Alana and I met Toby in a Verizon store in Baltimore. Toby was friendly and we had great chemistry right off. He asked me out for crabcakes but at the end he discovered he forgot his wallet. I paid for dinner. He’s a bartender and I teach third grade.  We saw each other every day. Within four months, he moved into my place.  I was having the best time. Things went mostly well until it seemed like he never had regular work hours.  Then I heard all about him making out with his ex-girlfriend.  When I asked him about it he turned all wet & fed Gremlin-after-midnight. He got angry and called me names. I told him if he wanted her he could move out and go be with her. But then he pulled himself together. He embraced me and said he was gonna be patient and wait for me to get over being jealous and controlling.  Between kisses and lovemaking, he convinced me everything was okay. Like a mama cat petting and cleaning her kitten, he groomed me back into trusting him.

-Catalina H.

My boyfriend Albie and I decided to spend Christmas vacation apart.  I went with my family and he went on a cruise to Jamaica.  He called me late at night on Dec. 25th to wish me a Merry Christmas.  And then he just sat there silently on the phone.  So of course I take the bait and ask. “What’s wrong?” So he ‘fesses up that his ex-girlfriend is on the cruise with him and he cheated. Of course, he explains, “It just happened.”  Merry Christmas, y’all!

-Daniella M.


I’m not gonna play Pollyanna and say cheating never happens.  And there is the school of thought that says being honest even after doing wrong is best.  But let’s consider the possibility that telling our loved one how we did them wrong is the point of the whole shady endeavor.

In this scenario, it ain’t enough to just cheat — the perpetrator thrills in rubbing Girlfriend A’s nose in the mess with Lover B.  It’s not just sex the jerks wants.  It’s not just the ability to seduce two different women either.  Keeping one secret from the other just isn’t enough. The kink the jerk really seeks is sexual power at the expense of  the other woman scenario.  Power to deprive, power to humiliate, power to scorn.

For a disordered, power-hungry man, there’s no richer set-up to derive this power than through triangulation: flaunting a new fling to his girlfriend and instigating hatred and jealousy among his conquests.  All the while he is solely to blame and can often be still highly desired by the women he wronged.


There’s a lot rotten with this picture.  But how do you avoid or stop it?
See beyond the glittering, desirable surface. The winning smile, the passionate embrace, the romantic talk of being together for the future are the sales points. The intensity and singular, focused attention of our lover may blind us to his or her real intentions. This is how he grooms and positions you to gratify his ego & sexual desires by using you as one corner of the love triangle.  If nothing else, the fact of the revealed love triangle should tell you he’s not quite as interested in not hurting you, or giving a damn how you feel when he clowns you by cheating.

Know your weak points. A love con artist is looking to lure you in.  He will give you something you want to position you as his victim.  Your loneliness, romantic ideals, openness to companionship or ticking biological clock are all detectable vulnerabilities.  Ruthless Romeo will zero in on and  exploit your weak spots to his advantage.

Don’t give up on your love quest.  But do tuck knowledge of these behaviors into your tool belt. Beware and take steps to nip this in the bud.

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