Hey man, that’s my burrito.

To expound on the whole ‘if cheaters tried to use their excuses in other parts of life’ dialogue, let’s focus our discussion today on bodily urges.

The human body comes with all manner of intense compulsions, deliriously driving us to make choices to satisfy them. While animals have little choice but to act upon their impulses, humans are separate and distinct from animals. We have cognitive reasoning. Self-control. Morality. Souls. We are expected to curb our yearnings in virtually every area of life, facing significant personal and legal consequences should we fail to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. Recognize.

We all mess up from time to time and allow our baser compulsions to win out. People with character recognize it, learn from it, and if they or others suffered a negative consequence from it, avoid doing it again in the future at all costs. Yet, cheaters proclaim that their self-control was co-opted by something bigger than them when they cheated, that it was something they can’t be expected to control. Some ethereal morality pause button gets pushed and, magic! Not their fault.

What further confuses their shattered spouses is that the behavior gets thrown under the altruistic banner of ‘love’. Not only are we told that the modern wisdom is to accept that ‘love’ was the cause and therefore the cheating couldn’t be helped, we are often handed the additional injustice of being told we need to accept ‘our fair share of the blame’ when our marriages implode after infidelity.

Why can some of us control ourselves (or repent and learn not to continue mistakes that cause harm), while others feel perfectly justified to give in to their compulsions and never acknowledge or act repentant about the harm they’ve caused? The answer is because they wanted to. It’s not about love, it’s about a character deficit. Their pleasure is king. Sorry you didn’t get the memo. Sucks to be you.

Allow me to demonstrate how cheater-style justifications work with another driving urge: hunger. And, let’s identify the most commonly used cheater justifications as we go. It’s like a super crappy read-along for despondent grown-ups!

Cheater’s Playbook: Deflection and Other Tactics (Chapter 4, Page 12)…

  1. Gaslighting. (denying someone’s reality until they question their own sanity)

  2. It’s not what I did, it’s how you found out about it. (method of discovery is considered morally equivalent to cheating)

  3. It’s not my fault, it’s just biology. (biology supersedes morality or reason)

  4. It’s not my fault, because you caused it. (adultery is justified by listing un-offending spouse’s perceived shortcomings)

  5. It’s not what I did, it’s how you reacted to it. (strong reaction to betrayal is equivalent to cheating)

  6. It’s not my fault, because LOVE. (Love is a get out of jail free card)

  7. Narcissism. (I am superior, special, and entitled to act however I please)

  8. It’s not my fault, monogamy is flawed institution. (agreeing to the terms of monogamy by marrying then later attacking its constraints)

  9.  Rage, Charm, Self Pity. (Chump Lady’s three channels of mind-effery)

  10. DARVO – (Devalue, Attack, Reverse-Victim-Order, a common cheater deflection tactic)

  11. False equivalencies. (a logical fallacy where a person claims two arguments are morally equivalent when they are not)

  12. Moral disengagement. (cheaters separate moral reactions from adultery while disabling self-condemnation)

burrito after

Hutchins: Ah! What a pretty day for a walk in the park. The sun is so bright, the air is so fresh! And…what…what is that intoxicating smell? Is that…carne asada? Mmmmmmm. (spots man in the park eating something large and rolled in foil, walks over and takes it directly out of his hand)

Man in Park: Uh…hey man, that’s my burrito.

Hutchins: What burrito? I didn’t take your burrito, Bro. Are you feeling ok? Do you need to see a doctor? (1. Gaslighting)

Man in Park: Um, I can see it right there in your hand.

Hutchins: Ok, so I took it. But if you hadn’t been all up in my business watching my every move, this would have been much easier on everyone. Why are you making a federal case out of this, Boss? What’s the matter with you? (2. It’s not what I did, it’s how you found out about it)

Man in Park: Am I on Punk’d? Where’s the camera? Did Julio put you up to this?

Hutchins: Look, Champ. I WANT it. I have to have it. I’m starving! (3. It’s not my fault, it’s just biology)

Man in Park: Hey man, I don’t know if you know this or not, but calling another man you don’t know ‘Bro, Boss, Champ’…it’s disrespectful. So now you’ve taken my food and you’re being condescending. I’m warning you now, this isn’t going to end well for you.

Hutchins: Well, you knew that smell would travel through the park and that this could happen. You shouldn’t have been holding it out in the breeze like that. You brought this on yourself, Pal. (4. It’s not my fault, because you caused it)

Man in Park: This isn’t my fault, you lunatic! What is the matter with you? Did you forget your medication today or something?

Hutchins: Well it’s evident by your violent and unprovoked outburst that you’re not someone with who can be reasonable. I’ll be on my way, Bud. With my burrito, of course. (5. It’s not what I did, it’s how you reacted to it.)

Man in Park: Violent? I didn’t even touch you. And that is NOT YOURS, so give it back. You can’t just walk around doing whatever you want, there are rules in life!

