Tough Love: Once A Cheater Always A Cheater

There’s this scene in “He’s Just Not That Into You” — the point to which most Tough Love posts will eventually return — when Justin Long tells Ginnifer Goodwin that she’s special, she’s an exception to the rule. It’s all very sweet and there’s crying and hugging and a bit of kissing and that all distracts you for a moment from the fact that it’s utter bulls**t.

You see, you are not special and rule-defying, unique in your ability to change someone chronically terrible into a nice, devoted guy. This is not to say that you aren’t special in other ways, merely that the expectation that you’d be able to subvert ages-old male behavioral patterns is quite a lot to ask of yourself. When you read it, this should seem fairly obvious. And yet I continue to field weepy calls and enraged emails from a whole slew of women absolutely shocked that their personal awesomeness wasn’t enough to change a guy completely.

Most mystifying of all are the girls who poach their boyfriends from other women and are then shocked when said guy goes on to cheat on them with someone else. Did you really not see this coming? Cliche though it may be, the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater” comes to mind. It’s a fair bet that the guy who screwed his ex by screwing you will have limited qualms about doing the same thing all over again. But while it was kind of fun and exciting the first time around, once he does it again, you’ll have rotated into the old girlfriend spot. So instead of getting laid, you’ll be the one throwing his shirts out the window, dousing them in lighter fluid and yelling “burn motherf**ker, burn!” (Or something like that…)

I’m not here to judge your initial decision to bang the taken guy — we’ve all been there. Sure, it’s not exactly sisterly of you to hook up with someone else’s boyfriend, but he’s the one who’s made the commitment to someone else, and his part in the affair is a hell of a lot ickier than yours. So before you go down that road again and turn your secret fling into your boyfriend, keep one thing in mind: he’s not worth it. Go ahead, be his dirty little secret for a while, but avoid a legitimate relationship with that guy like the plague.