How to Recognize a Cheater

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Perhaps the greatest cause of heartburn is the feeling of betrayal as you recognize a cheater. Trust is an essential ingredient of a healthy relationship, and once it’s lost or threatened, it’s extremely hard to get back. Unfortunately, cheating is a part of far too many relationships. As of September 8, 2012, statistics from the Associated Press reported that

• 35% of men and women have professed they cheated while on business trips,
• 74% of men and 68% of women stated they would establish an affair if they knew they could not be discovered,

• 3% of US children are the result of a cheating spouse,

• 57% of men and 54% of women polled stated that they committed the act of cheating in any relationship they obtained in their lifetime, and

• the average affair lasts two years.

There is no failsafe way to know if your partner will cheat on you or not. But there are some signs you can look for in the early stages of dating. Just one of these behaviors on its own may not be cause for alarm, but if you observe three or more, you can safely consider the person in question junk-food.

14 Signs to Recognize a Cheater

1. He has an overinflated ego. He thinks he’s perfect and that everyone else should think so too. He’s competitive in all that he does and doesn’t think the rules apply to him. To him, cheating is a validation of how wonderful he is. Since the rules don’t apply to him, he feels free to cheat as he likes.

2. She has cheated before. The best predictor of the future is the past. In the beginning of dating, you should ask if she has ever cheated. The way she responds may tell you a lot. If she says she did once but felt horrible afterward, then that’s not bad. She probably learned from the experience. If she admits she cheated but blames her partner at the time or has some other excuse, that’s a sign that she’s capable of cheating on you, too. If she uncomfortably avoids answering the question, take that as a yes; .

3. One of his parents was a cheater. We get our paradigm of relationships from our parents’ behavior. If one or both of his parents cheated, especially if it was his dad, his core belief is that people cheat. That’s not to say that he will definitely cheat. He may have seen how destructive it was and vowed to never cheat himself. If someone your new man loves cheated when he was a child, ask him how he feels about it. Find out if he considers it acceptable behavior.

4. She’s a good liar. I’m not talking about little white lies to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. I mean she easily lies to make herself appear better than she is, or to keep herself out of trouble. If she can lie without conscious she’ll have no problem.

5. He feels no guilt or remorse. He doesn’t make amends or take responsibility when he has done something wrong or hurts someone. He just shrugs things off as though they mean nothing. He’ll have no problem cheating on you.

>6. She’s overly sexual and ascribes no deep meaning to sex. She doesn’t make love; it’s just sex. If she holds no real value on the feelings that can accompany sex, then it will be no big deal for her to with someone else. Don’t mistake passion for feelings.

Once you’ve been comfortable in your relationship for a while, there are more cheating tells you can look for:

1. A sudden change in his or her appearance. He or she starts working out more, buying new clothes, or wearing cologne.

2. He or she is not as interested in having sex with you and/or has stopped cuddling with you.

3. He or she brings you unexpected gifts. He or she probably feels guilty and is trying to make amends.

4. She’s unavailable. Suddenly she’s working late, running more errands, and doing things that don’t include you.

5. He’s picking fights. He’s trying to justify that your relationship isn’t working.

6. She is struggling with moving the relationship forward; she’s not ready to get married or have a baby.

7. He lost his job. Most men identify themselves by what they do, so many men who lose their jobs also lose some of their sense of self. An affair can make them feel good about themselves.

8. She has new habits. She’s ordering a new drink. She doesn’t answer her cell phone around you, it’s now password protected, and she no longer leaves it sitting out. She used to leave her e-mail open, but now she always closes it. She may even have a new private account.

Learn more about how to communicate better in my book:

Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices.