28 Sep Week 10: ARP (The 9th Red Flag – Cheating #2)
He (or she) is cheating on you.
This one isn’t really a red flag. It’s more like an anvil that’s been dropped on your head. He secretly cheats on you. He overtly cheats on you. He cheats on you in a box, with a fox, wearing socks.
Then, in a the patented toxicity-supreme move, when he’s caught red-handed, he gets mad at you for being mad at him because he cheated on you.
If you hadn’t been so “needy, clingy, smothering” he wouldn’t have had to cheat.
Or even more effective, he becomes sad, broken and remorseful and needs you to rescue him from his own destructive behavior.
He tells you he’s ashamed of himself and promises to change and give you everything you ever wanted in the relationship.
By this time your self-esteem is so battered and bruised you might take him back.
It should be noted that in a relationship where both partners truly do want the relationship equally and want to roll up their sleeves and do the work to recover trust, that infidelity doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Here’s an excellent Psychology Today article on how to recover, as a couple, from Infidelity.
So one-time infidelity can, sometimes, be overcome.
But if cheating is a modus operandi, you’re dealing with a dyed-in-the-wool Asshat who you cannot change! If you take a chronic cheater back, the red flag cycle starts all over again.
Here’s a recap of my 9 Red Flags that you’re dating an Asshat.
Red Flag #1: Toxic men (and women) frequently come on strong in the beginning of a relationship, then cool off fast once you’re hooked.
When they try to win you back after cheating they will once again lambast you with intensity. As mentioned they might promise to change.
They might tell you they want to give you all of the things they didn’t give you before because they now realize how much they really love you.
Red Flag #2: The Toxic Man (or Woman) is Unreliable and Inconsistent.
Shortly after the new honeymoon cycle is over, these behaviors kick back in.
Red Flag #3: Toxic People Actually Tell You They’re Toxic.
Your Asshat might reveal infidelity was a problem in previous relationships too.
Red Flag #4: Toxic people don’t wants to meet your Friends, Family and Avoids Making Plans; especially to important events where you will present yourself as a couple; like weddings, holidays or vacations.
At first he may make an effort to do all of the above to win you back. But once he knows he’s got you, he will once again dig in his heels about integrating fully into your life and relationship.
Red Flag #5: If your man does attend an event with family and friends, he makes sure you pay by acting like a grumpy mute the whole time.
Your Asshat may even apologize to your friends and family, if they know about the infidelity. Even this doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.
Red Flag #6: The people who really love you, like family and friends, also really, really dislike your guy.
You may not even tell friends and family that you’re back together with your Asshat because you are ashamed and embarrassed that, given all of his bad behavior, you are still involved with him.
Unfortunately, you begin to isolate, your world with the Asshat gets smaller and smaller, which deprives you of support and healthy relationship role models.
Red Flag #7: He Makes You Feel Bad About Your Appearance and Your Personality.
Red Flag #8: He tells you you’re paranoid when you see signs that he’s cheating.
Only this time he’s cheating AGAIN.
The more times you move through this cycle (known in 12-step programs as The Dance of Death), the more devastating it becomes.
Because now you aren’t just angry at your Asshat for his bad behavior, you’re also furious with yourself for putting up with it.
This further damages your self-esteem making you even more susceptible to further emotional abuse.
CALL TO ACTION:
I want you to pull out a pen and your Asshat Recovery Program Notebook.
First, I want you to make your own Red Flags Behavior List using my red flags above. Which ones have you noted in your current relationship?
Beneath each one of these red flags write down how they manifested in your relationship, what incidents occurred.
Second, I want you to share your list with a safe, trusted impartial third party.
This should be someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in your outcome, not a friend or parent or sibling, but perhaps a sponsor in a 12-step program or a therapist or a minister in your faith.
You’re doing this to get an objective opinion about whether your lover’s behavior is acceptable or unacceptable in a healthy relationship.
Third, I want you to make a second list where you’ll put any other red flags, ones I haven’t covered, that you’ve noted in your relationship. Be comprehensive. Again, the more awareness we have, the more capable we are of change.
Be sure to keep your Asshat Recovery Notebook safe and somewhere handy so you can refer back to it in conjunction with later Calls to Action in this program.
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