I was reading through some comments on a blog last week (can’t find it now) where a woman was posting about her cheating husband and what she should do about it. The answers she got were either forgive or kick him to the curb and it got me thinking…what makes people choose one vs the other? I re-read the comments and one word kept popping up in the comments from those that said to forgive and forget: mistake.
“He made a mistake”
“We all make mistakes”
“I bet he doesn’t make the same mistake twice”
“We’re all human, we all make mistakes”
Ummm…wha???? A mistake is forgetting to carry the one when doing addition or switching the names of two blood vessels on an exam. Cheating on a spouse is not a mistake; it’s a choice. Period. End of story.
When my ex cheated on me, it wasn’t a simple mistake. It wasn’t an oopsy moment. It was a calculated series of choices that put him in another woman’s arms. I don’t know about you guys but I find cheating of any kind deplorable. Just ask my students that have to listen to me rant about cheating on exams 😉 It’s the most dishonest thing one spouse can do to another. But it’s not a mistake.
A mistake means the other person didn’t mean to do it. When a spouse goes outside the marriage for any reason, it’s a choice, much like students who cheat on exams. They can either study on their own or CHOOSE to look at another student’s exam. I think the people who like to say “we all make mistakes” have probably cheated and don’t want to admit they did a horrible thing. You see, when we downplay cheating as merely a mistake, it diffuses the responsibility of the guilty party. You can simply throw up your hands and say “Oops, just a simple mistake, my bad”. And what, the spouse is just supposed to smile and say, “It’s all good. After all, we’re all human.”
I don’t think so. At least, I don’t see it that way. If you are going to make a choice to cheat, at least own up to it being your decision rather than just some innocent blunder that anyone could make.
Part of me also wonders if the forgive and forget thing is mainly for women. This post I read was about a woman who had been cheated on and most of the respondents were women. It makes me wonder if a man had made the post and the commenters had been men would the advice have been the same OR would the men have collectively told the guy to leave the wife? As a society do we expect women to play nice and sacrifice more so than men?
What do you guys think? Is cheating a mistake or a calculated choice? Are woman expected to stay with a cheating man more than a man would be expected to stay with a cheating wife? I’d love to hear from you!