I was reading that other board that I’ve read for the last ten years or so. Somehow the topic of taking care of your sick, cheating spouse came up. One of the women knew someone who had found out after her husband died that he had been cheating on her the entire time he was sick. She wished she had known because she wouldn’t have bothered to take care of him.
I think that’s a pretty understandable stance to take. And yet, there were others who said they would care for their spouse regardless.
Is it any wonder infidelity is glossed over the way it is? Here we have a man who is actively cheating on his wife while he goes through chemo. He’s sexting his AP and meeting up with her in between treatments when he’s well enough while his wife is left to do the hard work. The AP gets sex and promises, dinners and sexy texts, and a guy who gives her a case of the crotch tingles, and his wife gets to drive him to chemo appointments, wait for hours while he’s being treated, and clean up his vomit and diarrhea afterwards. And there are actually people out there who not only don’t see what the problem is but also try to frame it as though it is a character issue and anyone not willing to look pass the lies and humiliation obviously isn’t as good of a person as they are. It’s as though there is a moral failure with those of us who choose to cut toxic people out of our lives. Their mantra seems to be: When someone shows you who they are, bury your head in the sand and keep pretending they’re the person you want them to be.
One person said, “I would choose compassion, too. I think people often justify not having a compassionate response by pointing out how the person “should” have behaved.”
Hmmm…. interesting. Here’s a head scratcher for ya: Why isn’t the soul mate/twu wuv taking care of her schmoopie? I would think the compassionate response would be to let the AP take care of the sick person. You wouldn’t want that terminally ill Lothario to spend his last months with the horrid, asexual wife, would you? Isn’t it only fair that these two soul mates, destined to be together, aren’t kept apart for one. more. minute?
If the answer is because the AP only wants the fun parts of the relationship and none of the work I would say sometimes that’s what happens when you trade in your spouse for what’s behind Door #2. Sometimes you lay there in your own shit and vomit because your twu wuv doesn’t want to take care of you and you fired your former spouse from that job. Good news, though! Once you’re up and feeling better (and no longer making a mess… ewwww!) your soul mate will once again be available for fun times.
One of the ladies did remark at one point that if the situation were turned around the cheater would have no problem leaving his wife’s body in the middle of the street. She also recounted a story of how a friend’s grandmother nursed her husband back to health, and then when she got breast cancer he left her for another woman. To which someone else (also a very enlightened soul who wouldn’t let a little thing like infidelity steer her course) replied: For me it’s more of I won’t let another person’s actions dictate or change the person I am just by nature.
What bullshit. This is just more excuses, more blaming the betrayed spouse, expecting everything from the cheated on while expecting nothing from and giving everything to the cheating spouse. I will repeat: It is not a moral failure to cut toxic people out of your life. If your spouse cheats on you and you choose to walk away it’s not a horrible failing on your part. Cheaters are not entitled to forgiveness, or being taken care of when they’re sick and find out their fuck buddies are only available for the good times.
Again I ask is it any wonder that we betrayed spouses face the uphill battle we do? It’s our fault. If we had been thinner, smarter, blonder, tanner, had more muscles, nagged less, put out more, cooked vegan, baked cakes, etc. then we could have prevented our spouse from cheating on us. Now that we have accepted the fact that it’s our fault the cheating happened then it behooves us to continue to shove that shit sundae down our gullet and take whatever else humiliation the cheater has in store for us.
We’re mean if we don’t want to take care of a cheating spouse. It’s not fair that we expect their AP to do that job. We’re horrible people who judge and impose unfair consequences and hey, who died and made you God? You’ve no right to judge that person who has gutted you. If you weren’t such a bitter, hateful person you would gladly mop up all that puke and shit and let them bounce off with Pop Tart once they were feeling better. I’m so glad I’m a more enlightened person who would never let a person’s awful behavior dictate my own behavior. I will swallow mounds of shit in order to prove to everyone that I am a better person!
