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First Time Dating After...

maybeHopeless posted 3/29/2021 11:27 AM

I (M41) was divorced in Dec 2019 and I am just starting this middle... ahem... "ideal" aged dating thing. Since my XWW was really my first love I don't have a lot of experience and now I see everything through the lens of infidelity, which makes this extremely difficult.

I am running into a lot of great, and honest people but I am seeing a troubling trend. I have dated three women, and in all cases we discussed "why are you divorced" after a few dates and all three previously cheated on their spouse. Most were ashamed and took responsibility for it in a way that makes me think they understand the pain they caused. Only one of them made an attempt at excuses for her actions.

I am still dating the third and I really like her. As I get closer to her and care for her I really am testing myself if this is something I can live with or not. Has anyone else run into this? What was your thought process on deciding whether it is something you can live with in a committed relationship? If I had seen remorse like these ladies showed in my XWW I certainly would not be divorced.

little turtle posted 3/29/2021 12:33 PM

What work has she done on herself?

grubs posted 3/29/2021 13:01 PM

You've already proven that you are strong enough to get back up again if you get knocked down. Chumbawamba playing in my head now...

No one has more destructive power than your first. Yes, this will test your ability to trust. But truthfully, any deep relationship will test that. At some point you have to trust yourself again. Trust that you will hold your boundaries on what you accept from your partner. Trust that you will see the signs. Trust that you'll be ok regardless. Only you can answer whether or not you can trust with this person. There's really only one way to find out.

FWIW, I'm pretty sure my wife had a RA while married to her ex. About 20 years back. She's not that person now and I'm ok with that.

[This message edited by grubs at 1:01 PM, March 29th (Monday)]

WhoTheBleep posted 3/29/2021 13:22 PM

What work has she done on herself?

^^^This.

I've been around here long enough, and read enough posts, to know that there are former waywards who have done major work on themselves. They are truly remorseful, do not blame their BS, and have looked at all the ugly places inside themselves that led them to choose to cheat.

Remember, the fact that someone has never cheated in the past is not indicative that they will never cheat in the future. I've read studies that state 75% of men will/have cheated on their spouse/partner, and 50% of women do/have. With those odds, you are rolling the dice no matter who you date. There's a part of me that would rather date a wayward who has done all that painful lengthy work, which is not for the faint of heart, than a person who has never cheated (and could be lying about never cheating).

Personally speaking, I've done things in my life that I am ashamed of. I dug deep, figured out what led me to those poor choices, and never repeated the behavior. Ever.

What does your gut tell you? What do you see? What do you hear? Keep your eyes and ears open. As mentioned above, you will be okay no matter what happens. Strength.

[This message edited by WhoTheBleep at 1:22 PM, March 29th (Monday)]

HalfTime2017 posted 3/29/2021 16:59 PM

Be careful Maybehopeless. Remember, when you're dating the first couple of months people are on their best behavior. So what if they seem remorseful. You've been on here long enough to know that many of the cheaters are NOT. Why do you think the people that do R are so very small compared to the number of people that don't make it. Somehow, the ones you've met all but one is remorseful and they still didn't make it? Start paying attention, not to their words but actions.

Personally, I would not date anyone that is cheater. There are just too many women in this world, and many of them are good people. I wouldn't date a cheater if given a choice. Their words of remorse can just be a bunch of rehearsed BS. Look at all the repeat Ddays on here too. Better to keep those eyes peeled brother. No one ever wants a repeated, but you're in the waters right now testing if a cheater has the ability to repeat. Again, personally, I'm unwilling to take that chance knowing there are too many choices available to singles out there.

Anna123 posted 3/29/2021 19:56 PM

I personally could not date someone who cheated on their ex. It would just always be there and I would not feel free to talk about my experiences being cheated on without being conscious of that, not that I need to talk about it but it is such a huge part of us it is going to be there.

Did they tell you they cheated after you told them you were betrayed or before? Just curious if it made a difference how they framed it.

phmh posted 3/29/2021 20:11 PM

This topic comes up regularly here, and as you can see, there are a variety of opinions on this.

Personally, I would never date a former cheater. I'm friends with former cheaters and many of them are lovely people (if you're not their partner) but there are so many good, faithful people out there that I'm not willing to take that risk.

When I was healing, I read dozens of books on human behavior, cheating, brain function, dating, etc., and the common theme was that people really can't change who they are (they can learn to control their impulses) and that personality is pretty consistent over time (especially over the age of 25). Also that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. And I was looking for books that would give me a reason to stay with my WH who was begging me to take him back, so I wasn't cherry-picking books that told me what I wanted to hear since they all told me the opposite!

