Are they dishonest, keeping their options open or just not facing the fact they’re much better off flying solo than making a commitment they can’t keep?


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Nothing stings like betrayal! When your lover cheats or you suspect he/she is cheating, it’s like a mortal stab wound. Life as you know it changes instantly. The person you trusted has suddenly changed the rules and you’re left in agony, confusion, unspeakable humiliation, fury, and helplessness. “What do I do now?” you wonder. “How can I ever forgive and forget? Should I forgive and forget?” The stress and anxiety can lead to depression, sadness, wishful thinking, denial, and yes, even thoughts/acts of revenge. Can you get through it?

Often the answer is YES. But like that stab wound, it takes time, careful handling, along with truth between you.

Let’s look:


Dear Marnie: I’m a 32-year-old lawyer. I’m been dating a man for 6 months and I’m already worried that he might be fooling around, though he swears he’s not. How can you tell if your boyfriend is cheating? – Melanie

MARNIE SAYS: You’ve got trouble if you’re wondering how many pillows your boyfriend is sliding on. Either you’ve hooked up with a heel or the windmills of your mind are working overtime. The difference is hard evidence. Do you have any?

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* Some of your clues would typically include:

1) Time Change: He’s working more, harder, later. His whereabouts are often untraceable. He pulls more disappearing acts than David Copperfield. He feels “slippery.”

2) Looks Change: He’s taken a new interest in pumping up, silk briefs and tanning salons. He reeks of perfume or takes a sudden interest in Cloroxing his own laundry.

3) Temperature Change: His sexual and emotional climate has fizzled.

4) Stash & Cash: He has a matchbook collection from strange hotels, restaurants, etc.

5) He Sprints: He grabs calls and texts from “no one, honey!” Hang-ups and wrong numbers are on the rise.

* You need to confront him with real evidence, and regardless of his wishy-washy answers, need some powerful ideas to answer the question “now what?”

* Ask yourself: Do I have a history of hurt? See the world through green-colored goggles? Fret over being “enough” (as in good, pretty, smart)? If so, run and get counseling to hone in on the one you truly mistrust – yourself.

Philandering (his)? Or paranoia (yours)? You need to find out and work it out because, sadly, either way you’ve got trouble with a capital T.


Dear Marnie: I love my girlfriend but have to go out of town on business and I have the powerful urge for a fling. Of course, I would practice safe sex. Do you think this is some type of hint as to what our future will be? – YB

MARNIE SAYS: Cheating my friend, includes obsessing about “the potentials.” Listen up! Even the most noble among us have urges, and, yes, some may even engage in the occasional fantasy, but your desire to whoop it up is quite another matter.

Getting It! (Will you?):

* Safe sex? Pshaw. The concept is more than a superior condom. Unless you have the conscience of a mountain goat, cheating is never safe. There are no precautions for turning your relationship into a chew toy. Get it!

* “Love” you say. Ask yourself what happens should some Ms. Stranger In The Night ring your emotional chimes. Now you’re in love with two — or three. You can control things, you say? No you can’t. Surfers don’t control the waves. Can you handle a wipeout? Because that’s where this unbaked idea is heading.

* No? Then close your portals and mind your promises.

* Yes? Then your relationship is so damaged, Lourdes couldn’t save it. Muster the grace to tell the poor gal the only thing you’re ready to commit to might be Ladies’ Night at the Himbo Lounge.


Dear Marnie: I have lost many potential boyfriends, because I feel the need to cheat! Once I get close to someone, it works for a while, then I get on chat rooms and flirt. Eventually, I’m found out or my behavior changes. For example:  I’m not as affectionate or attentive. I get distant. I back track what I’ve said as in “I love you” and find it a chore to be with the current person in my life, preferring my friends. Is there something wrong with me? — Munchie

MARNIE SAYS: Sadly, in your fear frenzy over “commitment” I fear you may have missed a few very serious spots on this not-so-pretty picture window. This leaves me the odious task of Windexing to help you view things with clarity. Cheating, shmeating. Tell yourself you’ve got a bigger problem.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* Compose a “Personal Ad” about yourself based on what you wrote. I’ll help. “Gal available. Excels at mind games. Commitment not applicable.  Prefers keeping things impersonal, your feelings are your problem. Trust, not essential.”

* Read your ad. Then show it to your friends. You’re offering shoddy goods, sweetie. The reasons don’t matter. With a deal like this, I can find you a better one at any car wash or bowling alley.

I’m sorry. I know this hurts. “Commitment” either scares you right down to your liver or you don’t want it. To my knowledge there is no RULE we must all go through life two by two. We do, however, need to be straight with ourselves so you know what you truly want and don’t want. Once you uncover who you are, you can move on without leaving dregs and guilt behind you. Once you know what’s up with you, you’re free to ask yourself the most important question of all: why is a lovely young woman willing to accept such a shabby deal for herself?

Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC

Marnie MacauleyAdvice guru Marnie Winston-Macauley — therapist, author, speaker — has been a radio, TV, and syndicated advice columnist and counselor for over 20 years. Witty, wise and totally irreverent with a self-professed loathing for psychobabble, she’s written over 20 books and calendars, along with  hundreds of relationship columns and features for prominent publications.  She has her MS degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.  In media, her work has garnered her Emmy and Writer’s Guild Best Writing nominations. She is widowed and now living single. For personal advice, you can also find Marnie Macauley on or on Presto Experts. She invites you to join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
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