March 18, 2014
A recent post on FB linked to an article in the Huffington Post entitled “11 People Who Lost Their Sh*t After Being Cheated On.” While these are amusing to read, in real life this behavior raises some serious issues.
The most serious issue is the effect on the children. It is possible for someone (OK, it’s usually, but not always, the husband) to be a cheating, lying spouse but still a decent father. It is also entirely possible for the children to very much love their father. Revenge scenarios are confusing for such children. As one child explained many years ago in a letter to Dear Abby “I feel like I’m half my mother and half my father so when one parent criticizes the other, I feel like they are criticizing half of me.”
Second, there is a point where revenge ceases to be amusing and becomes stalking (for most victims that point comes very early). This can lead to restraining orders and even criminal charges – none of which are in the least bit amusing.
Most often, the revenge consists of calling, emailing or texting friends and family members. Many times, these are people who would prefer not to be involved – or even know about it. There is a place for dirty laundry – and it is not being hung out for everyone to see.
Sometimes, these messages are mean spirited. I’ve had cases where spouses have contacted their elderly and infirm in laws to tell them of their child’s indiscretion. It’s difficult to see the advantage of doing so, other than feeling vindicated. Unfortunately, it’s at an innocent person’s expense.
I tell such clients that if you really want revenge, don’t post signs, make phone calls, sent blast emails or anything of the sort. Rather, get a dignified divorce as quickly as possible to prove that you are a better person. And – here is the greatest revenge of all – show your ex spouse that you don’t need him by making a good life for yourself without him.
If you sink to his level, you are proving to him that his actions were justified. If you rise above it, you are creating a playing field he can never reach. You will never get the enjoyment of seeing him suffer, but you will find a more positive form of enjoyment in life.