Hutchins: You’re so archaic. Don’t you know the heart wants what the heart wants? I mean…the steak! The cilantro! Oh, and that pico with the crunchy little onions? It’s not like we planned this, Kid. We just…belong together. (6. It’s not my fault, because LOVE)

Man in Park: You need help, man. Like, professional help. I don’t really care about your…feelings…for the burrito. Or anything else for that matter.

Hutchins: You’re irrelevant in this. It has nothing to even do with you, this is about me and the warm tortilla. Bow out gracefully before you make even more of a scene. The burrito is with me, Big Guy. (7. Narcissism)

Man in Park: Big Guy?! You’re in perilous territory now, man.

Hutchins: Well, what was I supposed to do, Friend? I’m a man, I have needs! I can’t just be expected to eat a turkey sandwich every day for the rest of my life, it’s just not realistic. I need variety! (8. It’s not my fault, monogamy is flawed institution.)

Man in Park: Your lunch menu is not my problem, man. I’m giving you 5 seconds to hand it over or I’m calling the police.

Hutchins: Don’t you think we could just talk this over like men? You seem like a reasonable guy. Listen, can I buy you an ice cream for your trouble, Partner? No? Well how about a kick in the teeth instead?! Why is this happening to me? I can’t seem to ever get a break. (9. Charm, Rage, Self Pity)

Man in Park: Ok, this is just getting weird. I just want my burrito back. Now.

Hutchins: Me me me, my my my. You’re so…selfish. You’re ridiculous. You’re lucky that’s all I’m taking! I could END you, Sport! If it were up to, you’d have me starve. I just wanted lunch, why are you doing this to me?! (10. DARVO)

Man in Park:  I’m sorry, but what in the hell are you even talking about? YOU came up to ME, took my lunch, and –

Hutchins: (interrupting) Ok, look. I will agree to my part of the blame here if you accept that there were mistakes made on both sides, okay? I took your burrito, you behaved in a violent and unstable manner and raised your voice at me. Let’s just call this a draw, Tiger. (11. False equivalency)

Man in Park: Aaaaaaand we’re done here. I’m getting a cop.

Hutchins: You and your histrionics! You’re being ridiculous. Am I supposed to feel like I’ve committed some criminal offense here, Boss? Love is not a crime you know. (12. moral disengagement)

Man in Park: Last I checked, stealing IS a crime. But you know what? Never mind. I’m not gonna waste my time calling the police on you. I’m just gonna let Brutus deal with you.

Hutchins: Oh and who’s that, huh? One of your thug friends? Well I’ll have you know that I am trained in 3 kinds of Brazilian Jiu-Jit –

Man in Park: (interrupting, whistling loudly) Yo, Brutus! Dinner time, buddy. Come and get it!

Hutchins: Oh yah? Let your friend try and take this burrito from me. He’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead – (is suddenly tackled by a large rottweiler, begins screaming like a little girl)

Man in Park: (smiling) Bon appetit…Chief.

Thanks for being a part of my weird inner monologue, Dear Readers! See you next week as Hutchins attempts his delightful antics on a boss in the workplace. Have a good week…Champ.

Not guilty by reason of awesomeness.

Can any among you imagine living in a world where the asinine justifications used by adulterers were similarly used to defend other high crimes and misdemeanors? Let’s take a look-see at at how these jokers would fare using their buffet of excuses in a criminal courtroom.

Judge: The 39th Superior Criminal Court is now in session. First case on the docket: Mr. Hutchins, you stand accused of the crime of auto theft. How do you plead, sir?

Hutchins: You had NO RIGHT to go through that traffic cam footage. You’re…untrustworthy.

Judge: Pardon me? Sir, I would advise that we reschedule this hearing so that you can show up with competent counsel…

Hutchins: Well, if you hadn’t acted like what I did was some crime, we could be discussing this in a civil manner. Why is it that you think you’re allowed to play judge and jury to the private goings-on in my life? You sit in your self-righteous tower!

Judge: I’m not playing judge, I am a judge. And this? This is a criminal court where you stand accused of –

Hutchins: (interrupting) People like you with small minds just want me to live in captivity. I have evolved beyond the labels you’re trying to oppress me with.

Judge: The concept of breaking the law has not evolved beyond my comprehension, sir. So let’s get back to addressing that, because that is why we are all here today.

Hutchins: Why is this all about some supposedly victimized car owner, huh? People have been taking other people’s cars since cars were invented. ‘So if we are to shed new light on one of our oldest behaviors, we need to examine it from all sides.’ (Perel, E. 2017)

Judge: This court only cares about one side, sir. The victim’s side. In this court, we don’t blame the victim. It appears from your responses that you lack anything remotely resembling empathy.

Hutchins: Oooo, what’s empathy? Is that the name of that cool new raw foods restaurant in Hollywood where Jada Pinkett-Smith always hangs out?

Judge: Uh, no. Empathy is the capacity to understand or imagine feeling what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, sir. So, nope. Not a raw foods restaurant.

