Friday, July 30, 2021

I CRITICIZE THE LEFT BECAUSE MY CRITICISM OF THE RIGHT IS IMPLICIT.

It goes without saying.  There's nothing I can say about the MAGA cult or Christofascists that hasn't already been said a thousand times.  I agree with all of it.  

Now that THAT'S out of the way...

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

FDA's International Kratom Ban a New Low



Since 2016, the FDA has tried and failed in numerous attempts to ban kratom or restrict its use by twisting the DEA's arm, import alerts, salmonella scares & various other avenues to no avail.  Numerous states have even passed their own kratom protection laws to help ensure its quality & purity in that time.  But their latest attempt shows just how desperate they are to do away with this plant.  They're now going global, contacting the World Health Organization in an attempt to achieve an international ban.  You read that right.  The American Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for monitoring the purity of food and pharmaceutical drugs in the United States, is trying to get kratom--a plant that grows wild in Indonesia and is sold as an herbal supplement in the U.S.--banned worldwide.  

If this happens, it sets a dangerous precedent for other supplements including vitamins, minerals, herbs & other items covered by the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) as well as potentially other substances.  Worse yet, this impending kratom ban is part of a larger blanket ban on a number of substances including phenibut & brorphine as well as a synthetic cannabinoid.  This should never happen in the first place, as each substance must be individually assessed for its unique benefits & risks before being scheduled.  Once a drug is placed in Schedule I it's incredibly hard to conduct scientific research on its medicinal benefits, which the vast majority of substances currently in Schedule I have despite the specific qualifier that they don't.  (See:  cannabis, MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, etc.)  Even heroin is used medicinally in other countries as an end of life pain reliever but due to its "forbidden" status in the U.S. it cannot be easily studied by scientists.  Cannabis research is lagging by about 80 years for this very reason.

There is no reason kratom should suffer the same fate, nor should kratom users.  We should all be demanding to know what the FDA's real motivation is for going to such extreme lengths to ban this plant that's helped so many everyday people.  Their attempt to involve the WHO & achieve an international ban is unprecedented for an herbal supplement and must be called out as the authoritarian infringement on our liberties that it is.  


Escalating Corruption

And it's not just kratom that they're targeting:  phenibut (also included in the blanket WHO ban) has been used safely by hundreds to wean off alcohol or benzodiazepines or simply to get a good night's sleep.  

And back in March of this year they shoved their nose into another area they're not wanted or needed:  the Benzedrex community.  Benzedrex is a legal over-the-counter inhaler that contains menthol, lavender and propylhexedrine, a decongestant sometimes abused to obtain an uncomfortable stimulant high.  It's been on the market since the 1960s when the original Benzedrine inhaler which contained amphetamine was pulled for being too dangerous/addictive.  In that time, Benzedrex has caused an extremely low number of deaths--most of which were in users who injected the drug.  Most users find it too caustic & repulsive to ingest more than once, yet the FDA found it necessary to "warn" the manufacturer about the problem of abuse which predictably caused a media storm, undoubtedly drawing in new users.  

I had never used kratom until 2016 when they announced their big ban; I know this is true for many other users too.  Kratom's popularity on Reddit & other sites shot up immediately following the ban announcement and many payment processors responded by freezing the accounts of its vendors.  As one of the most powerful regulatory agencies in the world, the FDA has to know that publicly announcing that these obscure drugs exist draws in new (often underage & ignorant) users, leading to increasing death rates.  That in itself is criminal.  


Vintage Benzedrex inhaler

So the big question is, doesn't the FDA have anything better to do?  Why are they acting as the de-facto DEA, going around trying to ban various legal OTC drugs and herbal supplements that aren't killing people (or are killing a literal fraction of those dying from alcohol abuse, COVID, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, lead poisoned baby food, pet food containing pentobarbital, faulty medical devices or other things that are actually in their domain)?  Is Scott Gottlieb still pulling the strings from the shadows, livid about stepping down from his position early and being called out for his shady ties to fentanyl procuring company Cephalon and failing to get kratom banned while in office?  

I see his slimy face speaking about COVID from time to time on the news.  Personal feelings about the man aside, it's a shame he's lost all credibility in matters of public health.  Much like Dr. Fauci, their advice on virology/immunology is not taken at face value because of their Big Pharma ties & history of half-truths.  Now that we desperately need to trust them about this pandemic that's killing millions, many don't.  Guess that's what happens when you put profits before people for so long.  

