How to Avoid Marrying a Cheater
Is it possible to see betrayal coming? Some red flags are not as obvious as others. For example, if you discover that your man gets drunk with his mother and parties with his last girlfriend, or if your bride just got out of jail for prostitution and has to breathe into a breathalyzer to start her car, well, those example seem like obvious red flags.
Are there clear, though less obvious, red flags to warn us (although the above red flags are missed by many!)? When we spot the red flags, what should we do? And once we learn of betrayal (in a marriage or in any committed relationship), what should our next step be?
I have a flat rock on my bathroom counter that says, “Relax.” It really helps me to relax! But it doesn’t give me much wisdom about such matters, and that’s what I want to give you now. In my counseling office, discussing these real world situations with people who love God is not uncommon. You may even need to know about Glue Heads and Gibbers!
Those who would be unfaithful are experts at “gibbing.” Have you ever heard of gibbing? This is what gibbing is: Let’s say I’m working in my office and then a brick flies threw the window, barely missing my head. I rush outside to try to catch the offender. What do you know! There’s a young man leaning against the outside wall of my office, and he’s standing next to a pile of bricks. I ask the boy, “Did you throw that brick through my window?” He responds, “I’m just standing here.”
Well, I guess he’s telling the truth, right? But he didn’t answer my question! No one could doubt that he’s the most likely culprit. Yet his words tell a different story – the boy tells only half a story. And we all know that a half truth is a whole lie. The boy denies that he’s lying, but “he’s gibbing.” Sound familiar to some of you? I bet!
I have some therapist friends who kid me because I’m often the last to spot a person who has a Borderline Personality Disorder. Someone with BPD is often charming, but has few friends, can have wild mood swings, may swing from extreme happiness (or spending or a sex spree) to suicidality, can put someone on a pedestal and then put them under the pedestal, and blames others for everything, among other characteristics. I don’t think that’s true anymore, that I can’t spot them, but this much I know. I’m usually the first to spot someone who is gibbing!
Gibbing is sort of like when the wife asks the husband what he liked best about his trip to France, and he says, “I’m exhausted from many hours on the plane” (from Asia).
Other gibbing situations: What were you doing to six in the AM? “I got home at five -thirty!”
“What were you doing with your friends all night?” “But we got to Magic’s house by midnight!”
But let me tell you about the man who was almost poisoned to death and whose wife had sexual relationships with minors in other countries. This wife went on several business trips a year. Money wasn’t a concern. Sticker prices on her prey were low. And as the months went by, the sicker the husband became, the less of a concern many things became.
Somehow the husband found a receipt from a city in Asia that didn’t make sense, as his faithful one was supposed to be in Paris. As he kept close track of many more receipts, the pieces of the puzzle began to fit neatly together. More serious than being stumped by a word jumble, the wife simply was often somewhere other than where she said she was!
As he called many telephone numbers, he finally discovered some “middle men” who hook adults up with teenage boys and girls for sex. When the wife returned from a trip to Asia – with visions of frolicking with underage Asians dancing in her head – he confronted his wife… who became irate, of course. “How could you think such a thing!” “I thought I KNEW you when I married you!” “It’s always the other person’s fault, right?” “When was the last time we had sex?” “What have you been telling the children?”
Sound familiar? None of the questions are getting answered. Sound like gibbing?
Believe it or not, I’ve counseled adult couples who have married before deciding that neither of them could stay out drunk with their friends till 6 AM. Nothing is harder than counseling that couple: The wife, for example, is upset that the husband plays pool, stays drunk all night with his guy “friends,” and often doesn’t get home till after the sun is coming up. But his activity was the same before the marriage. Also, she didn’t even mind that there was a stripper at the bachelor party. After all, she thought, “Boys will be boys.”
In such a case, neither partner had a set of criteria for what kind of person they would like to marry, or else they viewed marriage as simply an extended childhood that would somehow help them to mature and have fulfilling lives. Surely the partner would turn into the parent they never had, right?!!
But let’s assume that you are a high functioning person whose thoughts rule over your emotions. You’re one of those people who have criteria, or positive expectations – even values! Let’s assume that your five friends are also high functioning folks. Well, hanging out with them increases your perceptive abilities. Do you want to spot these red flag fakers or not?
