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If, how, and when do you ask about infidelity?

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Justsomeguy posted 8/10/2020 21:07 PM

I and 2 years S and 5 months single from my first post M relationship. I sort of fell I to that one and it was a rollercoaster to say the least. I gave myself 6 months to heal and then do a reevaluation of my healing. I'm not sure if I'm ready to date, but my best friend is giving me shit for being so closed to the idea, so I am considering it.

I am a guy who lives in his head, so I read and I research. I will not, and I mean will not date a former cheater any more than I would allow a former sec offender to sit my kids. The research on recidivism is pretty solid on once a cheater... and I am too screwed up after the last one.

What I am asking is if, how, and when do you bring it up? After how much time? I've read some shitty advice on other boards about the past remaining in the past and it's none of my business. After I threw up in my mouth and hit the back button, I figured this is literally the most trusted forum anywhere and has centuries of combined experience. So have at it. Both barrels.

apache posted 8/10/2020 21:35 PM

If you're doing online dating, I'd be very tempted to gently put it in your profile.

Ichthus posted 8/10/2020 21:36 PM

I say ask whenever you want. Their answer will not be sufficient. What I mean, if they say never, you are still going to wonder. (as you should) Trust has to be proven. if you find yourself believing whatever they tell you, then you need to do some more work on yourself.

I am in a relationship for the past year and it took me about 8 months of talking almost everyday before I started to really trust her, but I will never completely trust anyone ever again 100%.... more like 99%

messyleslie posted 8/10/2020 21:37 PM

I am not dating or even trying to date (Iím still married although we have been separated such a long time that I think once the papers are signed I will be more ready than the average person signing divorce papers) - but Iíve thought about dating quite a bit. And the point I sort of get to is that Iím not interested in playing by rules or any games. Iím a broken individual and anyone who wants to date me will need to see the beauty and strength in that. I have absolutely zero time and energy to give to someone who isnít at the same point with sharing their shit. Iím the type who will want to know the story of how their marriage broke up if they are divorced early on and I will share mine and so forth.

So I guess what Iím trying to say is that there should not be a rule and if you say ďhey we have gone on two dates and I like you and would like a third but my marriage broke up because my ex cheated and Iím unwilling to spend any time in a relationship with someone who has been unfaithful in any relationship before - so if thatís you can you let me know so we donít waste time?Ē And if she is like yeah too intense no thanks - that seems like a fairly good filter for someone you wouldnít want to date anyways.

JanaGreen posted 8/10/2020 22:08 PM

But the thing of it is - liars gonna lie.

I'm sure my ex hasn't told his fiancee the things he did to me.

I think all you can do is just be open to trust, but keep your eyes open. Pay attention to your gut.

Chili posted 8/10/2020 22:38 PM

I hear you Justsomeguy - you're looking to protect yourself from ever being with a cheater again. Completely valid. But pretty difficult to ever know for certain.

And I think you have to define your boundaries for yourself. Did they do a two-time-boyfriend thing in 7th grade? Is that a deal-breaker? Or does it tell you something about their honesty if they're responding to your question of, "Have you ever been unfaithful?"

As Jana said - listen to your gut. When you talk about how previous long-term relationships ended - watch and listen carefully how they respond. It will probably reveal a lot about their character in general actually.

Phoenix1 posted 8/11/2020 02:03 AM

When XSO and I met, I asked him to tell me in five words or less why his 23 year marriage ended. It wasn't infidelity, BTW. Then I told him my answer, "I didn't like his girlfriends."

That was a lighthearted way of getting that out of the way. As time went on, we shared more and I made it clear cheating was a dealbreaker for me.

Everything was going well. Then, after 6.5 years he wasn't feeling it and we broke up rather suddenly. I found out he was seeing someone else.

The point of my story is that you can establish all the boundaries you want (and should!), but there are no guarantees it won't happen. You have to take comfort in knowing if it does happen again, you are strong enough to walk away and survive. Because you are just that, a survivor.

