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Improving the Odds

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36yearsgone posted 7/1/2020 13:40 PM

On SI it is often said that you canít prevent an affair. While thatís a rather simplistic statement, after nearly three years on SI I am more convinced me the statement is probably true. However, I think you can improve your odds of avoiding such behavior, and that is what I want to discuss and get your feedback.

Prior to entering a committed relationship, are there warning signs that your potential partner is not a safe partner? Here are some questions designed to get your feedback. Please feel free to add anything you think may be germane to the discussion.

1. Has the person been unfaithful in other relationships?
2. Is the person inherently honest with you?
3. Do they lie about little things?
4. Have they ever been physically abusive to you or others?
5. Are they heavy into porn?
6. Do you know their relationship history?
7. Do they feel entitled?
8. Do they have anger issues?
9. Are they financially stable? This doesnít mean are they wealthy; do they act responsibly with their money
10. Has their employment history been sketchy?
11. Do they flirt with others in your presence?
12. Are they more interested in sexual quickies than other forms of intimacy?

These are just a few questions to consider. Are they relevant to knowing whether the person has a higher likelihood of cheating?

[This message edited by 36yearsgone at 1:41 PM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

DevastatedDee posted 7/1/2020 14:15 PM

Just for fun, I'll answer that for what I knew of my XWH.

1. Has the person been unfaithful in other relationships? Not that I knew of.
2. Is the person inherently honest with you?I believed so. He seemed extremely honest.
3. Do they lie about little things? I honestly thought he was really bad at lying.
I didn't catch him doing that often.

4. Have they ever been physically abusive to you or others? No.
5. Are they heavy into porn? I thought he had a normal porn habit. The extent was hidden.
6. Do you know their relationship history? I did, and it wasn't extensive.
7. Do they feel entitled? I see that he did now. I can look back and see where I missed signs of that.
8. Do they have anger issues? He seemed not to, was very laid back.
9. Are they financially stable? This doesnít mean are they wealthy; do they act responsibly with their money He was more financially responsible than I was, before he discovered that prostitutes and drugs were great.
10. Has their employment history been sketchy?He had worked at the same job for several years and been promoted a few times.
11. Do they flirt with others in your presence?Not really, he was too shy.
12. Are they more interested in sexual quickies than other forms of intimacy?Not really.
He loved to cuddle.

I think I wound up with one of those covert narcissist types who was mostly concerned with looking like the nicest guy ever while he seethed with resentment on the inside. There was no outward abuse. Pretty much everyone who knew him thought he was an incredibly sweet man. I think I could spot one now, but I had no idea this kind of person existed.

36yearsgone posted 7/1/2020 14:22 PM

DevastatedDee:

Intriguing responses. Did you notice any underlying signs during your approach to D-day?

PSTI posted 7/1/2020 14:27 PM

I think the biggest thing to improve the odds is stay connected.

I spend time on some of the cheaters' forums too, and have for over 20 years. I was drawn there by curiosity before I got married to my xH (funny, since he was the one who cheated on me!). To be clear, I have _never_ cheated on a partner.

The top reasons there that I see people say why they cheat?

1) Spouse doesn't want to have sex with them or not enough sex.

2) Liking novelty/cake eating

3) Feeling disconnected from spouse over time and not knowing how to get back again, and then meeting a new person at exactly the right (wrong) time

4) Getting married for the wrong reasons or too young and feeling unable to leave for financial reasons or for the kids


I don't think porn has anything to do with it, unless you're dealing with a sex addict. There's nothing wrong with porn usage as long as it's not replacing sex in a relationship.

I agree that the bits about dishonesty and entitlement are red flags, but I am not sure it's about cheating. I just think someone who lies or has anger issues is probably not a great choice for a partner anyway.

I believe that infidelity is generally a pretty complex thing. I don't think people generally wake up one morning and decide to cheat. I think a lot of little things contribute to the idea and then something happens and if it hits someone when their resistance is down, then sometimes they make really bad decisions.

