Let's talk about cheating.
More specifically, let's talk about the cheaters script. I have been through this, and many men here have as well. Many men the world over have, many men over the centuries have. What I continue to encounter, over and over and over is that the script stays the same. Different states, different countries, different ages of men and ages of women. The actions and words before, during, and after have an uncanny repeatability that is freakishly adhered to. Over and over. I call it the cheaters script. Once you see it a few times you will begin to see it everywhere. Once you recognize it, you can never not see it.
First off, my quick background as it relates to cheating. This is to provide some perspective of my views, and how I formed them over time. I am now a single man, approaching 40 later this year. I have been single for almost 4 years now. I was married for for more than a decade, and we lived together for 3 prior to marriage - so my longest relationship was 15 years. I had two children with that woman. During that entire time, I never cheated on her. I had opportunities to, but I never did. I discovered infidelity on her part during our last year or so together. Confronted, blah blah. It ended. We separated, we divorced. That sucked.
Since then, or I should say soon afterword, I do not know why, but I began dating and actually rather quickly began sleeping with a married woman. I then began sleeping with multiple married women. I am not particularly proud of this, but it is what it is. One of those girls left her husband (actually he left her). We pseudo-dated, I then cheated on her one weekend she was not available. She immediately forgave me of course, but our fun had run it's course and I moved on. I began seeing multiple women at a time, and did pretty much nothing but that for about 18 months. I had a soft harem of women that I saw regularly. Some of them had boyfriends, some of them had boyfriends, then was single, then had new boyfriends - never once affecting what they would do with me.
Sometime about a year ago I decided to drop my harem and go the LTR route. Overall, a very rewarding relationship. However, if I had to guess, she probably cheated on me, and I definitely cheated on her.
I have done one night stands, 2/3 night stands, carried on an actual affair with a woman or two that claimed to love me and gladly accepted the "side girl" role knowing I was involved with someone else. I have heard women on the phone with their partners after having sex with me, heard them talking to their kids that they would be home from work soon. Even had side girls proclaim I was the only man for them only to be with another man a day or two later...
"Cheating" no longer particularly angers me, or really even concerns me. I have seen it from so many perspectives it is more of a given than an unexpected heart breaker. I would never let a woman get close enough to me to change my view of self like that again. I have seen it from just about every perspective, as a victim, as an active participant, as an unknown participant, all of it. It is a part of life. It is a part of relationships. It is just a given.
So with my experience of cheating out of the way - let's really talk about the script. What does it look like mechanically, emotionally, what should one watch out for? What should you do? What should you expect?
Side note - I am not a woman basher - this is not an "all women are like that" post. Both men and women cheat. For the most part, the script does not change. In my post below, I will attempt to alternate from the women cheater perspective to the man cheater perspective. Both are applicable, this post is about cheating, not just about cheating women...
There honestly are pre-signs. These should help you determine if a problem is on the horizon. At this point, things are likely resolvable.
Here are some facts I am fairly certain of:
No one cheats when they are happy and getting their needs met.
There are only two types of cheating women:
When you have a cheating woman in your life, more than likely when she looks in the mirror, she does not see option #1. Ever. That does not mean it is a true statement, it means she convinces herself it is a true statement. It is always her partners at fault she is unhappy. This is crucial to the script, and comes up later.
There is generally only one type of cheating men:
- those who are not getting their emotional or physical needs met.
What does the before look like?
Here are the clues:
You start hearing "Never and always". We never... you never.. we always.. you always.. all of them followed by some negative remark. Of course, they are not true. This is an emotional statement, wherein the other person is being framed as a constant and static problem.
You start seeing emotional detachment. You will have no idea what's going on inside her head. Many questions will get answered with "I don't know", anything to increase confusion and indecision. This is where the not knowing where she has been, where she is going, and for how long begins. Anything to increase detachment and confusion on your part. Of course, it will be coupled with "I love you's" to amplify the confusion levels.
Making the spouse look bad and feel bad.
Here is another fact of relationships; when a woman is into you - it really doesn't matter what you say or do. You can almost do no wrong. When a woman is rejecting you, you can do no right. Many men fall for this trap and try to listen to their women telling them what's wrong and begin supplicating them. Of course nothing they do is right.
That set's the stage..
The chase is now afoot.. here are the things that are the most classic signs cheating has began.
She starts going to the gym, or getting a membership to a tanning salon, dressing better. All of them individually mean nothing. When combined you should ask why she is putting this much effort into her appearance.
