I think a logical question to ask a cheater is “What would you do or how would you feel if your spouse did this to you?” The question(s) put the cheater into the shoes of the betrayed spouse and has them imagine what it would feel like if their spouse had betrayed them. It also puts into perspective how the betrayed spouse has been acting.
For a long time, I had to lie when my wife asked me those questions. Make no mistake, I would hate it if my wife did what I did. It would shatter my already fragile self-esteem. I would feel violated and sick at the thought of what she had done. I have no doubt it would hurt more than I can imagine. But that’s only part of the story, and she knew it. I was way too peaceful about the whole conversation.
In addition to asking the above questions, she was also concerned that I wasn’t checking on her to make sure she wasn’t cheating on me. We each had full access to each others’ accounts, but I never checked her. I knew she had no intention of cheating on me, but I guess it’s a logical precaution when the marriage has been broken, she hates my guts, etc. At the very least, she was vulnerable in a way that she hadn’t been before, but I was showing no interest in making sure she wasn’t getting her revenge.
The reason for my odd reaction was that I was convinced she deserved better. I knew she could have better – a better lover, a better friend, a better leader, a better father for our children, etc. If such a man were to come along and sweep her off her feet, I didn’t want to know about it until it was all over. I didn’t want to interfere with her finding a better man. Then I could finally escape, finally kill myself knowing that I wouldn’t be missed. The insurance money would take care of my former wife and kids. In such a death I could put everything right. Things would be as they should have been all along.
I don’t think I ever told her what was going on. Eventually she stopped asking, and for my part the reason was overcome by a change in my own thinking. I stopped wanting her to have a better man and started wanting her for myself.
The reason I’m writing this now is that I’ve come to a new place. I don’t want my wife to cheat on me, not even with a better man. It’s not for me. It’s for her. I don’t want her to ever go through having an affair and the guilt and divided feelings that goes along with it.