Cheater-speak: “I’m careful not to bad-mouth you.”


Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.

-Genesis 3:1a, NKJV

“I’m careful not to bad-mouth you to your friends and family,” says the cheater.

This is another tactic by the cheater to control the narrative of the marriage and manage their image. They want the faithful spouse to believe they are protecting him or her. Plus, they want the faithful spouse to agree to remain silent about how the cheater is destroying or has already destroyed the marriage.

Why not repay such “good will” by doing the same in turn?

Because it is a nasty ruse.

It is a way to limit the information out there that might reflect poorly on the cheater. In other words, the cheater wants freedom to operate and manipulate without having to deal with the inconvenience of answering to others for their dirty deeds. You see, it is harder to play the victim of the marriage when it is known you are cheating on your spouse.

Early in the marriage dissolution process, I remember my cheater telling me something to the effect that she was being careful to protect my reputation with my friends and family. What she professed was far from the truth and reality, though.

For example, she tried to convince my own mother and my brother’s wife that I was a physical threat to her–i.e. I was a wife-beater type of man–which was and is false. In fact, both my mother and sister-in-law called her out on such accusations/implications.

Do not fall for this ruse.

As people dealing with the trauma of infidelity, we–faithful spouses–need to share our stories with someone. Now, we do not need to share it with everyone (I recommend only sharing with safe and trustworthy people). However, we do need to share it with others. Sharing our story is a necessary step towards grieving and healing.

The temptation with this ruse is to fall for its abuse of our sense of loyalty. We feel disloyal to share with another how our partner has betrayed us. That is what the statement of “protecting” our reputation is intended to do.

It is a subtle guilt trip designed to shut us up.

Ironically, the unfaithful spouse does not seem bothered by the fact that he/she created this situation by actually being disloyal in cheating. Talk about gall!


People knowing the truth is not the problem. Cheating was and is the problem.

If they want a good reputation, they need to act in a way worthy of it. It is that simple. To demand otherwise from the faithful spouse is to demand help in deceiving others into believing the cheater is someone other than who he/she is–i.e. a person with good character. That is not your job.

14 thoughts on “Cheater-speak: “I’m careful not to bad-mouth you.””

  1. Wow, yet another way the cheaters lie. You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories, if people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better!! The manipulation to make them look good never ends. My x has never accepted the fact that i was indeed HIM who blew everything up, resulting in divorce. NOT NORMAL

  2. When I changed the lock on our bedroom, my adulterous ex smashed the door and trashed our bedroom. The photos impressed the judge. I got a restraining order. She was upset because they would know at her school what happened.
    Maybe should have thought of that sooner? Spoiled her victim narative too…

    1. Yeah, mine became all angry that I dare tell her cabal of advisers (who she set up as judges of our marriage) that she was cheating. That was my last ditch effort to save the marriage. Of course, her cheating wasn’t the problem. It was all my issues. Ha.

      Cheaters hate dealing with consequences of their actions.

  3. My adulterous ex-spouse, a pastor, begged me not to file for divorce with ‘adultery’ as the grounds. He begged me to file for ‘irreconcilable differences.’ We only had one irreconcilable difference–her.

    I believed in my heart of hearts that once he saw the divorce decree he was going to come to his senses like the prodigal son in a foreign land and return to his family. I believed we would re-marry and have a ministry to pastors and their wives in our shoes. I believed this was how God would best redeem our story and prayed unceasingly for this outcome. And I believed this right up to the moment when he married that whore. Now he’s a pastor again–with that tramp at his side–living large.

    Moral of the story: If they will cheat on you, lie to you, betray you, throw you away, humiliate you, and rape your soul–any concession you make will only be used to further betray you, humiliate you and rape your soul.

    If an adulterer shows you any compassion or says they’re doing you any favors, take it with a grain of salt because all he/she is doing is setting you up for the next swing of the axe..

