Thursday, July 7, 2016

Love alert: You could be dating a serial cheater

I asked this question of a male friend recently, “Why do men cheat?" I'm still waiting for an answer. Gone are the days it seems when the biblical edict of one man, one woman actually meant something. There was a time when couples dated in preparation for marriage. Nowadays, couples date, even have sex just for pleasure without any thought of commitment. Words like "we're engaged" or "my fiance" have lost the exclusivity they once had. Fidelity and monogamy are still valued as moral absolutes in our society, but not always practiced.

What's behind this shift in our morals? Blame it on the law of supply and demand coupled with unrestrained freewill.There are too many women and not enough men to go around. This gender discrepancy is the perfect breeding ground for the serial cheater who considers it his duty to take full advantage and seize the moment.
n his article, "New Math on Campus," New York Times reporter Alex Williams sums it up this way: "Needless to say, this puts guys in a position to play the field, and tends to mean that even the ones willing to make a commitment come with storied romantic histories." W. Keith Campbell, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia, agrees. “When men have the social power, they create a man’s ideal of relationships,” says Campbell. Translation: more partners, more sex.
Serial cheaters have simultaneous relationships with multiple unsuspecting partners. Women, who knowingly or unknowingly date a serial cheater, run the risk of becoming a victim of his promiscuity, of possibly acquiring an STD or HIV/AIDS, and of being devalued by a relationship you thought was committed. Some women ignore a man's cheating because they feel they have to in order to keep him. As one woman observed, “If a guy is not getting what he wants, he can quickly and abruptly go to the next one, because there are so many of us.”

You could be dating a serial cheater. Here are some signs to watch out for (Disclaimer: This does not mean that every man who exhibits one or more of these behaviors is a serial cheater. Know your man.).

If he seems too good to be true, he probably is. Serial cheaters are charmers, a real Mr. Nice Guy. In the early stages of a relationship, he goes out of his way to spend time with you. He calls you several times a day just to say he's thinking of you. He treats you like a queen, opens doors and when you're walking together, he insists that you walk on the inside away from the traffic. He likes to caress and hold hands. He may act as if sex is the farthest thing from his mind when it's the only thing on his mind. He doesn't have to rush you because he knows he has other women he can be intimate with.

In the article, "Sex: Are men really after only one thing?" psychologist Dr. Diana Kirschner addresses this question: "For example, a small percentage of men are caught in what I call the Player Deadly Dating Pattern. These are often the "hot bad boys" who can be enormously infatuating to women because of their smooth romantic alpha behavior. But under that seductive bravado they are usually insecure, have low self esteem and a "me-first mentality." These are the men who value conquest over being connected and honorable. For these reasons, the Player can pose a great deal of difficulty for women who want a lasting love relationship."

Serial cheaters are generally good talkers. Pay close attention to what he does, not just what he says. Serial cheaters are good at what I call "vanilla" conversations --- a whole lot of talk with little substance. Serial cheaters give more detail than necessary about mundane things to keep you off balance so you don't ask questions. Names and gender references are purposely omitted to prevent a slip of the tongue. Don't be reluctant to interview any man who wants a dating relationship with you. Ask the important questions upfront. What are his values, goals, family background, purpose for wanting to date you, etc. If he's evasive or talks a lot of jive, dump him. It will save you time and heartbreak down the road.

He's a real friendly guy, except most of his friends are women. You've heard of the expression, "He's a man's man." Serial cheaters are more like every woman's man. Women are attracted to him because of his sensitivity to a woman's needs. He's a helper, a confidant, a shoulder to cry on, a port in a storm, someone who totally understands you ---everything a woman could want, except he's all that with a lot of other women too. He may not be having sex with all of them but it's a sure bet that at least two or three are more than just "friends." A serial cheater collects friends for a hobby. I once knew a serial cheater who bragged about having over 200 names in his contact list. Knowing him most were probably women.

Observe how your guy acts toward you around other women. Is he easily distracted by them? Does he make comments ("She's a good looking woman.") on their appearance, especially physical features, in your presence? Is his attention divided when he's with you? Are your dates or phone calls hurried like you're on speed dial? Does he never intentionally bring you around any of his other women friends?

