Can Cheaters Love?
I asked my husband last night if he thought it was possible that men who cheat on their wives also love their wives. He quickly said “Yes.” Inside I recoiled at such a statement. I already wrote about how love and attachment are two different things, but I wanted to explore this idea further. How is it he and I have two completely definitions of love?
If a man can love his wife and simultaneously cheat on her, then I need to define love because the kind of love I believe in doesn’t allow real true human intimacy and betrayal at the same time. Impossible.
Scripturally speaking, love is long-suffering. It is gentleness. It is meekness. It is kindness, it is pure knowledge, it is without guile.
I think we would all agree love is gentle, meek and kind, but what about this “pure knowledge” business? What’s that all about? If I love someone what exactly do I have a pure knowledge about?
Pure knowledge of someone is knowing her intimately. You know her deepest joys and her deepest fears. Actually it is even more than just knowing. It is allowing those deepest joys and fears to change you.
Pure knowledge is knowing her and also acting on that knowledge.
Pure knowledge is being known as an individual. It is to be known by ourselves and by others. That is my definition true love. And i feel pretty good about it seeing as it is rooted in scripture. 🙂
In this article about the difference between affection and love, the author says, “I get very jazzed about the fact that we are the final arbiters of the love we receive. If you say you love me and I don’t feel you know me, are interested in me, hold me in mind or engage with me, I get to decide the issue, get to say whether or not your love is valid. There is no other judge or jury. And if you really love me and I’m just not perceiving it for some reason, then you need to communicate your love to me again. If it’s genuine, then I’ll likely feel it.”
Did you catch all those actions words? Know, engage, hold.
When I bristled at my husband’s belief that cheaters can love their wives it is for this reason–the cheater did not have a pure knowledge of his wife. He was not engaged with nor did he act on any knowledge he did have. Quite the opposite. He was engaged with his own selfish interests and her psychological well being was about as far from his mind as the moon.
Love is a discipline that requires learning, development, commitment and sacrifice. When someone has a pure knowledge of me I do not feel alone nor unknown.
When I found out my husband was a cheater I have never felt more alone in my whole life. I felt unloved and unknown and invisible. I realized there was much about him I didn’t know. I tried in vain for years to get this man to open up to me, to let me really know him, but to no avail. He couldn’t. His addiction prevented him from curating real true intimacy.
So can a cheater love? I don’t believe he can. He can financially support, admire, and desire. But no, I don’t believe he can love.