Sadly, the problem goes deeper than Fauci or Gottlieb.  These government health agencies are awash in ex-pharma CEOs and bigwigs with huge stakes in the pharma industry.  It's a revolving door.  Just look what's happening with the Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm.  There's no hard data supporting its efficacy, yet it was given accelerated FDA approval for broad use & will likely strain Medicare to the breaking point.  The whole debacle is shaking up the FDA with claims of recklessness & conflicts of interest by consumer groups.  What a mess.  

But these are the people claiming to know what's best for kratom users & other consenting adults.

😒





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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Unvaccinated Loved Ones & The Comeback of COVID



Mentally preparing to bury your loved ones is no easy task.  

After an absolutely atrocious 2020, America breathed a collective sigh of relief during the Summer of 2021 as COVID cases took a steep nosedive.  For a few sweet weeks there were NO new cases per day in my state, prompting me to go maskless in public a couple times after receiving my vaccine.  June was a dream; the 4th of July was a blast.  People were getting vaccinated by the hundreds even in rural backwoods pockets of the country including my most conspiracy-prone family members.  Well, most of them.  All but the ones I live with that is.  I knew the good times wouldn't last but I had no idea how fast cases would come rocketing back up.

Now we're heading into Fall 2021 and my closest loved ones are still not vaccinated.  That familiar feeling of dread is creeping back in as I watch the situation worsen around the country.  Case numbers are suddenly back at their October 2020 levels and it's only mid-July.  This does not bode well for the rest of the year, especially considering school hasn't even started yet.  (If you know anything about respiratory viruses, you'll know they spread fastest in the cold months when everyone is indoors under the recirculated, dry air of heaters).  The Delta variant is a beast, more contagious than the previous strains and apparently more harmful to younger people.  Add the fact that people are absolutely OVER mask-wearing & you have a recipe for disaster.  The CDC & WHO are giving conflicting mask advice, with the former telling us back in May that vaccinated people could remove masks indoors while the latter says 'not so fast' with the Delta variant about.  Fauci's email leak seems to have fueled the right's pre-existing hatred and distrust of him (to put it mildly) while social media sites like Facebook & Youtube continue allowing users to spread disinformation like wildfire.  You can see where this is going.  Nowhere good.  

The facts are plain:  99.5% of the people currently dying of COVID are unvaccinated.  Vaccines work to prevent severe illness and death.  This is wonderful news & we should be so grateful to have a choice between life & death (those of us who are eligible to receive the vaccine, of course).  This choice requires no major sacrifice on your part; you aren't being drafted into a war or being asked to forego basic necessities or comforts.  Previous generations lined up without question for their polio, smallpox & other vaccines even when vaccination itself was a new technology.  Now self-styled internet researchers claim this one particular shot is "too new & untested" to be trusted even as people around them die of a novel virus that's more contagious than smallpox.  It's clear that the American public education system failed to teach risk-benefit assessment.  All medical interventions carry inherent risk, but holy shit you guys.  Compared to the risk of long COVID or dying alone on a ventilator?  It's not even a close call.


Delta variant = more contagious than smallpox


Who's On First?

So who the FUCK is running this shitshow behind the scenes?  Is anyone even in charge of public relations at the White House, or is it all fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants chaos?  It's clear that, despite his expertise & years of experience in immunology, Fauci is too polarizing at this point to be taken seriously.  One need only look at any comment section under a video of the man to see that.  The number of laugh reacts & snide remarks rival that of any Trump video.  People aren't taking his advice about the virus seriously and that's hurting all of us.  He needs to step aside & let others do the talking.  I'm sure there are plenty of other experts who'd be willing to step into the role.  Quite honestly he should be investigated for his role in promoting gain-of-function studies after this is all over; for now we must focus on the crisis around us.

As for what's going on at the CDC, something is severely amiss.  Their focus on reopening the economy & putting capitalism above human life has been apparent for a while but especially since Trump took office.  Maybe longer.  There was pushback against their "ditch the mask indoors" guideline when they said it but now that the WHO is saying the exact opposite, it's even clearer they're in the wrong.  And maybe worst of all, President Biden of the "I follow the science" fame, still hasn't issued a nationwide mask mandate or given any indication that he's prepared to put the nation on lockdown as needed if things get as bad as they were last year.  His presidency is basically Trump 2.0 without the mass protests, which is exactly what leftists were afraid of.  Liberal democrats are asleep at the wheel, still living out their "lock him up" delusion about Trump who has been out of office for half a year now.  