I know there are awful people who just don't care about fidelity and get married anyway, but I don't think most people are like that.

DevastatedDee posted 7/1/2020 14:39 PM

DevastatedDee:
Intriguing responses. Did you notice any underlying signs during your approach to D-day?

I did indeed. We dated for a few years before getting married and all seemed well during those times. About 4 months after we got married, he started turning me down for sex. He started walking apart from me when we'd go out somewhere. He stopped being affectionate. We went on a family vacation with his parents and siblings and it was absolutely awful. I felt like he wasn't that into me all of a sudden when I'd been the most amazing thing ever to him just a couple of months before. I did not understand what on earth was going on, but I believed his excuse about him suffering from depression and I was supportive. 8 months after we got married, he started using drugs (prostitutes offered them to him and he lost every good quality he had left). I didn't discover that he had cheated until I read his rehab journal months later. I thought when I left him that it was just that time-frame, but I discovered later that he had tried to hook up with a friend's young adult daughter quite a bit before we got married, so I have no idea how long he cheated or how many he cheated with. He kept it very hidden and I had no clue.

The signs with him were very subtle before we got married. There's no way I would have figured it out at the time.

Buck posted 7/1/2020 15:01 PM

I would add:
- Are they ďpeople pleasersĒ?
- Do they have fewer longer term connected friendships or many short term superficial friends?
- Howís their relationship with their family? Any estrangements, parental divorce, constant family drama, are they close to them?
- Are they empathetic?

Those maybe are observations more than questions, but you get the idea. Also, I would add learning their love language and attachment style. Maybe their enneagram number too.

josiep posted 7/1/2020 15:04 PM

Iím no expert but Iíve begun wondering if there are some things we betrayed spouses have in common that contribute to whatever it is in the relationship that lends itself to a certain type of person becoming a cheater.

36yearsgone posted 7/1/2020 15:06 PM

josiep:

You asked a fascinating question.

DevastatedDee posted 7/1/2020 15:12 PM

Iím no expert but Iíve begun wondering if there are some things we betrayed spouses have in common that contribute to whatever it is in the relationship that lends itself to a certain type of person becoming a cheater.

Kindness, ability to trust, loyalty...

PSTI posted 7/1/2020 15:28 PM

Iím no expert but Iíve begun wondering if there are some things we betrayed spouses have in common that contribute to whatever it is in the relationship that lends itself to a certain type of person becoming a cheater.

I wonder about that, too. I see a lot of black and white thinking on this forum, and sometimes I wonder if this is a result or a precursor to an affair. It seems like a more common quality than in the general population, but that's just my impression and not scientifically based.

I'm honestly starting to wonder if politics/social beliefs are a factor, from what I've seen on the cheaters' forums. It skews very heavily in one direction and while that's just one particular forum, it was something to consider.

Damaged people tend to attract damaged people. People who are CoD attract people looking to use others. Givers often attract takers. It's one of the reasons why I think that BS have to look at their contributions to the marriage and what they can do better. It's the WS who is wholly at fault for the affair, but if the BS doesn't do a certain level of self examination as well, they won't be able to make changes to engage in a healthier relationship whether that's with the WS if they choose to offer R, or in their next relationship. Before COVID-19 hit, I felt like I was a much better version of myself than I was with my xH. I've changed a lot in very positive ways that have helped my relationship skills grow.

[This message edited by PSTI at 3:30 PM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

Darkness Falls posted 7/1/2020 15:29 PM

Iím no expert but Iíve begun wondering if there are some things we betrayed spouses have in common that contribute to whatever it is in the relationship that lends itself to a certain type of person becoming a cheater.

