DEAR ABBY: “Paul” and I have been dating for about 10 months. He is wonderful. He is going through a divorce because throughout his 20-year marriage, he was unfaithful to his wife. Paul swears he will never cheat on me because I am exactly what he has been looking for.
Paul’s friends are cheaters too, and frankly, I’m worried he will eventually stray, no matter what he says now.
Recently Paul asked me to move in with him. I am 32 and he is 46. Do you think because he is older now he will really be able to change? LOVING AN EX-CHEATER
DEAR LOVING: No, I do not. And birds of a feather flock together. Listen to your intuition. Instead of moving in, move on. —Abby
Hi Loving: Re: “He is going through a divorce…” Do you know for certain the papers have been filed? You’re dealing with a skilled con artist, one who attracts and mirrors equally skilled cons, women who lie as much as he does, who unconsciously set life up to be conned. In other words, it could be said that you are conning the con for what appears to be personal gratification, however, upon closer examination you will discover you are using him to support you in completing your relationship with someone else.
This whole incident is about you getting caught for some earlier con. It’s unbecoming of you to be relating with a boy who is not ready for a relationship. He obviously needs extensive therapy simply to become a man of principle.
Anyone who unconsciously intends (enables and empowers) the abuse prevalent in a relationship heading for divorce can be thought of as a vulture. For you to think that he is any-the-less-abusive than his wife reveals your ignorance. In any dispute both are equally the cause and victim. There are no exceptions to this fundamental relationship principle. That you don’t know this, and that you are empowering one side in a raging battle, (worse yet, rewarding with your presence and comfort) indicates that you have a similar abusive incident in your life which you have yet to complete through to mutual satisfaction.
Re: “He is going through a divorce because…” Herein is proof of your addiction to conning and being conned. The "because," the reason he (or she) gives for what’s happening, is merely a reason. Reasons are what the mind uses to cover up the truth. “Unfaithful” is just one of many symptoms of their illness. That you would buy into his reason indicates that you, like her, are addicted to eliciting and rewarding lies. You are in need of as much therapy as each of them.
Re: “He is wonderful.” You are having a relationship with his “wonderful act” just as he is having a relationship with your “naïve act.” You pretend you don’t know how much it grieves his wife to know he’s dating you. Depending upon the agreement between them, no matter what he says, he may be cheating on her and you at the same time. This disregard for a sister’s grief will come back on you tenfold when you’re going through your split/divorce. The test is to ask if you can have his permission to call her and ask if it’s OK to date him now. Depending upon his response, and her response, you’ll know what’s so. He may simply tell you that he has unilaterally divorced her, no matter her feelings, in which case you will have a good sense of what to expect when you two split. In other words, abuse is when you communicate or relate in such a way as to detract from another's aliveness. Keep in mind that he may have so mistreated her that she will never ever support his relationship with you or anyone simply because she doesn’t want vultures to win in her universe and her blaming mind thinks he doesn’t deserve happiness. It’s possible that she stole him from another sister, you might just be serving as her karma.
Re: “because I am exactly what he has been looking for” to include, lonely, controllable, unethical. This kind of thinking requires that you do not grow. You must stay as you are else you’ll no longer be “exactly” what he was/is looking for. What he doesn’t know is that you are his mirror; the difference is, you have mastered an “integrity act.” That is to say, you cheat and lie equally as much as he does, you just do it differently, with different issues and agreements. Once he discovers that you are he, he will not like you either. How could he possibly respect and admire a woman who would support him in treating his wife as he is?
BTW: The truth from him would be:
"I honestly don't know if I will be faithful to you. I believe so, but I never thought I'd cheat on her either. I haven't gotten to the source of my addiction. I'm concerned because my addiction compliments your addiction, that of being attracted to a person with a track record of lying and cheating. I'm such a con that I may be conning myself and you right this minute."
Re: “Loving a cheater.” What you’re calling love ain’t it. The experience of love is doubt-free. In a truly loving relationship there are no trust issues. Considerations are communicated openly and honestly and therefore are nipped in the bud. That you are writing says you are both doing your imitation of communication with each other. If you were in communication with him you would shared your considerations with him which would have allowed you to see the truth.
Re: “Paul’s friends are cheaters too“ They cheat and support him in cheating, however, they are not “friends.” They have a vested interest in him being (and staying) just like them with their collective attitudes towards women, agreements, integrity, and abuse. An honest person could not maintain his/her integrity for long in their clique.
Now here’s the sad part. It’s not that you won’t take my advice, you simply can’t, such is your addiction to abuse. Your letter is merely an essential part of the ongoing downhill drama of your life. The circumstances aren't bad enough yet to move you to get therapy. However, for some readers, here’s what you would have to be willing to do in order to have the relationship work as you say you’d like.
- 1) Get certainty. Get his permission to call her to get permission and support to be dating him prior to the divorce date. Verify that the papers have been filed and that she will be signing them.
2) Insist that he no longer see (interact with) his friends except that each one has (each that he wishes to continue to interact with) completed 25 hours of individual therapy. Do you see how unlikely it is that he could /would do this? Trying to change someone is unethical, it is not love.
3) Have him agree to not interact with his ex (except for logistics) until she also has completed 25 hours of counseling (she’s as much an addict and cause in this matter as is he and you. Remember she also attracted him, intended his infidelity (classic victim act) and rewarded his abuse; it's possible that she is programmed to unconsciously intend (read psychically hex) him to cheat on you so as to be right that he was to blame).
4) Most importantly, whether you stay with him or not, make an agreement with yourself to complete 25 hours of therapy/counseling.
You have to be committed to meaning what you say and to supporting others in meaning what they say. With him, you need to tell him that if he has a conversation with even one of his friends or his ex before any have completed therapy, that it will be the same as him insisting that you stay away from him—there will be absolutely no second chance. You see what I’m saying? Because you can’t/won’t issue the ultimatum to him you are destined to not win in relationships yet.
For more about the ground of being of the “ultimatum” read about the Community Support Group Project.
Do write back in a few years to let us know how you handled things. Thank you, Gabby