The CDC has been off-base since Day 1 of the pandemic.

Never mind the fact that the only reason Biden won was because Trump killed off his loyal voter base in the 65+ white demographic by holding maskless rallies in the freezing cold & discouraging COVID safety measures.  500,000 dead in a year:  you better believe a good chunk of them were Trump voters.  But liberals are acting like they've achieved something monumental with their Biden win.  Look around!  No $15 minimum wage, no universal healthcare, no UBI, no "Day 1" promised $2,000 stimulus check, no student debt forgiveness, no public option.  The border situation is worse than when Trump was in office--more kids in cages now & a promise by Biden to continue construction of the border wall.  VP Harris, a child of immigrants herself, told immigrants to "turn around" and not attempt to enter the country which sounds like something Orangeman himself would say.  Despite his inability to scrounge together the coins to feed homeless, starving Americans, Biden bombed Syria within his first 100 days in office--a feat that costs untold billions.  

These are the cold hard facts.  How you feel about them is up to you.  But in my opinion it doesn't bode well for our chances of handling COVID's comeback in 2021 and beyond.  The vaccine is a wonderful tool but it's not a panacea, particularly if only half or less of the population is vaccinated.  And if the federal government is unwilling to temporarily shut businesses & schools as needed to protect our most vulnerable--children who literally can't be vaccinated & are now vulnerable to severe illness from the Delta variant--how exactly is that better than Trump?  Once again, we could learn so much from countries like New Zealand & Finland (which happen to be lead by women)--they've handled this COVID mess so much better than our stubborn old greedy leaders.  


Have you had any success convincing hesitant loved ones to get the vaccine?  Please share your tips & tricks in the comments below.  I'm at my wits end with these stupid people whom I love so very much.  😇

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Getting a Stimulant Prescription Pt. IV: Problems With Vyvanse

This is my stomach on Vyvanse. 


So I was planning on this being a 3-part shining success story but as my shitty luck would have it, the medication I waited so long and worked so hard to get is not agreeing with my body.  Don't get me wrong: it works wonders for my attention span, energy/motivation levels, depression, focus & everything else in the mental department.  But my stomach is another story.  

My poor, wretched stomach.  

Background:  I have GERD and gastritis that have been with me for about 7 years now and are (mostly) controlled with medications and dietary restrictions, so when it started to feel like I was getting an ulcer after starting Vyvanse, I was confused & bummed beyond belief.  And a little in denial.  How was this possible?  I've taken Benzedrex--which contains menthol, one of my biggest reflux triggers--for 9 years without issue along with every other supplement & pill under the sun.  Not to mention all those other stimulants I ate with abandon (minus the MDPV which had the same ulcer-inducing effect) over the years.  So what's in this measly 10mg of Vyvanse that would be eating a hole in my stomach so rapidly?  

I experimented with different doses at different times of the day, with & without food & even double encapsulated to no avail.  Every time I took Vyvanse my upper stomach became a warzone of gnawing pain during the daytime & retching myself awake at night.  Literally.  If you have never woken yourself up by dry heaving due to stomach acid in your throat, I don't recommend it.  The day I switched back to Benzedrex the pain subsided.  It's definitely the Vyvanse.  

I can't put into words how heartbreaking this is as I had so much riding on this medication.  Not just my ADD treatment but my sobriety (okay, semi-sobriety) from codeine & Benzedrex & kratom.  It took all my courage to ask the doctor for it in the first place; now I have to tell him it's killing my guts & won't work. My original plan was to ask for a higher dose at my next appointment... now that's off the table.  Will he be willing to prescribe something else?  And even if he does, will Adderall or Dexedrine or even Desoxyn have the same effect on my poor stomach?  The last time I took those meds, I didn't have these gastric conditions.  I'm trying not to even think about the possibility that my stomach can't tolerate ANY amphetamines.  I guess plugging is still an option but that's pretty, uh, desperate.  Not to mention impractical.  

To put this into perspective, it's equivalent to a lifelong stoner or medical cannabis patient suddenly developing Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome & having to give up the medicine they love.  I can't overstate the importance of this class of medications in my life and how long I've put all my eggs in this basket mentally.  I guess my only option is to try other stims & see if they cause the same symptoms.  If they do, I can restrict their use to part-time while using the Benzedrex the rest of the time as much as I fucking hate it.  Fuck what all of this does to my stomach lining I guess.  

And if you're wondering why I don't just try this or that stomach medication to offset the side effects:  I already take one from every class daily, including the strongest class (Proton Pump Inhibitors).  There's literally nothing more I can do on that front.  I've even looked into surgery to correct the deformity that makes the reflux so bad but it wasn't promising.  So I've got to live with it.  Like Kurt Cobain, I'm a depressed ball of misery with a "burning, nauseous stomach" and only one way out.  But I'm not ready to go that route just yet.  

On a positive note, I used my 15 or so days on Vyvanse to wean off the kratom & cut my codeine use down to just the evenings like I planned.  Super proud of myself for that.  The trick will be maintaining it if I can't find a prescription stimulant that works.  There's nothing wrong with Benzedrex as a stimulant besides being hard to dose accurately & having variable potency from inhaler to inhaler.  Oh, and the little fact that nobody knows how it affects the cardiovascular system and other organs long term.  I was hoping to step over to something safer now that I'm getting older, but I guess if I can even reduce my use of Benzedrex that'll be a small win.  

Send good vibes.  Updates to follow.  Let me know in the comments if you've experienced stomach problems with Vyvanse.  I need to know I'm not crazy here.  


Are American Prisons Torture Chambers?





In 1979, punk rocker Simon "Sid Vicious" Richie was locked up for the alleged murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen.  What happened to him behind bars would alter the course of his life and ultimately shorten it dramatically.  According to friends and family, Sid was raped and brutalized in prison at Rikers Island and feared going back while out on bail.  This led him to relapse on drugs and--according to the documentary below--for his mother to engage in a "mercy killing" by administering a heroin overdose to him before his return to court.  

                                                  Sid Vicious:  The Final 24


Tupac Shakur's stay at Clinton Correctional Facility in New York also changed him for the worse.  While we don't know exactly what happened to him inside, we know it turned him from a socially conscious young man to a raging, gang-affiliated maniac on a suicide mission.  This was apparent in both his music and interviews as well as the fight inside the MGM that ultimately ended his life at 25.  He said on many occasions that he'd "die before going back to jail," which is what ended up happening.  Horrifyingly, there were rumors swirling that he was raped in prison before he even got out.  He addressed these in interviews, denying it happened.     

Then there's the case of Jeffrey Epstein.  We all know how that ended.  More or less.

These three high-profile cases are just a few examples of what happens every day around this country to incarcerated and newly-released convicts.  So what, you ask?  Were these people paragons of morality?  No.  Not by a long shot.  But around 50% of the U.S. prison population is incarcerated for non-violent "crimes" including drug offenses, and many more are wrongly convicted or not-yet convicted/awaiting trial.  Kids like 16-year-old Kalief Browder, who was locked up in Rikers Island for 3 years awaiting trial for a stolen backpack because he refused to plead guilty to a crime he didn't commit.  A "crime" so minor no sane person would consider locking up a child in one of the country's harshest hellholes for it even if he was guilty.  He suffered so much trauma inside that he committed suicide upon release.  

Bottom line:  Rape, assault & the fear of it is causing American convicts to kill themselves.  Turning your head to this fact means you endorse the rape and torture of human beings within our borders.  There is no middle ground here.  

Some would argue that even the most depraved offender does not deserve state-sanctioned torture as that then bloodies the hands of the state and constitutes "cruel and unusual" punishment.  On an emotional, gut level I want bastards like Epstein to suffer, though logically I know that solves nothing and is not possible without subjecting a whole bunch of other people to the same treatment--people who don't deserve it.  And our government is notoriously bad at determining who "deserves" it.  Race & class play a central role in who gets the death penalty, life without parole or other harsh punishments as well as who is wrongly convicted or killed by police before ever reaching the jail.  

