Two Consenting Adults & No One Else’s Business

I saw this a week or so ago. It was in response to advice given in an advice column. The question was whether or not you should tell the spouse about the cheating partner’s affair. Amy said yes. This reader had a different take on it.

You advised “Cheated Upon” to notify the wife of a cheating husband about the affair. I completely disagree. What two other consenting adults do is no one else’s business. – Disappointed

Ah yes, the ol’ “two consenting adults” theory. Sorry, Disappointed, but you are oh so wrong. This is not a situation with two consenting adults. Two consenting adults doing something that is no one else’s business would be a couple who decides they like things a little rough in the bedroom. You want to tie your partner to a bedpost and spank his or her ass? Fine. No one else’s business. A couple who decides to open their relationship up to include a third person or other couples would be a situation with two consenting adults. It would be no one else’s business. Other examples of two consenting adults doing things that are no one else’s business? Cross dressing. Furries. Adults pretending to be babies while they wear diapers and drink out of bottles. Meeting your partner at a local bar and pretending you don’t know each other. Having a relationship that doesn’t include sex. Wanting to watch your partner have sex with someone else. All of those situations include two consenting adults doing whatever they choose to do in their relationship. It may not be something you would choose to indulge in but you aren’t a part of their relationship and as such, it’s none of your business.

What we have here, Disappointed, is an affair. An affair involves two deceitful, consenting adults who are fully apprised of the situation, and at least one non-consenting adult who has no clue what is going on. It may include non-consenting children whose lives could possibly also be uprooted and destroyed, thanks to these “consenting” adults. In addition it usually involves financial abuse, gas lighting, lying, and rewriting history. The cherry on top is the devaluing and degrading of the non-consenting, clueless partner.

That’s the fun thing about affairs. It doesn’t stop with those two people. There are other people who are deeply affected. Even if one or both of them don’t leave their spouses it still takes away from the relationship. I have heard of very few situations in which one person was cheating and the relationship did not suffer. Most of the time that is when the devaluing begins. The cheater has to have a plausible reason to do this heinous thing so the betrayed partner becomes the enemy.

She makes me eat a turnip! He is controlling and emotionally abusive! She is a horrible housekeeper! He said he wishes I would die! She let me wear the same dirty pair of underwear for five days! He made me wear certain kinds of clothing; I couldn’t even dress myself without his approval! She doesn’t want to have sex! He won’t work! She nags, nags, nags! He hates me!

That’s the propaganda spread to justify their behavior. Granted, my “research” has come by way of reading blogs and comments from those who have been cheated on but again, it is very common that once one person in the relationship begins to cheat they also begin to treat their partner with disdain. The person who is being cheated on is left to wonder what on earth is going on and will generally dance harder and harder to try to appease the cheating partner in order to get everything back in order.

Stories abound of cheating partners spending thousands on the affair partner, draining 401ks, and wiping out bank accounts. If an affair is something between two consenting adults and is no one else’s business then why is my financial security now in doubt?

That doesn’t even take into consideration the extreme cases. The ones like Chris Watts who decided he’d rather be with his ho-worker and, I guess felt divorce would be a real hassle, so he murdered his 15 week pregnant wife and their two young daughters. He buried his pregnant wife in a shallow grave and then dumped his daughters’ bodies in an oil tanker. Or Chris Coleman who murdered his wife and two young sons so he could be with his mistress and still be a bodyguard to Joyce Meyer. I’ve written about other cases involving the cheating spouse murdering the wife in order to be with the mistress here and here.

If it was simply a relationship between two consenting adults then no one else would pay the price for their behavior. Obviously my situation didn’t rise to the level of murder but those two “consenting” adults wrecked a whole lot of havoc nevertheless. I lost my home. My children lost their home. We ended up being forced to move 600 miles away. I went from being a stay at home mom with a very stable income to being a mom who at one point was working upwards of sixty hours a week, rarely seeing her kids, and still financially unstable. I went from having a home of my own with my own dishes and furniture and decorations, to moving in with my mom. I didn’t ask for that. I didn’t get a choice in that. Neither did my kids. My kids lost their pool and their game room and their large bedrooms and separate bathrooms. All superficial things, sure. But it was all taken away from us by two “consenting” adults that didn’t give a single solitary fuck about us and what their “consenting” ended up doing to us.

No, Disappointed, this is not about two consenting adults doing whatever two consenting adults decide to do. This particular situation is about a man cheating on his wife. It’s about someone who knows at least one of them and who was cheated on as well, so they know the heartache and humiliation that can come with that. That person wants to do the right thing and let the cheated on spouse know what’s going on so she can make a fully informed choice. It’s not up to the person telling to convince the wife to stay or go; all they’re doing is providing information. What the wife chooses to do with it is up to her.

As for this, “It’s no one else’s business!” nonsense I will say what I always say in situations like these: If you don’t want your partner finding out you’re fucking around, then don’t fuck around! That’s the easiest way to prevent that. No one is obliged to protect your secrets and dirty deeds, especially not someone who was cheated on and betrayed themselves. “It’s no one else’s business!” is just cheater-speak for, “You’re not the boss of me! I can do whatever I want and there should never be any consequences!”

Forced Civilization

Ta-da! This is it. Part 5. Aren’t you glad I broke it up into 5 easily digested pieces? Me too. As always, here are parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. Enjoy!

I’m going to say it one more time: Maintain no contact! If you’ve chosen to remain married, maintain no contact with the affair partner. Pain shopping never ends well.

Remember all those things I’d love to say? It would only result in me looking crazy. Hell, I probably look crazy right now as I write this.

It is patently unfair. They get to preen around like peacocks and we’re expected to sit quietly, say nothing, and be happy for the new couple lest we be deemed “bitter”.

Do they “deserve” to have someone chime in on their page and remind them about the kids he abandoned, or the fact that their happiness came at The Saint’s and my expense? Sure. Would it be fun to say something like, “Hey, it’s great that you can be a dad to her kids; too bad you haven’t seen your own in over 2 years,” or “Does everyone know that you could drive 12 hours round trip to see your whore every weekend for 6 months but you haven’t been able to make that drive to see your children one time in more than 2 years?”? Well, of course it would be fun!

But it will also make me look like a bitter, crazy person. Oh, look; she just can’t let go. It’s so sad that Sam can’t focus on her own life and try to find some happiness. Looks like she’s going to let this divorce destroy her. Her poor children. Obviously, Sam prefers to be bitter and hateful instead of appreciating the fact that her husband of twenty years released her from the burden of being his wife.

Even though I’m telling the truth no one wants to hear it. They want tidy. They want shiny. They want everything to fit comfortably inside a little box. As Jack Nicholson would tell you, “They can’t handle the truth!” They don’t want to hear about all the ill effects of adultery. Affairs are between two people and we just never know what goes on in another person’s marriage. Sam probably had it coming. She was probably a terrible wife and that’s why he cheated. Besides, everyone is happier now so it was all for the best. Get over it!

In playing your role as the crazy ex you give voice to their untruthful narrative. See? I told you she was unreasonable! I told you she was hateful and mean and tried to make me eat a turnip!

You’re just a big bowl of cray cray so what else could they do? They found comfort in one another. They bonded over the craziness that was their exes and all of the abuse and neglect that was heaped upon them. Thank God we found each other and can now revel in real happiness with someone who truly loves me and takes care of me.

When you go after the affair partner instead of the cheating spouse it gets even worse! She’s now the victim in all of this. You are unreasonable! You are blaming the wrong person! She’s crying to anyone who will listen to it and everyone pats her back sympathetically and nods their head in agreement. “Why is she doing this? You slept with her husband and now she’s acting crazy! What’s the big deal? Why won’t she leave you alone? You’re innocent! My God it was just a little bump and grind!”

So you stay away. You maintain no contact because there is nothing to be gained. It is a setup from the very beginning. You are destined to lose. If you point out all the destruction and pain you’re labeled bitter, vengeful, jealous. They tell you to get over it. To think of the children. Your truth is unwanted by these people. Similarly, the cheaters’ truth is lapped up like a luscious bowl of cream.

The ex would like nothing better than to convince everyone that I’m not his victim; I’m exactly the same as him so no one should pay attention to anything I say or anything he’s done. He’s done no worse than me so I can’t talk about him.

It’s not true. I’m not sneaking around behind a clueless wife’s back. I’m not having clandestine meetings in work spaces or parking lots or minivans. I certainly never siphoned off money for a boyfriend and his kids, or took money meant for someone else’s kids. The minute I start to defend myself against him, though, I lose. Facts do not matter to them. The truth does not matter to them. The truth is malleable. You can twist it and turn it to suit your purposes.

Just like he wants everyone to believe he’s a devoted father who loves his children. The only reason he hadn’t seen them in over two years was because of me and the fact that I poisoned them against him.

