Two years ago, before the pandemic, I was dating a man who lives in another city but had to come to my city for his work as a salesman.
A mutual friend had given him my contacts, and he sounded very interesting during our chats. We also communicated online and while he was a bit overweight, he was good-looking in a sexy way. He also had a great sense of humour.
We had a couple of dinners together, and the next time he was in town we had sex at his hotel. We were both in our early 40s, divorced and had kids. So, neither of us were thinking whether this would last or lead to something serious over time, or any other dreamscapes.
But I did like him and enjoy his company and he certainly seemed to feel the same way. He introduced me to his closest friend who lives in my city. When with me, whether at a movie or a restaurant, he always sat close to me, squeezing my arm or my hand. He gave me a lovely feeling of being attractive and desired.
When he had to go overseas for a couple of weeks, he said he’d miss talking to me as he’d be very busy. When he returned, he was in town and at my door the minute I said I was home alone (my kids with their father).
He seemed awkward, sat apart from me. That’s when I knew he hadn’t travelled alone. When confronted, he admitted that he had a steady girlfriend in his city and they’d made the trip together as a “vacation.”
I felt such a fool.
I’m a grownup and could forgive myself (and him, too, “sort-of”) for the couple of sexual encounters. But I was never a “player,” and realized that he was. It felt degrading even though he assured me he “liked” me a lot. But he’d been dishonest with me, so I ended contact.
About six months later he called to say one thing that’s left me questioning such relationships to this day. He said, “We’re too old to give up on being friends when we had such good times together and respect for each other.”
Bull? Another come-on he uses to keep someone available when he’s in another city?
I’d heard that he married his girlfriend. But he was alone for dinner the next time he was in my city and called me from the restaurant. I went there to meet him, just to show I was as mature as he about “friendships.”
He started playing footsie with my shoe. I got up and left.
My question: What makes a person of good intellect and successful work/home life, married to someone he/she clearly loves, purposefully cheat whenever there’s a chance... even seek to cheat?
The “Footsie” Signal
Some call it the “once a cheater” (always a cheater) syndrome. Those who get away with it a few times start to think they’ll never get caught. Or they stop caring if they’re discovered as cheats because they know there are more opportunities ahead.
What’s sad is the disrespect these serially unfaithful types (all genders) show to the people who truly care for them, including their spouses, partners and children.
It often gets revealed eventually. They get smug, take chances, their flagrant adulteries revealed, with partners left devastated, furious, at a loss to understand and sometimes even blaming themselves.
Reader’s Commentary - Regarding the young couple that eloped, then the husband cheated on his wife in a blatant affair (July 24):
“After 10 years of staying in a common-law-relationship, I am finally able to leave a cheater. After confronting him, he admitted his affair as being what met his needs.
“He still says he loves me and wants us to stay together. My answer to him was No, I said that enough is enough.
“Why do people think that it is okay to have sex with others and then say it is okay, when they’re in a marriage or relationship?”
Ellie - It’s similar to the previous question: If cheaters can get away with it, they continue. They also delude themselves that no one gets hurt. This ignores the fact that their actual partners are often left alone, feeling neglected, lonely, and even blaming themselves.
Good for you for moving on!
Tip of the day:
Life experience in dating teaches strong lessons about who/what to trust in new relationships. Stay alert to signals from new people, especially those who move fast and up close.