You don’t need to be a psychologist to understand that infidelity is severely damaging to relationships and families, and you certainly don’t need to apply much thought to understand that part of that damage is inflicted by the lies told by the cheater while they snake around in pursuit of their affair.
However, the blatant lies are not the only deceit. Deception during an affair can take many forms:
- in the pretense of normality at home with the family
- in the financial infidelity as funds are diverted to the affair
- in the health risks that are introduced to the faithful spouse
- minimizing the sexual and/or emotional nature of the affair
- in the cheater’s dialog with the affair partner as they employ clichés like, “I am leaving my spouse, I just need some time.”
- in the inauthenticity in the cheater’s personal narrative about their affair
- in the moral licensing where the affair is held up as being somehow good for the marriage or primary partner
The post Affair Help: The Trickle Truth further examines how lies damage the primary relationship, particularly when attempting to reconcile.
My Lies Are Your Reality
Perhaps one of the biggest lies told during or after an affair, is one that the cheater tells themselves and others: “I am not telling my partner about this affair, to protect them from being hurt“.
This lie presupposes that the faithful partner is incapable of dealing with any significant issues that face the relationship. This is entirely demeaning, even if it is dressed up as some form of protection from pain.
The further injustice of this ‘protection’ is that it exposes the faithful partner to even greater damage by the emotional onslaught caused by a spouse/partner’s affair.
For the record, the pain caused by infidelity is not primarily about rejection – it is more about disrespect, manipulation, and deceit from someone you trust, and it is that which causes such trauma and long-term damage to someone’s psyche, not the matter of simply being rejected by Mr or Ms Marvelous.
My Affair: I Decree That You Can’t Handle the Truth
The cheater made a unilateral decision to cheat, and then followed it up by making a unilateral judgement about what the faithful spouse should or should not know. The deliberate concealment of facts that could affect the future of the relationship is a clear manipulation that trumpets further disrespect for the betrayed partner.
The faithful partner has been judged by the cheater to be lacking in the strength, fortitude, and resilience needed to handle the truth.
Talk about adding insult to injury, because frankly that self-absorbed, self-serving, ‘I know what’s best for you’ patronizing bunkum, is incredibly insulting.
It conjures up a vision of Jack Nicholson snarling, “You can’t handle the truth!”, and we balk at the implication that someone believes that they, and not us, have the monopoly on knowing what we can or cannot handle. Really? Please. Spare me.
I see no moral distinction between lying about the details of an affair to hornswoggle someone into believing that that the relationship was less than it actually was (or that there was no affair at all), and slipping someone a roofie. In both situations it denies someone the ability to make their own informed choices.
Infidelity diminishes us. It removes our prerogative to be informed of, consent to, or veto, changes in our relationship. It abstracts our part in our partner’s life, and it jettisons our understanding of what our partnership represented.
At least be person enough to allow your partner the freedom and ability to make their own choice based in reality, instead of robbing them of it by your omissions, minimizations, or outright lies.