Believing In The Man Who Has Cheated
Today’s post is for a close friend of mine, a girl who is like a sister to me. We don’t keep in touch as often as we should, which is probably why when she reached out to me about some drama going on in her life and asked me if I could weigh in on it on this blog, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
Of course, people who have read my blog know I never really take requests. I’m also pretty sure anything I write on this blog could have been kept between herself and I via email.
But she’s going through some trust issues, all of which stem from her boyfriend cheating and lying. Details do not need to be divulged for people to understand what she’s going through. If you’ve been cheated on or if you’ve ever admitted to cheating, you know what this is, and you know it’s not easy.
When she explained her situation to me, she laid out everything as though I was her boyfriend. Ironically, even before she went into specifics, I knew what her boyfriend was going through, because I too, have cheated, I too have lied, and I too know what it’s like to stay with a woman once those two things have been revealed.
When I look back at which of my relationships were the most challenging, there is a clear number one: It was the one relationship in which I was caught cheating. Prior to her, any dirt I did with other women never was revealed. But even though I did a good job of keeping everything under wraps, I never really felt good about what I was doing.
Now we can get into the whole question of why I would partake in things that never felt good, but when I say cheating never sat well with me, what I’m trying to say is, the self gratification of being with another woman never sustained itself for an extended period of time. I was, for better or for worse, a man who couldn’t say no to other women, no matter my relationship status, and so any chance I had to go back to a well, I would go. I’d justify it in my own head, in my own world, why it was okay, and once everything was done, I would curse myself out.
This pattern kept on repeating itself, for years. Over and over again, I would say I wouldn’t do it again and over and over again, I would do it again. Until one day, I got caught, and let me say this about getting caught cheating by someone you said you loved: Short of inflicting physical pain, you cannot hurt someone more, and not in your wildest dreams can you imagine the look on the face they’re going to make when they find out the truth. You think you’ve seen sad? You think you’ve seen angry? You think you’ve seen hurt? The way a person looks when they’ve been told their significant other has not been faithful is a look incapable of being wiped from the memory slate, incapable of being imitated without the real thing to go with it.
I say all this to say, if a man knew what it takes to be with a woman after she caught him cheating, he would never cheat in the first place. Most men who cheat and continue to do so are only doing it because they haven’t been caught. For those men who have been caught, men such as myself, trust me, there is nothing more challenging than being with a woman who has caught you doing something you shouldn’t have done.
And I understand, those men did it to themselves. Cry her a river. If we never cheated in the first place, we wouldn’t have to deal with the boat loads of crap that come with the consequences, but here’s the thing: We’re at least willing to deal with the consequences, and at some point, that has to not only be acknowledged, it needs to be appreciated.
The only thing harder and more challenging than never letting outside temptation get the best of us in a relationship is convincing someone we will never let it happen again, that just because it happened once, doesn’t mean it will happen twice. As I always say to people, I’d rather deal with the challenge of never cheating, than deal with the challenge of convincing a woman I will never cheat again.
What women need to understand is if a man who has been caught cheating decides to stay with his woman after (and trust me, he too has a say in whether or not he can stay or go), he’s not signing up for a walk in the park. To think a man is staying with a woman who caught him cheating because he feels he can get away with it or she will tolerate it, is foolish. That’s like a bank robber trying to rob the same bank where he was caught.
Men who have done a woman wrong are not trying to stay with that woman so they can do her wrong again. They’re trying to make it right. And a woman who is willing to give her man a chance to do so, has to at some point acknowledge those efforts.
The truth is, whenever a woman asks me if she should stay with her man after she caught him cheating, I usually tell her she shouldn’t, but it’s not because I don’t believe her man will never cheat again. It’s because I don’t believe she will ever believe her man again.
Anytime a woman tells me she doesn’t think all men cheat, I ask her if she thinks she’s with one of those men. When they tell me yes, they start listing all these signs of proof they don’t have, foolish things like the condom count remains the same. But that ain’t about nothing. What is about something is believing what’s in our hearts. Just like any good man is capable of cheating, any cheating man is capable of being good, so the question can’t just be, is this man who has lied telling the truth? The question also needs to be: Is this woman who was lied to, ever going to believe him again. In my experience, the answer has been a deafening no.