More than a year after the divorce and after I had married Mrs. DM, I was contacted by my ex-wife out of the blue. She was contacting me to ostensibly gain closure and understand why our marriage ended. My ex-wife wanted to meet up to rehash our relationship in person. Her inquest was essentially:
Can we meet up in person to discuss what went wrong in our marriage?
I did not agree to meet (more on that later). But I have subsequently learned this move is not unique to my own experience. I learned this fact of commonality from a post on Chump Lady this past week (link here). Apparently, The Cheater’s Guidebook has a chapter dedicated to this demonic ploy.
Time to dissect this ploy:
1. Beware of the false front!
A false front comes from the Wild West in the history of the United States. Buildings that were only one story high would have fronts that made them look larger than they actually were. These were false fronts. The building was not as advertised.
This is true about a cheating ex seeking to have a sit-down about “what happened.” It may look like reconciliation. Perhaps, they couch it as a healing or growth experience for you both. Maybe they even include a counselor or pastor in this meeting to give it more legitimacy. Perhaps it is presented as “for the kids” sort of scenario. Sounds reasonable, right?
Do not take the bait!
While some parts of this may be legit–i.e. they may cope to some wrongdoing–remember that a trap needs some bait. The false front hid one story of a real building, after all.
This leads us to point two…
2. The request to meet to discuss “what happened” is very revealing.
It reals some very important pieces about the cheater’s position. This is important to note both for faithful spouses and pastors/Christian counselors who may be involved with such cheaters.
A) This reveals the adulterous ex-spouse does not grasp the gravity of what he or she did. By asking this question, they are demonstrating a minimization of what they did. The adulterous ex-spouse is treating her adulterous sins as merely a contributor to the marriage’s end as opposed to the scorch-earth, contemptuous, soul-raping act it was. The fact they committed adultery and/or continued to commit adultery ought to be a sufficient explanation to a contrite adulterous spouse as to why the marriage ended in divorce. That is all the reason God needed to end a marriage in the Old Testament (e.g. Deuteronomy 22:22). Adultery is that serious.
B) This reveals the adulterous ex-spouse is not taking full responsibility for his or her adulterous sins. They are likely about to attempt to convince the faithful spouse of “The Shared Responsibility Lie” trying to offload responsibility for their adulterous sins onto the faithful spouse.
No wise pastor or Christian counselor ought to be party to such wickedness.
Someone who is repentant recognizes a just consequence of committing the heinous sin of adultery may very well be the end of his or her marriage. It is not a great mystery when such a marriage ends following adultery. The only real “mystery” is why the adulterous ex-spouse continues to refuse to take full responsibility for the destruction their sinful choices wrought.
My advice to pastors and faithful spouses who may find themselves confront with this ploy is:
Set your boundaries firmly.
Such a meeting will result in no good as long as one party clearly does not grasp the gravity of his/her sin and is unwilling to take full responsibility for it. To go to such a meeting is to welcome further victimization, and to support such a meeting is to facilitate further emotional brutalization of a faithful spouse. It also is poor soul care for the adulterous ex-spouse who needs to grow in owning his or her sin and recognizing the consequences that flow from them.