Faithful Spouse: [Setting a healthy boundary] “Our relationship is over. We won’t be friends any more, unless you end it with John [Affair Partner] and work to convince me you’ve shut the door to all others.”
Cheater: “You’re being so manipulative. Fine. I guess we won’t be friends.”
…one month passes with minimal to zero contact…
Cheater: “[Calls Faithful Spouse] Why haven’t you called me? You can’t just cut me out of your life. That’s cruel!”
Faithful Spouse: “Have you ended it with John?”
Cheater: “John has nothing to do with our marriage problems. You always refuse to talk about the real issues.”
Is a version of this a familiar conversation to anyone here?
As I say elsewhere (see here), it is not worth engaging with a cheater until they are willing to take 100% responsibility for the infidelity and face the damage it caused. You will just keep going round and round like in this exchange otherwise.
Disengage. Stick to your reasonable boundary.
When the cheater accuses you of emotional abuse in this, they are showing they are deluded and the real abuser. You are NOT being abusive by respectfully holding to the boundary of refusing to invest more in a relationship they are willfully destroying through their lies and infidelity.
These actions are not abusive in and of themselves. In fact, I would call them loving and godly behavior even.
Many cheaters cannot handle this because it tips the power dynamic. They are no longer in control. Plus, they don’t like seeing how ugly their behavior truly is.
Some will never face their sins. They will simply make false, ugly accusations against the faithful spouse for holding up such a mirror.
A gift is to be found here:
You can know their accusations are false and lies when they respond this way to simple statements of fact or reasonable requests for the sins to end.
I know that it is a gift we may be fine living a lifetime without needing. However, that is not the reality dealt to us as faithful spouses.
We can hold our heads up high, though, knowing we were not the aggressors here. Despite what they say to attack our character, the response–the attack–tells us they prefer lies and their comfort over godliness and repentance.
Republished with permission from www.divorceminister.com.