About to say "I do?" Beware -- If your fiance has any of these 5 traits, he'll probably cheat.
A client of mine recently called wondering if it would even be appropriate to come in. You see, she's engaged (with the wedding fast approaching) and worried whether or not her fiancé might cheat on her. He had one prior incident of infidelity in his first marriage, and her fiance's father also cheated in his marriage).
She felt cautious, and rightfully so.
Being unfaithful in a previous relationship and having a family history of cheating certainly signals red flags. When you walk down the aisle, you (want to) believe you're marrying a man who will be faithful to the vows you're making. Yet, how do you tell ahead of time if he might betray you?
The Wall Street Journal recently explored research that points to signs you might marry a man who could reach out to another woman. Here are the signs to look for:
1. Is He A Strong Alpha Male?
Not a guarantee that he will cheat, but the higher the testosterone, the more likely your guy will act out. Some of our presidents and other politicians drive so hard towards success that they fall into this philandering category. Couple this with the following sign ...
2. Do Your Friends and Relatives See Him As Caring?
Cheating is less likely when you marry a man your friends (and his friends) see as kind and caring. While he's initially "in love" with you, he might behave like the most caring man in the world.
Nevertheless, usually if you talk to his relatives and the people who know him best, you'll get a truer sense about the nature of his actions. Does he take a minute to call a friend who's been fired? Does he get to know the people from whom he buys his morning paper?
Guys with an open heart betray less often, simply because they appreciate how deeply it will hurt you. But don't trust your own impressions on this one; remember he's on his best behavior with you (at least, for now).
3. Is He Impulsive?
If you know he tends to act without thinking, he may impulsively reach out to that coworker on a business trip while they're out drinking together after an exciting coup. If you notice he tends to go through the "ready, fire, aim" sequence, be alert.
Watch out for a man who is a huge risk-taker—driving too fast or needing constant excitement to keep his adrenaline high.
This kind of man may not necessarily cool down and settle into the less exciting task of being a faithful husband and a father. Temptation to act out often rules for this character trait.
4. Is He Conscientious?
If so, take some comfort in this trait. Knowing that he doesn't cheat terribly on his income tax or lives up to reasonable business ethics will help you feel more at ease. Sticking to a moral code makes a huge difference when he's tempted.
That said, know that "being religious" does NOT indicate whether he'll be faithful or uphold a sense of what's right. Does he express remorse when he crosses a line that goes against his morals?
5. Is He Narcissistic?
Exuding confidence is good, but when someone needs a constant mirror to remind themselves of their greatness, let this be a danger signal. Right now you adore him and this may make him feel on top of the world.
If, on the other hand, you notice that he often takes slights very seriously and recovers slowly from not being validated and praised sufficiently, you may find that on days when you feel tired and exhausted, he needs more ego stroking than you have to give.
So, what can you do?
If you find your heart beating a little faster and you're holding your breath as you read this, take a moment to breathe, get grounded, and return to a state of connecting to your wisdom and compassion. Here's some tips for addressing your concerns:
Talk About It
Bring the subject up tactfully (voicing your concern, not as an accusation) and when you do, watch to see if he gets defensive. If he understands, he will appreciate that you want to feel secure as you say your vows. If, instead, he begins to accuse you of not trusting him, this is a problem.
He should sincerely care that you're worried about this. It's important that you both feel on the same page about honoring your commitment.
Couples who talk about infidelity occurring take one important step towards affair prevention. Letting him know what it would mean to you if he was unfaithful instills a danger sign into his brain at times when he's tempted.
Seek Advice From Friends and Older Relatives
Don't assume they don't want to lose you. Even old fogies can add perspective about what makes marriages work and what makes a good partner. People who sustain their relationship for years often learn certain things about what matters and what counts.
If you find yourself hiding details of feeling uncomfortable, be sure to notice the following tip ...
Request To Do Serious Premarital Counseling ... TOGETHER
If he's open to it, you can tell he wants the marriage to work just as much as you do. Dr. Seth Myers, in Psychology Today, strongly emphasizes, "Premarital counseling is the smartest decision that any couple can make."
You can tell more by how he approaches the therapy. If he does it merely to appease you, and defers all questions to you (to avoid bringing up issues), watch out.
Premarital counseling works best when couples honestly open up any issues that are problematic, even if they are minor. If you're concerned about arguing too much, or that you don't spend enough time together, invite your counselor to work with you on this.
Learning the right tools and skills for developing a better-than-average relationship will serve you immeasurably in the long run.
You may naturally fear that going to premarital counseling will dredge up problems that will make you not want to get married. But remember, good marital counseling gives you the tools to build a better relationship.
If something significant does come out, your counselor can either help you resolve it or realize that you two have different needs. It's better to find out now, rather than after you're locked into the wedding plans.
In the sessions, you can learn ways to communicate about hot topics that do not put either of you on the defense. Problem-solving for win-win solutions goes a long way in keeping you from becoming polarized.
Just the basics of learning to listen, validate, and appreciate will usher you into a satisfying marriage and greatly decrease the odds of either of you cheating.