Additionally (and I know this is anecdotal) every single cheater I know in real life cheated again, whether they found a new partner or stayed with their original BS. Sometimes decades later!!! I'm sure there are people who date/marry former cheaters and have a fabulous, monogamous life together. But there are also people who never save for retirement but get to live a great life in their 60s because they win the lottery.

For me, it wasn't worth the risk. If you do decide to move forward and this turns into something longer-term, please make sure to protect your assets as if she cheats on you and you have to start over in 10 years, it will be that much harder to have a good retirement if you have to give her half. So many times over the nearly decade that I've been on here, people in JFO will talk about how their WS had cheated on previous partner(s) but the BS got into a relationship anyway thinking it would be different this time. It rarely seems to be different.

BetrayedGamer posted 3/29/2021 21:21 PM

I'm in agreement on this. I don't even keep cheaters as close friends. It's a matter of character makeup, if you keep toxic around you it can rub off on you. Surround yourself with people of the same moral character, it makes life a lot less stressful. I don't care if I get matched with someone that looks like freaken Kate Beckinsale, if they cheated once I'm done.

Justsomeguy posted 3/30/2021 08:53 AM

I dated and married someone who had cheated on their ex. She was a changed woman once she saw the pain that infidelity created. Yup, she could never do that to another human being. Well, you know how that turned out...

There are a lot of bad stats out there, but I think there is quite a bit of cheating going on. I think men traditionally cheat at a higher rate, but as women move forward in terms of equality, sadly they are catching up. This is compounded with the "you deserve to be fulfilled or happy or live your best life" crap that seems to be the new message. Men have had a "you re entitled to it or you deserve it" message for millenia.


I think about 70% of cheaters do it again. So you are entering a possible relationship with a less than 30% success rate. That is, if everything else goes right. Do you take the bad odds with your one precious life?

I've often wondered what I would do if I had the, how did your marriage fail convo and was told she cheated. I would like to say check please and walk out... Funny thing. I've been asked and the look of relief on a womans face after I tell them I had never heard is palpable. I would hate to be on the other end and have to admit I cheated and was or am a ahit human. Since the convo usually happens on date #2, I wonder if they get stressed ? Oh well, I'm sure that having made the choice to cheat, betray, lie, and endanger their SOs health, they probably have no trouble lying while on a date. But then, a wise BS will vet someone thoroughly. I do.

maybeHopeless posted 4/1/2021 10:54 AM

I appreciate everyone giving their thoughts on this. Your thoughts and feelings mirror my own. I was shocked that everyone I have matched with had cheated before. I can't answer for all of them because I ended most soon after.

I've often wondered what I would do if I had the, how did your marriage fail convo and was told she cheated. I would like to say check please and walk out... Funny thing. I've been asked and the look of relief on a womans face after I tell them I had never heard is palpable. I would hate to be on the other end and have to admit I cheated and was or am a ahit human. Since the convo usually happens on date #2, I wonder if they get stressed ? Oh well, I'm sure that having made the choice to cheat, betray, lie, and endanger their SOs health, they probably have no trouble lying while on a date. But then, a wise BS will vet someone thoroughly. I do.

What work has she done on herself?

This was the third time I'd had the conversation about how both the marriages ended. I brought up what happened to me before she spilled the beans. She was very honest about it, and didn't blameshift on him very much other than to say she stayed too long and should have ended the relationship prior to doing what she did.

The work she had done on herself has been lots of IC for her, IC and group counseling with her kids and dedicating herself to church and faith. Prior to this she did not attend church. She's definitely sought atonement.

Her ex husband left the family high and dry and has not even seen his kids since. That spoke a bit about the situation for me.

BetrayedGamer posted 4/1/2021 12:12 PM

I'm surprised people even admit it on dates. I mean, just hearing the bs spewing from my Ex when she's on the phone with family/friends leads me to believe she has thoroughly convinced herself she's done nothing wrong. This guy is just a "close, supportive friend" to everyone. Our marriage ended because I was mean and unloving, the affair had nothing to do with it (she's literally said that to me).

That's the issue here, it's not the question of "will the cheater cheat on me" but more just a base moral compass, and the ability to convince oneself that even the most hurtful things can be explained away in their mind.

Karmafan posted 4/2/2021 02:04 AM

I couldn’t. For the same reasons I didn’t agree to R but went straight to D. For me it comes down to respect. Someone who not only thinks it’s OK to go behind their spouse’s back, but also employs high levels of deception to hide the whole thing, and resorts to blaming their partner for their A, I simply cannot have any respect for.

