“Last night was well worth it!”
Imagine reading this text message on your husband’s phone. How would you react? Well, I don’t have to imagine and I can tell you exactly how I reacted…minus the cuss words of course. Being cheated on can cause you to lose your religion!
The interesting dynamic in our marriage is that we both cheated. Neither of our affairs was premeditated and, looking back, we were both naïve given the situations we allowed ourselves to get into. This is important to note and evaluate for your own marriage. Please know I do not condone cheating and make no excuses. Rather, it is always important to consider and understand.
I cheated during our engagement and I told him. A couple of days after my confession, I called my sister and, during our conversation, I shared the news. I will never forget her response. ”Girl, you just gave him a get out of jail free card!” she said. Since I didn’t quite get it, she explained that telling him was like giving him permission to cheat on me, like revenge or retaliation.
Often times, we merely want our spouse to feel how we feel, especially when they have hurt us to our very core. It seems only “fair” that they FULLY FEEL the extent of the pain they’ve caused. So we think that one way to achieve this after their affair would be to have an affair of your own. Sadly, along with your emotional and physical well being, retaliation affairs can damage your marriage’s chances of recovery. In other words, it yields results such as the following which are quite opposite of what is intended.
- You won’t get even. Your spouse’s affair broke the trust and shattered the bond instantly over what took you years to build in most cases. Your revenge affair can never have the same impact. Why? Think about it like this. When you break a vase it is broken, so if you drop it again, it is still broken, right? You can not break something that is already broken.
- You are not likely to make your partner feel victimized. Actually you can cause them to feel justified in having their affair. I have seen some use such actions as an excuse to continue their extra-marital affair.
- You will not make them ‘get’ how you feel. Rather than feeling guilty for betraying and hurting you, your revenge cheating will provide your spouse with an excuse to disregard your feelings while minimizing the consequences of their own actions.
- You are not likely “to teach them a lesson.” The only thing revenge cheating will teach them is that you have stooped to their level and have a spiteful spirit.
- You could possibly encourage them to cheat again. Your affair could make cheating seem acceptable in your spouse’s mind…after all you both did it, right? So why not do it again? These thoughts are likely to generate in your spouse’s head.
How it Sabotages Marital Recovery
- Guaranteed distraction that’s preventing you from addressing the real problems in the marriage that led to the affair in the first place.
- The marriage is already weak—a retaliation affair will negatively compound things so horribly that it sabotages any chance the marriage has to bounce back.
- A lack of intimacy is often an originator to affairs. Intimacy allows for connection and when participating in revenge cheating this will certainly cause you to disconnect even further and create an even greater emotional gap between you and your spouse.
- Bringing further betrayal to the marriage is like spraying weed killer on the foundation where you two will need to rebuild the groundwork of rebuilding trust.
- Revenge cheating often escalates hostility and can lead to domestic violence.
How it Sabotages Individual Recovery
- You can not conquer what you are not willing to confront. By participating in revenge cheating, all you are doing is using anger to “protect” yourself from dealing with the emotional pain you feel. Unless you deal with your pain you won’t be able to heal, nor will your marriage.
- Creating pain for your spouse will not make you feel better. Rather you will still feel just as betrayed, hurt, and outraged afterwards if not more because this can magnify already intensely raw emotions.
- Acting out like a child to your spouse is immature, unwise, and will likely leave you feeling guilty and regretful.
- Treat people how you genuinely want to be treated. This third party that you would be using is a real person like you with their own needs and feelings. This is not a time for you to risk further emotional casualties and complications. You have enough to deal with in your marriage already. Yes?
- If you have not cheated thus far, then there is a reason. I’m guessing you are loyal, ethical, and value your morals. So compromising them can later cause feelings of regret and shame that are harmful to your emotional well-being.
Revenge cheating is a bad idea all around. Despite the hurt you feel from your spouse’s betrayal, if you truly want healing and a way to save your marriage, that’s just not the way to go. Take the time and seek the help needed to put your marriage back together, the right way.