You end up dropping the rope because you realize the only way to win is to not play. Kind of like War Games. The only move I can make is to keep my mouth shut and let the happy couple look like a couple of idiots with a bunch of delusional supporters. I can snark away at them over here on the safety of my blog. I have to be secure in the knowledge that the only people who really matter know the truth. I realize that if he ever were to get in my face and start slinging shit my way the best thing I could do would be to say, “Dude, I know it’s really important to you to believe that story, so I’m gonna let you have it. It seems to be much more important for you to believe that you’re right than it is to me to prove that you’re wrong.”

I’ll let you in on a little secret. As hard as it may be to stay away and keep silent, it really is the best course of action. Cheaters hate not being central. They hate not being in control. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these last few years it’s that those of us who have been cheated on have also been slowly and systematically trained to cave and give into the demands of the cheater. It’s not always an overt type of thing; I’d go so far as to say most of the time it’s not. The cheater just always thinks he or she knows best and we follow along. We try so hard not to rock the boat, to give them what they want, to make them happy, that we often end up losing our agency.

Would it have been wonderful to have put a HUGE sign on his car that said, “I tricked my wife and kids into moving 2000 miles away so that I could resume my affair with my cousin!” along with all of his clothes in his work parking lot? Oh my God yes! Would it have felt great to post signs all along the route to our house that said, “Cheater lives here,”? Uh-huh. Or maybe renting a big billboard in their new city with their pictures on it, letting everyone know to congratulate the happy cheaters. Again, yes. Expensive, but yes, it would have been satisfying. There are definitely days I wish I had called her up and told her about my crying kids or that I had ripped him a new one, or that I had even just dumped everything of his out on the lawn.

But you know what? It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have played right into their narrative that I was a crazy, jealous, overbearing pyscho and he had to get away! On the other hand, despite doing none of that I know he lies. He tells people I filed for divorce and he has no idea why. I know he tells people I rounded up all of his stuff into black garbage bags and threw it on the curb. He continues to tell people he moved away from his kids and in with his mistress/cousin six hours away because I forced him to move out of the family home (and wouldn’t let him take one single thing with him!). Ultimately though he knows none of that happened. I cared so little for him and his antics that I simply pretended he no longer existed.

I have no scientific proof of this, but I sincerely believe that ignoring him (or any of them) is much more effective than going balls to the wall with them- spouse or affair partner. Like we can’t fight against the injustice of their stupid image management, they can’t fight against silence. How do you fight against something that isn’t there?

I would like to believe that me ignoring him drives him crazy. I was supposed to beg and plead and instead I merely wiped out the bank account and gave him the deep freeze. There was no pretending to put on a united front. I didn’t protect him. I told our kids the truth. I told my family the truth. Hell, I told the lady at the vet’s office the truth. I sang loud and proud. No fucking way I was going to own his shit show. If he didn’t want everyone in our small town to know he was a liar who moved his entire family across the country to get closer to his cousin then he shouldn’t have done it.

Every time he has tried to antagonize me I have refused to take the bait. Well, except for that one time in May of 2016. Even then I kept it pretty funny and brief.

Hacking my Facebook page? Changed my password. Contacted my lawyer. Proved it was him. Sending text messages to the mobster from a burner phone? Ignored. Playing with child support? Show cause hearing which has resulted in him having to pay large lump sums to me each and every time. Sending the checks in obnoxious envelopes? Ignored. Checks cashed. Telling me to check my damn mailbox and calling me greedy because I dared to ask about support? Let him know that if it was too much for the poor dear to hear from me I’d be more than happy to garnish his paycheck. Fucking around with paying support and doing it on his own schedule. Again, reminded him of the court order and let him know I would be filing a garnishment with the state if he did it again. Doing his own child support modification? Hey, I gave him fair warning and then I contacted my lawyer. All of his lies? Confronted with the truth in court.

As far as I’m concerned I’ve been an ideal ex. I stay away. I don’t contact him unless it’s absolutely necessary. I do not and have not ever harassed him or the whore by phone, text, email, or in person. I’ve never asked him for a dime above what he’s been ordered to pay, and quite honestly, those times when he wasn’t paying and should have been I didn’t say a word. I figure out what needs to be done and then I do it. Usually it’s through some sort of court order and then he gets really pissy but that’s neither here nor there.