If you can watch the following documentary without bawling your eyes out, you might need to read up on the sociopath symptom checklist because you likely belong there:


Fourteen Days in May documentary

 
Torture comes in two main forms:  mental and physical.  American prisons employ a cruel mix of both; the mental consisting of solitary confinement, poor nutrition, deprivation of natural light, lack of access to proper medication for addicts/the mentally ill & sleep deprivation due to constant noise.  On the physical side, violence is a constant threat, particularly in men's prisons.  Rape, physical assault & even murder are ever-present.  Guards do little to nothing about these behaviors and at times encourage or participate in them.  In women's prisons, male guards (and, increasingly, male-bodied trans inmates transferring into women's prisons) inflict sexual abuse on inmates.  Mothers give birth in shackles and are separated from their babies immediately & hygiene products like pads and tampons are considered luxuries.  

Prison cells are tiny, empty, cold & devoid of dignity.  Some facilities are old & full of plumbing problems and other serious health threats like toxic mold.  When contagious illnesses like COVID or flu break out, there's no refuge for inmates who are left to suffer in their cells and sometimes die there without PPE.  Others have died from drug withdrawal (read: preventable dehydration).  In 2015, there was an incident where guards poisoned inmates with rat poison at Rikers Island.  One of said inmates was Ramsay Orta, the man who filmed the murder of Eric Garner by NYPD.  


Rat poison that sickened 22 prisoners at Rikers Island


A few of you will undoubtedly be saying, "So what?  Do the crime, do the time".  That's fine in theory (if you're an empathy-lacking sociopath) but the reality is that the treatment of inmates affects everyone.  Most prisoners will be released someday whether you like it or not.  It's better that they've been working on themselves, getting decent healthcare, human interaction & basic education while inside than spending that time in a dark cell enduring brutality.  Better for all of us.  And this issue is not about the inmates so much as the state.  What gives them the right to torture ANYBODY?  Do you or I have that right?  Why should some people be above the law when it comes to violence, be they cops, judges, prosecutors or anyone else?

Prison sentences aren't supposed to be fun or comfortable, that much is certain.  But that's a world away from literal torture.  The loss of freedom IS the punishment.  The being watched 24/7, unable to save money, make memories with your loved ones or enjoy the simple joys of free movement & association.  Anything more is torture.  When your brain starts to shrink from lack of stimulation, that's torture.  When paranoia & hallucinations set in due to the unchecked brutality of your cellmates, that's torture.  Rape, physical assault, forced labor for pennies a day, cell blocks being run by prison gangs rather than guards & extended solitary confinement are torture.  And any country that allows torture is not fit to call itself a democracy or developed nation.  Especially on the scale of the U.S. which incarcerates more of its population than any country on Earth.  


Abolish Prisons?

Not so fast.  The "abolish prison" community are living in a fantasy land.  To be clear, prisons are necessary to separate violent criminals from the rest of the law-abiding, vulnerable population.  There will always be and have always been people who cannot be rehabilitated--serial killers, rapists, pedophiles and others--who feed on the most vulnerable among us.  The malignant narcissists, psychopaths and sadistic sexual offenders who get off on manipulation and torture (not unlike the kind that goes on in our prisons due to guard negligence) and can't be reformed. When therapy is attempted on them, they merely learn how to manipulate the therapists and use what they've learned to their advantage (see:  Ed Kemper).  Additionally, violent crimes already committed deserve punishment.  Victims of horrific crimes deserve to see their murderers, rapists and abusers behind bars for their own peace of mind.  

But just because you can't envision a more humane & productive prison system doesn't mean we should abandon them altogether.  All we need do is look to countries like Norway that have done just that.  There's no reason we can't employ teachers, social workers, religious leaders & mental health professionals of all stripes to enrich the lives of inmates who are there for life AND the majority who will be released someday.  That's the stated goal of "corrections" anyway, not to merely create an endless self-perpetuating loop of recidivism.  There's no reason our prisons have to be dank hellholes run by incompetent, often obese officers who sleep through their shifts & let the lunatics run the asylum.  Hire intelligent, fit guards who are better trained to use non-lethal weapons; reduce crowding by releasing non-violent criminals, invest in prison infrastructure & employ professionals who are more knowledgeable than I in the running of the prison system to figure this all out.  But it CAN be done and much better than we're currently doing it.


                              How Norway's Prisons Are Different From America's



And yes, we must release low-risk non-violent offenders like drug dealers, users and sex workers who don't need to be in prison.  Like yesterday.  This will reduce crowding and all its attendant problems while opening up space for those who actually need to be there.  But that's not the same as throwing the baby out with the bathwater & releasing violent offenders in favor of glorified apology tours ("restorative justice") that force victims to face their offenders as if the two are on equal footing.  Victims don't owe offenders their forgiveness or understanding.  Offenders DO owe society restitution and reformation.  