My H has been cheated on by multiple partners, including me. His characteristics that I see as contributing to poor selection of relationship partners:

- people pleasing to the extreme of developing resentment due to constant putting aside of his own wants and needs
- conflict avoidant
- emotionally unavailable and uncommunicativeóthinks conversation is ďa waste of time.Ē

This0is0Fine posted 7/1/2020 15:35 PM

There is a whole set of surveys in "Not Just Friends" that allows you to evaluate marital, individual, and social vulnerability. Some of these can be controlled and changed, some cannot. Even with good conditions, you cannot affair proof your marriage/relationship.

You and your spouse should fill these out.

Marital
(1,2,3: Disagree, Agree Somewhat, Strongly Agree):

1. We had problems trusting each other before we got married.
2. Our Marriage revolves around our children. OR (for childless couples) We disagree on whether or not to have children.
3. My partner spends too much time away from home.
4. My partner rarely takes my side in anything.
5. We've grown apart.
6. I have felt alone and unsupported at times of loss or crises.
7. We don't have equal input for important decisions.
8. We argue about the frequency of sex.
9. Our interactions feel more like a parent-child relationship than one between equals.
10. We are uncomfortable about exposing our inner selves to each other.
11. We sweep things under the rug, so we hardly ever fight.
12. There's a disparity in how invested we are in the relationship.
13. I feel I can't influence my partner to do what I request.
14. I don't know if I really love my partner.
15. We don't know how to repair after a conflict.
16. We don't have much in common.

Score:
16-20 = Low
21-29 = Medium
30-39 = High
40-48 = Danger

Individual:
(1,0: Agree, Disagree except Part II where 0,1 : Agree, Disagree)

Part I. I would feel justified having an extramarital relationship for the following reasons:

1. If I fell in love with another person.
2. For sexual excitement or sexual variety.
3. To have someone understand my problems and feelings.

Part II. I would be inhibited from having an extramarital relationship for the following reasons:

4. I would feel too guilty.
5. It's against my moral, ethical, or religious principles.
6. I wouldn't break my wedding vows or my commitment to my partner.
7. I'm devoted to my partner.

Part III. I'd probably get involved with an attractive person who is interested in me because:

8. I work hard, so I deserve to have some fun.
9. I wouldn't be hurting anybody.
10. It's okay to have sex as long as you don't get too emotionally involved.
11. It's okay to fool around as long as you don't have intercourse.
12. It's okay to be emotionally involved as long as there's no physical intimacy.

Part IV. The following statements reflect my beliefs about life:

13. I thrive on risky, new adventures.
14. Rules are made to be broken.
15. Forbidden fruit is sweeter.
16. Beginning a project is always more interesting than finishing it.

Part V. The following statements reflect how i feel about my relationship:

17. I feel uptight if my partner tries to get too close.
18. I feel anxious and rejected if my partner ignores me.
19. I'm most comfortable being alone. I have little need to spend time with my partner.

Score:
0-4 = Low
5-9 = Medium
10-14 = High
15-19 = Danger


Social:

Quiz (1, 0: Agree, Disagree):

1. I have to travel a lot for my work.
2. My work offers me the opportunity to interact with attractive colleagues whom my significant other might perceive as a threat.
3. Nobody at my workplace would condemn me for an "office romance".
4. I enjoy going to Happy Hour with my friends or colleagues.
5. I have friends who confide in me that they are cheating on their partner.
6. I have lots of fun with my single friends because they like to party.
7. Most of my friends would be understanding if I cheated on my spouse.
8. Hardly anybody I know is strictly monogamous.
9. There is a history of infidelity in my childhood family or extended family.
10. My father would support me and not condemn me if I cheated on my partner.
11. My mother would support me and not condemn me if I cheated on my partner.
12. My simbling(s) would support me and not condemn me if I cheated on my partner.

