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Ask The Good Enough Guy: Why Do Guys Always Cheat On Me?

…And then disappear?


Dear Will:

I’m a great woman. I can cook, keep my house organized, I work long hours so that I never have to ask for anything. I don’t do the mani-pedi thing, or have my hair done at the shop too much because frankly, I was never a real girly-girl to begin with.

I find myself dating less and less these days because I am always being cheated on or dumped and I don’t understand it. Things will be going along very well for about six to eight months and then “wham!”, they start changing their behavior. Then all the red flags (no calls, less frequent visits, holidays alone) start showing up. Will, I’m tired of this happening to me.  I’m not changing, but maybe I should?  Why do I keep getting treated this way?

Down in the Dumps



You’ve read me before, so you know I’m kind of no-nonsense, right? Well, once again, it’s band-aid ripping time. The good news is, I’m pretty sure I know what the problem is. The bad news is the problem is you. I mean, it’s not completely your fault,  just 99%. But, before you start sticking pins in your Good Enough Guy voodoo doll, let me explain.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: This is a mistake a lot of my single friends (female and male) make. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The same thing goes for dating the same guy over and over. Sure, they may be a little taller, a little shorter, a little older, or a little younger, but if they all have a similar mind set, a similar attitude, and a similar set of values (or lack thereof), then they’re still pretty much the same guy. And if you keep picking the same kind of guy, and they keep doing the same bad things to you, then the problem isn’t the guys, is it? And the bad part is that the very thing that attracts you to them may be the thing that makes them a bad match for you. So many women think they want the bad boy (or a thug, depending on which radio station you listen to) but then can’t figure out why, six months later, they’re finding strange phone numbers in his pocket and even stranger panties under his back seat.

SIMPLE FIX: Get out of your comfort zone. Date a guy you normally wouldn’t,  just for comparison’s sake. He may not be Mr. Right, but he may open your eyes enough to help you avoid the next Mr. Wrong.

STUCK IN HIGH SCHOOL:  Another possible culprit is the repeated cycle and again, both my female and my male friends do this. We all remember dating in high school, right? You met, you fell in love, things were hot and heavy, then problems started and soon it was over. All in the same day and  sometimes before lunch! As we got older, our values changed and we realized that we have to have more than just a physical attraction and raging hormones to have a real relationship; well some of us did. Those unfortunate others got stuck in the 80’ and still think that love is a battle field. They believe that, if they aren’t either tearing off each others’ clothes or trying to scratch each others’ eyes out, the relationship must be in trouble, so they jump from person to person and live the same Junior year love affair over and over, promising their undying love at homecoming, but breaking up before prom.

SIMPLE FIX: Grow the hell up! Realize that love is not some hole you fall into and out of; real love is a verb. And it’s not for the lazy. Love is something you have to actually do, all day, every day. You find it. You keep it. You work at it. You fix it. You make it. You build it. Or… you lose it.

BLAH:  Okay, you don’t do manicures, you don’t do pedicures, you don’t get your hair done, you don’t ask for anything so what exactly is that you do like to do? Clean the house? Work long hours? When you say things are going along “very well” for six months, do you  mean that you’re coming home from work, cooking dinner, and watching TV until you fall asleep and he goes home? If it sounds like I’m calling you boring, then you’re catching on. Think about it; if you wouldn’t date someone like you, can you really expect anyone else to want to?

SIMPLE FIX: Change your game. Go get your nails, toes and hair done, even if it’s just once in a while, then put on something sexy and WOW him. And make it a point, at least once a month, to do something you’ve both never done. Try a date at a rock climbing wall. Go to a horse race together. Take a sexy massage class. This is how you make stories that will keep you talking waaaay past the eight month mark.

SABOTAGE! Something else I noticed in your letter is that you say this happens every “six or eight months” which is pretty specific time frame for a generalization. That makes me wonder if maybe it isn’t the guys who are changing at that mile marker, maybe it’s you. I may be reaching but, you cook for yourself, clean for yourself, keep your house organized the way you want it, work long hours so that you can provide for yourself, and never have to ask for anything. So what do you need a man for? Which is fine, except…MAN RULE= Men need to feel needed! A woman who has her own is wonderful, but we still need to kill the spiders, unclog the sink, and open the pickle jar. Six months is just long enough for a man to catch the vibe that you’re just as comfortable without him or that you can take him or leave him. And by eight months, he may have already found another stuck pickle jar to open.

SIMPLE FIX: If you’re sure that you want a long term man, make some room for him; in your schedule, in your life, and in your heart. Needing someone is okay; make sure he knows it.

Well, I’ve given you plenty to work with. Try these things, and if they don’t work, they’ll at least help you zero in on the real problem. Then write me again, and we’ll start all over! Good luck to you!


