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“....but I won't diminish myself for having been unfaithful.“

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Justsomelady posted 3/8/2020 20:51 PM

A bit of a rant

Subtitle of an article in ELLE magazine by Rachel Vorona Cote. It is such bull. Just looking for intelligent thoughts on it if others have read it and feel similarly. The title is “I refuse to punish myself for cheating”.

Maybe I’ll have intelligent thoughts later but I don’t at the moment...floating it out there for others.

It’s just so cliched for a Wayward. She even did it while in graduate school studying literature so it makes it even more cliched and painful as she tries to get deep and philosophical about it all. If I didn’t have a nickel for every lit prof with a wandering eye.. 🤦‍♀️

Here’s an example:

“ Infidelity is no accident. It is a choice, and rarely a healthy one. However, it need not follow that sexual deception yields romantic and emotional Armageddon. We need not cleave to a narrative that pathologizes women who have had affairs as hypersexual, prone to hysteric fits of lusts. When the institutional strictures of heterosexual matrimony, rather than the empathy due to our human fallibility, become the organizing principles by which relationships and women are judged, we limit ourselves to forecasting catastrophe and meting out punishment. We have not yet learned how to respect monogamy without worshipping it. ”

This pisses me off - and I am a feminist. I feel she is reactive clutching her feminist pearls so loudly and strongly - and disingenuously- so that she can distract from he fucked up decisions and consequences. Rather than learn from her misdeeds and let the discomfort teach her something about herself , she just lashes out at the patriarchy in a way that makes me just roll my eyes so hard.

ALSO - I don’t see a modern narrative that pathologists adulterous women. I feel like we kind of celebrate them nowadays for their “ journey”.

Oh and more Bull here:

I would never diminish the toll infidelity can take, but I also refuse to diminish myself for having been, as it were, unfaithful. No woman’s character begins and ends with a solitary oath, and her self-possession cannot be so swiftly denied. Our fingers were not crafted so that they could be cinched by wedding band; the union between body and the marriage industrial complex is one ushered by capitalism, not destiny.

She has a book, title if it sounds interesting but I don’t want to read it now that I’ve read her article. Lady, it’s not about the oath and the institution- it is about YOUR issue with honesty and being true to a PERSON you made an important promise to, someone who made himself vulnerable to you and entrusted his heart to you. Ugh. I have no doubt we have inherited a million ongoing issues from past more restrictive times in society-but to take this lens to view her own misdeeds a little better is just some sort of half assed attempt to self soothe and sound smart at a book reading event - right?

Also - she calls for more empathy rather than judgment...but she speaks so disdainfully about her ex BS. Where is her empathy for him? She only pays quick lip service to her dishonesty. It appears she divorced the poor guy and remarried, is still married to her AP. I hope she receives the same kindness and empathy she gave out.

Anyone have smarter thoughts?

[This message edited by Justsomelady at 9:38 PM, March 8th (Sunday)]

ibonnie posted 3/8/2020 23:51 PM

We have not yet learned how to respect monogamy without worshipping it.

You aren't respecting monogamy if you're cheating. The other option is having an honest conversation with your SO about wanting an open relationship/ethical non-monogamy. Turning your SO into a BO is the epitomy of having no respect for them, their health, their intelligence, their sanity, their autonomy, and their love and respect for you and your shared relationship.

Dragonfly123 posted 3/9/2020 01:35 AM

Being what I describe as a ‘word intellectual’ (and being able to produce what looks well thought out but is in fact world salad), doesn’t neccesarily go hand in hand with having higher emotional intelligence. It’s one of the greatest fallacies I find.

This is a fabulous example.

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 1:50 AM, March 9th (Monday)]

sillyoldsod posted 3/9/2020 04:19 AM

Come on guys give the woman some credit where it's due! At least she was able to stay faithfully married to her (ex?) husband Nick for a couple of months before her awareness was "totally reoriented by piqued desire and curiosity"

It'll be a close run contest for this year's 'Word Salad Of The Year Award' between Cote and Perel that's for sure.