Hutchins: Oh, I’ve got that! I have empathy for the fact that taking his car may have been ‘painful and destabilizing’ (Perel, E. 2017), but…once the owner accepts their part of the blame, it may also be ‘liberating and empowering.’ (Perel, E. 2017)

Judge: You believe the owner who parked their vehicle and locked it in good faith is somehow to blame in this matter?

Hutchins: Well, yes. Everyone knows two people are responsible when an auto has been taken. Schmoopy told me he doesn’t drive her nearly as often as she’d like.

Judge: The car can’t talk, sir.

Hutchins: I like to think I speak on her behalf. I know what she needs in a way that her owner never will.

Judge: Do you honestly believe the owner of the car felt ‘liberated’ or ’empowered’ when they walked outside and found their vehicle missing? And…wait a minute. Who exactly is Schmoopy?

Hutchins: The Jaguar I took. I named her after my childhood cat Schmoopy. Get it? Jaguar? Cat? Anyway, it’s a funny story. Schmoopy wanted to go down the coast for some sashimi and oyster pepper shooters, but there’s this great Jewish barbecue pork gastro-pub in Beverly Hills I wanted to try. True story, it was founded by the lead singer of that band Bubba Made a Kishka –

Judge: (interrupting) I have no interest in hearing about your late-night tryst with …’Schmoopy’. Bailiff, would you please come over here slap me as hard as you can across the face? I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and talking pocket watches are going to start tap-dancing soon.

Hutchins: I’m not crazy, your honor. You’re crazy. What Schmoopy and I shared is beyond your petty comprehension. We threw off the shackles of automotive fidelity in ‘an exuberant act of defiance!’ (Perel, E. 2017)

Judge: (exasperated) I’m not even clear on why it is you stole this car. Records show that you’re a well-off man, Mr. Hutchins.

Hutchins: I just don’t want the traditional obligations of car ownership, but I want to experience other motor vehicles. I’ve had to suffer through the monotony of having the same Porsche for years. But I always wondered ‘What it would be like to be inside a Jag?’ Taking Schmoopy for a ride was simply ‘the revenge of the deserted possibilities.’ (Perel, E. 2017)

Judge: No, it was simply felony theft.

Hutchins: What you lack is sophistication about the modern condition. Don’t you know that it’s 2018, and that people have every right to try to find their bliss? I am an original! I am special! Unique! No one can tell me whether I can or cannot dabble in the ‘otherness’ of another motor vehicle, whether it’s a ride-on lawnmower, a sports car, or even an 80’s style passenger van. Like those ones without any windows and airbrushed paintings of eagles and shit all over ‘em?

Judge: I’m gonna stop you right there. Here’s an easy litmus test about the law that requires no nuance or sophistication, as you put it. First, does it belong to you?

Hutchins: No.

Judge: Second, do you have consent to touch it, take it, or drive it?

Hutchins: No, but…

Judge: (interrupting) And third, do you therefore understand this means you are COMPLICIT TO AN AUTO THEFT, SIR?

Hutchins: Pfft. Look, you are clearly too simple to understand. I would never actually BE with a Jag, like, for the long term. I’m merely ‘leveraging my social power.’ (Perel, E. 2017)

Judge: What in the world does that even mean? That’s word salad. It’s nonsense.

Hutchins: It makes sense to someone enlightened, such as myself.

Judge: Sir, you had better enter your plea in the next 10 seconds or I will have the bailiff remove you from this court with extreme prejudice.

Hutchins: Not guilty by reason of experiential self-love. You can’t punish love, I mean am I right?!

Judge: As much as I’d love to spend the next hour castigating you into a small pile of dust on the courtroom floor, it would only be received by more of this mind-numbing blame-shifting. I’m already on the verge of losing my waffles.

Hutchins: Taking Schmoopy for a ride was nothing short of an ‘expansive experience that involved growth, exploration, and transformation’ (Perel, E. 2017) So I’m not sorry that it happened. And neither should the owner be.

Judge: So happy to hear the victim’s devastation was a personal growth experience for you. Are you actually suggesting that the owner should be…thankful to you for stealing his car?

Hutchins: Well, yes. Real conversations about her unfulfilled desires can happen now! Car theft can teach us a lot about car ownership—what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to.’ (Perel, E. 2017) They’ll be closer after this, you wait and see.

Judge: Alright. We’re done here. I’ve had my fill, sir. I hereby sentence you to 4 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Soon enough, you’ll be making custom license plates for rich car owners just like the one you ripped off. Let the irony of that soak in.

Hutchins: This is ridiculous! I don’t accept it. I hereby decree that I’m not guilty by reason of awesomeness. Now if someone would be so kind as to bring my car around, I’ve got a date with a combine in a field near here.

Judge: Bailiff? Please turn the dial on your pepper spray all the way up to ‘delusional narcissist’ and get this man out of my courtroom.

Bailiff: I thought you’d never ask.


Be sure to tune in next week for the dismantling of another cheater apologist chronicle entitled ‘Hey, that’s my burrito.’ Until then, cheers!