I’ll say it one last time. Stay away. Stay off social media. When you feed the beast it continues to grow. It feels good in the moment but it’s giving them power. They still matter! Or, in other cases, you continue to be the big, bad hinderance to true love. What’s that they say? Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Continuing to beat yourself up by looking at the part of their lives they’re willing to put on Facebook is like wrestling with a pig and arguing with an idiot. It does no good. It will never help you. It’s all designed, in fact, to hurt you. You can’t confront them or you look like the crazy person and they come off looking like the poor, stalked victims. Focus on your own life. Take it from someone who did something really stupid and paid the price in self-doubt. Keep being the best badass you can be and, as Chump Lady would say, trust that they suck!

Dealing Gracefully With Infidelity (What a Load of Bullshit!)

Have you seen the article going around on Facebook about the revenge some betrayed spouses/girlfriends took? I’m pretty sure that all of them were very public outings of the cheater. Rented billboards. Yard sales with huge signs about everything being free because he’s a cheater. Writing on truck windows. Banners hung from porches or staked in the yard. The occasional graffiti job on a beloved vehicle. An ad in the paper congratulating the cheating husband and his mistress on their pregnancy. One person even did a treasure hunt.

I like to read the comments because I’m always amazed at the people who think the best thing to do is say nothing and to never take any kind of revenge. They call them crazy, say it’s no wonder they were cheated on, tsk tsk at the idea of airing their dirty laundry, etc. Of course, the number one comment seems to be that the best revenge is living well.

I think that’s all a load of bullshit. I’m tired of being told to keep my mouth shut. I’m tired of hearing someone shamed because they finally got fed up with their cheater and let the world know what they’ve been up to.

Why is telling everyone what they’ve done so bad? It’s not like the cheaters are ashamed of what they’re doing! I’m sure if you asked them they would tell you they are doing absolutely nothing wrong and they are entitled to this happiness. So what’s the big deal? Say it loud and say it proud! This is my whore and I love her! I left my wife and kids for this walking piece of shit! Isn’t she precious? Wouldn’t you abandon your family for her, too?

It’s another way to keep us in our place. Don’t say anything. Smile. Get on with your life. Don’t be bitter. Don’t talk about it. Don’t air your dirty laundry; what happened between the two of you is best kept between you two. Silence is golden. If you out him (or her) you’ll just make yourself look bad. Don’t talk badly about the cheater; you’ll look crazy. The best revenge is living well. Is it? I kinda think the best revenge would be watching the cheater’s life fall completely apart. Or attending his funeral and finding out there’s a million dollar life insurance policy on him which I get to collect on!

I say speak up! Don’t stay silent. That’s what cheaters count on. They count on everyone around you shaming you into silence. They count on you appearing as the crazy one when you out them. They get to skip merrily along, living their fraudulent lives, telling lies, fucking whores and you’re just supposed to sit there and smile. Keep their dirty little secrets. Well, no more!

We don’t owe it to them to be their PR agents. We don’t owe it to them to shut up. It’s time we stop letting them write the narrative. Stand up and tell people what they’ve done. Don’t let people bully you into silence.

They want us to stay quiet because the truth is uncomfortable. Being friends with someone who is chasing happiness doesn’t sound like a bad thing. Being friends with someone who has abandoned his wife and kids doesn’t sound as nice. Telling yourself that someone deserved to get cheated on because he or she is obviously crazy because, gee, look at how he or she talks about the ex, means that you’ll never get cheated on so long as you don’t act like that. If they allow you to tell your story, all of it with all the dirty details and all the horror of what you actually experienced, then it’s not as easy to whitewash infidelity and act like it’s no big deal, or something that is between the couple. Cheating is not some minor issue. It is brutal. It destroys families. It can be financially devastating. It sometimes leaves kids without a parent. It alters lives. There is nothing pretty or simple about adultery but as long as you don’t air your dirty laundry no one has to know that. I would go so far as to say some of those people are simply jealous because they didn’t have the guts to do something as creative or as bold when someone broke their heart.

I haven’t taken on any shame for being cheated on. He did it, not me. He’s the one with crappy character and entitlement issues. While I’ve privately told people what he’s done- my family, my friends, my closer friends on Facebook, right now I’m not taking my own advice because I’m sure I will have a court date sometime in the near future. I don’t want to give him any public ammunition. But after the court hearing, when the divorce is final? Oh, I plan to sing like a canary. And anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss my ass!