Score:
0-2 = Low
3-5 = Medium
6-9 = High
10-12 = Danger

TheLostOne2020 posted 7/1/2020 15:36 PM

1. Has the person been unfaithful in other relationships?
Yes, she was.

2. Is the person inherently honest with you?
Generally speaking she was, or I thought she was.

3. Do they lie about little things?
No, not that I'm aware of.

4. Have they ever been physically abusive to you or others?
In the past, under five times, she has thrown stuff at me, shoved me (once), and blocked my exit.

5. Are they heavy into porn?
No.

6. Do you know their relationship history?
Yes.

7. Do they feel entitled?
I'd say so, yes.

8. Do they have anger issues?
She seems to get angry over minor things.

9. Are they financially stable? This doesnít mean are they wealthy; do they act responsibly with their money
Generally.

10. Has their employment history been sketchy?
No.

11. Do they flirt with others in your presence?
No.

12. Are they more interested in sexual quickies than other forms of intimacy?
Not really.

landclark posted 7/1/2020 16:05 PM

I spend time on some of the cheaters' forums too

I browse from time to time and the overwhelming majority of them seem to feel entitled to cheat and entitled to other people's spouses. Of course I am sure the remorseful ones are not the ones posting on those forums.

I think you could have somebody that checks a bunch of right or wrong boxes, and they could either never cheat, or are guaranteed to cheat. When I met my WH, I thought he was a standup guy. Thought he had changed, learned from past mistakes and would never cheat again. He was very convincing. The best way to avoid cheating is to stay single. lol

sisoon posted 7/1/2020 16:17 PM

1. Has the person been unfaithful in other relationships?

W: No. Me: arguably yes

2. Is the person inherently honest with you?

Yes for both

3. Do they lie about little things?

No for both

4. Have they ever been physically abusive to you or others?

No for both

5. Are they heavy into porn?

No for both - when we were getting together, Playboy was shocking.

6. Do you know their relationship history?

no for both

7. Do they feel entitled?

The opposite, I'd say, for her. yes, for me.

8. Do they have anger issues?

No for her, yes for me

9. Are they financially stable?

She has always been pretty frugal, but within reason. Me, too.

10. Has their employment history been sketchy?

No for both, but college was our only employment except for Summer jobs

11. Do they flirt with others in your presence?

No for both

12. Are they more interested in sexual quickies than other forms of intimacy?

Afraid of sex for her, no for me. If I had known about Tantra when I was 22, I'd be a Tantric master.

*****

I suggest you add:

13. Is the person a victim of childhood sexual abuse. Her, yes, me, no

14. Is the person a victim of childhood physical abuse.

except for CSA, no for both

15. Is the person a victim of childhood emotional abuse.

yes for both, but that could be said for a LOT of us

[This message edited by sisoon at 4:24 PM, July 1st (Wednesday)]

LadyG posted 7/2/2020 05:36 AM

1. Has the person been unfaithful in other relationships?
I had no indication of this but he was adamant that he would not ever tolerate this from me. He was my first lover.

2. Is the person inherently honest with you?
He was honest to a certain point as he knew that I was a safe keeper of secrets and would never repeat anything he had told me in confidence.

3. Do they lie about little things?
Quite frequently but can also be brutally honest and hurtful

4. Have they ever been physically abusive to you or others?
Yes.

5. Are they heavy into porn?
Yes. But I didnít know about this or didnít watch with him. His taste are extreme

6. Do you know their relationship history?
Yes. Non existent really. Mostly high school stuff. Nothing serious

7. Do they feel entitled?
Absolutely. Often helped himself to his housemates belongings without thought or remorse. Superiority complex. Only child. Very spoiled.

8. Do they have anger issues?
Absolutely. Tantrum throwing from a very young age. Lashing out. A very bad sport.

9. Are they financially stable? This doesnít mean are they wealthy; do they act responsibly with their money
NO AND NO. I provided him with financial stability. Frivolous spend thrift when it was for himself. Has too many credit cards. I was always the bill payer and saver.