BentandBroken posted 8/11/2020 04:36 AM

During our COVID shut down, a friend suggested I put up an O.L.D. profile to stick my toes in the water. I had a list of fun and funny snippets in my profile, but I also put this: "Do not contact me if you have cheated on your significant other, unless it's to lament your poor choices and discuss how to help your partner heal."

I have since taken my profile down - not really ready for dating - but I had online conversations with a few guys and when the topic turned to past relationships, I always asked how and why they ended. Twice the guys asked me if I had ever cheated. I took that as a good sign because clearly it was a dealbreaker for them.

That said, my xWH was cheated on by his first wife, knew I was cheated on by my 1st xWH, swore he was not that guy, yet here we are.

Okokok posted 8/11/2020 08:43 AM

Lots of good advice and perspective here.

My additional advice to you would be this: ask them in the way that feels natural to you, sure, but don't just take their words at face value. Be smart, keep your eyes open, know your boundaries and stick to them.

That can be tough. In my one and only long-term relationship since my marriage ended, I naturally had the conversation sometime within the first three dates. I was met with an emphatic "no," never cheated, the marriage ended for a multitude of other reasons.

Of course, I'm back here on the old infidelity website.

In retrospect and now having been able to put alllll the shitty pieces together, I can see that chances are her relationship with her ex-husband ended in much the same way that it would later end with me: she started getting close to (perhaps even sleeping with) a coworker, and then she told her husband she wanted a divorce.

I now am very confident that her relationship with that coworker ended in the same way: she started sleeping with me, and then she ended things with him.

And then, of course, she started up with another dude while she and I were still together, and then suddenly *we* were done.


I realize that's a big aside, but I wanted to share it as a cautionary tale.

Again, in retrospect, I can see that some of those red flags were already there from the very start of my relationship with her, but somehow I liked her too much to see them or take them seriously. I can now look back and see that at least one thing she told me right at the beginning was basically a lie, and I can see that if I had really had my eyes open, I would have been able to see that she wasn't *quite* done with her last guy when she started seeing me.

Feels silly to type out, but it's really true. Somehow my brain didn't process what it was seeing.

In short: talk about these things early, but process everything explicitly and with eyes wide open.

Ichthus posted 8/11/2020 09:37 AM

"Do not contact me if you have cheated on your significant other, unless it's to lament your poor choices and discuss how to help your partner heal."

I really liked this

heartbrokeninNC posted 8/11/2020 11:16 AM

"Do not contact me if you have cheated on your significant other, unless it's to lament your poor choices and discuss how to help your partner heal."

Is it okay to borrow this? Working on a generic profile right now.

NeverTwice posted 8/11/2020 11:38 AM

Hi Justsomeguy,

What a fantastic question! Having just started dating - literally last Friday night - I decided to bring it up right at the very beginning. We actually met each other at a mutual friend's home during a small pool party and BBQ. And we are both on the same page as far as infidelity is concerned. It is a deal breaker - no exceptions - for us both.

And that definitely helps me feel more comfortable with her. And I like some of the other's advice to put something in your OLD profile to filter out some of the scum.

Good luck in the dating world - keep us updated!! I want to be hearing a happy dating story in the near future - because you SO deserve it!

Anna123 posted 8/11/2020 11:58 AM

You actually don't need to bring it up. It will come out in their reason for their divorce, in a second hand way. If it's a bit wishy-washy, going separate ways, that is something to be wary of. If ex was 'crazy', they are probably at least a jerk or a cheater. (unless they were actually diagnosed by a doctor type of crazy). For me as a woman, if the man moved far away from the children after marriage, that's a bad sign. You can also tell by their story of any relationships after the marriage. Wishy washy, or the same story every time? Also, do they ever tell a story of when they told someone something that was not true? Even as a joke? Just little white lies? How do they talk about other people? This is all a way to tell the character of the person, which is what we really want to ascertain, not simply the line of cheater/non-cheater.