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William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husband-ing and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1


  1. Dawn B

    February 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Great piece Will! I am also constantly impressed with how thorough you are in your answers. DITD, I hope you find true love at last.

  2. m.e. johnson

    February 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Don’t bite your tongue, Will. What do you really think? :-0)
    She says she is not a ‘girly girl’. Not sure what that means or if it matters. Girly girls get cheated on too, yes? Maybe she could hook up with a rancher who migh appreciate help herding cattle or taming wild horses. Some girls on my softball team in college were from farms. They could throw a bale of hay straight up from the wagon to the loft and they were pretty doggone popular.
    I hope she seriously considers your advice.

  3. Will Jones

    February 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Dawn-Thank you. I try I to keep from going on and on, but I also try to cover all of the bases. I figure, that way, if the person actually takes my advice, it may actually work for them! 🙂

    M.E.- I don’t know about other guys, but for me, there’s nothing sexier than a woman that can sling her own hay! I literally laughed out loud when I read this!
    I think she was trying to say that she isn’t high maintenance, but you’re right, that has nothing to do with the fact that she’s being cheated on. The only thing a woman can do to not get cheated on is to pick a man who doesn’t cheat.
    I can’t tell you how much I look foward to your comments! LOL

  4. Lynda V

    February 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Good Enough Guy – I was with you, up to a point.
    I completely agree that it is important to date outside of one’s comfort zone and be open to different types, not just date the same “type” in a slightly different package. I also agree with you that when something keeps happening over and over again, you need to look at yourself and wonder what you’re doing to cause that. These points are well taken.
    Where we part company, and where I hope you can take a taste of your own straight-talk medicine, is suggesting that women should stoop to the level of insecure men. Who the heck wants a man who needs to be needed? If you want someone full of need, have a baby. A real woman wants a partner and an equal – and a real man is able to be that. I agree with you that in general, most men do not appreciate that it is far better to be wanted than needed. Bu this is THEIR insecurity and does not mean that a woman should be any less independent than she is. I’ve dated and/or slept with a signifiantly significant percentage of the male population and I did, with persistence, find a man who loves my independence and is not threatened by it. He understands that it is a FAR bigger compliment for me to want him, not need him, b/c it means that I CHOOSE to be with him, I don’t “have to.” It’s been 13 months (a lifetime for me), and no it isn’t work and it isn’t hard, it’s incredibly easy and smooth. But I held out to find a man who loved me as I am and who didn’t ask or need me to be any less than I am or deserve to be. That was the hard part.
    My advice for Down in the Dumps is to take a dating hiatus. There’s something you’re doing that is causing this same type of man to be attracted to you. Maybe these are guys who just like the chase and leave once they have you. Maybe they are commitment phobic and 6 months is much seriousness as they can handle. Maybe they get bored easily. Who knows, and who cares, that’s about them, not you. Give yourself six months or a year off from dating completely. Travel by yourself. Do whatever you want. No dating. No looking for dates. No accepting dates. Take this time to be about yourself. I’ve done this several times when I find I’m in a relationship pattern rut and I need to re-set. I come back to dating recharged and refreshed and with a renewed commitment to what I really want. What is it you want? A relationship or a great one? Here’s where good enough just isn’t.
    Be all that you are, decide what you want. Also, know when to get out – most of my female friends (including me) see the signs of Mr. Wrong early on but make excuses for them and continue on anyway. They leave when they get tired of trying to be someone they aren’t and/or start to figure out that we’re not going to put up with them for much longer. Take a hiatus and when you come back, you’ll have a renewed impatience and standards which will help you ferret out the less than enough relationships earlier on so you don’t invest and waste your valuable time.
    Good luck!

  5. Will Jones

    February 7, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Lynda- First off, I had to laugh at your line, “…I’ve dated and/or slept with a significantly significant part of the male population…” I’m not laughing AT you, but that’s just funny!
    I think you may have a black or white perspective on something that actually should be thought of in degrees. There is a HUGE gray area between a man who needs to be needed and a “needy” man. The reason I call it a man rule is because every man on the planet (with very few exceptions) has it to one degree or another, just as every woman on the planet has a maternal instinct to some degree(with very few exceptions). These are primitive, mammalian, instincts; it’s the male of the species’ need to provide for and protect his mate and offspring. It’s not because we are insecure, but because it’s simply in our nature to need it.