10. Has their employment history been sketchy?
Often. Admitted to hate working. But will do anything for money.

11. Do they flirt with others in your presence?
Have done so. But was insanely jealous as well.

12. Are they more interested in sexual quickies than other forms of intimacy?
He was all about quantity NOT quality sexual relationships and has no idea what intimacy is really. I had to initiate intimacy.

LadyG posted 7/2/2020 05:37 AM

Iím no expert but Iíve begun wondering if there are some things we betrayed spouses have in common that contribute to whatever it is in the relationship that lends itself to a certain type of person becoming a cheater.

We are reliable, responsible honest partners. We create a safe and harmonious family life. Focus on children, family and work. But after the children were born I put his needs after the children but still before my own.

Itís only when I put my needs first that he started paying more attention to me. I rejected him after the first affair DDAY and waited out until my children were older, before I got out.

[This message edited by LadyG at 5:49 AM, July 2nd (Thursday)]

josiep posted 7/3/2020 08:13 AM

36, you started a great conversation here (as you so often do! I wish we could sit down over a cup of coffee and hash out the world's problems because I think we both like to think a lot about life and philosophy and people and so on) and I worry that I'm taking it off track from your original intent. Would you prefer I start a new thread instead of continuing here?


Iím no expert but Iíve begun wondering if there are some things we betrayed spouses have in common that contribute to whatever it is in the relationship that lends itself to a certain type of person becoming a cheater.

I wonder about that, too. I see a lot of black and white thinking on this forum, and sometimes I wonder if this is a result or a precursor to an affair. It seems like a more common quality than in the general population, but that's just my impression and not scientifically based.

I'm honestly starting to wonder if politics/social beliefs are a factor, from what I've seen on the cheaters' forums. It skews very heavily in one direction and while that's just one particular forum, it was something to consider.

Damaged people tend to attract damaged people.

I think the codependency and narcissism and other similar traits play a big role. I knew I wanted to marry the XWH the moment I saw him standing in the back of a group of guys. My cousin went to an all boys college about 40 miles from where I went to college (HUGE university) and had brought a group of 5 guys up on a Friday night to go out with the group of 5 girls I'd found to go out with them. One girl canceled at the last minute and since my boyfriend broke up with me earlier that week, I filled in. We were going as a group. But when I opened my dorm door and saw them, I said "Excuse me a minute," shut the door and put my finger in the other girls' faces and said "the blond is the back is mine."

Because of that, I'm not even sure that our codependency and/or narcissism, etc. plays a role because I hadn't even spoken to him yet. But I was a goner. Never felt anything like it before and never since. And my heart still went pitter patter when he'd come home from somewhere; for whatever reason, I was crazy about that guy. He never deserved it but I was so blinded by my own whatever, I couldn't see it.

But we were indeed 2 very damaged people. I was the daughter of an alcoholic and he was an alcoholic. He didn't know it yet and his drinking wasn't out of control yet but his response to alcohol was not like a non-alcoholic's response to alcohol. And if either of us had known then what we know now, would he have quit drinking completely? Would that have made our lives better? Or would I have been unfulfilled without someone to fill my codependency "addiction"? So many questions and so few answers.

Anyway, what was it that caused that attraction? What were we each bringing to the table that put us in a relationship that we both wanted but yet one that ended in him cheating and me a shell of my former self? Because I don't believe for a second that it's just a bunch of bad people running around cheating - I think there's something that creates a "perfect storm" so to speak. In some cases, of course - I'm not speaking about serial cheaters or SA's but about people who are seemingly happily married and then the unthinkable happens. I can guarantee you if you'd ask my XWH if he ever thought he'd cheat on me, he'd say No and he'd say it adamantly.

I don't believe it's anything we even know we're saying or doing. We BS's might have some seemingly innocent mannerisms or quirks or words of phrases or who knows what that are sort of the final nail in the coffin, so to speak (I'm really struggling to explain this even though it's clear as a bell in my head) when combined with a person who doesn't have the moral fortitude to say no when presented with an appealing opportunity to cheat and that opportunity comes along.

