May 17, 2013
Q-Dear Debbie and Jerry,
I have met a number of intelligent, attractive and wonderful women on a couple of Internet dating sites. With only a few exceptions, and these were usually widows, the women I have met have all had husbands that cheated on them. Some are bitter, some are wounded, and some have moved on. It seems that all have elements of lack of trust in men. Maybe this is deserved, but it seems that it is an issue that is prevalent among single women based on conversations with other men, as well as the women with whom I have discussed this matter. It is almost like you start with one count against you. Also, it appears from an anecdotal viewpoint that it takes about 2-3 years for women to sort it all out and gain their self-esteem or become less angry. What are some constructive steps to help reassure women all men are not painted with the same brush? I do not want to take the role as a therapist for those still suffering from recent cheating episodes. How do you know for sure if they are healed?
I would suppose there are men, too, that have been in similar situations where their wife cheated, but I am not exposed to their stories and emotional damages.
Joseph, Greenville, SC
To begin with, you might keep in mind that talking about painful relationships can be useful for both parties. Whereas it might be a form of catharsis for the one cheated upon, you might see this as a window into the person’s ability to manage stress or unpleasant episodes in one’s life. And, as you noted, it can take some women longer to get over a cheating husband than others. As to your desire to reassure a woman who has been hurt by a cheating husband, you might simply say, “I am sorry you had this bad experience, I hope I can gain your trust”. Much beyond that might sound superfluous and self-serving. Dwelling on the subject of cheating spouses too long can be counterproductive in building a relationship. Reassuring comments of looking to the future might divert attention from a painful past. If the conversation gets too centered on the subject of cheating, you might best move on until the person of interest has had more time to get over their emotional set-back.
Now wait a minute, Jerry. Coming from the woman’s perspective, I would say that about 75% of the men on Match have been cheated on. Men actually come out and say that Trust of Women is their biggest issue and it is a tough one to deal with. They will even vent and tell you what the “evil woman” did to them, which one does not particularly want to hear. I wonder if they have an inherent distrust of women in general and I am leery to tell anyone to date that person. Would you always be watched, or worse, suspected guilty by association? I cannot emphasize this enough: every man and woman at some point in their life has been cheated upon, made a fool of, etc. It is how you handle the situation that determines your long-term outcome. It’s also a learning experience. Perhaps you become wiser at dating. This doesn’t mean you are distrustful of every person you come across, it means you try to be a little smarter and think things though more, and sometimes just trust your gut instinct. However, if you find that every relationship culminates in cheating, you need to get counseling to help you make better decisions.
Q-Dear Debby and Jerry:
I met a great girl on one of the dating websites and we have gone on three dates, both of which, in my opinion, have gone wonderfully. (She agrees.) I really like this woman and feel for the first time in a long time that I am truly connecting with someone. With one exception; I can’t stand what she does for a living. Let’s just say she makes good money in a “revealing” industry that “exposes” her to a lot of the opposite sex. It is completely legal and I have no right to say anything to her, but I definitely have a problem with it. What do I do?
Ragnar, New York, NY
O.k., we know she has a heart of gold. However, there are a couple of points for you to consider. First, you have every right to say something to your newly found love about anything that bothers you in the relationship.
Secondly, there is a wide spectrum of what you might call revealing and exposing. Whether it is pole dancing or porn, making money is no real excuse for choosing work that might not be viewed by your parents or future kids as the best possible way of making a living. This might be considered a judgmental statement and it has to be taken that way, if her occupation bothers you. The movie “Pretty Women” comes to mind, but you definitely need to have a heart to heart conversation with her sooner than later.
If you have a problem with her occupation after three dates, I believe it is only going to get worse as your relationship continues. You really have to ask yourself if you can live with her “naked” ambition. I think not, and it would be best for all concerned if you ended the relationship sooner rather than later. As Jerry mentioned, there are others involved, such as parents and future children. Save yourself the heartache and get out now.
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