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Serial cheaters are not always easy to spot. They are sincere, seductive, and charming. One woman I know met someone she instantly liked. After two dates, she was electrified. The chemistry was so intense she couldn’t see the cheating signs written on his forehead. Blinded by his charisma, she didn’t recognize that she was just one girl in a long succession of girls. When she discovered he was cheating on her with several other women he thought he was in love with too, she lamented, “All men cheat. I have never met one who didn’t.”
If you attract cheaters, it will help if you notice the patterns of behavior you both have BEFORE you get involved. He can’t operate alone. You are his accomplice. This statement is not meant to place blame, but rather, to help you understand that you don’t have to keep being a target. You do have control over your life. How does he seduce you?
1. Dressed for success—in attracting the wrong guy.
Cheaters like to date certain types of women. If you go out with your friends looking to attract a guy by the way you are dressed and the way you act, sexy clothes and flirtatious talk will get you what you say you don’t want—a cheater.
2. The cheater notices you.
Serial cheaters have an instinct for who to make a move on. He sends a drink to your table or he comes over to ask your name. He makes you feel special. Before you know it you are spending the evening talking, dancing, probably drinking, and being romanced. He may flash money, or tell you how successful he is, or offer to drive you home in his new car. He picks up the tab, tells you how beautiful you are, wants to see you the next night, and calls you several times a day. He is relentlessly persistent. You feel validated; he feels in control.
3. A cheater rushes the relationship.
The cheater looking to date you has a ritual of behavior that he repeats over and over. If he says right away, “I love you and I have never really felt this way before,” believe me, he has said this before. If he talks about getting you a ring, where you might buy a house and live, and how he has always wanted children, this is too fast. He is looking to tie you up and exercise control over your life. If he is wealthy, he is willing to pay for this control by bringing you gifts and helping with your day-to-day living expenses. Once you get used to this economic relief, you will find it hard to send him away when you find out he is cheating. He knows this.
4. The cheater knows you are vulnerable.
Cheaters instinctively know that you may have just come out of a crisis in your life. The death of someone close to you, going through a divorce, or being dumped by your boyfriend can leave you feeling wobbly. You are even more susceptible to a cheater or an abusive man if you have come from an abusive home or relationship. If you are lacking the family support you need, he will play to your vulnerability. His approach is to get you to open up emotionally and share your problems. He offers understanding, warmth, and a comforting feeling that he wants to take care of you. Of course, his shoulder to lean on comes at a price.
5. The cheater senses that you are trying to be a grownup in a scary world.
Serial cheaters can tell when you pretend to the world that you have it all under control, but the fact is, you probably do not have enough money, enough of a support team around you, and enough of a safety net under you to feel safe. Instead of putting your time and effort into studying for a degree and a better job, you may be working at a job that doesn’t pay enough and isn’t going anywhere. When the serial charmer comes along, you want to BELIEVE him. You don’t want to see the lies and the patterns. You invest what time you have left at the end of the day into trying to make a relationship work that is never going anywhere.
6. The cheater dates others and when you find out, you are outraged.
Thinking that you are dating the cheater exclusively, you find out, sooner or later, that he has lied and deceived you. You might see him out with someone else, read his email you weren’t supposed to see, listen to his phone messages, or get a call from his other girlfriend. You cry, he begs forgiveness, and he offers promises he just can’t keep. He showers you with gifts and you start the process again. This cycle goes on until months…or years…later, you’ve had enough.
Dating a cheater may turn your life upside down, but you don't have to stay there. If you recognize this pattern in your relationship, hope is out there. Old patterns can be broken and you can have happiness instead of drama. Learn how to spot the serial cheater before he crosses the room.