Ask Dad is back just in time to sign your Valentine. No chalky little hearts here, either. We bring the pure, dark chocolate. So long as you bring the love questions.
I've just learned that my fiance cheated on his last wife. Am I an idiot for thinking he won't do it again?
Let me first ask you this: Is your husband-to-be a tattooed former motorcycle maker who shares a name with a famous cowboy outlaw and was recently married to an Oscar-winning actress? Or a Cablinasian golfer with a penchant for porn stars who was married to a (rightfully) feisty Swedish nanny? Or a goofy veteran talk show host with a taste for his young staffers? Or a former senator and vice-presidential candidate? Or any NBA player?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you're screwed. Just like all the ladies who come across all these guys, once the tabloid scrutiny dies down anyway. And, no, the fact that they got caught red-handed doesn't mean, for even a second, that they won't find another woman. It would be great if things worked like that, but it's actually quite the opposite.
See, as much as it would be nice to think so, the world of men isn't really separated into cheaters and non-cheaters. It's all about circumstances and opportunity. People just respond to incentives and circumstances. As Chris Rock said during the Clinton impeachment era, "A man is only as faithful as his options." Conversely, he may cheat at the slightest suggestion, but suck at it. As The Onion once put it: "Husband Still Faithful After 42 Years of Trying to Cheat."
It's quite easy to be faithful when you have to actually work hard to cheat. A man who struggles to get off the couch from World of Warcraft on his Xbox 360 just to get a beer is unlikely to have the will to go out hottie-hunting, especially if he knows he's likely to strike out anyway.
So is your man charmless and penniless with an odor of Axe Body Spray and Cheetos from three days ago? If so, great! He's a keeper. Though I guess he's already landed at least two girlfriends and one mistress. So he can't be too undesirable.
If you haven't already, I would delve into the reasons why he cheated. Is he just the kind of guy who can't live long term with a single flavor of ice cream? Does he always order something different, and always the Gotta-Have-It size, at Cold Stone Creamery? Or did he have a good reason for his infidelity?
There's no such thing as a good reason, you say? Sure there is. I hate to quote Chris Rock again already, but the man's a relationship genius, way more than Dr. Phil or your family therapist: "Sheeeeit. There's a reason for everything. There's a good reason to push an old man down a flight of stairs."
Maybe she cheated and he was evening the score. Maybe their love was 20 kinds of dead but he couldn't bear to leave his family, and that was his way of trying to stay in it. Maybe she blackmailed him and forced him to cheat to get some kind of twisted kicks. Maybe she wouldn't do anal.
Ok that last one isn't the best reason. Make sure it's not that.
Also, the red flags would be flying a lot higher if he's done it with more than one past woman. So delve into that too. I'm sure he'll welcome and love the discussion. Or get terribly defensive and angry. Either way you can probably get it out of him. Sleazy men secretly want to talk about every time they've ever gotten laid, even if it's to their own detriment.
But really, don't we all deserve a clean slate when we start a new relationship? Scratch the surface of most people and you'll find a deep vein of dealbreakers. If we didn't have some charity in this situation, we'd all marry only virgins. Imagine how painful and awkward that would be.
Just be grateful he told you. Having an admitted cheater is certainly better than having a secret and unrepentant cheater. Plus he knows you know, and knows you'll be watching him more closely. Or maybe he thinks that by admitting it, he's actually bought himself some freedom, thinking that you'll think he wouldn't dare do it again, and thus can get his freak on all he likes. Alright, maybe don't overthink it. Unless you look under his hood (or inside his motorcycle engine, cheaters love motorcycles) and see a true dirtbag, he deserves a shot. We all do.
And hey! Worst case scenario you can still end up on Cheaters, the Greatest Show in the History of Television! Imagine the two of you, that green night vision camera on you, the faces of him and his mistress blurred out, you throwing random trash from a parking lot can at him, yelling, "DON'T YOU EVEN DREAM ABOUT COMING BACK HOME!!" That would be totally worth a $25,000 wedding and a few wasted years, right?
Image via Flickr/HarshAgrawal