So I do think there is something about at least a sub-group of us that lends to us getting cheated on and I wish there was a way to figure it out - just think of the pain and suffering we could prevent.

Or not. I also often believe that people will only learn lessons when they do it the hard way.

One more point. The children of alcoholic families generally either become alcoholics or become co-alcoholics (it meant co-dependent before the word co-dependent came along). It's very much a pattern that is seen over and over and over again. Not everyone but a significant percentage. How do they find each other? I hated my father's drinking and swore I wouldn't marry a drinker. My XWH was a fun drinker, never got ugly mean like my Dad. So I suppose my young mind swore I'd never marry a mean drinker? And a couple of years ago when I was thinking about this stuff, I Googled every boy I'd ever liked. Almost without exception, they're alcoholics.

Those were the guys I was attracted to. I liked the bad boys even though I was Miss Goody-Two-Shoes whose nickname in college was Doris Day. I hate to admit this but the nice guys made my skin crawl. And I've watched the same pattern repeat in my daughter's life.

My granddaughter is already so codependent, I could cry. And my grandson is going to be a bad boy, I can see the writing on the wall. The best thing my family can do is quit reproducing.

36yearsgone posted 7/3/2020 09:51 AM

36, you started a great conversation here (as you so often do! I wish we could sit down over a cup of coffee and hash out the world's problems because I think we both like to think a lot about life and philosophy and people and so on) and I worry that I'm taking it off track from your original intent. Would you prefer I start a new thread instead of continuing here?

josiep, you are very kind. A cup of coffee sounds very nice; especially this morning. No need to start a new thread.

I'm honestly starting to wonder if politics/social beliefs are a factor, from what I've seen on the cheaters' forums. It skews very heavily in one direction and while that's just one particular forum, it was something to consider.

There are probably studies on that. As for me and my FWW, we seem to align perfectly in our politics/social beliefs; at least on the outside. But she still cheated.

KingRat posted 7/3/2020 12:43 PM

These are just a few questions to consider. Are they relevant to knowing whether the person has a higher likelihood of cheating?

Anecdotally, yes. For the same reasons that each subsequent marriage carries a higher risk for divorce.

In regards to your thesis:

I think you can improve your odds of avoiding such behavior, and that is what I want to discuss and get your feedback.

Practically, I agree with you. However, I think the reality of how most relationships begin and the inherent bias that is formed often prevent rational guidance to an emotional question.

Now, people who have been cheated on or searching for partners later in life would be more likely to improve their odds in finding a less risky candidate. But most relationships--especially those in your early twenties--begin as two people enjoying each other. That often leads to stronger emotional bonds and a commitment is formed. At that point, there is usually sufficient bias and emotional investment, I'm not sure those questions can be answered objectively even if the person were to pose them.

Fear finds its heart in love.

One more point. The children of alcoholic families generally either become alcoholics or become co-alcoholics (it meant co-dependent before the word co-dependent came along). It's very much a pattern that is seen over and over and over again. Not everyone but a significant percentage. How do they find each other? I hated my father's drinking and swore I wouldn't marry a drinker. My XWH was a fun drinker, never got ugly mean like my Dad. So I suppose my young mind swore I'd never marry a mean drinker? And a couple of years ago when I was thinking about this stuff, I Googled every boy I'd ever liked. Almost without exception, they're alcoholics.

Alcoholics--due the very nature of their addiction--are emotionally unavailable. Children of alcoholics are often irregularly provided emotional crumbs because most of the loaf was consumed by the addiction. So they see love as something that must be earned or fought for lest the addiction will get most of the loaf. In doing so, they become obsessed with the "reward". Enter a limerent positive feedback loop. They are essentially "chasing the dragon" themselves. Just went they think they reach it, it slips away and their resolve becomes stronger and they will sacrifice more and more, even themselves in the process.

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