“Don’t you see it [the cheating] was a cry for help?! If only you had ____ (fill in favorite cheater grievance with faithful spouse) more, then I wouldn’t have cheated.”
Using the “Cry for help” excuse for an affair–either emotional or physical–is manipulation pure and simple.
The cheater is using this label to pin their sin upon their victim–namely, the faithful spouse. With the invocation of that label–“A Cry for Help,” the cheating is no longer their responsibility but that of the spouse on whom they just cheated. The cheater has just claimed the title “poor victim in distress.” It is disgusting how easily and frequently Christian leaders fall for this one.
Can you imagine therapists or pastors regularly falling for this if they had the victim sitting in their office still bleeding from the beating that the aggressor spouse just delivered?!
“She had the beating coming to her for not ____.”
“If only he had ___ more, then I wouldn’t have lost my temper and broke his nose with the lamp.”
A faithful spouse has been “bloodied” emotionally by the cheating spouse. Trust me. No one deserves to be treated in that way just as physical violence is not acceptable in a domestic relationship either.
It is not okay to enable an adulterous abuser to manipulate the situation further by putting their victim on a “performance plan” as if that is what caused the adulterous abuse in the first place!
I dearly hope pastors and Christian counselors have better sense than to advise an abuse victim that the issue is how they stacked the dishes as opposed to their spouse having an anger control problem in choosing to break the victim’s nose for not doing it “right.”
The same thing goes for cheating:
Whatever the grievance given by the cheating aggressor, the problem is not the grievance. The problem is the cheating.
It is not “A Cry for Help” but an act of aggression that has emotionally and spiritually harmed the other spouse. The cheating is sin.
The sinner–i.e. the cheater–is not a pitiful victim but rather the active agent who chose to emotionally and spiritually assault their partner.
That an unfaithful spouse think cheating is ever acceptable is the problem needing addressing and not whatever the cheater points to in the other partner as an excuse for such sinfully, cruel behavior.
Please, do not be manipulated by this ploy. A cheater is not “a tragic hero” or a “damsel in distress” but rather the perpetrator of one of the nastiest and most wicked of human behaviors–i.e. the treacherous betrayal of one’s own spouse.
*A version of this post ran previously.
Republished with permission from www.divorceminister.com.