Once again, Americans need help navigating the middle ground between literally torturing the largest prison population on Earth & releasing everyone including the Epsteins & Dahmers of the world by abolishing prisons altogether.  Moderation, people.  







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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Cheating is Abuse



Emotional abuse, that is.  Which is the worst kind some would argue.  After reading this Vice article simping hard for cheaters, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.  What to do besides blog furiously into the ether about it, right?  

We're living in an age of online dating, hookup culture & on-demand free porn of every variety.  Relationships and fidelity have the deck stacked against them from the start, so to see someone--a woman at that--writing cheater apologist drivel like this is infuriating.  I could tell you my personal story of being cheated on in a decade-plus relationship but that's a bit too personal to get into here.  Let's just say it was the worst betrayal a human could experience short of being murdered or something.  And I never saw it coming despite having massive trust issues to begin with.

Needless to say, anyone who's been the victim of infidelity in a committed relationship knows how sickening it is to have your trust broken in that way.  The bottom falls out of your universe.  It ruins your ability to trust people again and, depending on how long you've known your partner, it shakes your confidence in your ability to trust your OWN judgement of people's character.  Like, I've known this person for so long, how did I not know this was going on?  Am I capable of discerning good people from bad?  It's crazy-making, yet people are out here trying to normalize & rationalize it.  Let me say it again:  Cheating is abuse and there's no excuse for it, period.  It's cowardly, selfish beyond reason & deceptive.  And it's often a sign of deeper psychological issues, whether diagnosed or not.  It's certainly not something you should be expected to "work through" in a relationship--nay, infidelity is a deal-breaker like physical abuse or harming someone's child.  Or at least it should be if you have any self-respect.  I know that statement is gonna anger a lot of people who chose to stay after being cheated on but so be it.  

People tell themselves 1,001 lies to justify staying with a cheater.  Staying together "for the kids" is the worst because not only did the loser step out on YOU but they walked out on the entire family when they had the affair.  Unless they're willing to let you do the same while sitting quietly at home, they have no right to expect you to put up with it.  The reasons men give for cheating according to the Vice article?  "Boosting their self-esteem" or "meeting their emotional needs."  Riiiiight.  As if that's a sufficient reason to destroy your partner's self-esteem and emotional well-being.  Women apparently cheat primarily for sexual pleasure, which just means they're failing to communicate their sexual needs to their partner.  Unacceptable.  


To Victims of Infidelity

If you're a victim of a cheater, I say to you:  pick up your things and leave as soon as you're able.  Today is better than tomorrow but tomorrow is better than 5 years from now.  Your time on Earth is finite and can't be gotten back.  Just as abuse comes in many forms, so does murder.  Your partner can kill you in ways other than physical murder.  They kill you by stealing your time.  When you stay with a cheater, you're enabling them to engage in the abusive behavior from the comfort of a stable relationship... to have their cake and eat it too while you pick up the pieces of your shattered trust.  Staying together is not a neutral or passive act.  You're sending a message that says "I don't deserve better."  But you do.  And you can do a lot better too, whether solo or with one of the 7.6 billion other people in the world.  You're telling your partner they deserve more happiness than you, more freedom, more love/sex and the ability to deceive while you remain true in the relationship.  And those things aren't true.  

Aside from the primary impact caused by infidelity and deceit, the additional drawbacks to dating a cheater are vast.  The majority of cheaters exhibit a host of other undesirable traits, including gaslighting, poor communication, lying, avoidance of responsibility, emotional withdrawal, withholding affection, impulsivity, selfishness, blame-shifting, immaturity & poor empathy.  They have a unique gift for escaping responsibility for the act & making you feel like it's somehow your fault.  If not you, then some vague trauma in their past, or it was actually the fault of the person they cheated with, or SOMETHING outside themselves.  Point being, they fail to own up to it completely and instead spread the blame around.  This predicts a bad outcome.  RUN.  

