On the successful MTV show Awkward, Jenna and Matty were the perfect couple — until Jenna messed it up by cheating and not taking responsibility for her actions.
The show is so compelling that I watched all three seasons in one week. It helps that I am a serious student of human nature and found the characters similar to what you find in real life — just a little bit more extreme.
But in real life, both genders cheat. So, for the rest of the article you can change "he" or "she" depending on your circumstance.
Here are 5 reasons why cheaters blame you for their infidelity.
1. He's Insecure
Using the Awkward main characters, Jenna is a sophomore in high school and admits she is insecure and longs for a boy by her side. After Matty smiles at her for the first time ever, they copulate in a broom closet. What? One smile and she gives up her virginity in a broom closet? That's right, she did. What's up with that? Jenna is so insecure that she gives up her virginity thinking she can keep Matty interested in her by giving him sex. Sex too soon for a female is a sign of insecurity.
What does insecurity look like for Matty? He has lots of friends and is in the "cool" crowd. He "hides" his relationship with Jenna. He likes Jenna, but not enough to out her in public as his girlfriend. Why does he hide her? He fears his friends' disapproval, since Jenna is not from the same "cool" crowd.
How does your partner show his insecurity?
2. He Has Poor Self-Esteem
Throughout the Awkward series, Jenna constantly doubts herself. She sees herself as less than other people and gets in her own way of what she wants. Rather than being honest she hints or doesn't say anything, hoping that Matty and her friends will read her mind. Mind reading, as far as I know, is not a skill that human beings possess.
Another way poor self esteem plays out is through the character Sadie, who is a "mean girl". She enjoys picking on other people. She pokes fun at people and calls them out on how she sees their behavior. No one likes her. She is trying to knock them down a peg or two so she can feel superior to them. She sees herself as being better than other people. In general, many men use this better than coping to protect themselves from their own painful poor self-esteem. The rationale is "If I can make you feel worse than me then I must not be so bad after all." Now, I certainly don't believe people consciously think that statement. However, when I counsel people, some variation of that statement eventually comes out.
Feeling less than or better than other people are both the same problem — poor self esteem. It plays out differently but it's the same problem. Some place in the middle is where healthy esteem lies.
3. He's Self-Centered
Most of the characters on Awkward are self-centered and selfish. But that's normal for teens. Not so normal for adult men and women. As we grow out of our teen years we are supposed to grow up emotionally, too. Some people stay in their teens emotionally even though they are chronologically 45 years old. This poses a problem, especially if he's married and his wife is chronologically and emotionally 45 years old. If he's 15 emotionally, Facebook friends his high school sweetheart and then spends all his spare time texting and chatting with her, guess what? He's cheating. He's doing what he wants, which is self-centered. He's disregarding how his behavior would affect you, his wife. Him trying to keep it a secret is further evidence that he knows the behavior would hurt you. Why else would he try to keep it a secret?
4. He's Avoiding Responsibility For His Behavior
When Jenna cheats with Collin she does so intentionally in an act of self-centered passion. Not thinking of anyone else but herself. When she defends her decision to break up with Matty after she cheated, her friends share their concern. Jenna defiantly rejects each of her friends and blows their concerns and friendship off — thus isolating herself from the very people who have loved and supported her for years. Jenna blamed her friends for not being supportive of her choice to date Collin.
Jenna was not being responsible in many ways:
1. She couldn't deal with the fact she cheated on Matty so she broke up with him rather than work it out.
2. She had conflict with her friends and ditched them rather than work it out. Do you see a pattern evolve here? Jenna ran away from anything that was hard to deal with emotionally. Any cheater will try to run away and avoid responsibility for their own actions and how they might hurt someone else — namely YOU.
5. He Doesn't Know What It Means To Be A Man Because He Lacks Role Models
Jenna definitely has some things lacking in the mom department. Lacey, her mom, strives to be her best friend and finds it hard to set boundaries of any kind for Jenna. Lacey still acts as if she were still in high school. She means well, but totally buggers up when it comes to connecting with Jenna. No wonder Jenna is so insecure and has low self-esteem, she's just like her mom.
Matty, on the other hand, comes from a home that has secrets you're not supposed to tell. His older brother went to rehab. And he is supposed to cover that up so the family looks presentable. His mom and dad are straight-laced and strict. You do things a certain way or not at all at his house.
Neither of these kids has a healthy role model to know how to have a healthy relationship with appropriate boundaries, nurture and support. They have to figure it out the hard way by trial and error over time. A lot of damage can happen when using the trial-and-error method and most relationships won't survive. The pain inflicted during the inevitable mistakes is too severe.
In relationships when one person blames the other an imbalance occurs, and pain is inflicted. Blaming you for his cheating is not okay. He is the one who cheated. He is responsible for that action. Whatever you did or didn't do before he cheated is not an excuse to cheat.
After learning of his indiscretions, you must be feeling like you don't really know who he is. You can learn that when he's blaming you; he's actually trying to divert attention away from himself and his bad behavior. You don't want to show your kids that women are to be manipulated and blamed for a man's bad behavior. I know you've tried everything you know to make it better. If you do nothing what will happen?
What could happen if you took a little step? It's free, the only cost is your time. Take a step forward today and grab a seat at my webinar. You will walk away with a 8 week plan and a new tool to use any time you want.
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