"Have you cheated before?" is the dreaded question many women don't want to ask because they're afraid of the answer. It usually comes up at one point or another in a new relationship and some women will run screaming for the hills if the answer is yes. Then there are those who couldn't care less what a guy did in his past as long as he's faithful in the present. It can be a difficult decision whether to stay or walk away when your heart is on the line. If you're faced with dating a guy who admitted he's cheated in the past, there are several questions to ask yourself first before proceeding with the relationship.
Are you going to be paranoid?
If you feel like all you're going to do is be paranoid every time he steps foot out the door, takes a phone call or goes on the computer, you're better off getting out of the relationship now. You're going to drive yourself (and him) nuts and it's going to do nothing good for the relationship.
Do you feel you can trust him?
Relationships are based on trust, so if you're going into the relationship with a nagging feeling that you can't trust him, get out now. There's a lot to be said for instincts, especially those that are screaming at you about a particular situation. There's a big difference between trusting him and wanting to, so before you get yourself involved, really take some time to think about how you feel.
Does he regret what happened?
If the guy regrets what happened and he says he's matured since and fully understands that it shouldn't have happened, then consider giving him a shot. However, if he doesn't accept responsibility and comes across as if it wasn't a big deal or says it was "just an accident," then make a run for it. It's a big sign that he'll likely to do it again with little-to-no remorse. You should also keep an eye out for the fake sympathy where he says he regrets it and would never do it again but ends up doing it anyway. I went through that with an ex and after thinking back to our discussion about his past, I realized I missed the red flags that were all over the place.
How long ago did he cheat?
Before you rush away from him at the mere mention of cheating, find out how long ago it happened. The amount of time that's passed since the guy cheated plays a big part in the situation. For example, if he cheated when he was 16 and it hasn't happened again in the past decade or two despite him being in a few relationships, there's a good chance he actually regrets his decision and he's not going to do it again. However, if it happened within the past few years, it's something you may want to strongly take into consideration.
How did you hear about the cheating?
Give the guy some credit if he told you about the cheating himself, especially if he thinks there's no other way you could have found out what happened. If you found out from a third party, there's no excuse. He should have come clean right from the beginning considering he likely already knows it's important enough that it has the ability to alter the relationship one way or another. It's not a good sign if he kept it quiet.
It's not necessarily a bad thing to date a former cheater, so avoid making judgments right off the bat. Give him time to explain what happened and if he says you have no right to know because it doesn't affect you, make sure to tell him just how much it actually does. Whatever he tells you, make sure to trust your instincts and you'll be able to make the right decision.
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