By Christina Vercelletto
If your man is a philanderer, it's probably not your fault. But if you've gotten hurt by a player more than once-or you know someone who has-you'll want to check out what top relationship experts say could be part of the reason. Photo by Getty Images
1. You were "cheated on" by your father.
If your dad abandoned the family, was abusive, or didn't pay much attention to you, it often triggers a cycle, notes Jeanette Raymond, PhD., a licensed psychologist in Los Angeles, CA. "You expect the same from every man." Dr. Raymond recalls one couple who was happy until he socializing more with his co-workers. She grew very possessive, and started checking his phone. Even when he was out with his brother, she assumed he was cheating. "She felt as if he didn't care about her, just like her father," says Dr. Raymond. Her partner eventually did cheat on her, he admitted, to make her back off. Women stuck in this cycle need to mourn the loss of what didn't happen as a child and let it go. "Try looking at the facts, not just your feelings," suggests Dr. Raymond."
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2. You mistake attraction for love.
Attraction just happens. Love is something that builds over time and takes work. Sure, attraction can lead to love. But not always. "Female-to-male attraction works the same whether you're 16, 36 or 56," says Scot Conway, PhD, relationship coach and author of Emotional Genius. "A top attractive quality in a man is when he doesn't need your approval." Men who don't need a commitment tend to have extreme self-confidence. "If you understand that attraction is one thing and love is something else, and the first doesn't always lead to the second, you have a massive advantage," says Dr. Conway.
3. You're attracted to the "wrong" guys.
Women who get burned again and again are overlooking the good guys. "The classic friend zone is where many of the best partners end up," explains Dr. Conway. Why? Nice men can try too hard to impress you, which can be a turn-off. Sometimes what women want "is a bad guy they can change," explains Dr. Raymond. So have a two-date rule: Give a guy a fair shake before you dismiss him. How do you know you've found a man who could really be there for you? "You can tell him anything without feeling embarrassed or that you'll scare him off," shares Dr. Raymond. "And he accepts you the way you are."
4. You're not really into sex anymore.
No getting around it: sex is really important to men. If you're just "going through the motions" and having sex you're not enjoying, he might feel rejected and consider cheating. "Think of outings when he clearly doesn't want to be there. After a while, you'd just as soon not go out. It's the same with sex," explains Dr. Conway. Try talking to him and telling him what you like and what feels good. "If you are not there to fulfill the needs of your partner, those needs don't just go away. If it is something you don't want someone else there for, you be there."
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5. You're your worst critic.
If you're insecure about your body and often complain about it, he will start to see you through your eyes. Many of us do this more than we realize. "Do these jeans make me look fat? Do you think I'm gaining weight? I hate my cellulite. My boobs are getting droopy…You've got to stop!" says Laurel House, relationship expert and founder of ScrewingTheRules.com. "Let your guy view you as the gorgeous gem that you are. Act confidently. Embrace your body regardless of its shape and age."
6. You give up your independence.
"Some women give themselves so completely to the relationship that their partners feel uncomfortable and 'bought'," observes Dr. Raymond. And the irony is that in trying so hard to bolster the relationship, you become less like the woman he was originally attracted to. If you lose yourself in a man-canceling plans to be with him, only listening to the music he likes, posting only pictures of the two of you on Facebook-the man can feel trapped. And when one feels trapped, the instinct is to get free. "And they do that by cheating, because it's an easy way out," explains Dr. Raymond.
7. You believe sweet talkers are sweet guys.
Women who don't trust their gut when there are warning signs, are more apt to be cheated on. "I have a patient who is involved with a total jerk. But he wrote her a long letter, which she looked at as 'his putting into words what he couldn't say in person,'" says Jane Greer, PhD, New York-based relationship expert and author of How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal. Women who are easy marks for cheaters tend to be moved by showy displays of affection. The guys quickly figure out that "those will suffice to keep them connected and take her attention away from what's actually going on," notes Dr. Greer. "Rather than taking him at his word, go by his behavior, because often that's the real him," she suggests.
8. You're a Workaholic.
If you're working extremely long hours, or are unavailable, he'll feel neglected, says Dr. Greer. If the circumstances can't be avoided, compensate during your downtime. Even if you only have one day a week free, use that day to prioritize your relationship. Make every Saturday night, say, a non-negotiable date to snuggle on the couch with a movie. Talking openly and frequently about when you might need to be unavailable and how long you expect it to go on is essential. If you don't, over time, he may act on the "abandonment" by cheating.
9. You don't take pride in your appearance.
We know what you're thinking: Like he's Jared Leto? But hear us out. Not taking care of yourself at all sends your man a message: Leave me alone, says Carole Lieberman, MD, author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. Guys can translate your lack of interest in feeling and looking your best as lack of interest in them, a blow to their self-esteem. That same "you're not worth it" message can be sent when boundaries disappear too. "Women who get cheated often started using the toilet, farting, and waxing their upper lip in front of him," adds House.
10. You put the kids first. Always.
If you never give your husband first dibs on your time, he's going to wish he was with somebody who thought he was important. By first dibs, we mean, sticking to date night plans even though your daughter was just invited to a sleep-over, needs a ride and is having an "all my pajamas are ugly!" meltdown. "An assumption among women who are cheated on is that their relationship can wait until the kids are older and things 'get easier,'" notes Antoniette Coleman, Psychotherapist/Relationship Coach in McLean, VA. It can't. "Break this cycle by learning to be 'a good enough mom,'" urges Coleman. "Send store-bought cupcakes to the bake sale, volunteer at school once a month instead of once a week, let the kids have downtime instead of scheduling every moment of their day. You'll free up energy for yourself and your spouse."