a second, fifth, or 47th chance.
There have been millions of unique viewers and stories on this site. It’s the rare superstar who gets this shit right on the first go and protects themselves and leaves. (Keep changing the narrative, CN.)
Of course, protecting yourself and leaving is not inconsistent with reconciliation. (If you want that. I hope you don’t.) But the reconciliation peddled by the RIC is reconciliation without reckoning or recompense. Without legal or financial protections. You’re just supposed to swear fealty to a liar’s potential.
Does that mean people who end the marriage aren’t healthy? Wouldn’t healthy people just go?
I think healthy people recognize when they’re being abused and a) set boundaries and, b) know their worth. Is the BEST you can do someone who’s capable of casually betraying you?
Healthy people don’t just give away their futures. Healthy people know their life is precious and invest their energies wisely.
Why does it mean that you truly love your spouse if you decide to stay, and not if you decide to leave? You can love your spouse but also realize that it’s not safe to stay.
Of course. You can love a paranoid schizophrenic, but if that person comes after you with a hammer, you aren’t going to stand there and get hit because you “love” them.
In this example, the person has an illness beyond their control. In the case of a cheater, wielding the hammer is a sober CHOICE.
And why do people think after two years everything has been solved? That’s nothing compared to the rest of your life with your spouse.
No one can sustain hypervigilance. It’s exhausting. Call it “solved” instead.
I don’t know why this person annoys me, but they do, and I didn’t know where to write about it so here I am.
Perhaps you sense phoniness. Maybe you’re offended by the aggressive I’M REALLY HAPPY MY HUSBAND IS A MISOGYNISTIC SHITHEEL WHO WILL RISK MY SANITY AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TO GET HIS DICK WET! BUT GOSH WE LOOK WINSOME IN OUR MR. & MRS. RECOMMITMENT CEREMONY SWEATSHIRTS. FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM!
I don’t know this blogger. I’m just surmising.
This is your little corner of the internet where you can bitch about the RIC. Happy to help.
I imagine the intrepid RIC bloggers who might read this letter and counter…
Well, Tracy, you bitter, twig-haired Gorgon, you have commoditized grief and turned a profit. You, you! With your published book and annoying ads and Patreon tin cup. How dare you disparage the life coaches of this world who only seek to heal broken marriages!
I’d rather stick a knitting needle in my eye than be a life coach. I’m a professional journalist and a former chump and I don’t purport to be anything other than that. (Cough, I don’t have a one-year art therapy degree from a third-tier teacher’s college and swan about as the Country’s Most Original Thought Leader, cough… Esther Perel… cough).
All content here is free. Zero pay wall. No marketing scheme other than snark. If you buy the book, it will make money for the publisher. (I long ago got my advance.) But every copy sold shows the publishing world that the Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life message SELLS. And that matters when you’re going up against the Goliath of the RIC.
Chump Lady is a support site that is predicated NOT on saving marriages, but saving your sanity. It began as my brain dump about what I learned about infidelity (and fucked up colossally. The trial-tested results of What Not To Do.) And then it grew and grew…
All this IT shit requires money. And my time. Thank a Patron. That’s what keeps this place going. It’s entirely voluntary, but there’s extra content on the Patreon site, and I’ve recently hired marketing dominatrix Audra, who is kicking my ass. Starting in the new year, on Patreon, I’m adding audio recordings of letters. (Wonder what I sound like IRL? Find out.) One each week. I’ll write about it more later. But my point is — THANK YOU PATRONS. I don’t say it enough.
Ninety-nine percent of the readers here just read, you owe your entertainment and support to the other 1 percent who pay me. That’s my business model. No false hope. Only bitch slaps.
If you’re in search of a unicorn, however, Bitter knows a blogger…