Well, if you want to spot them, your confidence will build as you have fun spotting them! For example, what can be more fun than spotting liars without them knowing that they’re already dead relationship meat? Discuss this with your friends, and then make it a matter of prayer between you and God alone. You already know that God doesn’t want to see you thrown under the bus, right?
When you’re dealing with someone who lies to you and betrays you, sometimes even as he betroths you, lies eventually surface. That is simply a factoid. Don’t you love factoids? They are solid ground!
Back in 1596, a character of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” said, “The truth will out.” And then even back three thousand years, King Solomon who wrote 3,000 proverbs (which are sayings of wisdom) said, “A fool exposes his folly.” That’s an eternal truth that you can depend on. It’s an actual factoid!Here’s a great illustration of that truth.
Only a few decades ago, a housing complex was completed. Ten years later, tires started to pop out of the ground. Now why was that? As it turns out, the development was constructed on a landfill, which was full of tires. We didn’t know it at the time, but you can’t bury tires. They’ll always pop right out of the ground, propelled by the gradual push and pull of the movement of the earth. That’s why we see so many tires stacked above the ground.
It’s also why here in Arizona, we’re going to start burying tires in deserted mines. Just as tires pop out of the ground, lies always come to the surface. So if your husband is flying to an Asian city for his kicks, somehow “the truth will out.” I’ve heard of many different ways that people find out about the affairs of their partners: one woman overheard at the hair salon that her husband was seeing another woman. Another found a motel receipt from the “wrong” city, if you know what I mean. Another got a phone call from a “wrong” number, but the person seemed to think she was leaving a romantic message for her partner that fit the description of the spouse! Sometimes the faithful partner has the password to certain online accounts that can reveal extra-marital conversations. May I say, “etc., etc.!”
I’ve counseled endless clients who believed their spouse was cheating. But only a few of them wanted to spend the money to purchase the services of people with the technology to find proof of the betrayal. I’ve always disagreed with this approach. Of course, no one listens to me, right? I mean, who wants to hear what their therapist of several years has to say? And I must admit that one friend of mine who hired someone to install a tracking monitor on her husband’s car, as well as flying the undercover person around the country with a video camera, actually did catch the spouse in the act. I won’t say in the act of what.
But my personal belief is that there’s a better way: “A fool exposes his folly,” says King Solomon. If you suspect your loved one of being unfaithful, it will eventually be revealed to you. God will expose the folly or the “fool” will expose his/her own folly. I have a strong belief that no one gets away with anything in this life. Ancient literature states that the consequences of some folly follow closely behind some people while that of others follows far behind. But the folly follows! So why waste your money to find “the folly” when it will eventually “out” itself, anyway?
Well, some people just want to know right now, and I can’t fault them for it. In their shoes, I may feel the same way and do the same thing. Now let’s get back to our husband with the unfaithful, underage teenage Asian obsessed wife. With all the receipts and recordings of telephone conversations, he had his snakelike wife dead to rights. By the time he was able to call Animal Control and have her taken away, he found poison that had been well hidden. He had no idea what its use was, but funny thing: Weeks after the wife was captured and moved into her best “friend’s” basement, he felt like his old self with LOTS of energy! Hm-m-m-m-m….He smelled a rat, knew who the rat was, and never saw her again.
Then he came to one of my divorce recovery groups and told us all about it! Someone said that if you look around a poker table and don’t see a chump, YOU’RE IT! Well, that’s our heart broken husband in this case. Or let’s change the “he” to a “she.” Now…she joined a support group and learned how to not be cheated on…or poisoned. She hired a lawyer and received a just settlement, and to her friend’s great joy, she’s actually STILL ALIVE! God is good!!! But what were her red flags? Well, on their first date, he picked her up in a newly waxed car….equipped with a breathalyzer (did you think I was kidding about the breathalyzer?). Due to a conviction for drunken driving, he had to breathe into the gizmo before the car would start. On several subsequent dates, his car seemed to mysteriously break down about one hour before the date. He called her and asked if SHE could pick him up that night. She didn’t mind on the first time, of course. But she thought it was odd that this seemed to happen a lot.