Other issues that could have an impact on how he views women are an addiction to sex and pornography, which he keeps hidden. Some hints at this problem may be his off color comments or sexual innuendo during ordinary conversations with you, or he may half jokingly ask you to talk "dirty" to him when he knows that's not your style. These are important cues to think about.

Serial cheaters like long distance relationships, the farther the better. A serial cheater prides himself on being able to engage in multiple relationships with women without any of them knowing about the others. Distance is a great enabler for him. The women he dates conveniently live in different cities, usually ones he visits regularly for other reasons as well (i.e. work, family, recreation). The trips usually last a few days. He may even call to "check in" as if he is accounting for his time. He usually comes back with "vanilla" explanations about what he did while he was away, and don’t forget the gifts. Don't be fooled. If your intuition tells you something's going on, you're probably right.

Better to date locally; it's easier and safer. You want someone who has roots down deep in the community not someone who's a transient. Get to know your potential date/mate through his friends, family and the people he hangs out with. If he never takes you around them, watch out something's not kosher about your relationship. Could be he's hiding something more than just you.

Don't think because a serial cheater gets married he's changed his ways. Serial cheaters often marry, in fact serially, one woman after another. Let's suppose you date a serial cheater who decides he wants to marry you. At some point, the marriage may run into trouble or he may get bored so he starts looking around for other distractions. Consequently, he goes back to what he knows best, and adds adultery to his portfolio.

One serial cheater's first wife left him after learning that he cheated before they married. He remarried but when his second wife became overweight and unattractive to him, his eyes began to wander. On his way to work every morning, he started noticing a nice looking woman. He made sure their paths would cross. One night, he ran into her at a local bar and they began a torrid affair. Eventually, he left his second wife for this woman, who he later married. They had a turbulent marriage, which ended in a nasty divorce. Now he’s free, single and uncommitted, ready to test the relationship waters again. He's joined a mega-church where he's got lots of women to choose from. The sad part is he thinks he's happy. Well, maybe he is---at least on the outside.

Dating is serious business. Rather than just looking for immediate gratification, look for someone who would make you a good husband and father to your children or a true companion in your old age. So many silly women have laid themselves out there. And now the children are paying the price for mother's mistakes. Calling someone your child's "baby daddy" is no substitute for giving them a father who is more than just a sperm donor.

Serial cheaters need professional help to confront their problem. You are not the Red Cross so don't even attempt a rescue mission. Leave it to the professionals. On your way out of the relationship, there's nothing wrong with a gentle suggestion that he might benefit from talking with a relationship or spiritual counselor about his feelings. Serial cheaters are emotionally detached from their behavior and reluctant to talk about it. When you confront them, they see themselves as the victim believing that something is wrong with you for rejecting them. Serial cheaters are seldom the first to leave a relationship even if it's bad.

Instead, they withdraw emotionally and wait for you to take the first step, which you eventually do out of frustration. Being seen as the victim, makes it easier for serial cheaters to solicit sympathy from friends and a new unsuspecting partner. It's all part of the plan.

There is hope for the woman who's looking for a good man. There are many decent men of good character out there in spite of the bad example set by serial cheaters. But good men usually look for women of equally good character with whom they have something in common. In my previous article, "Love well: How to cultivate healthy relationships," I advise women and men to take stock of themselves and cultivate realistic expectations of what you need and don't need, want and don't want in a relationship. And if you know you have low self-esteem, low self-respect, abandonment, trust or other issues get to work on them through professional or spiritual counseling before you seek to be in relationship with anybody.

The Bible offers wise counsel about relationships, and especially about how to choose companions of good character. It's really true that what God has joined together neither man nor woman can tear apart. If you're someone who's been hurt by a serial cheater, or you are that serial cheater, God has a plan for you. You may be at a point where you've tried everything and everybody and your life is still emptyGod can restore you and put your life back on the right track. You've got nothing more to lose and everything to gain.

Note: Need to know how to trust again? For relationship help, I highly recommend the book, Beyond Boundaries.

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