Is there anything worse than being cheated on? I don’t know, are Hall & Oates a great, underappreciated musical act? Seeing as how I have seen them (literally) 40 times in concert, Imma have to go with a big YES. To both questions actually.
If you have read this article, or this article, it may surprise you that I think some betrayals are worse than cheating but I do. And while the Hall & Oates reference was an attempt at humor, there is nothing funny about the following betrayals. Every now and again, I find it necessary to start light in areas that otherwise make me question the human condition in the worst ways.
Here are 4 betrayals, in no particular order, that are worse than being cheated on.
1. Physical, Emotional, and Verbal Abuse
A pull of the hair. A raising of the voice. A slow burning, continuously torturous tug at the soul of another person for the sheer purpose of gaining and extending control over them.
Abuse strikes fear in the victim while simultaneously making them feel as though the only option is to stay with the abuser. The alternative can quite honestly be scarier, just as the cowardly abuser intends.
And while being cheated on leaves emotional scars, abuse can leave physical ones. As well, when someone is abused, the emotional scars can make the victim fearful of nearly every person they come across for a very long period of time.
2. Sexual abuse
How does one describe the betrayal they feel when the person they loved has sexually abused them, someone they loved, or even a complete stranger. I was reading another article about the teacher from Tennessee who took a student across state lines. The article went into detail about him admitting to his wife that he had sex with the student several times.
What is worse than being cheated on by your husband? Having your husband sexually abuse a 15-year old girl. The entire country has been justly angry over this situation but the majority of my feelings are directed at his wife. They are feelings of grief for her, for the massive betrayal he thrust upon her.
Had he cheated on her with a grown woman, she would have been justly angry and upset. Sooner or later, however, she would have moved on; her cycle of emotions a by-product of the all too common occurrence of infidelity. The sexual abuse of a minor, however, elicits emotions and reactions that are otherworldly. In addition to internal feelings of anger, shame, pain and betrayal, comes feelings of sorrow towards the victim of the sexual abuse.
This is a far more serious betrayal than being cheated on.
Bruce Springsteen sings the lyrics “Got a wife and kids in Baltimore Jack, I went out for a ride and I never went back” in his upbeat song ‘Hungry Heart’. Of course, there is absolutely nothing upbeat about being abandoned.
When you have made plans with someone, had children with them, and built a life, that means something. They become part of your soul, your livelihoods intertwined. And then they leave. No signal. Perhaps a note or a voice recording that attempts to explain, even justify their actions.
I have pictured two horrible occurrences in my feeble brain.
Occurrence 1: You get home from shopping earlier than expected, only to find your significant other in the shower with someone else.
Occurrence 2: You get home from shopping earlier than expected, only to find your significant others car and personal belongings all gone, and a note on the bed.
With occurrence 1, you know what happened and you have time to process things before you decide what to do and when to do it. With occurrence 2, it’s done and you have very little time to process things, let alone react. As well, the ‘when to do it’ is now, especially if there are kids in the picture and/or they took a lot of money.
Cheating is terrible and, as I’ve exhaustively noted, something I find to be unforgiveable. There are, however, a few things that are grander betrayals.
Now, how about a slight distraction from an otherwise serious article?
4. Stealing Money
Money certainly isn’t everything but it is an important part of life. So what do you do when the person that you loved steals from you? What if you found out that they had been doing it from the beginning? Is this not a betrayal of epic proportions?
I say yes and I think it is worse than cheating. When someone cheats on you, the pain and anger will exist for a while, and understandably so. Eventually, however, you will move on. When someone has stolen from you, moving on will be incredibly difficult because it is not just about recovering your positive emotions and self-esteem. You must also recover financially. Worst of all, while being cheated on makes you trust less, being stolen from by a loved one makes trusting again a lot harder.
Now, we must acknowledge that cheating can very well be a form of emotional and mental abuse. As well, a cheater can also be someone who physically abuses their partner. Eventually, a cheater can turn into someone who abandons their partner. All said, each of these things can be interconnected. But as individual acts, they are different with differing impacts and different coping and healing mechanisms. From this lens, these 4 acts of betrayal are more serious than being cheated on.
Now, I started this article with an attempt at humor with a little nod to Hall & Oates. I’d like to end on a slightly lighter note as well.
The Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Songs of All-Time!
Steal My Girl – One Direction (yeah, I really do like this song)
Rush Rush – Paula Abdul (Paula, Keanu, 1950’s setting video)
You’re In Love – Wilson Phillips (judge as you will)
I Wanna Go Back – Eddie Money (that saxophone is so 80’s and yet so awesome)
It’s All (Coming Back To Me Now) – Celine Dion (no explanation required)