I never did find out what the deal was with that. Maybe he couldn’t pass the breathalyzer test, but I think he was just broke and couldn’t buy gas. He spent all his money on expensive forms of entertainment. She didn’t know what kinds of entertainment. All she knew was that he had unaccounted for gaps of time, and she didn’t believe in alien abductions.
Then she noticed that the pain meds that she took for her lower back pain (since her laminectomy) seemed to disappear a little too fast. Hm-m-m…maybe her nephew had taken some of them. He was such a sneaky little guy and such a trouble maker!
When she offered the real sneak a cookie, he’d usually eat the entire package; when he needed to borrow $50, she never saw any change; when she wanted to watch the old “Leave It to Beaver” episodes, he wanted to watch “Repo Man,” etc., etc.
Also, drug and alcohol abuse sometimes goes with this profile. And where there’s abuse, there’s manipulation, right? That makes sense, doesn’t it? Anyway, on the first date, she smelled glue in the car, the abuse of which is even worse than that of drugs or alcohol. She had a bonafide Glue Head on her hands!
And believe me, the Glue Heads are very sticky. If you stick with them for long, and if you take a whiff now and then yourself, your positive neural pathways will eventually stop transmitting electricity and neurotransmitters, and you’ll be an official Glue Head, too. You think I jest? More on these folks in another chapter!
Oh, one more red flag: After the second date, he told her that he loved her. So be on the lookout! And whether he tells you he loves you after only two weeks, or whether he tells you that in two weeks, he’ll love you, either one is a really bad sign. Take my advice: Run and run fast!!!
Okay, here are a few quick tips:
If he wants to teach you the Asian Macarena, quickly set off a cockroach bomb in the room and lock him in.
If he starts storing rat poisoning in the garage and you’ve never seen a rat on your property, buy some rats, let them loose around the house, and thank him for the foresight to buy the poison.
When you find that the VISA receipt locations don’t match the cities that he says he’s been visiting, hire a teenager to throw bricks through his work window.
Okay, enough fun.
Here are some more serious tips that apply to the more generic liar and unfaithful partner (and are less likely to land you in jail for the night):
ALWAYS LEARN THEIR DATING AND MARRIAGE HISTORY
In premarital counseling, this is the norm, as it should be for any newly formed (or forming) relationship.
How did these relationships end? How much time elapsed between relationships? (This is a tipoff: Does someone always have to have a partner or can that person be happy without a partner?)
If you’re already married, tell him/her that you’d like to ask the nearest pastor to renew your wedding vows as soon as possible. You’d like to invite at least 50 friends (half of whom know that he’s unfaithful – tell him who you’re going to invite, including his work buddies that know what he’s up to), AND you’d also like to invite some of the people from the cities he/she’s visited in France (that he’/she’s never been near and has no friends in). If he/she resists that last idea, then arbitrarily suggest that he/she invite people from Asia, as you have a few Asian Facebook friends.
If you’re not married, talk to his last girlfriend/boyfriend. I’ve talked to several women in counseling who made such a call. Some of these women were glad they did!
Ask your friends what they think of him/her, and make sure you tell them ALL the information that has caused you to be suspect. Ask what he/she does with their free time and ask if you can participate in some of these activities.
Decide against sleeping with him/her and see if he can go with this indefinitely. Ask him/her how many sexual partners he/she has had.Tell him that you’re having computer problems and can you use his to do some Internet research on how to best write a resume (of course, he’s been to many sites that he won’t want you to know about).
Never tell yourself, “It ain’t nothin’ but a thang.” In other words, when you see questionable behavior, don’t say to yourself, “Oh, well,” Whatever,” or “So what?”
What character qualities and behaviors do you see in friends that you know to be faithful? Is the other person interested in having a discussion about these qualities (and about those same qualities in you, too, of course) and considering how to change and become a better person? Ask them to make a “behavioral contract” with you to change any negative qualities in measurable ways.
QUESTIONS TO HELP US BE WISE
Have you forgiven the last man or woman who betrayed you?
Have you forgiven any relatives who may have abused or betrayed you?
(If you haven’t forgiven you’re more likely to want to punish those people by getting involved with a dysfunctional person so you can blame him/her.)
Have you grieved sufficiently for life’s cruelties and betrayals?
Should you date or marry someone who is emotionally unstable?
Should you date or marry someone with low morals?