Shame strengthens our identity with our most harmful relationships because we believe we have something to hide and it is always what remains hidden that has the strongest hold over our lives. ~Wendy Strgar, Good Clean Love So there's this serial adulterer in the news who has decided it's clever strategy to attack the wife of another serial adulterer for being an "enabler" of her husband's affairs and being "too stupid" to even realize the affairs were going on. I don't know about you but my shame sensor is going off big-time. Because, really, what is this guy saying that we don't say to ourselves? And if I hadn't done a whole lotta work over the past decade to challenge my shame, I just might be swallowing this bullshit whole. Instead I'm able to recognize misogyny with a hefty dose of delusion. In other words...nope. Not buying it. Not anymore. Thing is, too many of us do. We believe that smart women don't get blindsided like we did. We think that women who are able to "please their man" don't get cheated on. We believe that strong women throw him out. That men cheat when they're not getting it at home, that women must know on some level what's happening, that true feminists don't ever disparage the Other Woman, not even in a private e-mail to a dear friend. Shame of those of us who get cheated on. Shame on those of us who didn't know. Shame on those of us who give our marriages another chance. Shame. Shame. Shame. Nope. Not buying it. Not anymore. Shame is toxic. Shame is that sinister whisper at 3 a.m. that we let ourselves get too fat. It's that stomach-clench when we imagine how much sexier she must have been than us. How much more fun. How they must have laughed at our ignorance, our blithe conviction that, no, he wouldn't do that. Shame keeps us small and quiet. It keeps us – and our pain – hidden. It lies. The way out of shame is to tell our stories. Here. In our journals. To our most trusted friends. To ourselves. Tell our stories over and over again. Not the lies about how we should have known. Not the lies about our weight or our age or our depression or our career or...or...or.... That's not why he cheated. He cheated because he was broken somewhere deep inside and he didn't know how to heal himself. He cheated because it's easier to find something new and shiny to distract ourselves than it is to feel old and dull. He cheated because our culture encourages us to discard what isn't working rather than fix it. He cheated for any number of reasons, none of which are that there's something wrong with us. That's shame talking. Pull shame out of the shadows and examine it. It will likely look pretty pathetic in the cold light of day. It will sound like your mother or a teacher or a coach or whomever else in your life convinced you that you weren't enough. It will look like a culture that says beautiful women don't get cheated on. It will echo like a sexist old man who cheats on his wives as he discards each for the next and blames them for his empty soul. Nope. Don't buy it. Not anymore.