Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Revenge Is Rarely Sweet

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 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.)


  1. They say revenge is a dish best eaten cold - but even then, it's not something I have any appetite for.

    One usually lives to regret actions taken in anger. Far better to sit back and let karma have its effect.

    As for revenge sites? One word - undignified.

  2. Never heard of REVENGE sites! The first year after DDay, I could have been the Queen of a revenge site! But, really, when you're hell bent on revenge...who needs a web site? I have always had a wicked, vengeful streak. WH knew that. If you hurt me or one of my peeps, you better be ready to rumble!

    I spent hours thinking up ways to make OW's life miserable. Thought about that almost as much as I thought about her doing my WH. Worked myself right into a restraining order.
    Threw down with WH more times than I can remember...but the worst time was when I went into his office yelling, "WHO HERE KNEW WH WAS F***ing OW??" So not attractive.

    My point...even if I was the ultimate evil genious, I could never find a way to hurt them the way they hurt me. Took me over a year to figure that one out.
    My energy is much better spent healing myself, than damaging them.
    Hope & Hugs, Shawn

    1. Shawn,
      On the one hand, I thoroughly admire your chutzpa. I wish I had a bit more of that!
      On the other...a restraining order? I can't imagine an orange jumpsuit and shackles flatters anyone's complexion!
      Glad you abandoned the dark side in favor of healing. While I think a certain amount of plotting is almost inevitable...and at least it keeps your mind nimble rather than numb with're right: We can never truly even the score.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts...and hard-won wisdom.

  3. I explored the idea. My spouse cheated with lots of Asian prostitutes and i wondered if an orgy of Asian gigolos would make me feel better...but in the end. I've kept my dignity. No regrets. :)

    1. I think you made the right choice. :)

  4. Elle, i'm dying to know cause it sounds like not only did u heal from the infidelity but your marriage healed too.

    If you could pare it down to the top 10 concepts, actions, whatever that healed youre marriage. What would they be?

    It's so hard to find a healthy surviving marriage and i'm looking for some help.

    1. Frankly, I'm not sure if my marriage has survived. Legally it has. Emotionally...well, still figuring that one out. Our sex life is non-existent...and though I would say we're friends, it frequently doesn't feel like we're partners. We're working on that part with our marriage counsellor. And perhaps that's part of it -- we only recently (last fall) found a marriage counsellor whom we felt comfortable with and think she's really helping. But it's a long road...and we spent a long time simply getting from one day to the next.
      Nonetheless, I will create a post on how to at least keep your marriage legally intact, which allows you to work on the rest.
      It is tough. Marriage itself is really tough. Factor in infidelity and the post-trauma that creates for the betrayed spouse and it can take years and years to rebuild a healthy relationship...if you even had a healthy one in the first place (which I'm learning I didn't). We may have looked good on the outside, but our marriage was shaky was the start. So now it's really a matter of building a solid foundation. Not easy with all the baggage we need to let go of.
      But here's a start:
      #1: You have to both commit to putting the relationship first. Before your needs, before his serve the needs of the relationship, almost as if it's a child you're both nurturing. Once that is in place, you're far more free to hash stuff out without fear that one of you has one foot out the door.
      #2 through #10 to come...

    2. i see the same things...we didn't have a solid marriage to begin with. And man, I can see how I was trying to manipulate his love into what i thought i needed. we were both so weird.

      thanks for indulging my top ten! lol

  5. #1 is a Biggie! Richard was fixated on #1 for the longest time! If I wanted to talk about the affair, if I was asking questions about what he did, before he would answer he would say, "Do you want to know this because the answer will help our marriage?" I would tell him yes, but most of the time I asked for details just to fuel my anger. Had to top off the tank. Keep my fury running strong because I was not gonna wallow in self-pity! (I tried to be such a toughie-pants! Geez!)
    Even now, he is fine with my blog because he knows it is helping me heal and that is good for our marriage.
    Once I gave up on the revenge thing, I realized his question was crucial. Did I want to save our marriage? Writing my blog & the Healing Heart message boards helped me realize...yep, I really do.

    Elle: I have another question for you. It really is a question that all of us in the club should ask ourselves. Are you happy? And if not, what would make you happy?

    Hope & Hugs, Shawn

    1. Am I happy? Some days, yes; others day, no. But I can't help but wonder whether I'd feel that way no matter what. My mom died. I lost my closest friend. I feel somewhat adrift in my career. It's impossible to separate out how much of my struggle is It's easy some days to think that, if I was with someone else...or on my own, I'd be happier. But that's the kind of thinking that gets people into affairs. I think happiness is a choice. Circumstances can make it easier, I suppose. But a miserable person will find a way to be miserable no matter what. And a happy one will find a way to be happy.
      Not sure if that's an answer or an evasion...


  6. Elle:

    Could not say it summed it all up on just how I feel......and the sad thing is , I do not think I will ever truly know (if I would be better with him or without)....I do believe happiness is a choice...just wish i did not have to keep telling myself that over and over and over again!
    I do believe that I 'know' myself in a way I did not before the affair....I kind-of like who I am (other then the above mentioned struggle) where does that put me? Not sure....other then to say I am putting one foot in front of the other...taking care of me...not looking at others to fulfill me...finding ways to laugh and smile and enjoy.

    ~~ S

  7. My question is how can you ever trust him again, when there were so many lies and deceptions?

    1. The thing could never trust him in the first place. But you did. And that was a choice based on a belief that he wouldn't lie and deceive, despite knowing that all people are capable of that. Now he's shown that your trust in him was misplaced. If he wants to be trusted...and you want to be able to trust him, he needs to show you every single day with every single choice he makes that your trust is well-placed in him. It takes a lot of need to see again and again and again that he is where he says he is, with who he says he's with, doing what he says he's doing. In other words, he needs to be someone who's true to his word, no matter what. No little white lies. No lies by omission.
      In the long run, he'll be a better person for living that way. And you'll have learned a really tough lesson and that is that the only person we can every truly trust is ourselves. We can never ever know that another person would never lie to us or deceive us. We choose to trust that we're safe with that person...but trust is like faith. It relies on a belief in something we can never know for sure.
      For now, ask him if he's willing to do what it takes to earn back your trust (which is so much harder than simply accepting someone's trust in the first place). And ask yourself if you're willing to give him the chance to prove to you that he's a better person now. And then, if the answer to both questions is "yes", give it time and the opportunity to unfold. In the immortal words of another Betrayed Wife, "Trust...but verify." Check his cell phone, if necessary. Look at his computer history. Confirm with friends. Do what you need to do to ensure that he is telling the truth. You won't need to do it forever...but do it for as long as necessary. And he's doing to have to accept that by lying and deceiving you, he lost the right to total privacy. If he can't give that up...then there's your answer.



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