This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Infidelity: 3 indicators that it could happen to you

News of pro golfer Tiger Woods' "transgressions" has spread like wildfire, which, as anyone with an internet connection knows, is the case with all celebrity downfalls.

Obviously, the guy's embarrassed that his alleged infidelities have been made public. Of course, it helps if you: a) don't cheat in the first place; or b) don't get caught by your wife who is wielding your favorite golf club at you as you make your escape in the Escalade. If you do the latter, especially, it's kinda your own fault that your private matter turned public. And whining about it doesn't really help; it only adds to the problem.

What might help is if you realize ahead of time infidelity really CAN be avoided. Some psychologists say it's so. Even though I've been cheated on myself, I think that's true. But when it happens, it's a real confidence BUSTER--completely opposite of what we've been discussing this week. Surely when the cheater gets caught, which is inevitable, that can't help his (or her) confidence much, either.

So to turn this "news" that just won't go away into something that is actually useable (Gossip generally isn't), I thought I'd share some of what I learned because of my own experience with infidelity. Let me be clear: I don't take ownership of what my ex did, not at all. He has to own that. I do, however, take ownership of what I didn't do to help prevent it--and most of that has to do with my choice of a mate in the first place.

Here are the three indicators I learned to watch out for--and caution you about, especially if you haven't yet married your sweetheart:

1) Before you even get married, before you even start dating, be clear about who you are and what you want from a life partner. I wasn't clear on any of that (didn't even know I should be) and wound up marrying someone who I suspected early on was not right for me. I even wrote about this in my diary. But I couldn't "see" any clear signs that anything was wrong, and I wanted to believe in the "fairytale." So I married him, anyway. It wasn't till after I decided to divorce him that I realized I hadn't been trusting my gut feelings. They are there to protect you, and I had been ignoring them. Decide what you need from a mate, and make sure the mate you find can provide that for you, within reason, of course.

2) When the man you're dating tells you he cheated on his wife, pay attention to what he's really telling you. In fact, realize that he's giving you an out right from the start. Without even realizing it, he's telling you about who he really is. This is the type of guy you don't want to call again. This is the type of guy I married. He gave me excuses about why he behaved this way, and I fell for his excuses. I didn't hear what he was really saying. Instead, I believed he was wronged by his first wife. I heard his victimhood, his pain, and I wanted to fix it, since she didn't. WARNING: Whenever you feel the need to fix someone else, that means the person who really needs fixing is you. Take care of your broken parts. Leave someone else's broken parts alone. They are not yours to heal.

3) Choose the life partner who is emotionally attached. If your future mate gives you any indication that he or she cannot relate on an emotional level, end the relationship now. This person has issues. And you might have a few of your own, otherwise, why else are you attracted to someone who cannot--or will not--be there for you? If you hear yourself saying, "But his family is the same way. They just don't do feelings," watch out! You'll wind up doing enough feelings for all of you put together! That, my friends, is called co-dependency, and it's the last thing you want to be in a relationship. It's a surefire way to infidelity--and a lot of excuses to get you there.

Agree, disagree, or do you have anything to add?


Beth Terry said...

Bravo! Brilliant and a great recap.

One thing I'd like to add: In the past decade or so, men have been offering lame excuses like: "We are hardwired to cheat." or "A man is only as faithful as his options." or "When a beautiful woman offers herself to him, a man just can't help himself. It's how he's made. Later he regrets it." And my personal favorite BS line: "Really, it has NOTHING to do with his woman!"

When a man says any of those things, he's admitting that he is weak; has no self control; is at the effect of everyone else; and is incapable of acting like an adult.

We don't accept excuses from our kids if they steal candy from a store "because it was there." Adults in committed relationships should be able to make an intelligent choice that serves their primary relationship, no matter what the temptation. Telling each other that they are just hard-wired to cheat is nonsense and beneath them. Be a MAN. Or be alone.

BIKE LADY said...

Be a MAN. Or be alone. Love that! Thanks for visiting and commenting, Beth. "Really, it has NOTHING to do with his woman!"? True. It may be BS in the way he's using the line, but it's true.

Ulrike said...

Ha, ha, I wondered how long it would be before Tiger Woods would creep up in a blog, with 'creep' being the operative word. Good on her using his golf clubs to give him his come-uppance!
Anyway, I have been married for 20 years, happily, but we both know, and knew from the start, that any kind of 'transgression' on either side would lead to an immediate end of the relationship.
There isn't a single excuse for unfaithfulness, unless you are heading for a divorce anyway. If there is no trust, what do you have? Nothing.
Just my two cents...

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell said...

Good post, Jackie. Very helpful insight to some who are trying to overlook the obvious.

BIKE LADY said...

Ulrike, thanks for coming back. I know another couple that told me they actually had a conversation about this, which I've blogged about before. They agreed NOT to disrespect each other in this way. If one of them thought they might, they'd discuss it first. I never had that conversation with my ex, never thought I'd need it. The whole experience has made me live a much more conscious life, thus the BIKE. That's a good thing.

Jennifer Fink said...

Excellent tips, Jackie.

kerry dexter said...

so what are good things for a friend to say or do when this happens to someone you care about?

BIKE LADY said...

That's a tough question, Kerry. For one thing, when the person first finds out, shock takes over. No one expects this to happen. And if it does, it's such a betrayal that it takes as long as it takes to deal with it. And it's so personal that I'm not sure I have an answer for you. Some people--no matter if man or woman--have difficulty accepting it. I would suggest, if this is a friend of yours, that you let that friend be your guide. If it's a guy, I'd encourage that friend to find a MALE friend to go to for consolation and advice. If you go to the opposite sex for advice, that can easily lead to more trouble, inadvertently. Is your friend asking for advice? I'd let that be the clue. Other than that, I'd certainly encourage your friend to seek professional help from a counselor. Hope this helps.

Alexandra Grabbe said...

Very good advice in this post. I like the way you used Tiger's situation. Some infidelities young people do not see coming, like me, for instance. In retrospect, I realize my ex-husband's affair did more harm than I realized at the time. Back thirty years, it destroyed trust. Long-term, it changed the way our children approached their own lives ... I will be back to read your earlier posts and look forward to it.

Joanne said...

Great post, Jackie...and a great way to look objectively at a situation. I think a lot of people are so mired in a relationship that they just can't see what's happening, or what could happen.

Right now I'm a spectator of multiple affairs - a guy I know cheated on his wife with a woman who was cheating on her husband. Now he's getting divorced, was cruel to the girlfriend, and has a new girlfriend who was seeing a married man for 6 years. It just makes me wonder why they all got married in the first place.