“I didn’t tell you, because I thought you’d get angry.”
Let’s start to unpack this “gem” of a cheater-speak:
1. The cheater is aware that what he or she did might be upsetting to the faithful spouse, yet still did it. This is another reason why I am in the camp that cheaters have full knowledge that what they did is wrong. They just have chosen not to listen to that voice telling them to cease such sinful actions.
2. The cheater is attempting to offload their responsibility–again–on the faithful spouse. Instead of taking full responsibility for communicating from their end, the cheater is essentially blaming the faithful spouse for the lack of transparency in the relationship. In other words, they are essentially telling the faithful spouse that it is their own fault that they are in the dark about the cheaters’ actions.
3. The cheater has a messed up understanding of anger. My guess is that a cheater saying such things has collapsed the important distinction between being angry and sinning in anger. They have assumed being angry and sinning in anger are the same thing or that the faithful spouse is incapable of holding that distinction in reality.
Being angry is not a sin. God commands us to be angry, after all (see Ephesians 4:26a).
What about situations where a cheating partner has been threatened in anger before? I would still say this one is upon the cheater. He or she can find a safe place to present the truth to the faithful spouse.
For example, a fearful cheater could have arranged for the pastor to be present for the news sharing. He or she could have made an appointment with a marriage counselor to share the facts. The cheater could make safety plans for after such visits to ensure no abuse follows. All of these and more are adult options that cheaters almost always forgo.
In other words, even legitimate fear of safety is really just an excuse for a cheater to keep the faithful spouse in the dark about the infidelity. They could have done any of the above things both to share the news and remain safe while doing so, but they chose otherwise.
Cheater-Speak: “I didn’t tell you, because I thought you’d get angry.”
DM Translation: I knew what I did was upsetting and wrong, but I was hoping to avoid the consequences of those sinful actions by not telling you. Now, that you have caught me, I am choosing to blame you for why I deceived you and kept this all a secret from you.