“When people cheat in any arena, they diminish themselves-they threaten their own self-esteem and their relationships with others by undermining the trust they have in their ability to succeed and in their ability to be true.”
― Cheryl Hughes
We all know a cheater is a rotten, immature, and hurtful person. We know we should stay away. Somehow, unfortunately, they have a way of drawing their victims back in.
Cheaters can be charming and manipulative.
They can convince you of things you know you shouldn’t believe.
Cheaters themselves are deeply foolish people – but they also carry the power to fool you.
Don’t let them.
Here are eight things a cheater will say to you – and why you should ignore them:
1. I can change. I promise, everything will be different.
First of all, this is highly unlikely. Secondly, even if your cheater manages to accomplish this, the damage is already done. Unfortunately, the past cannot be erased – even if you’d both like for it to be. No matter what they do going forward, this is the person who chose someone else over you.
2. It was purely sexual. I don’t have real feelings for them – only for you.
If anything, this makes it worse. A partner who is willing to compromise your relationship for the sole gain of sexual gratification doesn’t value you much at all. The idea that sexuality and love have nothing to do with one another shows immaturity and a lack of ability to commit.
3. Don’t punish me forever for one moment of weakness.
Weakness is skipping a workout or buying a pair of shoes you can’t afford. Infidelity is much more than that. When a person chooses to cheat, they are discounting your relationship. They are knowingly being disrespectful, dishonest, and deeply unkind. These things are the problem – not weakness.
4. This isn’t all on me. You’ve been working too much. Maybe if you were around more…
A cheater who tries to deflect blame is clearly unaware of the impact of their actions. Maybe you have been distant, unaffectionate, or even cold. A mature partner addresses these problems directly. They may seek couples therapy or a difficult conversation – not a little action on the side.
5. It’s her/his fault – I was seduced!
It’s so tempting to be angry at the person your partner cheated on you with. It’s much simpler than holding your partner themselves accountable. A seasoned cheater knows this, and is sure to exploit it. Don’t let them. Your partner is the one who betrayed your trust. They alone are responsible for their actions.
6. I swear, I never would have done it if I thought you’d find out.
This might be the worst of them all. As Cheryl Hughes wrote, “The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies is that they have a greater capacity to diminish us than exposed ones. They erode our strength, our self-esteem, our very foundation.” What else is your partner hiding?
7. You’re overreacting. Stop being so crazy.
You cheater likely deserves whatever reaction comes their way. By putting your anger on even footing with their infidelity, they are discounting your feelings and minimalizing the harm they have caused. A person who says this does not recognize the magnitude of their actions.
8. That’s all behind me. I’m a new man/woman.
Most cheaters will be cheaters until the day they die. Even if they put sexual infidelity behind them, they can find a million other ways to disrespect and devalue you. When a person shows you how little they care, it is wise to believe them.
As Emily Giffin simply stated, “People generally didn’t cheat in good relationships.” If the sayings above sound familiar, it might be time to leave. Find someone who values you in the way that you deserve. It will hurt now, but you’re certain to look back and thank yourself later.