Another thing is when your time comes up to tell your reason for divorce, how do they react? What questions do they ask? Do they even ask questions? If not, bad sign. To many questions that don't make sense in some way? Bad sign too.

You can also go to public records in some counties and check divorce time-line records, new home purchases. If they are too close together, not good.

Good luck and enjoy the journey.

Justsomeguy posted 8/11/2020 11:59 AM

Thank you for the responses. I agree, there are no guarantees, but what there is can be beat described as a risk assessment. I have never cheated because I would feel absolutely horrible about it. Yes, it is possible for me to cheat, but extremely unlikely based on my reluctance to do it in the past.

All things being equal, a person who has given themselves permission to do this before, most likely has all of the character faults still firmly in place for a repeat performance. Just cause you super promise to drive more carefully after your accident, your rates still go up.

And yes, I do want to protect myself. This whole process has almost destroyed me and I dont think I can survive it again. I would love to have a deep and meaningful relationship again, but I also recognize my picker is broken.

As for lying, I would end a new relationship over a lie like this. I walked out on a 27 year marriage, what would make a woman think I would stick around after dating a few months? I'm worth too much to myself for that. Plus, because of my career, I know hundreds of people and thousands know me in this town. Makes for a weird dating world, but on the flip side, people come up to me and tell me things. Word always gets to me eventually, so I enjoy a form of passive vetting I guess.

In the end, it comes down to self worth. I am a very good man. I've got some baggage, but at the core, I have honour and dignity. I will only settle for a person of equal character. And since at 53, I'm getting long in the tooth, I just dont have the time or the energy to waste with an ex WS who feels super bad about destroying someone in the past.

I think the trick for me will be learning to take it slow. I am trying to be more objective and rely on my sister for advice. I've also started to journal my concerns about new relationships as the come up, to create a sort of list that I can objectively consider as I tend to edit out red flags. This has really helped.

On a side note, my STBXWW gives me snippets of her status and state of mind. I think she is under the impression that I actually give a shit about what happens to her. Anyway, she did hop onto a dating App right away (my city wide intelligence network informed me...🤣 but it did not go well. Afterwards, she was very bitter. He was in the same field as me and close to my age. My assumption is that "the question" came up and he walked. Most likely another former BA. I would be surprised if she was honest about it, but I have warned her about spreading a false narrative about me as she has falsely said I was an abusive husband before. Someone came up to me and told me. I intelligence network again. Gotta love being a respected member of the community vs a cheater... Anyhow, I shut that down with a warning that I would launch all the nukes next time I even got whiff of a lie. I also told her to go and correct the story with everyone she talked to.

Shit this is long. Sorry. In the end, I'm scared of dating. I am hanging onto to the stats that say only 18-20% of women cheat, soas to give me hope of finding a good and honourable partner to journey with before I die. I really would hate to either be alone or just have a series of meaningless sexual escapades. I would see that as a wasted life. Intimacy is huge for me, in all its forms.

Sorry for the rant.

twicefooled posted 8/11/2020 12:48 PM

There are no guarantees. And once I became OK with the idea that fidelity of others is completely out of my control, I started working on my "why's" for dating.

I ask right away. I will not waste time on a second date if I'm not satisfied with their mindset in terms of fidelity.

I'm dating because I enjoy companionship and sex. But it doesn't define me. I will be perfectly content to never marry or live with another man again. However, I'm also open to the idea of marrying or living with the right person at the right time.

I've had 2 relationships end, in the past 6yrs, and neither was due to infidelity. I was sad for a bit but my full life continued moving on.

Remember, a cheater isn't a reflection of you or your worth - it's a reflection of THEIR worth. If a future partner cheats on me, I have no problems showing them the door without a backwards look. For me, I have NEVER cheated on anyone, so I know that there are men out there that have also never cheated.

[This message edited by twicefooled at 12:49 PM, August 11th (Tuesday)]

phmh posted 8/11/2020 19:30 PM

I highly recommend not putting anything explicit in your dating profile or saying something like "my ex cheated on me and I don't tolerate it" because you are giving a cheater/sociopath a blueprint for how to con you.