Cheaters are very protective of their phone. Yes, it never leaves their side. It may suddenly get a password protect, (for the kids of course), it is usually now on silent or vibrate only. Especially take note when they do not share that password.. also, leaving the phone face down is something I have consciously done and seen.
Speaking of phone, leaving the room to talk on the phone or text.
New credit cards, new online identities. I do not really know the psychology behind it, but I have seen this a few times and want to add it to the list. If she is creating a new identity with her name only, it's because she already sees you out of the picture.
Sudden appreciation of a new style of music she never cared for before, out of nowhere. It is often said that women adopt the hobbies of the man they are with, and my experience in life shows that to be true. If she suddenly adopts new tastes out of nowhere, you might wonder about it.
Not wearing the ring, or other jewelry you gave her. Not going to elaborate on this one but it is a big flashing red sign.
Going to the store for groceries, or a quick shopping trip takes 5 hours.
You hear any of the following:
"we are just friends" "i need privacy" "i love you but am not in love with you" "im confused and need time to figure out my feelings"
Of course, it cannot be one sided. She also will be loving sometimes, she will do everything in her power to maximize the confusion and anxiety. That is how she maintains the scheme. Also expect a SHIT TON of blame shifting.
Gaslighting - This truly is perhaps the worst in my opinion. Gaslighting is psychological abuse. It is a form used to make the victim of the affair feel crazy in order to let the cheater get away with it. You'll be made to feel crazy, hate your thoughts, maybe even consider suicide. The cognitive dissonance involved with having two thoughts in your head is awful. Some examples of this might include: "you’re crazy”, “you’re overreacting”… Then begin the “I have to go here” “I need to run an errand after work” or ”I need to stay late”, "I hate how jealous you are."
Denial and Trickle Truth - A hidden love affair is chemically, a lot like a line of cocaine. It is a huge surge of Dopamine. It also flood serotonin and oxytocin in the brain. It feels good, and all people - men and women - are vulnerable to doing things that feel good. Drug addicts do not care about hurting their family. They do it, they hide it as long as they can. It's a fog - and their brain only cares about keeping that high in their life. You very rarely if ever get the truth out of a drug addict in withdrawal - just as you almost never get truth out of a cheater once caught. It is always the least amount of information they think they can share and get away with. Over time you might get another piece - and that's when the true emotional damage becomes clear. Once you know that this other person cannot be trusted at all, it is a total wash, you mourn the relationship.
Blame shifting is a given, and should be expected. Hearing the following? "You pushed me away", "if you had been there for me", etc.
Re-writing of history - It doesn't matter that she was sending you love notes and texts a month ago. She has been unhappy for a long time now. She will find everything you ever did wrong and try to use it against you. Some of the shit I have heard.. "that time 10 years ago when you bought a hamburger but didn't get me one". It is natural from both sides at the end of a relationship. Both sides are re-wiring themselves to prepare for being single and need to purge those memories. This is a large part why nobody really enjoys hanging out with people going through a divorce by the way. If you are a man and have caught or even worse publicly outed a cheating woman - expect the wrath of Kahn to come down on your reputation.
This highlights a simple truth more men should understand.
I think it is common knowledge that you cannot control anyone else or anyone their emotions. You cannot make a woman like you, only she can do that. But in order for her to like you, what really has to happen psychologically is that she has to like herself when she is with you.
She is always viewing the world as it relates to her, so for her to like you, she has to enjoy the feels she has when she is with you. It is subconscious, and it really needs to stay there because no woman will ever thank you for pointing it out.. but it explains a lot.
Take the common case we see everyday on this forum, some chump has been married to a cheating woman. Same lying, same vocal attacks, same gaslighting, same emotional manipulation, same eventual rage from her to him .. the man is the victim but is made to be the worst person on the planet. why? Because how does miss cheater feel about herself when she is with him? She hates herself so she feels like she hates the man. Just like when she is in love and feels great about herself - she loves him.
Final thoughts and take-aways
Cheating happens, you should assume it will happen to you. It has, and it will again. If you have had sex with a woman outside of a relationship it is likely you are part of her cheating on someone else. We have a huge divorce rate in this country, and nobody wakes up and says I just don't love you anymore. It is all cheating. All of it. Many relationships "go on". Many relationships are kept in the dark. I firmly believe that 100% of relationships will have a cheating element in them given long enough.
If you disagree, that means in my opinion you are the one likely to be cheated on.