Again I say bullshit. There is absolutely nothing wrong with refusing to be treated like an appliance. There is nothing wrong with saying, “Your behavior is unacceptable and I will not stand by while you treat me this way.” There is nothing wrong with saying, “This is not acceptable and I will not tolerate it one second longer.” There is also absolutely nothing wrong with telling Romeo that if he wants to fuck Pop Tart when he’s feeling 100% then by golly you’re stepping aside and she can wipe his ass when he’s at his lowest.
This idea that we operate in a vacuum is ludicrous. If every time my fictitious friend Rosie comes up to me she spits in my face and bites my nose, I’m going to stop hanging around with her. And yes, by golly, her behavior does dictate my behavior. If Rosie weren’t a violent asshole who assaulted me I’m sure I would be wiling to spend time with her.
If every time my fictitious friend Cinnamon comes over she steals things from my house, I’m going to stop inviting her over. And yes, by golly, her behavior does dictate my behavior. If she weren’t stealing me blind every time I had her over for dinner I would continue to invite her over. But since she steals from me I’m severing this relationship and not giving her another opportunity to take shit that doesn’t belong to her.
If every time I hang out with my fictitious friend Hannah she lies right to my face I’m going to stop hanging out with her because it’s very difficult to have any kind of a friendship with a person who lies to you constantly. Again, you might have guessed it by now. Her behavior, her lying, does dictate my behavior- whether or not I’m willing to be friends with her.
So can we please stop acting like fucking a person suddenly gives them special permission to do whatever they want to you? I wouldn’t lobby the prison and ask to take care of my terminally ill rapist. I wouldn’t volunteer to take care of the person who killed my mom or child. I wouldn’t wipe the ass of my kidnapper or clean up the vomit of my mugger or give rides to the doctor’s to the guy who embezzled money from my company. Why would I offer to do that for the person who lied to me, cheated on me, humiliated me, and financially raped me?
This is the kind of crap we come up against in real life all the time. Once you leave the comfy confines of Chump Lady’s blog you usually run into all the people who don’t think infidelity is the real problem. They want to examine it from all different angles and assign percentages of blame (because the cheater didn’t cheat in a vacuum, of course). They want to encourage being friends with the cheater and doing things for them. In fact, there is no greater sign of maturity than claiming to be “best friends” with your cheater and socializing with them. The problems occur when the bitter, betrayed chump refuses to forgive, refuses to be besties, refuses to do photo ops, refuses to cooperate, refuses to maintain the cheater’s image. Yeah… I don’t think so.
There is something awful about this idea that even though we know if we were the ones who were sick this person would walk away without a second glance, would happily dance on our grave, would fuck someone else while we crawled to the toilet to vomit and then cleaned up after ourselves because no one was there to help us, that we are somehow morally lacking if we don’t rush to help this person. There is something horrible about this idea that even when someone is betraying us and humiliating us and using us we are supposed to say, “Let me help you. I want to take care of you. It is my duty.” There is something almost evil about this idea that people who wouldn’t consent to being mistreated in such a way are somehow lacking compassion and humanity. We are somehow less than those people who would fall all over themselves to help an abuser.
It brings to mind the story of the boy and the frozen snake. You know the story, right? A boy comes across a half frozen snake on the mountain top. The snake begs the boy to take pity on him, put him in his pocket and take him down to the base of the mountain. The boy says, “No! You are poisonous. You’ll bite me and I’ll die.” The snake assures him that he wouldn’t do that to the boy; if he would do this one favor for him he promises not to bite him. Please! He’ll die if the boy doesn’t take pity on him and help him out! So being a kind soul (one of those non-judging sorts) the boy takes pity on the snake and picks him up and puts him in his pocket. As he walks down the mountain the temperatures slowly rise and the snake slowly begins to thaw out. Not long before they get to the bottom the snake bites the boy, sending a shot of venom though his body, essentially killing him. “Why did you do that to me? I took pity on you! I carried you down the mountain as you asked. You promised you wouldn’t bite me!” To which the snake replies, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”