Instead, within the first few dates, try to bring it up in a non-judgmental way, like by asking how previous relationships ended but not leading the witness.

Granted, I have been with SO for almost 5 years, so haven't been on OLD in nearly 6, but I did meet over 60 guys off of OLD. It was shocking to me at the time how many cheaters would fess up to their cheating when asked why their relationship ended. It seems to me based on my experience that a lot of cheaters don't feel any shame for their behavior - of course they had to because the sex was vanilla, or they reconnected with an old girlfriend, or they got drunk and found someone hotter at the bar (all excuses I heard). I'm pretty sure had I clearly stated that I wasn't looking to date anyone who had cheated, they wouldn't have told me about their past. Because they would know that I find something wrong with cheating, even if they don't. And since cheaters are liars, they'll happily lie about their past if they think they can snare someone.

I also highly recommend the book "The Science of Happily Ever After" which is an easy to read compendium of studies that have been done on relationships. I read it 5+ years ago, and people who cheat tend to have other unsavory personality characteristics. This book helped me understand what was important (and, perhaps more importantly, what was not important) in a life partner. Had I not read this book, I likely would have broken things off with my SO after our first out of town trip together (because of minor irritations) instead of just realizing that minor personality quirks are things that everyone has and that what's really important - well, he ticked all of those boxes and continues to tick them nearly 5 years later.

JanaGreen posted 8/11/2020 22:20 PM

you are giving a cheater/sociopath a blueprint for how to con you.

This right here. Yup yup yup

Anna123 posted 8/12/2020 09:27 AM

I am hanging onto to the stats that say only 18-20% of women cheat

I think it is much higher. In the heterosexual world, every time a man cheats, it is with a woman who is either cheating, or is single knowing she's with a married man. Also, out of curiosity I did a poll once on another site that asked how many OW's were married. Almost all of them were.

Here is the thing. Cheating as we know does not happen in a bubble. You will know whether this person is honorable in little ways. Do they return extra change at the store? Do they say snide things about other people? Do they get pleasure in 'messing' with other people when the others are unaware, even in little joking ways? Are they super judgmental where they think they are superior to others? Do they tell you to just "tell so and so such and such" when it isn't the truth on small things? They will be more inclined to do it on big things. I may missed out on otherwise good relationships but if a man I date doesn't shine of being honorable, it not only makes me nervous, it just isn't attractive.

LoveTKO posted 8/12/2020 12:42 PM

I think the trick for me will be learning to take it slow.

I think this is your best bet.. Focus on yourself for awhile and do things that you like to do.

I started going to a local open mic - something I used to do with STBXWH but he decided he didn't want to go anymore and I didn't go alone. After Dday I did - I still had a couple of friends there I could sit with and feel "safe" with and I could enjoy the live music. After a few months, I started making some new friends, both male and female and after a false R and separation, I eventually met a nice man I've been dating ever since through this circle (he wasn't part of the open mic crowd but friends of his were). It helped to know of his reputation before going out with him.

Another friend of mine met her SO after being in a ski club for a couple of years - a passion of her's.

Go out and have fun doing what you like to do and focus on that for awhile. Expand your circle. You deserve it. BTW, I'm 59. I was 54 on Dday. And I never asked about cheating but it came out that he never did. It would've been a dealbreaker for me too. I also couldn't believe the number of people at the open mic that have been cheated on - mostly men. What is wrong with people? It's refreshing to hear that integrity isn't dead - at least at SI

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 11:12 AM

Between my H divorcing me because I had an affair and us getting back together, I was in a relationship for about a year and a half. The guy asked me, during a phone conversation prior even to our first date, why I was divorced. I told the truth. He was an XBH whose XW had left him for the OM. But anyway, I think asking why the woman is divorced, or if never married how did other LTRs end, is fine. That being said, I donít know how common it is to get the truth. I was honest because I didnít want to start a potential new relationship out with a lie, but Iím sure there are lots of women who just donít care about that. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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