By D’Andra Simmons   Are you married to or dating a cheater?  Do you even know if you are?

Well, let’s look at some empirical data from the Associated Press to kick start this discussion. If you look at the data below, it is almost dead even with men and women admitting to committing infidelity at some point in their lives.

cheater gfxInteresting isn’t it? Most people think men are the dogs, but it is pretty clear that it is evenly skewed within a small 3% variable.  So, about half of us will encounter a cheater in our lives or be a cheater ourselves.

For some, getting caught and having a “come to Jesus” moment is all it takes to straighten our little tails out and hinder us from pursing some “strange” tail. For others, it is not that simple. The thrill of the hunt and the secrecy involved in doing something we know is forbidden or taboo fuels the fire or the urge so to speak, and we keep on doing it no matter what the consequences, because in our minds we just can’t stop. This is what is called an addiction. In this case, the cheater needs to seek serious psychological counseling alone AND with their mate if they actually desire to end this behavior.

As a side note, if you are a woman who had an affair with a married man and now he is married to you, what makes you think you are different? Why do you think he won’t cheat on you once the “new” wears off of the relationship? I can almost say with certainty that if a married man cheats on his wife with you, then he will cheat on you married to you or not, with the next attractive woman that peaks his interest. It is kind of like Newton’s Law of Motion applied to cheaters. It is going to happen because the man that is restless will continue to move at a constant velocity away from you and on to the next sexy woman he finds! Just take this as a fact.

I have been in relationships with cheaters and I know the signs. What are they? It is not that hard to determine whether or not your mate is straying. The most important thing I can tell you is to “go with your gut”.  This has almost always worked for me, especially in matters of the heart. You know inside in your heart of hearts if your man is cheating. YOU KNOW YOU KNOW whether you want to admit it or not. Don’t try to talk yourself out of reality. The biggest question is what are you going to do about it, if anything? Different strokes for different folks my dad always said, but if it was my husband who cheated on me the “War of the Roses” would look like a children’s movie. I would never continue in a marriage that was fraught with cheating because my ability to trust would be eroded. Now, everyone has their own set of standards and way of coping with infidelity. Mine is just pretty straightforward and cut and dry like everything else in my life!

Another friend of mine has a different view. She said, “If this was a “one and done” thing and my husband made a mistake and he is sorry and will never do it again, as long as I don’t find out about it, then my marriage would continue on uninterrupted. BUT… my husband better NOT come and wreck my world because he can’t live with his guilt.” I can identify with this too. If you have cheated on your mate and are truly sorry, but your significant other doesn’t know about it and will never know about it, then why relieve your guilty conscience on your mate? This is done to make YOU and only YOU feel better. Neither you nor your mate will benefit from this newfound information that you think you just have to reveal because you are tormented inside. Well, too bad! Suck it up and pray to God that you don’t get caught for straying.  It serves no purpose to hurt your partner if you are both otherwise happy and you had a momentary lack of reason and bad judgment, which you are sure you will never do again. Revealing your infidelity will only serve to foster years of suspicion on the part of your mate and forgiveness and reconciliation may never be achieved. Think about the long term and not just yourself for a change, like you did when you were in the throes of passion with another person!

If you think your mate is a cheater here are some obvious red flags to look for:

  1. Schedule Change or Habit Erosion – The most obvious sign of a cheater is what I like to call schedule change or habit erosion. This is when your significant other all of the sudden changes his or her habits. The normal all of the sudden becomes abnormal. Human beings are creatures of habit…some more than others, but some sort of routine is what most people use to keep a standard of normalcy in their lives.

Most men are like Pavlov’s dog when it comes to food, sex and exercise to name a few. So, if you happen to notice that your man used to come home at 6:30 p.m. most nights and now he is calling frequently to tell you that he is working late and will not be home for dinner yet another night, then you should start to wonder what is up. If you are dating and he is starting to cancel dates with you and make excuses as to why he is not able to see you then yes, you should worry. Now, if he is in a demanding job and has a huge case that he is working on, or a family emergency has caused him to have to change his normal routine, then that is another case altogether. What I am trying to say is be observant and take notice of habits, routines and conversations that seem out of the ordinary or that seem to make him nervous. Obviously if he comes home smelling like perfume other than yours , is wearing a shade of lipstick that you don’t own and looks like he has been “roughed up” by a cougar, then you have your answer!

  1. Technology the Relationship Ruiner – The second red flag that is a dead giveaway is cell phone, computer and social media secrecy. The more technology advances in this world, the more it is ruining relationships. Facebook is blamed for 1 in 5 divorces. Do you know your husbands passwords to almost everything? Has he recently changed his settings on his phone so you can’t see the text messages that come in, or has he told you that hackers have broken into his email or bank account and he has had to change his passwords? That may be true, but when he won’t give the new passwords to you like he has in the past, then you should obviously start to seriously wonder if he has something to hide. If he is rushing to check his Facebook messages, or a new email account that you suddenly learned about, then be worried. If there are unexplained charges on the credit card bills then voilà, you have one more piece of evidence.

 

  1. Financial Crisis – Believe it or not, when a man’s financial state is in question i.e. he was just given a pink slip, his job is teetering on the edge of being dissolved or he has lost a lot of money in bad investments, he is more likely to cheat due to stresses at home of not being able to provide. Sounds strange, huh? Pressure at home to “bring home the bacon” so to speak, can lead to “release” at the bar or on a business trip, because a man tends to rationalize that a woman he has a fling with has no expectations, or so he thinks, like the constant nag at home wondering when her allowance will be reinstalled. If your man is having money troubles this is the time to be extra supportive and encouraging if he really is trying to make things right and be able to provide his share of income towards the bills. Circumstances happen in life that are not always our fault and readjustment to a new career can take time. Adjusting spending habits when income changes can take a lot of stress off of your guy and allow him to focus on getting the right “next” job or make that career change that will ultimately work in both of your favor.

Why is your man cheating? Well, it is different in each individual case, but most likely it is because some need is not being met at home. That can be physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual or otherwise. Many couples simply say they outgrew each other. Communication is key in keeping a happy and faithful spouse. Knowing your partner’s interests and him knowing yours and being truly interested, is a huge part of what drives success in marriage and relationships.

My husband and I have a great marriage. This is of course, my opinion. Having kissed a lot of frogs in the past, I feel very lucky to have found the yang to my yin! However, for both of us this is our second marriage, and we made mistakes along the way to finally achieving what we consider to be marital success. Were either of us cheaters in our past? I’ll leave that in the Ann Landers category of information that should be thrown out with the garbage…not helpful and definitely not constructive for happiness in our current relationship. Sometimes less is more; and starting over can be refreshing as long as you don’t air out the dirty laundry of your past

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D’Andra Simmons is a businesswoman and philanthropist.  She is the founder of Hard Night Good Morning Skincare and an active volunteer for the Dallas community serving on the Advisory Board of Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts, volunteering with the Junior League of Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas or Cattle Baron’s Ball for the American Cancer Society.