9/13/2012 11:22 AM
While there are cheaters who truly regret and repent their actions, ones who deflect responsibility seem to be far more common. Beware the cheater who says anything other than, “I fucked up in a massive way, and I’ll never do it again.” Any cheater who comes out with excuses for cheating is probably going to do it again, and quite likely behaves in other ways that make for a bad relationship. A few of the excuses to look out for:
The Relationship Was Already Over
This one is usually deployed by those who are caught and dumped, or those who have decided that they are going to leave their partner for their fling. The problem is, for a relationship to be over, it has to be over. You need to have the breakup talk and move out before you can claim “ the relationship was already over.” Feeling single is not quite the same as being single.
I Was Driven to Cheating
In this cheater’s universe, they had no choice. Their partner withheld sex, worked too many hours, didn’t have the right sort of sex… whatever the excuse, it involves their partner doing everything short of forcing them at knifepoint.
The worst part about this excuse is that there is a tiny grain of truth in the center of this toxic pearl. Usually, when infidelity occurs, there were issues in the relationship beforehand. But, these issues can be addressed in a number of ways that are not cheating.
They Cheated First
I see a lot of cheaters who justify their behavior by saying that their significant other cheated at some point in the relationship. In one case, the guy in question said that he was in the clear for sleeping with half a dozen women who weren’t his wife because she gave a blow job to an ex 10 years ago.
There are serious problems with this sort of justification. First, most of the cheaters I see are using relatively minor transgressions as their excuse to commit major, major relationship betrayals. One drunken kiss that occurred while Kurt Cobain was still alive is not a get-out-of-cheat-free card for the rest of the relationship. And, tit for tat behavior only damages a relationship further. If your partner hurt you, hurting them back is not the way to go. That just starts a pattern of destructive behavior. If you can’t forgive them, then get out.
It Just Happened
Closely related to “I was drunk.” Things only “just happen” when cheaters put themselves in situations where they are likely to cheat. When you value your relationship, you need to take steps to avoid situations where there is a chance you’ll cross a line. Don’t volunteer for an after-hours project where you and a co-worker you have a crush on will work together one on one. Don’t do shots with that really attractive guy in the bar.
I’m Not Capable of Monogamy
Every now and then, there’s a cheater whose excuse is that they just aren’t capable of only having sex with one person. They need variety. And, that’s a perfectly acceptable way to be; but only as long as you are not going to enter monogamous relationships.
In the advanced levels of this cheating excuse, cheaters will often assert that they decided that theirs is an open relationship. The problem is, entering a poly situation is not a unilateral decision. Both partners need to agree in advance to the new parameters of your commitment.
And, cheaters taking notes: if you are tempted to use any of the excuses above, just cut to the chase and go here instead, to make it easier on everyone: