I came across some light reading the other day. Entitled 5 Reasons You Should Never Take Back a Cheater it goes through a list of, you guessed it, five reasons you shouldn’t take a cheater back. It’s more like a checklist, I think. As in, if the cheater in your life did this…
And while this comes backed by Redbook experts (!) it’s nothing that the exquisite Chump Lady hasn’t already covered pretty thoroughly in her excellent post, Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse? I think we can all use a refresher course once and again so let’s begin.
Reason #1 you shouldn’t take your cheater back: It was an emotional affair. If sexologist and author, Eric Marlowe Garrison, tells you that emotional affairs can be just as hard to weather through, then you should probably believe him.
In all seriousness, what I hear time and time again is that it is not the sex that destroys the betrayed spouse. It’s all the damn lies and gas lighting.
CF’s first affair was supposedly an emotional affair. We did live almost 2000 miles away from Harley and I can testify that CF does not have a 1500+ mile long penis so perhaps he was telling the truth. Or, maybe on one of the few times he visited with his mom he took off and fucked the whore. I don’t know and I don’t care at this point. What hurt the most was the fact that he told me she made him happy. That was something I had been trying, and failing to do for eighteen years at that point. You want to talk triggers? Any talk of happiness was a huge trigger for me.
He told her he loved her. He made plans for the future with her. They talked about coming home to each other and eating dinner together. All things he didn’t bother doing with me and our kids. He was giggling like a teenager in love to his nephew about bringing her around when he got his tattoo, and telling him, “I can’t say much but one day you’ll be related to her!” Tee hee hee. So yeah, that stung more than a little bit.
Reason #2: Learning new info over the months. I think that’s what those in the reconciliation industry like to call “trickle truth”. It’s a pretty little cover for what should be known as lying by omission. It can also be called covering your ass and what they don’t know won’t hurt them but what they do know can sure as hell hurt me!
For those of you who have dealt with the so-called “trickle truth” you know it’s difficult to heal. For one, you know there’s information you don’t have. For two, every time another bomb drops, usually courtesy of someone or something else, you go right back to square one. It’s almost impossible to heal, or forgive, when you don’t know the entire story and you keep getting little chunks of it over the course of months or years.
Reason #3: They don’t answer all your questions. Well isn’t that some bullshit? They cheat and break your heart, potentially destroy your family, and then they’re going to get a burr up their ass about answering questions.
I like the way sex and family therapist, Jane Greer, Ph.D, puts it: The person who cheated should answer all these questions. If they can’t or won’t, walk away.”
Amen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are quite a few cheaters out there who have no interest in a divorce, but they also have no interest in truly reconciling. Divorce might mean having to do for themselves. Divorce will mean divvying up assets and potentially paying child and/or spousal support. Divorce might mean a lot of unpleasant things the cheater doesn’t want to face. What they want is for you to shut up and go back to the way things were before they were caught. They won’t do any work on the relationship, or helping you heal, and they feel like you should feel fortunate they’ve chosen to stay.
I do my best to let everyone find their own way but I will say a little prayer that any of you who find yourselves dealing with a supposedly remorseful cheater who refuses to answer your questions and does the trickle truth routine will find the strength to tell that cheater they can either start answering your questions honestly, or they can get the fuck out.
Reason #4: Placing the blame elsewhere. Specifically, if they are blaming you for the affair. No one makes a person cheat. I couldn’t get CF to eat a turnip. I couldn’t get him out of the bedroom to join us as a family. I couldn’t get him to enjoy holidays or vacations. I couldn’t get him to replace our screen door. I couldn’t get him to follow through on the promised theater room or the outdoor entertainment area. It follows that I couldn’t prevent him from fucking someone else. That was all on him.
For the love of God, if your cheater tries putting it all back on you, please, PLEASE, stand up to that sniveling coward and let them know you had absolutely nothing to do with their piss poor choices. Be crystal clear that the cheating they did was their own damn fault and a result of their poor character, which had nothing to do with you. And then go one step further and let them know that if they ever dare to blame you for their affair again you will kick their ass to the curb and file for divorce immediately. Or better yet, just leave. You’ve got nothing to work with. That’s a whole lot of entitlement and crazy thinking to cheat on your partner and then expect them to shoulder the blame for your shitty actions.
Reason #5: The affair has been ongoing. I always thought if a person cheated I would end the relationship, no questions asked. Boom. We’re done. And then of course I bought into the whole, “I won’t measure our entire relationship by one mistake,” hocus pocus. But even after I considered maybe forgiving a cheating spouse I always figured I couldn’t forgive him if either the affair had lasted a very long time, or if there had been multiple women.
I hate to quote Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert (whatever that is) but I agree with her when she says, “If cheating lasted a long time, like a year or more, it’s no longer an affair, but rather a full-blown relationship.”
Most affairs are short-lived. I don’t think I could have dealt with a long running affair. Had I found out CF and Harley had been fucking around for 2 or 3 years the first time, I’m pretty sure I would have been singing Ace of Base’s, “I Saw the Sign” and walked away. Nothing to save. There is an awful lot of lying going on when someone conducts a long term affair. The sheer fact that my spouse could have lived a double life for years on end would be enough for me to say, “I’m done.”
Similarly, when Elin Nordegren first took a golf club and chased her husband down, ending with him crashing into a tree, I thought to myself, “Maybe they can rebuild.” And then the long list of women started hitting the news. That’s when I said to myself, “She needs to leave him. She’s got nothing to work with.” A one night stand, or even a one time short-lived affair is a whole different kettle of fish from someone who will fuck anything and everything.
You might be able to rebuild your marriage after an affair. When you’re dealing with someone who endlessly cheats you’re married to someone who wants a pussy or dick buffet. They’re not interested in faithfulness.
There you have it. Five reasons you should leave your cheater. If it was an emotional affair, if your partner won’t tell you the whole truth or refuses to answer questions, if your partner blames you for the affair, or if the affair was long-term Redbook says to run. If you can’t trust Redbook, who can you trust?