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Mistakes? Or Choices?


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!

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10 Comments on “Mistakes? Or Choices?”

  1. cpbialois April 25, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    the choice may be a mistake but I view the actual act as a choice. I can say as a man that if our significant other cheats then more times than not we move on. While it’s not that way with everyone, most will have friends do everything from call them an effing idiot to challenging their manhood for going back to the situation. Not sure about women on that one.

    Part of the problem too is as people, we generally rely on the sympathies of others when we’re in trouble. We do it as kids to avoid punishment and it never really leaves us. It’s another choice we make to protect ourselves when faced with the unknown. Hope this all makes sense. lol

    • drshaywest April 25, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      After my ex left our marriage the first time, I was bombarded with people telling me to reconcile, that it’s what God wanted, etc. Not everyone was of that mind set but a large % were. When he left the second time, I ignored the ones telling me to reconcile and just let him walk away. And I’m really better off. But it still stings, even after a year. However, most days go by without me thinking about my ex at all.

      • cpbialois April 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

        Yeah, sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. I hate to admit how many times I’ve had to do that throughout my life. lol Glad to hear it’s getting easier for you. It’s a good step forward. 🙂

  2. Masala & Blarney April 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    I am saddened that you had to go through that sort of ordeal, but it does sound like you are doing just fine without his sorry no good cheating arse.

    Cheating, emotional or physical is a choice and I think where the word mistake gets tossed in is that what the cheater should be apologizing for the choice to step out like you said. They have to own their bad decisions.

    Now I have two very good friends who have marriages that survived cheating episodes,they were admitted to, dealt with and both marriages are still going strong. One is 8 years after incident, the other only 3. But it takes a lot of work on both spouses part and it has to be something they both want.

    • drshaywest April 26, 2014 at 8:13 am #

      I think mine ex checked out of our marriage years ago. I couldn’t love up to his expectations *shrug* But I’m doing fine on my own. 😀

  3. blazemcrob May 8, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    When my ex cheated on me, I stayed long enough to know my new-born baby was healthy and well. Then I said good bye and got a divorce. I have eight kids and I know they wonder why I left, but there was no other choice. They receive plenty of child support from me. One day they’ll reason it out.

    Blaze

    • drshaywest May 8, 2014 at 6:50 am #

      I tried to do the “right thing” and stayed with him after both incidences of cheating but I was never the same. And being blamed for the cheating just added insult to injury. The last year’s had its ups and downs but I’m realizing I’m way better off without him.

      Cheating is just an absolutely abhorrent choice. There are a million other ways for people to handle issues within the marriage. But it’s easier to blame the spouse rather than take a long look in the mirror and admit the reason they aren’t happy is their own fault.

      • blazemcrob May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

        Some people don’t see the truth when they look in the mirror, Shay. Like you say, it is easier for them to blame than it is for them to look inside and understand where the guilt lies.

        Blaze

      • Sue C. Hughey May 15, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

        Dear Shay, I totally agree with your perspective. To me, cheating on a mate is the worst kind of betrayal. Once that trust is gone, it’s gone. I wonder how cheaters live with their own consciences.

        • drshaywest May 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

          By blaming the other person *sad smile* It’s the only thing I can think of. By pushing the blame on someone else, they never really have to live with it.

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