Perel, Ester. 9/11/17. While I will acknowledge Ester Perel’s words, I will NOT be party to linking you to her original works. Instead, I will link you to a blog which quotes her directly while also describing just how much she sucks (sorry, there’s some bad language but it’s a good read). Behold, another great article dismantling the cheater apologist narrative: Retrieved from http://thesubjectsupposedtoknow.us/on-esther-perels-awful-defense-of-adultery/







So I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award…

‘Security!’ the man shouted, tackling me and pinning me against the plushest carpet my face has ever had the pleasure of coming into contact with. Can’t be sure, but I think I may have overplayed my hand tonight.  

How did I get here? Let’s rewind to a bit earlier to see where I may have gone wrong.

7:34 p.m., West Hollywood. I’m standing at the gate separating me from access to Soho House, West Hollywood’s most elite members only private club and restaurant. This is the church of Hollywood royalty, if you will. Famous writers, producers, directors and actors can be found here at all hours lounging on couches and drinking steaming things out of copper mugs. In the tree-lined courtyard filled with thousands of tiny twinkling lights, Grammy award winning musicians are sharing plates of delicious things I can’t pronounce with Shia LeBeouf. You know. No big deal. 

I learned earlier in the day that I’d been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award. So clearly, these are my people.

I signal for a staff member to come over. He wears a permanent look of revulsion, like I’m going to try to sell him a box of Do-si-dos, or detail the perks of membership in my weird cult. Sure, we worship spatulas, sir…but it goes so much deeper than that. 

‘You’re not on the list, as I’ve told you three times already’ he says curtly, no longer trying to hide his irritation. Sensing that any more attempts at the front door are going to be met with lead-pipe brutality, I head for the parking structure. Time for Plan B.

This place is sealed up tight as a drum. So I had no choice but to scale the wall of the parking structure, rappel down 2 floors, gain enough momentum by repeatedly swinging across the 10 foot open expanse of nothingness to my intended target, and shimmy up the fire escape.

It’s what anyone would have done in my shoes.

As I entered through an unlocked window, my face quickly became acquainted with the carpet. Now you’re up to speed.

My mother was kind enough to bail me out, but abruptly left me standing on the side of the road when I would not concede that what I did was ‘childish and insane’. Pffft. Mothers.

So if anyone happens to be in the area and can give me a ride, I’ll be the one on foot walking down West Sunset near the 101 with a foam replica of a Writer’s Guild Award I stole out of a nearby backlot. 

To add insult to injury, a limo pulled up next to me and stopped. Jeff Goldblum leans his head out of the darkened window and says ‘I, uh, saw that whole thing go down back there at Soho, and yah. Listen, kid, it’s a blogging award nomination, not a Pulitzer, ok? Get your head out of your ass.’ And he sped away into the night. 

So while I am humbled and flattered by your nomination, SpaghettiSam (arewestillhavingspaghetti.wordpress.com), perhaps next time it should come with a little better idea of the implied entitlements therein. This is not the glamorous end that was implicit in your nomination.

I may or may not have a felony record now. Just saying a heads up might have been nice.

The rules of this nomination in their entirety are found below. But basically, I am now supposed to tell you 7 random facts about myself and then nominate others whose blogs have rocked my world. I will happily do that and provide my own list of things to beware of. Consider me a walking cautionary tale from which to learn what not to do. Forever.

7 Random Facts About Myself:

  1. I now know that if you intend to rappel down the edge of a parking structure at night, you should keep a change of underwear in your car.
  2. Jeff Goldblum doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
  3. I like to preemptively scare away men I’m not interested in by making them think I’m insane. All I have to do is walk up to them and say in the sultriest voice possible ‘Hi. I’m Genevieve with two k’s.’
  4. I can’t be sure, but I think that if you cut my leg open there’d be, like, food rings of all the garbage I’ve eaten over time. Oooo, look! There’s a Cadbury egg ring!
  5. One time at a Christmas party, my friend and I exchanged gifts and we’d both bought each other ‘Exploding Kittens’. It was like The Gift of the Magi, but with less altruism and more drunk people.
  6. My daughter now warrants an entire folder of ‘ism’s’, because she says some pretty epic things for being 5 years old. Like the time we went to Jimmy John’s and were sharing a turkey and bacon sammy. I leaned over and said ‘You want me to put a chip inside your sandwich?’ to which she replied ‘It’s like you just GET me.’ 
  7. My babies are my life. And coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Bloggers I Nominate:






Rules for the One Lovely Blog Award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in your post.
  2. Include the rules and the blog award image in your post.
  3. Add 7 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate other bloggers to this award (up to 15) and be sure let them know you’ve nominated them.

My Personal Rules/Reminders:

Do not break the law in an attempt to validate your perceived stardom. Or for any other reason. Ever.

I really do appreciate SpaghettiSam’s nomination. Thanks, girl! You clearly had no idea what you were in for when you did.

This post was all in jest. None of it really happened. It is fiction. I say this for that one reader who this fact will be lost on and who will post a flamingly hateful comment. Consider this a preemptive stupidity strike!

