Cheaters Never Prosper… But Their Exes Do.
Although I didn’t make it out of my marriage completely unscathed, Clyde’s numerous affairs did have less of an impact on me over time. I was lucky to escape with minimal emotional damage because I had my own set of suitors to keep me busy during our many separations and Clyde and I were never star-crossed lovers. I can’t say there was any point where I thought: “This is the man I want to spend my life with.” For me, it was: “This is the guy I could put up with until our kids are 18.”
However, even with that being said, I was still caught off-guard when he used our children as tools following our divorce. I assumed he was a good father. We all want to trust the people in our lives, even if it’s just your child’s other parent. Most of us also believe a parent would never intentionally cause injury to their own kids. When you realize that someone isn’t at all the person they portrayed themselves to be and they’ve hurt either yourself or someone close to you, everyone goes through a period of shock and disbelief.
For my sister and several friends who are about to go on the fun roller-coaster ride we call divorce, while I can’t relate to everything you’re feeling, I can relate to the normal stages of grief.
- Denial (no, he’d never do this… it’s just a phase… he’ll come back)
- Anger (how could he do this to me and our family?!… after all I’ve done for him?!)
- Bargaining (I’ll change… I’ll stop whatever… I’ll do whatever if he’ll just come back)
- Depression (withdrawal… hours of listening to sad love songs… excessive visits to Jamba Juice)
- Acceptance (wow, my family & friends were right: he was a total loser and I won’t miss his cheating; surfing for porn: spending money on himself, or giving me some sexually transmitted disease)
When a woman steals your man, there is no better revenge than to let her keep him.- Author unknown
(This is so unbelievably true!!!)
We live in a society based on competition rather than cooperation and that’s sad because cooperation gives us all a much higher and long-term gratification. While men use contact sports or fishing to flaunt their competitive nature, women seem to use man-hunting. They act like bagging an unavailable guy is like catching a prize-winning marlin. The viciously attack their new boy-toy’s former wives or girlfriends with phrases like “If you would have treated him better…” apparently not realizing it had nothing to do with that at all.
Men who are dishonest look for weak targets and those who can be easily manipulated so if you think you stole a guy from another gal, instead of taking that as a win, you might want to look in the mirror and figure out what is it about you that screams “doormat”.
For my lady friends on the other end of the spectrum, I know it’s difficult thinking that your former love is now the pillow candy of some less-than-attractive girl with a smug grin on her face, but I’ve seen it time and time again where relationships that started as affairs ended when one of the partners went out and… wait for it…… had another affair.
(hold up the audience queue card that says: Oooh!)
It might take a while but, trust me, it’s on the horizon and “they” know it, too. People who can’t let their feet touch the ground aren’t stable or happy, even though they’ll insist to the world (and Facebook) that they are. They tend to come from abusive or broken homes and look for high-drama relationships to keep the excitement alive. As challenging as it may be, ignore them and don’t feed their desire for conflict. That’s what they need to survive. The best thing you can do is move on and never look back.
Drama queens HATE being ignored.
Meanwhile, your ex will be looking for a new person to latch on the minute trouble surfaces because they never developed their own coping mechanisms. New partners, but still the same unresolved issues.
Your partner having an affair was never your fault and if you look closely at his family tree, you’re likely to see who’s to blame. You could have been the most perfect, intelligent, and beautiful lady in the world and it wouldn’t have made any difference.
Find out what is it about you that’s attracting (and attracted to) dishonest men. This is where an experienced therapist comes in handy. Try to find a therapist who has been trained in forensic psychology or domestic violence, even if there was no physical abuse in your relationship. These therapists tend to have more experience dealing with childhood issues and complex trauma.
Some of the important things I’ve learned:
First, take a long break from dating. Spend some time with your friends where no man-hunting is involved.
Second, get counseling. Join a divorce support group. Fix yourself. Otherwise, you’re only going to attract more “winners” and you’ll be reliving this nightmare again 5 years down the road – even possibly acquiring the new role of drama queen.
Third, when you do date again (hopefully at least a year after a serious break-up), look for someone who’s going to be your equal:
- Find out how your potential partner treats his mother, what type of person his father is, and what his parent’s relationship is like. Apples don’t usually fall far from their trees. Most people learned their relationship and parenting skills from the adults that raised them
- Does he talk about his exes in a respectful way or does he use vulgar language to describe them? Does he make negative remarks or inappropriate jokes about women in general? Does he brag about revenge? Men who show even tiny indications of utter disdain towards women are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Run away fast and don’t look back!
- Don’t choose a man you feel sorry for because he had a bad childhood; an evil ex, or because he just seems like he can’t take care of himself. He’s a big boy so let go of YOUR desire to control and change someone else. Taking care of another adult’s responsibilities when they should be taking care of it on their own is called enabling and dependency. Google it, and then get a therapist.
Finally, take it slow! Predators know the quickest way to emotionally rope in a hurt or insecure girl is to sleep with her. The longer you wait, the more time you’ll have to see his true personality with less emotional barriers.
Check out Amazon and click the “look inside” feature with the following books: “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood and “Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. I’m not much of a book reader but these sucked me right in from the start and were highly recommended by other women I know.
- Posted in: Advice for Victims and Ex-partners