I have a ton of emails and messages asking me how to treat a cheater. He/she cheated with my/ their: coworker, sister, brother, BFF, boss, ex (es), neighbor, assistant, pastor and so on. Should I take them back, try harder, lose weight, become a hooker, revenge cheat, insist on counseling, burn the house down, burn them up or just get the hell out? The short answer is yes. And no. So my suggestion to you , my dear sweet Kittens, is to pour yourself a drink, strap yourself into your big girl panties and take your chances with what I have to say about this subject. While you read, try to remember where you put your spine because you’ll need more than a tissue to get through tonight. It’s gonna get ugly, I promise I won’t be gentle and if they aren’t already- you’re gonna get your feelers hurt. Staying put with a cheater is solidly on the road less traveled for a reason: because it’s hard and rarely works out. And stupid.
As an aside- I shall refer to the cheater as “he” going forward because English rules state that we should always default to the male pronoun. And I am too lazy to keep typing he/she/them. And most cheaters are “hims”. Pretty sure that’s all correct.
Yes, I just said that. I said staying with someone who intentionally hurts you in one of the deepest, most personal and painful ways is dumb. It’s reckless for you, your health, your career and your family. Have you no sense of self-preservation? If someone rolled you in blood and guts then pushed you off of a boat into shark infested waters- would you take them to counseling to figure out why they did it? So they could do it again- but in a better sneakier way next time? No. You would hopefully survive and then get back on the boat and give them the ass kicking of their lives, tie the anchor to them and toss them into the water never to be seen again. “Oh, but I LOVE THEM!”, you say. That’s awesome, but it doesn’t really matter since they don’t love you back. Ouch.
“I’m sooooo sorry”, he said with tears in his eyes while trembling and grasping at the wedding ring that was just launched at his head . Charming , heh? He’s on his knees, begging you to stay, saying all sorts of beautiful things he hasn’t said since before you said ‘forever only you’ to each other. Snot running down his face, red rimming his eyes from the thought of losing you, the kids, his car. Wait, what? The car? Really? Yes, really. He is not sorry he hurt you, tossed out your vows, broke your trust, wrecked your family and ripped your heart out. Nope. He is sorry he got caught. You have to understand that “I’m sorry” is for accidents. Like breaking your favorite coffee cup, forgetting the wine at the grocery or dropping the kid on it’s head. Cheating doesn’t happen by accident. He didn’t accidentally slip and land with his penis in his secretary. Just for argument’s sake, let’s just say he did slip and by chance landed on her doggie style and his weenus just sorta fell in. Why the hell were they naked? Together. Cheating takes careful planning, deliberate communication and constant deceit. Every minute your cheater is with you he is lying to you. He is taking away your soft place to fall , your security, your naked sexy time and quite possibly your financial resources to buy her dinner and presents. He’s out. Period. There are no take backs in cheating. He chose her by lying and sneaking around. He chose to be with her and lose everything he had with you, including his car, and he walked out. He just didn’t take his stuff. Honey you’ve just been reduced to his maid and storage shed. So be a good little wife/girlfriend and throw his shit out onto the lawn and turn on the sprinklers. No reason not to be helpful and wash his laundry one last time. Maybe lighten his load by cutting one arm and one leg off of everything. I may have done that once. It was therapeutic. It burns shit to the ground so there is no going back. And smart kittens don’t go back. Ever.
“We didn’t have sex, we just talked”. And texted, Skyped, had lunch, dinner and coffee. Oh really, so why didn’t he invite you? If it was nothing and she’s just a friend then why haven’t you met her? Why all of the secrets? The courtesy rule is this: if your one and only has an opposite sex friend- then you are included, invited and in the know about their goings on. There is nothing to hide, conceal or exclude you from. Here’s a tip for you on the brink cheaters: if you find yourself deleting texts, clearing browser history and returning calls from your “just friend” from the toilet- you are now entering Cheaterville. My ex cheated on me and this is why I first suspected his lying no good sorry cheating ass. The several calls a day I received from him to say hi, share a stupid story about work or ask about dinner stopped. So did the texts. Before I knew it, he had nothing to talk about to me when he got home. Late. You know why? He already shared it all with someone else- there was nothing left for me at the end of the day. Red flag. Big. Red. Flag. This is cheating. Possibly the most hurtful to a woman. He took the emotional equity of our relationship and handed it to someone else- leaving me with nothing but a lonely house and a very broken heart. It didn’t matter if they didn’t have sex because he gave the truly intimate sharing of our marriage to someone else. The inside jokes, pillow talk and random sharing of daily stupidity is the glue that binds you together- the common ground you can always find when the going gets tough. The “do you remember whens” that make you snort your coffee over breakfast. That is the good stuff and when you lose it- it’s gone forever. That level of intimacy is built up over time, the ability to trust your other half enough to say , “hey I just sharted on myself” and shared experiences are priceless. When that is all betrayed – there is nowhere to go but out the door and down the road to a life called single.
“We were safe”. I’m sorry, this person just cheated on you and now you want to believe he actually used a condom? You can ponder that pile of bullshit on your way to get your STD panel at your Gynos. Seriously. Do not wait. Get it all done today and then again in three months. It’s bad enough you just had your life go nuclear- don’t also die in the process. You. Could. Die. I am personally watching a loved one suffer through AIDS because her partner cheated on her. He died years ago. She is alive and dying. Alone. Let’s face it- the cold hard truth is that your future partner options are extremely limited if you have to disclose that you have HPV, Herpes, Hepatitis or HIV. If the cheating isn’t enough to make you kick some lying, heartless, selfish sorry excuse for a human being to the curb- then this should be. He risked your future, your fertility, your health and your life. No take backs in that department either. No tolerance. No redos.
Tomorrow we will cover: retaining your dignity and sanity, the perils of counseling, the kids, hiding the dirty laundry and playing hide the sausage with the boss….