Zugzwang posted 3/9/2020 06:08 AM

Actually this is the thing that pisses me off the most and maybe it is because I am older than some...I know I never thought like this before my affairs

rather than the empathy due to our human fallibility,
"the whole I am only human" excuse. Which I see in many areas...with many of my employees and mostly of the younger generation in order to get away with stuff and not be held accountable to be more. We are all only human, we are supposed to strive to be better. Not give in to "kumbayah" shit and use it as an all inclusive "don't make me feel uncomfortable" stuff. Sorry, my APs were significantly younger and I chose to adopt that whole "I am only human" stuff to excuse being a failure. It didn't fly too long with wife. Cut that shit out or get out was the wake up call for me. My wife rants about it a lot from her experiences as a teacher. Personally it is just going to promote generations of entitlement and rugsweeping to run from difficult emotions instead of owning you chose to be selfish and be less than even human. You fail, you keep trying and strive to be better. You don't fail and say oh well, I am only human and I should just love myself in spite of the backstabbing to get what I want because I shouldn't be made to ever deal with guilt or shame since it would make me feel bad about myself. I just see it as a "millennial mindset" thing.

Zugzwang posted 3/9/2020 06:11 AM

I guess the other thing is that she acts like female cheaters is something new and should feel empowered. They have been around for ever. The Bible speaks of them and many have been romanticized "like Marilyn Monroe" for a long time. Nothing new here.

jb3199 posted 3/9/2020 08:43 AM

Anyone have smarter thoughts?

Not smarter--you have described it very well. VERY wayward in her writing.

I will say that from the couple of quotes you posted that the author seems to have some real resentments to matrimony and monogamy. But, as Zug stated, she's only human.....

fooled13years posted 3/9/2020 08:56 AM

Justsomelady, in the article it is said to state:

I would never diminish the toll infidelity can take, but I also refuse to diminish myself for having been

IMHO, her thought that her infidelity did not diminish her is indeed diminishing the toll infidelity has taken.

WalkingHome posted 3/9/2020 10:45 AM

No stop sign...and I don't want to anger anybody, but the elephant in the feminism room is this-


By leaving the concept of feminism vague and open ended, a LOT of bad behavior can be claimed as feminist and when certain women do bad things...like cheat...they often invoke FEMINISM GIRL POWER HEAR ME ROAR...and so on. Brave/stunning...spin justification/blame men here...


Feminism has become the "your rules don't apply to me PATRIARCHY!!!" of our time. It can be invoked to absolve responsibility for almost anything including various crimes.


Shoot the messenger all you want...but you would be blind not to see it.


Until that gets policed up, this type of thing won't change.

Cheating is cheating. Wrong is wrong. Gender doesn't matter. Equal means equal rules.


kairos posted 3/9/2020 11:33 AM

Someone should invite Rachel Vorona Cote to this forum. No sarcasm intended; she would benefit from relational and realistic feedback not water down by pedantic drivel.

This is a great post and highlights just another avenue for self-deception regarding the simple fact that cheating is wrong and recovery requires the cheater to accept and internalize full responsibility.

In general, and I know I've seen similar commentary, as one who has cheated and seen the misery I caused, I can see why you are ranting here. The various ways that the media and politics portray infidelity is both triggering and disgusting. I can remember a time when I drank that kool-aid as justification for my terrible choices.

I really appreciate posts like these.

Skadu posted 3/9/2020 11:50 AM

Finished reading the article, and then a few others from the Australian version of the site on infidelity. No wonder this is such an uphill battle, there is apparently an army of opinion piece arm chair psychologist out there just barely able contain their desire to dump as much misinformation and me-me-you-do-you self help advise as possible.

The thing is they know their audience, the audience that is desperate to eat up anything that will let them shift blame elsewhere or justify their shitty behavior, past and continuing. the articles and books don't need to be good because the people they're aimed at don't actually want realistic, quality help, just some pats on the back and a reassuring "if they really cared they'd let you shit all over them."

Skadu posted 3/9/2020 11:58 AM

By leaving the concept of feminism vague and open ended

No one left anything anywhere, concepts like feminism or not monolithic, they are not the preview of a few who must guard and define them. It's not every persons obligation to fully define feminism before talking about some injustice they face, personal or otherwise, to do so it just moving the goalposts as much as anyone else complains they do the same in other arenas.

There is no elephant, just one women's shitty take and probably a few who agree and a few who don't, no one is writing any policy or papers on the nonsense you see online.

thatbpguy posted 3/9/2020 12:11 PM

When I read Rachel Vorona Cote's quotes I think of a rationalizing narcissist.

Skadu posted 3/9/2020 12:16 PM

I just see it as a "millennial mindset" thing.