Jude Law is breathtaking up close. Had I not been tackled when I was, I could have snagged some clams casino from his plate as a keepsake of my magical night. We would have had shared memories, me and Jude. Remember that time we shared clams casino at Soho? This whole thought train screams ‘restraining order’.

Jeff Goldblum is hot. That is all.


one lovely blog award

Flip the script on your boggart

Are there any among you familiar with a boggart?

A boggart is a shapeshifter that takes the shape of that which is most feared by the person who encounters it. When not in the sight of the person, it lurks in shadow as an amorphous blob. When it appears, however, it is nothing short of your worst nightmare made manifest. 

A boggart can be defeated, but there is a catch. Isn’t there always?

To defeat a boggart, one must simply have the courage to stand and squarely face the object of their torment by using the most counter-intuitive approach imaginable. 

You’ve got to laugh at it. 

You need to flip the script on that malevolent bastard and steal its power. It can’t have power over you if it’s a monkey wearing banana high heels, now can it?

This isn’t about trying to feel superior, nor is this about sparing the boggart’s feelings. And this definitely is not about sitting down, shutting up, and being nice. No. This is about conquering your own personal terrorist. It’s simple, really. You get the monster before it can climb up the edge of your bed and get you. This is about emotional survival.

It doesn’t matter what your boggart takes the shape of. An ex-husband with a kind smile on the surface but lead-pipe cruelty underneath. An ex-wife with a propensity to stray and then blame you for it while trying to take you for the house and the kids and your 401K. Mind-game players. Sociopaths. Fake people. Narcissists. Any bully, any foe, any false friend that lurks in the shadows of your mind and won’t give you a moment’s mental rest can be a boggart.

So, flip the script. Picture them peeing their pants onstage, or farting loudly in a crowded elevator. Laugh at the ridiculousness, if only for a moment. Take your power back. It doesn’t have to be to their face, and probably shouldn’t be. For example, you could write an anonymous mockumentary-style blog that somehow finds the comedy in other’s horrendous behavior and atrocious FaceBook posts. Ahem.

So try it today. Identify your boggart. Then find the most irreverent part of yourself, metaphorically look that boggart squarely in the eye, and proclaim through your cackling laughter ‘Riddikulus! You’re nothing but Snape in a hideous dress. Be gone with you.’




Author Credit: JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Boggart-Banishing_Spell

Rage fuel: it’s your friend.

Greetings, Dear Readers! Why Is Everything Capitalized Right Here? No Idea.

I want to tell you a little story on this fine Wednesday morning that, were it to reach only one reader, would be worth taking the time to tell.

In 6 weeks’ time, I will have my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration. My area of focus is Cybercrimes. I am 42 years old.

It has taken 3 ½ years of late nights at the couch with my laptop as the babies slept. Cram sessions while making waffles and wiping sticky faces. Volunteering at my children’s school after 4 hours of sleep. Going to work, running errands, and driving kids to practice on mental and physical fumes after a night of writing papers, doing endless research for said papers, and eating tostadas at extremely undignified hours.

I will be the first to admit that in the early days after Honey pulled his disappearing act, I was angry. No, that’s not accurate. Angry doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was balls-to-the-wall infuriated. The feeling of anger within the human body is a strange and potentially dangerous thing. It compels you to action, but…what action?

There are choices we can make in anger that either compel us towards a better life, or towards prison. Burning things on someone’s lawn is still against the law, so far as I know. Honey is lucky he fled the scene so quickly. My initial ‘wait, come back!’ posture only took a couple of days to morph into rage. His headlights and windshield were saved a violent end, to be sure. I was out of my mind back then, and not myself. Rage DOES things to an otherwise sane and prudent person. It lies to you, tells you you’re justified in bending his antennae until it snaps the hell OFF. In reality, when the anger fog clears, what are we left with? Regret.

I knew early on that no matter how much I wanted to buy a plane ticket, knock on Honey’s door, and kick him square in his cash and prizes, that this would accomplish nothing in the realm of propelling the babies and I towards a better life. It’s chaff in the wind at best and fodder for arrest at worst. Give me something I can DO with this anger.

In my case, I let it propel me towards taking on the task of getting my education. I was inspired by a dear friend I met in the divorce support group that I now help to teach. She and I had oddly similar situations, and I watched in awe as she enrolled in school while parenting 3 boys alone and working full time. She was nothing short of a badass. Her example helped to dissolve all of my excuses away, and I enrolled.

It has been hard. There have been times I wanted to quit. I cried more than once while alone at 2am eating said tostadas.

But what, then, would all of this excellent rage fuel have been used for?

In addition to being inspired by my friend, I also found an excellent motto early on that solidified my resolve on those nights when I wanted to chuck my laptop out onto the lawn and finally just get some damn sleep.


