Sometimes I shake my head. I get that everyone is on their own timetable. Honestly, I do. I also frequently hear the statistic that it takes, on average, a battered woman 7 attempts before she leaves her abusive husband. I know that there are things each individual, man or woman, has to deal with when considering whether to divorce or not: Does she (or he) have the financial means to leave? Will they be paying the cheating spouse if they divorce? Where will they live? Will they lose time with their kids? In some instances, can they protect their kids? So, I get it.
In fact, there are times I want to scream at the pious people who chide a woman who stays, insinuating that the lifestyle she leads is why she puts up with it. Maybe it is, and if that’s the case then that’s her decision to make. But other times it’s because she doesn’t have a job. She doesn’t have a family member or friend willing to take her and her kids in. Maybe she is fearful about her children’s safety, or she doesn’t want to lose time with them and knows her husband will fight her on that if for no other reason than to hurt her. We all have our own path we’re on.
With that said I read a very sad tale from a woman who took her cheater back. It lasted about a year. And then he cleaned out the bank accounts and left with no notice. Right now she has no idea if she’s going to be able to keep the place she’s been living in. After she tells this story someone says to her: You need to know you did everything possible to save your marriage. Don’t feel bad. Only you know when you’ve had enough.
I read that and I thought, “Really?” This woman has lost everything. Her husband is once again with his affair accomplice. The affair accomplice is encouraging him to fight for the land, despite him telling her she could have that. She’s encouraging him to fight dirty and to basically take it all and leave the wife with nothing. He cleaned out their bank account. Meanwhile, the wife has supported this man throughout their entire marriage as he’s a “brilliant” but struggling artist. Yet someone who has read her story and sees that “doing everything she could to save her marriage” has cost her her life savings once again applauds her for that and reinforces the message that everyone should do everything possible to save a marriage.
No. Just no. This is why so many of us implore those who have discovered cheating to get the hell out of Dodge. Don’t do everything possible to save your marriage. Don’t “stand for your marriage.” Don’t give them second chances (or third or fourth or fifth chances). Stop hoping that they will change and revert back to that wonderful person you once knew and loved. Trying to save a marriage and doing all that you can to save it is noble and wise when the issue isn’t cheating but when you attempt that with a cheater you are giving them entry into your life so that they can take advantage of you once again. They use that time to line up their ducks, to spend or hide all of the money, to put themselves into whatever position they want to be in. If you continue to do everything possible to save your marriage to a cheater you just may wake up one day and find out he’s cleaned out your bank account and you’re left with nothing. Don’t be that person. Please. For the love of God, don’t be that person.