There's plenty of news these days about the various revenge Web sites that allow betrayed partners or even spurned affair partners to "out" cheaters.
On the one hand, I absolutely understand the desire for revenge. When one has been betrayed so deeply and, sometimes, so publicly, it's natural to want the whole world to see what a true bastard your husband is...and what a "slut" the OW is.
And I confess I engaged in some colorful name-calling in the days following discovery of my husband's affair with his office assistant.
But it never made me feel better. Not for more than a fleeting second of self-righteous rage.
On the other hand, revenge can be a dangerous game – and one that stands in the way of actually moving forward with your life.
So let's slow this down just a minute and look at what's to be gained by participating in revenge...and what's to be lost.
For starters, check your motives.
•Do you want to save others the pain you've gone through by letting them know ahead of time his true character?
While altruistic, there aren't too many women, in the dizzy days of early love, that are likely to be swayed by the warnings on a Web site...or the ranting of a lover spurned. It's too easy to dismiss it as sour grapes. Unfortunately, while I agree that these guys should come with a warning label, most of us have to learn the hard way about someone's true integrity...or lack of.
•Are you motivated by pure anger and a desire to see your husband/ex revealed as the scoundrel he is? Check these sites out. For the most part, they look put together by 14-year-olds with anger issues. All the "slut" this and "asshole" that starts to just seem ridiculous. Frankly there's no-one on these sites – betrayed or betrayer – that seems remotely appealing. It's all too Jersey Shore for me.
•And finally, how much revenge is enough? The thing with revenge is that it's never as satisfying as you think it will be. You think you'll feel vindicated and your spouse's life will fall apart in the wake of everyone seeing what a true jerk he is. But more often than not, once people tire of your drama they'll move back to reality television. Or worse, people won't see things exactly as you do and, rather than sympathy and commiseration, you'll face disagreement. Maybe, people might think, her anger/vindictiveness drove him to cheat. Unfair perhaps...but quite possible for people to draw that conclusion.
Thing is, while I'm a proponent of talking more about cheating and having greater awareness of just how ubiquitous it is, I don't think revenge sites are the way to do it. Easy for me to say, I know. My anger burned itself out a few years ago...so I can be more clear-headed about this. But, with the gift of hindsight, I'm glad I never did engage in publicly flogging my husband. As tempting as it is, I suspect I might just be the one who got hurt the most.
(What do you think of revenge sites? Did you seek revenge? If so, what did you do? Was it satisfying? Would you suggest to others they seek revenge? Share your stories here...we can all learn from each other.)