Careful with that attitude Zug, you may write off the wrong people. I'm a elder millennial and among my peers (college educated in STEM and academics), one of our main concerns is cleanup of the messes that happened on the last few generations watch, and how to make sure it doesn't happen again. while we may get judged by the much, much tinier online appearance of the few, we're stuck dealing the real outcomes of your (the royal your I guess) behavior and attitudes towards your own impact on the world's people and environments. It does not endear us to you in the least. the fact that we get judged so harshly on things so incredibly inconsequential to the point where they will stop people from acting in their and their children's own best interest, it's pretty irritating when someone's response to legitimate research is something akin to, "muh pronouns".

The selfishness and desire to pass blame wasn't new, it was learned, it just so happens the tools to do it so loudly and efficiently didn't get invented until recently.

[This message edited by Skadu at 12:33 PM, March 9th (Monday)]

WontBeFooledAgai posted 3/9/2020 13:15 PM

There is so much wrong with this article. However, in my opinion it still was informative. I am afraid many many people out there feel the way Rachel Vorona Cote exhibited in her essay. Anyway, what I would tell her:

1. The big problem with her actions was not stepping against a society that, she feels, wants to shame her for doing what she did, it was instead foisting all this pain upon an innocent party--her husband. He is the one who was destroyed here.

2. If Rachel Vorona Cote truly wanted to avoid submitting to the so-called patriarchy, then she had other options, instead of hurting an innocent other party--i.e., her husband.

If she really feels that marriage and forever after isn't for her, then she could have really rebelled against the patriarchy and not have gotten married in the first place. No one was forcing her to get married, SHE was the one who foisted those expectations on herself. Or, if she really thinks the lack of passion/connection in her marriage was to blame, she could have held out for true love--but even then I suspect she would have still cheated anyways when her feelings fade a bit. (I am thinking of what she said about a woman's right to change her mind.)

ETA: I don't think we should be picking on any one generation here. I think cheating has always been rampant and if it is more rampant nowadays, it isn't because people are "Worse" but instead because it is easier to do so nowadays. The silver lining, I hope, is that as we get older, we do get more mature and understand the effects of our actions on other people.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 1:29 PM, March 9th (Monday)]

Lalagirl posted 3/9/2020 14:22 PM

It'll be a close run contest for this year's 'Word Salad Of The Year Award' between Cote and Perel that's for sure
I know, right?

If she really feels that marriage and forever after isn't for her, then she could have really rebelled against the patriarchy and not have gotten married in the first place.

Exactly. Then she done did it again!

She's just spouting a bunch of bullshit and floralizing the language - still smells like bullshit.

Evertrying posted 3/9/2020 14:35 PM

Yeah, no stop sign so,,,,,,

Yep. I would like to see the article she writes once her "Professor" cheats on her with another woman. Wonder what she will think then?

Karma is a bitch ya know.

Okokok posted 3/9/2020 14:40 PM

I read the whole article. Sheesh, that last paragraph. Admonishing society for judging a woman for "changing her mind" or adjudicating her "happiness." Uggghhhh.

I can't think of a single person, even here on SI, who would fault anyone for changing their mind or seeking happiness elsewhere if they did it in a mindful, compassionate, appropriate way. I.e., ending relationship #1 before beginning relationship #2. Might hurt, of course, but it's a human right to be able to end a relationship that isn't working for you. Duh.

The article misses the point entirely; the major problems with infidelity are the lying, the tricking, the controlling of the other person's reality. That doesn't even seem to register with the author here.

No one is judging her for changing her mind about her husband.

[This message edited by Okokok at 2:42 PM, March 9th (Monday)]

jb3199 posted 3/9/2020 15:23 PM

The article misses the point entirely; the major problems with infidelity are the lying, the tricking, the controlling of the other person's reality. That doesn't even seem to register with the author here.

EXACTLY. I don't even know if she is consciously deflecting, or is blinded by her agenda against her perceived societal views on infidelity. Either way, she missed the fundamental marks by a mile.

Justsomelady posted 3/10/2020 20:12 PM

Wow these are great responses - thanks. I can see I did not communicate well about one detail - she married her AP who was a fellow grad student, but he was not her professor. I just meant that “type” when I said “every little prof with a wandering eye”. I know creative and virtuous people who write but there also is a strong thread of “exuberant defiance” or whatever Perel says, in that sort of crowd.

I wonder about the rest of her book. Interesting she is on the promotion trail and decided to excerpt THAT as an essay.

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