When the anger fog clears, what is it that you want to be left standing with? Find a way to tap into the sweet nectar that is rage fuel. Identify the direction of your goal. Harness that sucker like a wild bronco and ride that beast into the sunset toward your awesome new life that has nothing to do with the disordered human being in your rear-view mirror.




The kids will understand what happened…in time.

I told Honey no to any revisions to child support when he ‘reached out’ to me last year. You can read about it here. I included HomeWrecker in the email discussion because I wanted it clear to her (without his image management spin) that I had legitimate reasons not to extend any consideration when he’d left his kids high and dry with no support for a year and a half with no explanation.

I had to use the courts to go after him, a process which he made exponentially more lengthy and painful because Honey never showed up to court (by speakerphone) with what they told him to. I included that fact in my email. With regard to coming to court without what was required three times and how that negatively affected me, he responded ‘I can see how it might look that way to you, but that’s not what happened.’ Then later, when HomeWrecker had her tantrum on FB (the one in which she called me a money-grubbing whore), she wrote ‘Her true colors have been shown. All she cares about is money. She’s using her kids like a weapon. It’s ok though. The kids will understand what happened…in time.’

Yes, they will eventually understand. But sadly, it will be the actual version of reality where their thoughtless father opted to move a continent away from them without a thought for how this might make THEM feel. The day this occurs to them, without any help from me, is a day I’m not looking forward to.

And how, may I ask, did you get to the point in your thinking where this is actually reality to you? How did you stuff down the role you and Honey played in getting behind the monetary and visitation 8-ball to this degree? And how did we go from personal responsibility for all of that to blame-shifting 100% of the responsibility 8 states away to my lap? And lastly, to presume all of that is not only true, but that it must be true due to only one reason: my character is garbage despite no demonstration of that theory.

Well, the answer to that is logical fallacies. I’ve learned about how to avoid them as I’ve had to write papers in my college courses these last 3 years. This means I’m getting much better at spotting them. I still make my share of mistakes, but every paper that comes back corrected by one of my professors helps sharpen my skill at spotting these slimy toadstools in what is otherwise a concise paper about criminal behavior, or the criminal justice system in general.

So let’s talk about what a logical fallacy is, what some of the most common logical fallacies are, and see if we can apply them to my situation and cheating in general. For those of you facing something similar with the illogical crazy-making this brings, perhaps it will better equip you when you face this in your own life.

A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning that renders an argument invalid. They are often used by politicians, criminals…and cheaters. If you can spot them as they’re happening, it can do two things for you. First, it can stop you from being fooled or from second-guessing yourself. Second, it can help you use the reverse of the flawed argument to present your position using sound logic instead.

Let’s just start with a couple of the most common fallacies human beings use in their arguments. More will follow on future posts…

Ad Hominem: This occurs when an author attacks his opponent’s character instead of his opponent’s argument.

Example:  You expect the amount of money you were granted by the courts in divorce with no pretense other than to support the family you were left with. You say no to a reduction. Since you will not grant your ex the reduction they have asked you for, you must not want him to be able to afford to see his children and therefore don’t care about the emotional harm that comes to them because they don’t get visited by their father. Ergo, because you won’t accept less money for the care of the children, you must not care about the children.

I therefore am a child/weapon yielding tyrant. And he is entitled, y’all. Because he asked.

Bandwagon: An appeal to the popularity of a behavior (or the fact that numerous people do something you endorse) in an attempt to validate the behavior.

Example: Just read the news or magazines these days. All the authors are saying 1/3 of people cheat, so monogamy isn’t immoral…it just must be a flawed institution!

It couldn’t possibly be because we have a morality problem with one third of our population…

Appeal to Authority: The person making the argument claims their argument must be right because someone famous or important supports it or has done it.

Example: Cheating is normal. Just look at Hugh Grant! If he can cheat on someone like Elizabeth Hurley, it must be because cheating is normal.

Failing to identify that Hugh Grant’s crappy character was the problem is like saying ‘Hey, ladies. See her? See how she is practically perfect by every measurement standard available in the known universe? Yah, even she’s not good enough for these enigmatic men who can’t be satisfied even by the embodiment of our culture’s notion of sexuality. Have fun with those saddlebags.’ #youwillneverbegoodenoughsojustsettleforthecreeps

Negativity Bias – the tendency to pay more attention and give more weight to negative than positive experiences or other kinds of information.

Example: Honey: paying a lot of money in child support makes my life hard. Wife wants to make my life hard. My life is hard because of wife. Wife must be bad, that is the key thing here. Note: on a less ego-maniacal note, paying child support makes your children’s lives BETTER. Oh yah. That.

Composition/Division: The person making the argument depicts one part of something having to be applied to all or other parts of it.

Example: When yet another famous person cheats on their spouse, those in favor of the ‘cheating is biology’ argument selectively ignore the subsequent tear-filled public apologies or acknowledge the harm done to the spouses and children. They carefully pick the part of the behavior that they want to endorse (cheating is normal/biology) and ignore the part that they don’t want to acknowledge (the intense pain, the financial damage, the public humiliation, harm done to the spouses and children, etc.) Sorry, you walking collateral damage victims…didn’t you get the memo? Cheating is biology. Sucks to be you. Shouldn’t have expected otherwise.