    1. Sadly, that is usually how it goes. Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. Character generally does not change overnight. Look at their actions…not their words.

      Colette, I am sorry the church failed you so awfully. That is not how it should be.

      1. DM, I stopped expecting anything but this from him (and her) a long time ago, but I have to be honest and tell you that every time another deacon or deacon’s wife or church member from our former church(es) ‘forgives them’ (aka tolerates an abomination in the eyes of God) in the name of “it’s time we forgive them,” I and my children feel like we never existed.

        When those same people pushed my children to forgive and embrace their ‘stepmother’ (who was their Sunday School teacher), when they call me an unforgiving ***** because I don’t make nice and pretend all is peachy keen, and because I moved the kids to a new town and started a new life, I want to ask them what bible they’re reading.

        There’s been far more pressure on me to embrace this adulterous marriage than there ever was on either of them to stop committing adultery. People pretty much tripped over themselves in their rush to ‘restore’ this charismatic man–these would be the same church members and friends who never once checked on me or my kids and the couple who did then reported back our conversation to the other woman.

        I was in a bible study recently where the topic was ‘integrity.’ Someone in the class stated they thought nowadays church wouldn’t hold members accountable for sin because they are afraid the sinner will get mad and leave the church. I was stunned. It’s more cancerous than that. I believe the church has stopped holding each other accountable because if one points a finger, they’re afraid they themselves will be held accountable for their sins. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what we SHOULD be doing–in love, but holding accountable just the same..

        My ex told someone, “Who better to lead the church than someone who has been forgiven of so much?” Seriously? Forgiven? When did he ever STOP committing adultery. His marriage is legal, but it has never stopped being adultery in the eyes of God. Or am I just being judgmental to think that? Who better to lead the church? Maybe someone who isn’t actively lying, cheating, and stealing.

        So you can see why I regret not filing adultery as the cause of our divorce. Thanks for the truth you put out there several times a week. Don’t ever stop. Maybe people wouldn’t be so chumpy if they hear the cold, hard truth. God redeems all He allows and He continues to redeem it in your blog. Thank you.

        1. I’m sorry that you and your children have had to live through so much sorrow and pain (and betrayal) at the hands of a “pastor” husband. When reading your story, immediately the scripture that sprang to my mind was the little-big book of Jude. Especially this:

          “For certain men have crept in unnoticed… ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness…having given themselves over to sexual immorality… serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

          Hope life is getting better for you and the kids.

        2. I feel your pain…so very hard when Christians fail to do the right thing and cause you and your kids further hurt. I’m so sorry.

        3. Paraphrasing your ex: “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?” Rom. 6:1

  4. Song of Joy and Andrea,

    Thank you for the scripture and the kind words. God has been very gracious and has given us a new life. While I will never again expect the church to have my back, I will never doubt that God will.

    1. My husband is not a minister but is the City Administrator of my hometown a leadership role. He and his mistress live together with our divorce proceedings going on 3+ years. They have been embraced and forgiven in the community. What power the Christian community has that they can supersede God’s word and forgive the Adulterous couple as they continue to commit the sin.
      Like you, I’ve been placed into a category that the “mind and heart readers” call bitter and unforgiving.I’ve moved from my hometown and church. I’m not bitter or unforgiving. But I do choose to keep my affiliation limited. Just as I do not associate with unrepentant murderers or rapist.
      Thank you for the scripture shared in this blog and post. I am a sinner washed in the blood of Jesus. I am concerned about the eternity that my husband is betting on. But not enough to jeopardize my eternal life, I will not buy into the altered word. I identify all my sin and repent.
      I pray for my young adult children and the confusion that Adultery causes . Their “father’s life” appears fun and relatively unchanged except for family members. It difficult to ascertain the “wrong” in seeing his life. That is why though, that I can’t fall into Satan’s trap and allow for lies to go unchallenged.

      God’s strength and courage to my brother’s and sister’s as you continue to do spiritual warfare.

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