Dr. Gilda, Why Do I Keep Attracting Cheaters??
She divorced her cheating ex, but now every man she dates is unfaithful, too! Duh!! What’s that about??
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.)
Courtesy of Match.com’s Happen Magazine
Dear Dr. Gilda,
Since my divorce, I have been picking guys who end up cheating on me. I know I have low self-esteem. How can I move forward? I mean, OK, I dumped my cheating husband, but I really want to live a good life now! What would a real man who would love me and be someone who can “see” my heart and emotions actually be like? What are that guy’s qualities? I sit back and daydream about it (being happy), but I can’t seem to get over the hump of attracting all the bad apples. Please help!
Tired of Picking Losers
As my Gilda-Gram says, “Whatever we feel about ourselves, we attract in others.” So if you feel you have low self-esteem, you will communicate a sense of insignificance that will reel in those loser types you claim you want to avoid. These characters may be, by your own estimation, bad news — but they are surely smart enough to realize that you feel unworthy of attracting a faithful mate. Simply put, people treat us the way we instruct them to, subconsciously or not.
When someone tells me she has “low self-esteem,” I know for sure that she can’t succeed in establishing a healthy, new romantic relationship. Instead of blaming her cheating ex for her relationship problems, she must first look in the mirror and assess her level of self-worth. Losers can’t breathe around confident partners, so they won’t even visit the address of someone who feels good about herself. Women often identify these guys as being “intimidated” by female strength, but we know that, like muggers, they won’t pursue a mark they can’t overpower. So when you project an unflappable sense of self, these types of mates won’t find you attractive anymore. Hooray for that! However, if you find it disturbing to think that these “bad apples” will no longer want you, YOU must decide why you feel that way.
You say you dumped your ex because he was not good for you. That is a step in the right direction. But the fact is that you are now picking guys, plural, who end up betraying you just like your ex-husband. Continuing to experience the kind of infidelity you suffered when you were married demonstrates a destructive pattern in your mating behaviors that you have never changed. Patterns are learned. But the great news is that they can also be unlearned.
This is what I suggest you do next:
1. During the time between the end of your marriage and your newly made conviction “to live a good life,” list the behaviors that you have already changed for the better. Acknowledge the role YOU played in these past failed interactions.
2. You ask, “What would a real man who would love me and be someone who can ‘see’ my heart and emotions actually be like?” Before you can know this about another person, you must know what a real woman who can “see” (read: understand) what her own heart and emotions have to offer first. Always and forever, the journey starts with YOU.
3. You say, “I sit back and daydream about it…” Girl, daydreaming never brings closure. Leave Fantasy Island and start doing the work! Therapy may be painful, but with the support of a competent professional, you will gracefully walk this walk before you know it. Just keep reminding yourself: “This is MY love life, and I am solely responsible for getting over ‘the hump’ and abolishing my taste for rotten apples.”
It will take time for you to change your customary behaviors, but it will be time well spent. In the end, you will finally be ready to meet and fall in love with that healthy partner you currently only daydream about. I can’t wait to hear about it!
DR. GILDA CARLE (Ph.D.) is an internationally known psychotherapist, relationship educator, and management consultant. She is Match.com’s “ASK DR. GILDA” advice columnist. She is also known as the Country Music Doctor, as she offers her “Country Cures.” She is a motivational speaker, professor of psychology & communications, the author of the well-known “Don’t Bet on the Prince!,” a test question on “Jeopardy,” AND NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity, How to Win When Your Mate Cheats, and many more. She was the therapist in HBO's Emmy Award winner, "Telling Nicholas," featured on Oprah, where she guided a family to tell their 7-year-old that his mom died in the World Trade Center bombing. DR. GILDA is the Love Doc advisor for the off-Broadway show, “Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, & Marriage!” She is currently developing her own TV show. Visit www.DrGilda.com and get her Instant Advice!