In other words, it’s like trying to fit an edge piece into the middle of a puzzle…because it’s a puzzle, BY GOD, and this is a piece of the puzzle so I’m going to jam in in there and make it FIT whether it jives with everything around it or not. Anyone got a hammer?

False Equivalence: This is my favorite logical fallacy. Once you spot these, you will notice them everywhere. In this fallacy, two opposing arguments are made to appear logically equivalent when in fact they are not.

Example: a cheater’s locked phone makes you examine their phone bill. The phone bill reveals that he texted his mistress 120 times a day for 5 months. After you confront him, he seems to suddenly know all about private conversations you’ve had and where you’ve gone each day. You believe he might be tracking your phone, so you put a lock on it. In therapy, when confronted with his lies and adultery, the cheater says that neither of us are perfect because  ‘you have a lock on your phone, too!’ Not. The. Same.

Tune in next time for ‘Cognitive Biases and You!’ There will be cake and punch. But not for me, because life is horrible and I have no friends. (negativity bias at work). See that? See how I did that? Anyway…

See you next week.


Warning: This post may have been unintentionally fraught with the following fallacies:

Confirmation Bias – the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.

Projection Bias – the tendency to unconsciously assume that others share one’s current emotional states, thoughts and values.

Empathy Gap – the tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings, in either oneself or others.

Sigh. Crap.

Crime Theory meets Cheaterspeak.

What is the difference – ethically speaking – between a common criminal and a man (or woman) who cheats on their spouse? I’d argue very little.

Human values are formed by internalizing social norms, which is how we each come to decide what makes us a good – or intrinsically valuable – person. These norms are shared among the people within a society and become the basis for laws and ideals about appropriate human behavior. For example, I think most people who favor fair play and integrity would agree that defrauding widows of their life savings is wrong and never okay. If only there were such a hard and fast rule about marital betrayal and robbing a family of one of its most vital members.

Alas, adultery is casually glossed over as being little more than a nebulous or murky part of the nuances of adult love relationships. It’s not. It should be called out for what it is: a violation of a person’s sacred honor, and an egregious breach of the most personal of human covenants. The harm that it causes is so monumental and far reaching that no single part of the victim’s life remains untouched by it.

In my studies, I’ve learned about a little-known crime theory called ‘Neutralization Theory’ (NT). It aims to identify and define what kind of justifications criminals use to rationalize their bad behavior.

As soon as I read about it, I realized that it also fit the behaviors of cheaters like a glove. So what is the commonality between criminals and adulterers? Rationalization of unethical behavior.

Rationalization of bad behavior is necessary, because without it, offenders can suffer from what’s known as Cognitive Dissonance (CD). CD describes the mental discomfort that takes place when one’s actions don’t meet up with their words or beliefs (unless you’re dealing with an a-typical mind, such as someone with anti-social personality disorder…they could care less).

But, the typical human psyche craves consistency. The mind has a hard time maintaining a belief about being a’good person’ while their actions reflect that of ‘arsonist’. So, criminals ease the discomfort that CD brings using excuses in order to neutralize that dissonance.

This is where Neutralization Theory comes in. It lists the most common rationalizations that criminals use in order to excuse or minimize what they’ve done, and goes on to describe what can happen if these justifications are used in the long-term.

So here they are, in all of their splendor. Follow along as we seamlessly segue between ‘criminal’ and ‘cheater’…


Changing the narrative starts with changing one’s vocabulary. Fill that lexicon to the brim with flowery euphemisms, because you’re gonna need ‘em!

Criminal: Yes, it’s true that I broke that guy’s arm because he owed money to my boss. That doesn’t make me a felon! I’m just a mischievous scamp.

Cheater: I won’t argue that I banged my son’s teacher on school grounds. That doesn’t make me a bad guy! I’m just a free spirit following my bliss.

Condemnation of the Condemner:

The offenders maintain that those who condemn their offense are doing so purely out of spite, or are shifting the blame off of themselves unfairly. After all, who do you think you are to play judge and jury? You’re nothing but a hypocrite. Everyone’s got skeletons in their closet. Judging me is soooo dark ages…

Criminal: Yah, so I collected on the debts for my boss. But everybody’s on the take, even the cops and the judges. You’ve probably done the same thing, or worse!

Cheater: Yah, so I lied to my wife and told her I was working when I was actually in a hotel room with a high-priced hooker on our marital dime. Everyone does it, and you have no right to judge me. You’re no saint. For all I know, you’ve done the exact same thing, or worse!

Metaphor of the Ledger:

That terribly bad thing that I did was balanced out by that really good thing that I did. Everyone’s got some plus’s and minus’s in the columns of their ledger, I mean am I right?

Criminal: Yes, I shivved my cell mate, but I gave Crazy Larry all the beans off my lunch tray. It balances out.