And don't think you can shame or punish them with your words.  No matter how much you cry, sulk, give the silent treatment, withhold sex, throw their clothes on the lawn... none of that matters if you stay with them.  Your actions are all that matter, and staying or leaving is the only action that counts here.  You aren't "teaching them a lesson" with small gestures of displeasure.  At the end of the day, they know you're all talk and no action.  They got away with it and--even if they never do it again (honestly, why wouldn't they though?)--you'll forever have to live with the intrusive thoughts of your partner with someone else in the most intimate way possible.


Cheating = a deal-breaker


To Cheaters

If you're a person who cheats or thinks it's not a big deal:  Take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself why you feel it's okay and necessary to engage in something so dishonest & hurtful.  If you're unhappy in a relationship, your two choices are simple:  1.)  Stay and work it out with your partner and perhaps a therapist or, 2.) Go your separate ways so you can enjoy your tryst with the new person.  Most relationship problems can be worked out with communication, thankfully.  But they often require a neutral third party to mediate and guide the discussion.  What will NEVER fix your problems is going outside your relationship & flirting with, bonding with or sleeping with another person behind your partner's back.  Infidelity is a YOU problem, and the sooner you take it upon yourself to accept that, the sooner you'll be able to stop.  

If you want an open/polyamorous relationship where you're free to have multiple partners, that's a different subject altogether.  Be upfront about that and find someone who wants the same.  If you want to be single and play the field with no strings attached, again, that's your right but you don't get to live that way while enjoying the fruits of a stable committed relationship.  It's exploitative and abusive.  Pick a lane and stay there or communicate when you're ready to CHANGE lanes.  Be a goddamn adult about your feelings & realize that turning outside your relationship to address relationship problems is unforgivable.  Therapy is where you take that shit, not a random hookup while in a committed relationship.  


Stop Rushing Things

And that's the other thing--you don't always need to be in a relationship.  Too many broken people jump from relationship to relationship, serial monogamy style, without ever fixing their own issues or growing up... that's at the root of a lot of this behavior.  If people waited to settle down until they sewed their wild oats and figured out what they truly wanted in a partner, there would be less cheating and discord in general.  Relationships are hard work once the honeymoon period wears off.  Engagement rings, dresses & weddings are nice but being married is about as unglamorous as it gets.  Parenthood is even less so.  The pressure to meet marriage & reproduction milestones by a certain age needs to die.  That's how you end up settling for less than optimal relationships.  

Marriage should be for life; divorce shouldn't even be seen as an option when you get engaged.  Introducing kids to multiple spouses, babymamas/daddies, etc. is fucking complicated.  While it's better to leave an unhappy situation than stay, it's even better to avoid getting into multiple shallow, temporary relationships to begin with.  Nobody's forcing you to commit to all these people in the first place.  Don't take commitment lightly especially when kids are involved.  When in doubt, stay single or uncommitted & focus on yourself.  There's nothing wrong--and many things RIGHT--with being single.  If someone is a Mr./Mrs. "Right Now," they're probably just in your life because you're scared to be alone.  And that's a problem.  

To wrap this all up, cheating bad.  Real bad.  Some behaviors need to be stigmatized & shamed.  If your behavior hurts another person, it's not harmless fun or "just living your life" like some of the things people get up to for enjoyment (ahem, recreational drug use).  Likewise, staying with a cheater is a mistake.  While we stigmatize enablers of drug addicts, we often sympathize with those who enable cheaters by staying in unequal, emotionally abusive relationships after their hearts and trust have been stomped on.  Infidelity is not a "personal issue" or relationship problem between two people--cheaters should be called out by their peers.  Accountability can only come when the realization hits that something truly fucked up has occurred.  When a guy's buddies let him know his actions are repulsive, he's more likely to feel the appropriate shame & make a change than if the backlash is coming from his "overly emotional" girlfriend, for instance.  We don't laugh off other abusive behaviors; we shouldn't brush off cheating either.  

If there's one thing I wished for during my breakup, it's that our mutual friends would've held my ex accountable for her disgusting infidelity & related lies instead of turning their heads like it didn't affect them.  Because it kinda did.  Dishonesty in one area of a person's life is a huge red flag, especially when we're all mutual friends and I'm clearly hurting so bad.  But that's another story for another day.  


I CRITICIZE THE LEFT BECAUSE MY CRITICISM OF THE RIGHT IS IMPLICIT.

It goes without saying.  There's nothing I can say about the MAGA cult or Christofascists that hasn't already been said a thousand t...