Why I Don’t Talk to Him

I really wish I had a better title for this, but I don’t. I have received a lot of crap from people, mainly family, about me not going out of my way to confront Cousinfucker.  My brother once declared, “This is going to the quietest divorce in history.”  Yes, it may be.  But is that a bad thing?

I’m going to try to explain why I haven’t yelled and screamed and otherwise confronted him.

  1. I’m not a big confrontational person.  Oh, believe me, I can get crazy stupid when I’ve been pushed but that doesn’t happen too often.  I’m usually very good at being able to ignore it and walk away.  I couldn’t confront him when I first found out because I was getting my ducks lined up so I couldn’t let on I knew.  And after I did confront him I was asked if I was still going to make spaghetti.  I’ll admit; that one left me (and the lawyer) speechless.
  2. When I have had more than I can take then I am simply done with you or with the situation.  Some people have this need to confront the person, to let them know what they’ve done wrong or how they’ve hurt them; they want to make them feel bad, or perhaps have them apologize.  I don’t.  My only concern is in getting out of a toxic situation or away from a toxic person.  I don’t care if you understand.  I don’t care if you agree.  I don’t care if you think you’re still right and I’m wrong.  I don’t care if you think I’m being ridiculous.  I don’t care if I’ve changed your mind or made you feel guilty or put you in your place.  I’m. Done.  Once I reach that point it is far better if we simply part ways because I am now officially in “Crazy, Stupid” territory.
  3. They don’t care!  I have no doubt that Cousinfucker would not give a single fuck if I yelled at him until I was hoarse.  I am equally sure that Harley has absolutely no shame and does not care at all about the destruction she has helped cause.  Me yelling and screaming at CF will do nothing.  He’s not suddenly going to say, “Sam, you are so right!  I have been acting like a giant ass!  What can I do to make it up to you and the kids?”  Why waste my breath?  As I said, it will do nothing except….
  4. Feed his ego!  OK, that should probably be a full sentence but it’s not.  Here’s a full sentence for you.  Yelling and screaming at him just feeds his ego.  It tells him he still gets to me.  He is still important.  He still has some power over me.  From reading Chump Lady I have learned that one of the worst things you can do for this type of person is ignore him/her.  I refuse to give him the satisfaction of thinking he still gets to me.  I’m not above making a snarky comment, and I have no problem pushing him on things, like pointing out in a straight forward manner that if he’s got money to blow on Harley’s kids then he’s got money to spend on his own kids!  But aside from that I will not engage.  He is nothing to me and I don’t wish to be the one feeding his ego.  Let Harley do that; he’s her problem now.
  5. Right from Chump Lady’s handbook:  I refuse to be the hypotenuse to their triangle!  You’ve probably all heard the dangers of trying to stand in the way of young love and how it just makes them want to be together even more.  It’s the same with cheater love.  They need to feel like it’s them against the world (or at least me).  If I’m yelling and screaming, tossing his crap out onto the lawn, calling up his boss, and pulling a Carrie Underwood on his car then it’s very easy to triangulate this three person relationship.  They’re in it against me.  As an added bonus he can point to my behavior and say:  See?  I told you she was crazy (mean, uncaring, unloving, whatever unflattering adjective he can find).  Look at what all I have to put up with!  Isn’t she just awful?  This way they are left in their relationship with only each other.  They can’t ever say that things will get better once his crazy ex-wife stops harassing them because the crazy ex-wife has never been part of the picture.  If their relationship takes a crap (and seeing as how she is supposedly still sleeping with her husband I can definitely see where things might go wrong) they will have to examine their own actions because it won’t be anything I’ve said or done.  They are two fucked up individuals; he is a miserable human being who will never be happy and is an entitled shit eating chimp that is constantly changing the goal posts on what will make him happy.  She, on the other hand, is a deceitful, manipulative, gold digging white trash whore.  They are both lying liars who lie and cheating cheaters who cheat.  It’s only a matter of time before this house of cards comes crashing down.  As long as I’m out of the picture they’ve got to deal with one another and not focus on me.
  6. Finally, actions speak louder than words.  It’s good advice when wondering whether you should reconcile with your spouse who says he/she is sorry.  It’s also good advice when dealing with a spouse you’re divorcing.  I’m keeping my mouth shut and not giving away anything.  Instead of yelling and screaming at him, telling him what an utterly worthless piece of pig shit he is I simply filed for divorce, and am making him pay a lot of spousal and child support.  I’m not sure anything gets the message across quite like being served with divorce papers.