What I Wish I Could Say to My Friend’s Cheating Husband

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I’ve been secretly hoping to run into my friend Layla’s almost-ex-husband. He recently revealed to her that he had cheated on her throughout their 15-year marriage. He didn’t cheat with just one or two women — which, for some wives might be forgivable. He cheated with dozens of women.

Layla’s handling the separation incredibly well. She’s gone through the normal stages of grief and loss. She’s felt rage and anger. She’s been depressed. She’s blamed herself. Now, she’s trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move forward. But, I’m not doing so well. Because when he confessed his indiscretions, Layla’s ex said he didn’t think he had done anything wrong, which makes him either a sociopath or a total as*hole. I’m furious on her behalf.

So I’ve been secretly hoping to run in to Layla’s ex.

I’d start by telling him that his cheating is his fault, not hers. (Yes, he actually had the nerve to blame her.) I’d tell him that he’s a selfish liar.

If he is with his current girlfriend  — his Pilates instructor, no less (oh, the cliche) —  I’d like to politely remind her that her boyfriend was someone else’s husband and father. He wasn’t hers to take. “Karma’s a bitch,” I’d say, knowing full well that they think they’re above karma. But you know what? They’re wrong.

I’d tell him that cheaters don’t just cheat on their spouses, they cheat on their entire family. He may have convinced himself that his relationships were just sexual trysts that had nothing to do with his family, but he’s all wrong. They had everything to do with his family. Because when he made himself available to the countless girlfriends, mistresses, and one-night stands, he could have been home with his children. He could have been helping them with their homework. He could have been reading them bedtime stories. He could have comforted them when they had nightmares. He could have been there, but he wasn’t.

I’d tell him that he has damaged his children. They’re going to spend a lifetime wondering what they could have done differently to make their dad more available to them, not realizing that he is only available to himself. They’re going to ask themselves why they weren’t enough to keep him happy and at home. They’re going to wonder why their dad chose to break up their family, while saying it had nothing to do with the family. And after they’ve picked themselves up and dusted themselves off, they’re still going to be kids stuck with an as*hole for a father.

Lastly, I’d tell Layla’s ex that Layla will be fine. Yes, she’s going to be mentally banged up for a while — but she’s an adult, and a resilient one at that. She’s going to pick herself up, dust herself off, and count her blessings that she only spent 15 years living with his lies, and not one minute more.

I’m waiting to run into him so I can tell him all that. On second thought, maybe I’ll just call.

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