    Also understand that loving someone is not just wanting them; it’s wanting and needing them. Simply wanting someone is infatuation, which may turn to love, once that person has become a part of your life, but they become a part of your life because they have fulfilled a NEED. Please understand that I am not deriding your 13 month relationship, but also understand that infatuation alone can, and sometimes will, take a relationship past the year mark. Add a decent amount of sex, and that same relationship can probably make it to the two year mark. But, rest assured, two people are only beginning to know each other at 13 months, and if you’ve never seen your mates need to be needed, then he has hidden it well, because I can assure you, it’s there. Even the most secure people will have their moments of doubt, and when he does, your wanting him around may not be enough to make him feel important enough to stay. Our wants are very fickle. They change with the tides. There may even come some dark, hard, angry, days when you don’t want him near you, but hopefully your NEED for him won’t let you tell him that. Two people NEEDING to stay together more than they WANTED to be apart has saved a lot of good marriages.
    I understand that thirteen months may seem like a lifetime, but a thirteen month-old child will barely be walking, probably not communicating well, and won’t understand very much at all about maturity. A thirteen month relationship will be in about the same place… but it’s still a good start. My wife and I will have twenty years next year… the same year she turns forty. That means that she will have been with me for more than half of her live, and soon, longer than she lived without me. You can’t really believe that we lasted that long simply because we wanted each other around. It also means that, if our marriage was a person, he’d be nearly old enough to drink. 😉

    Please understand that needing someone and /or being independent is not a black or white issue either; once again, there’s a HUGE gray area between the two. That’s the place where strong independent, happily-married people live.

    Your comment was great food for thought. I always love to hear another perspective, even if we don’t see eye to eye. Thank you.

  6. Lynda V

    February 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The line was meant to be funny, so laugh away. Those experiences gave me many laughs.
    There are some words I just don’t like. My office has a strict policy against the use of the word policy, ever. Need with respect to relationships is another one. Need v. Want is an issue I have given a lot of thought and paid a lot of attention to through all that experience. Yes, my boyfriend carries the heavy boxes and opens the car door, but not because I can’t.
    The key, I think, is for every person to define for themselves what they want and the dynamic they are ok with. I am not looking for 20 years and I am not looking to do “work.”. For me, it is about right now, today, probably bc I have had several friends die young and suddenly.
    My issue with your advice to DITD is that it suggested that she should achieve or be less just to satisfy an insecure man’s ego. Women have worked too hard to redefine ourselves, and I recognize that, unfortunately, there was no corresponding men’s movement to help men adjust their perspective of women, men, and relationships. But the problem is that if women keep feeding into male need by being less than who they really are, nothing changes. It may make it way harder to find a relationship,believe me, I know. But that work is worth doing, not just for ourselves but for the next generation of women.
    If my grandmother can leave home at 15 to avoid an arranged marriage (yes, she is a white American), work on airplanes during the War, and fight for my ability to vote today, the least I can do is try to teach men to love independent women for who and how they really are.
    My advice to DITD is stay true to who you are, but figure out what you want and whether you are sending out the right (or wrong) messages to get it.

  7. Will Jones

    February 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I’ve had quite a few relationships myself, including a failed marriage, which I can laugh about now, but not at the time.

    and I’m a word person too, but definitions are tricky. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that a lot of people assume the term independence goes hand-in-hand with strength… and need with weakness. Some of the most “independent” people I know, both men and women, are self-sufficient not out of necessity, but out of fear. The fear of commitment, the fear, of being hurt, the fear of long-term relationships, the fear of change, and/or the fear of the unknown are just some of reasons that people tell me they’d rather not be with anyone than to have to rely on someone else to be there for them. Where’s the strength in that?

    And I have not nor would I ever tell a woman to be less than she is to be with somebody. In saying that men still need to open the pickle jar and kill the spiders, I did not say that we were not fully aware that a woman could not have gotten the jar open or slain the spider without him. It’s simply the feeling of filling a void. It’s the same reason a man wants to believe that his office would collapse if he missed a day’s work, or that his soft ball team couldn’t win a game if he didn’t show up. I’ve never been insdie the female mind, so I cannot name or explain the needs that exists there, other than to know that they do exist. The male mind, on the other hand, is someplace where I’ve spent quite a bit of time.

    My wife is one of the most independent people I know, and if she came to me tomorrow and told me that she didn’t need me at all but wanted me to stay, I’d know that it was true. And, being a man… when she holds me and tells me that she really needs me in her life and wouldn’t know what to do without me, I know that that’s true too. BUT… guess which one of those two scenarios makes me put my head down and keep pushing for our marriage when things get tough (and they do).

    I celebrate your independence, and that of your grandmother. I fully understand that a woman has now boundaries other than those she accepts for herself and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I understand that you won’t need your man to lift boxes. You won’t need him to open doors, kill spiders, or open pickle jars. But you should understand that you absolutely WILL need him, or someone else like him, to make a relationship work; that is something that I can assure you NO ONE can do by themselves no matter how strong and indepedent they are.

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