And it’s not even a matter of ‘she/he did it just the once’. We all know what a tsunami that ‘once’ can create, the devastation it can leave behind. Someone who has activated their brain circuits to justify an A to themselves, can do it again. I wouldn’t be willing to take that chance with someone I have just met.

Anna123 posted 4/2/2021 12:17 PM

She was very honest about it, and didn't blameshift on him very much other than to say she stayed too long and should have ended the relationship prior to doing what she did.

I see that as an excuse still. I guess I REALLY dislike cheaters-----

As a non-cheating woman, the option of cheating NEVER entered my brain, even though my ex could be a horrible jerk at times. I was married, that's where my thoughts ended. I could have just as likely thought of moving to Mars. Why was her response to what sounds like a horrible man to cheat on him, instead of divorce him? If it was religious then --- cheating?------ that's worse than divorce.

The one's who open themselves up to cheating, and then take the second step of acting on it, are not the same as someone who would never considerer it. They are still a person that thought that way. They are different than someone who never would, and I don't care how many people state "anyone is capable of cheating" in todays day and age. It's simply not true. (different back with arranged marriages maybe).

Sorry to be so blunt, it seems like you really like her. You are a valuable commodity out there and there are plenty of honest women that would be unable to lie at that betrayal level, expecially in order to cheat.

BetrayedGamer posted 4/2/2021 12:37 PM

The problem in life Anna123 is how to you find the cheaters before it's too late? My STBXW never showed any sort of signs until a couple of months ago. She never told me of any incident in her past where she felt the temptation, even during all the conversations about how much of a jerk her 1st husband was.

When I move on, I want to find someone with a moral compass like yours. But my latest situation makes me doubt my picker works.

phmh posted 4/2/2021 16:46 PM

When I move on, I want to find someone with a moral compass like yours. But my latest situation makes me doubt my picker works.

When I was dating, I was also shocked by how many people would outright admit their cheating. Most had excuses ("she was only into plain vanilla sex" remains one I can never unhear) I made sure to have the issue come up organically and never tell my story first so they didn't know they needed to lie.

I swear I mention this book in half of my posts, and I haven't been looking in about 6 years as I am happily partnered now, but check out "The Science of Happily Ever After" - I got it from the library. There may be better info out there now (if you check the reviews for that book, you may get other recommendations). The author summarizes a bunch of studies that have been done and lists traits to beware of and traits to covet in a partner. I credit this book with helping me to realize what's important in a partner and what isn't, and a big part of the reason why I am in the healthiest and happiest relationship of my life.

AnnieOakley posted 4/3/2021 09:24 AM

Ph~

Because of your mentions I got the book finally in January. My joy of reading has greatly suffered in the pandemic so I just started it a few weeks ago but am finding it very interesting!

When I was dating, I was also shocked by how many people would outright admit their cheating. Most had excuses ("she was only into plain vanilla sex" remains one I can never unhear) I made sure to have the issue come up organically and never tell my story first so they didn't know they needed to lie.

My first ever OLD efforts also were dismal at best due to the pandemic...I’ve not had anyone admit cheating. But it seems like they end up asking pretty quickly why my marriage ended. So I answer honestly, with minimal details. And either return the question or change the subject. So would you just beat them to the punch and ask first? I have heard a few times about the alcoholic spouse now. 🤷🏼‍♀️

phmh posted 4/3/2021 11:46 AM

With the caveat that I am certainly no dating expert and I have been with the same guy for over 5 years now, so I have not had any first date experiences in a long time....

But it seems like they end up asking pretty quickly why my marriage ended. So I answer honestly, with minimal details. And either return the question or change the subject. So would you just beat them to the punch and ask first?

From what I can recall, I'd answer something like "he had a girlfriend" (honestly, with minimal details, as you say) but not go on and on about how against cheating I am. It usually did come up pretty organically - I may have asked first at some point. I do know that people can lie about it, but that's why it was important to me to watch actions also. And look for honesty/actions meeting words in every encounter.

As an example: I would have said my WXH had no red flags for cheating. But, he was trying to get me to go out with him (I didn't want to date a coworker) and he knew I was a runner, so he used to mention running to me "after this shift, I'm going to go for a run" or make a comment about how great he felt after his run that morning. After I took him on a 7 mile run on one of our first dates (that nearly killed him) where it became obvious that he wasn't a runner, he confessed that he just pretended to run so that I would like him. This is a huge red flag and I never should have continued a relationship with a liar. 20 year old me felt flattered that he liked me so much he did this. But it was a peek into his true character. Early on, it is so easy to dismiss red flag indicating major character flaws. Someone who has such a casual relationship with the truth and lies to get what they want = not someone who I want to be in a relationship with, and also someone with red flags for being a cheater.

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