Cheater: Sure, I cheated and gave an STD to my wife, but I sponsored that girl scout troop last year so they could all go to camp. It balances out.

Denial of Responsibility:*

The offender will propose that they were victims of circumstance or were forced into situations beyond their control. When arrested emotional development takes place at the age of 13, they’re 13 forever…

Criminal: Downloading a few terabytes of pirated music is a victim-less crime, so why should I have to be carted off to jail over it? It’s not as though anyone got hurt.

Cheater: Get with the times, y’all. Everyone has affairs, and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. Why are you trying to shame me? H Dubs and I didn’t plan on falling in love. I’m not responsible for how that made you feel.

*Abdication of responsibility is especially unattractive in the male species, and justifications of this kind may cause the injured female party vomit violently in response. Just sayin’.

Denial of Victim:

The offender believes that the victim deserved whatever action the offender committed. In other vernacular, she pulled my hair first!

Criminal: It’s true, I firebombed ACME surplus for the insurance money, but they got paid too so they actually came out ahead. They’re a big greedy outfit anyway, and they’ve got it coming to them. Besides, they’re not going to go under because I burned down one measly little warehouse…

Cheater: People get divorced every day. No damage was done to her. What is everyone making such a fuss about? Look, right there. See? She’s upright and breathing in and out. She’s fine. Leave it to her to be dramatic and use phrases like ‘soul rape‘ and ‘PTSD‘. Give me a break.


An offender will deflect blame for their actions by rationalizing that they deserve to ‘reward themselves’. Narcissism is at the heart of entitlement mentality.

Criminal: I work hard, and I needed a reward. No one else is going to look after me, so I’m gonna take the cash from the cash drawer and use it on a much needed vacation for me, myself, and I.

Cheater: I work hard, and I deserve to be happy. So I will sacrifice innocents at the alter of my ‘happiness’, and firmly tuck this mantra into my bonnet: I have the right to be happy, to insist that I be happy, and no amount of pain foisted upon others shall stop me from finding my ‘happy’. Amen.

Appeal to Higher Loyalties:

The offender suggests that his or her offense was for the greater good, with long term consequences that would justify their actions (such as protection of a family member or friend).

Criminal: Yes, your honor, I WAS the robber at the Allentown Bank that day, but I HAD to shove an AK in the teller’s face and make my way to Fiji with $800,000. You see, my dad is sick, and his insurance won’t cover a life-saving operation. You can’t get mad about that, can you?

Cheater: Don’t you understand? Yes, I lied to you hundreds of times and put you at risk for STD’s and abandoned our kids and spent marital money on another woman, but it wasn’t my fault. You see, I did it for true love. You can’t get mad at true love, can you?

So…what happens when you spend the bulk of your adult life using justifications like this? Read on…

There are so many things that the betrayed suffer through, but none so profound as the anguish that results when coming to grips with the truth that, NO, their spouse is certainly NOT the good man or woman they believed them to be.

Actions, not words, reveal the true character of a person. Risked my health? Lied to me thousands of times? Duped me, abandoned me bodily and financially, and abandoned your kids to fatherlessness? Those are NOT the actions of a ‘good’ human being.

But then, to add insult to injury, it’s as if the cheater hasn’t gotten the memo.

They sleep without struggling at night. They happily engage in the adoration of a new partner. They gaze upon themselves in the mirror with pride. So, how is it that they can know that they’ve done these despicable, egregious things to the most vulnerable around them, all while laboring under the delusion that they’re a real swell guy?

It’s easy to leap to the conclusion that they are a sociopath, but that may not be it at all. As I said before, the psyche craves consistency. Cognitive dissonance is only eased by rationalizations; those rationalizations don’t go so far as to allow the mind to believe two diametrically opposed truths (I’m a dirtbag AND I’m a swell guy).

Here’s the answer: a LIFETIME of excuse-making can result in what’s known as ‘Doublethink’. They’ve used justifications and rationalizations for so long and in so many circumstances that the psyche finally does adjust to believe both realities.

For those of us lying awake at night wondering how it is that he could pilfer our entire 401K, or take out a second mortgage and buy the affair partner a condo, or cease contact with their 7 year old child AND STILL APPEAR HAPPY AND CAREFREE IN DOZENS OF SELFIES ON FACEBOOK, we may now have the answer.

He’s spent the entirety of his life making excuses so that everyone around him would buy into the ‘good guy’ narrative, while simultaneously doing despicable and disgraceful things. After years of conditioning his mind, it’s happened:

He’s finally bought into his own crap. 

So be vigilant, dear friends. Be mindful and alert. Sometimes we lock our door so the bad guys can’t get inside, but all the while we’re sleeping next to one. So be listening, but most importantly, be watching. Behavior – not words, not justifications, not excuses, not rationalizations – will always tell a truth that nothing else will.



This post ran previously in 2016


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techniques_of_neutralization. Later additions and revisions have resulted in as many as 12-15 total neutralizations being associated with NT. The 7 that I’ve detailed above are those that are the most interesting to me personally.


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