I have to be careful about how I phrase this because I don’t want anyone coming away with the wrong idea. I’ve come to the conclusion, however painful, that ultimately when your partner cheats you don’t have an OW or OM problem. You’ve got a partner problem.
I don’t say this to excuse the person sleeping with your partner. It is absolutely wrong to be sleeping with another person’s spouse/partner. I do not feel as though they don’t owe us anything therefore they’ve done nothing wrong. I am not forgiving them for what they’ve done. I think it is horrendous. I think people like that are awful people who think of no one except themselves. With all of those disclaimers aside, you still have a partner problem.
All too often I read blogs where the OP is blamed for the affair: She knew he was married. He knew she was vulnerable. She went after him and wouldn’t stop until she got him. He took advantage of her. She wouldn’t stay away even after I begged her to. He refused to stop contacting her even though I told him how much it hurt my kids.
Yes, they suck. You still have a partner problem.
I hated Harley the first time I learned about her and Jerry Lee. My rage and anger were like a white hot laser focused on her. She was a whore. She enticed my husband. She was trying to take over my life.
Hell, there are marriage counselors who actually advise you save your anger for the OW/OM. Don’t rage at your spouse. It’s the other person’s fault, they will tell you. I don’t agree.
The reality is Jerry Lee bore all the responsibility. He could have ignored her and blocked her. He didn’t. She didn’t entice him. He was ready and willing; he was ripe for the picking. If it hadn’t been her, it could have easily been someone else. In fact, at one point it was. He did the same thing with Anne.
My husband is the one who let things go too far. My husband is the one who began an emotional affair with her back in 2013. He knew it was wrong. No one put a gun to his head. Yes, she absolutely played the victim and offered him something he was looking for. He was the one with the responsibility to stay the hell away. He was the one who never should have started things to begin with.
What I didn’t understand back then is that he was looking. She didn’t find him and lure him into her web. He went looking for her. For anyone really.
The second time around I didn’t give her a second thought. Oh sure, I still think she’s a whore and a horrible mother and a terrible human being. I think she’s selfish and mean, entitled, too. She’s a liar and a gold digger and a cheater herself. Truth of the matter is if I saw her trapped in a burning car I’d pull up a chair with a bag of marshmallows and make myself some S’mores. But she’s not my problem. He is, and ever since August 10th, 2015 I’ve held him responsible for everything that has happened.
You can chase off every admirer/predator. You can stick it out and wait for him (or her) to come to his (or her) senses and choose you. You can refuse to leave. You can maintain divorce is not an option. You are still with a person who has no problem cheating on you. If you want to blame it on toxic shame or poor coping skills or damage done from childhood trauma you are still with a person who’s coping mechanism is to have sex with other people.
It’s so very easy to say that if everyone would reject a married man/woman there would be no more cheating. You can maintain that it’s the other person’s fault because they should be moral enough to not sleep with your beloved. The fact remains, if your beloved is propositioning someone, it doesn’t matter if the other person accepts or rejects them. You’ve already got a problem. Just because Single Mom/Dad #1, or Lonely Gal/Guy #4 rejects your partner and refuses to have sex with them because they’re married doesn’t mean you’re now home free.
Whew! Thank God for people with morals!
No! You’re still partnered with a person who is looking to bed anything that moves. That is your problem. Not the nitwit that believes the lies. Not the whore that’s willing to spread her legs for anyone. Not the predator who takes advantage of every naive woman. Not the tramp that is out to steal your man. Or the Lothario that is out to steal your woman.
Your partner is the problem. As cliche as it may sound your partner is the one that made promises to you. Your partner is the one that is supposed to love you. Your partner is the one that is supposed to have your back. They’re not supposed to lie to you, or gaslight you, or betray you.
You can chase off every competitor and you are still with a person who has absolutely no intentions of being faithful. You are with a person who has no shame in blaming you for what happened. You are with a person who continues to lie to you, to be evasive, and to refuse to give you what you need.
Look, I hate it, too. And I’m not saying to not hate the other woman or man. Hate away!
I get it. It’s extremely hard to walk away from a long term relationship. I also know it’s so much easier to be angry at and hate the other woman or other man because so many times you don’t know them. You know your spouse/partner. You love that person. You want to forgive them. You want everything to go back to the way it was. So let’s just blame the other person and convince ourselves that if only they had done the honorable thing and stayed away your life would never have fallen apart.
What about when I do know the other person, Sam? What about when it’s a family member or a close friend? Well, I’ll be the first to say it’s a double betrayal and that person did owe you something. I’ll also say you still have a partner problem. Yes, your best friend or your sister should keep her fucking hands off of your husband. I don’t even understand being attracted to your friend’s partner; they’re like kryptonite to me. The other person in this case absolutely owed you loyalty; they were supposed to have your back. Your partner still betrayed you. They still took that step, knowing it was wrong and that it would hurt you. Yes, your best friend or relative should never have made moves on your partner, but your partner should have refused those advances. You’ve still got a partner problem. You’re with a person who has no problem cheating on you.
I will be the first to admit that I am much more jealous when it comes to the mobster and other women, than I ever was with Jerry Lee. Part of that may have to do with the fact that I’ve been cheated on. Part of that may have to do with the fact that the feelings I have for the mobster are so much more intense than what I felt for Jerry Lee and that I consider him to be the love of my life.
Even so, if another woman were to come on to him I fully expect him to handle it. I could threaten her. I could become unhinged. I could check his phone and spy on him. What does any of that accomplish? Absolutely nothing.
What would accomplish something? Him telling her he’s not interested. I expect nothing less than for him to tell her straight up: I’m not interested. Sam is the love of my life. I would never do anything that might mess that up. Leave me alone. And then him blocking all means of contact.
And I do mean all means of contact. None of this, “But we’re co-workers,” bullshit. None of this, “I can’t change my number because…”. No excuses. No keeping any kind of line of communication open. No testing the waters. No remaining friends because otherwise it would be awkward. No refusal to nip that shit in the bud because you don’t want to be seen as “mean”.
I firmly believe that in most of the cases of an affair partner doggedly pursuing someone else’s beloved, that the beloved wished to be pursued. Or at the very least enjoyed being pursued. Focusing on the fact that the affair partner pursued your partner allows you to ignore the fact that you have a partner problem. You have a partner that enjoys being pursued, flattered, etc. by others.
That’s why me chasing off any of the mobster’s admirers does nothing. Him letting it be known that he’s not interested and shutting that shit down? That speaks volumes. If he doesn’t tell her that he’s not interested and that her pursuit is not flattering, it’s offensive? If he continues to flirt or let her flirt with him? If he refuses to disengage or continues to go places he knows he’ll run into her? If he continues to take her calls or go to lunch with her or continues texting with her? Then as much as I may hate her, I have a partner problem.