Too Late to Change His Spots?

Question: Can a serial cheater or a "player" change ? They are in the late stages of their life, the mature ages.

What does it mean when a man tells the woman he is dating that she should dress differently, that she does things to get men to look at her, that it's her fault if another man looks at her, she shouldn't go to a bar to socialize, she shouldn't talk to other men, etc.

Isn't this controlling and can't this lead to more serious issues of abuse? Alcohol is drank daily.

Also, what if he doesn't trust her because he thinks she has cheated when she hasn't, but he has been a serial cheater?

Can this type of personality ever change?

GARLAND: Thanks for your question!
Can an old playa' change his game? Well, yes - if he TRULY wants to. But old habits are VERY hard to break. And, its worse if this old player is still hanging in the same spots with the same people he always spent time with.

If he is starting to act controlling and paranoid and is blaming YOU for looking too good and drawing attention [from men] to yourself, it sounds to me like he's doing the same old same old. It always seemed to me that people blame and accuse their [spouse or] significant other of things that they themselves are guilty of. If he is saying that you are trying to get men to look at you because you look good, then chances are his eyes are wandering and trouble is afoot as soon as your back is turned.

When a person accuses his [or her] partner of cheating and it seems to happen a lot, I always think that they are messing around themselves. I've always assumed that while they're out doing their dirt, they don't fully know your whereabouts so you may be out doing "dirt" too. And while they think its fine if they cheat on YOU, you'd better NOT think about cheating on THEM! What is good for the goose is certainly not good for the gander, in their eyes!!!

So, can he change? Yes, but HE has to absolutely 100% WANT to change. But if he's dragging his feet, and disappearing for long stretches of time, and always whispering into his cell phone, and popping in on you unexpectedly [to check on you] then he is still up to his old tricks. If he wants to change, his change will be dramatic and unquestionable - if you still have doubts, then they are probably well founded. Take care!

CHUCK: Yes, like Garland says, a player can change. In fact, most do. Those who don't change by choice are forced to as they age and their options begin to shrink. And, as they say, nobody wants to be that old man up int the club embarasssing himself trying to pull women old enough to be his daughter. It's possible. Anything's possible.

It seems as though you have another problem, though. You seem to be dealing with a man who has declared war on your self-esteem. That whole business of trying to police your wardrobe, getting angry at you when another man looks at you, and not wanting you to go out is some old school emotional abuse. And pretty intolerable.

There is a psychological principle at work here. It's called transference. Basically, this man is projecting aspects of his behavior (flirtaciousness, willingness to cheat, untrustworthiness) onto you. "I'm not worth trusting," he thinks, "so she must not be, either." "Can't this lead to more serious issues of abuse," you ask. You're damn right it can.

Can a person change? Absolutely, if they are willing to. But this guy doesn't have issues, he has subscriptions. Drinking, controlling, jealous, cheating... Where, oh, where is the up-side here? Dump this guy. Don't give him a chance to disappoint you further.


Who's Playin' Who?

QUESTION: Hello Chuck and Garland,

I met this gentleman a few months back at a game night kinda thing that my friend invited me to. He was cute and I immediately took a liking to him especially as I talked trash to him as I WHOOPED his butt in Spades (I am the queen of Spades, by the way... lol). We actually see each other again outside of a few club events, exchange some small chitchat and I keep it moving. We see each other again at another event we decide to set a date to have a rematch at my friend's house (yes, my golden opportunity to see him again outside of this club crap!) and he agrees.

We speak a few times leading up to the game night and I decide to make a bet *wink, wink* on the game. I propose, that if I win, he has to take me out to dinner. He agrees, and then adds, "what do I get?" *YES!! I say in my head* He proposes that if he wins ( LOLOLOL..yeah, right!) I should buy HIM dinner....AND a movie **YES!!! I say again to myself** So we have a few more convos and I ask him if he has a girlfriend..he says "actually, I have a fiance" A fian-wha? Yes, a fiance. So I'm basically crushed but I keep the fake happy voice and go "oh really?? how long have you guys been together?" He answers said questions and we move on. We still talk here and there but now I'm a bit annoyed. We've been texting and talking and the question that I assumed was just a formality actually comes back with the "actually, I have a fiance" answer. He goes on to say that the fiance is in another country and that she's been gone for some time. So we still talk and such and I forgot to mention that he has also offered to design my website for my up and coming business for free. So, I decide to keep the link (and shoot, let's face it...he's a lot more interesting than ANYTHING I got going on right now)

So game night comes and at my friend's house comes and goes and we win the rematch, thus me winning the dinner out with him.

Fast forward a little bit, we (my spades partner and I) are invited to yet another game night by Mr. Engaged...and yes WE WIN again. Keep in mind, I have not cashed in on my dinner (partly because Mr. Great Potential is now Mr. Engaged) and we've started to talk a little bit more but are just keeping it more about business and on a friendly tip. We go out the following night to a Dave and Busters type place, just me and his friends this time. He invites me to church with him and his cousin the next day…we end up spending the entire day together (not necessarily just me and him alone). We see each other again the next day two days as well (all pretty much in a group/innocent type of setting). But we're flirting AND dude is coming on to me.

About a week later Mr. Engaged comes over to my crib and we watch thing leads to another and we pretty much get to about 3rd base or so...definitely NOT home. And I decide to ask him what is really going on here. What are we doing? What are YOU doing? What's really the deal with you and Ms. Engaged? He tells me that they are still together the issue only real issue is the distance. He also goes on to say that they broke up a few weeks back because of her once again postponing her return date (another 6 months). They talk however, and patch things up and are now back together. All of this he never mentioned while happening and it is only by me bringing it up that he is mentioning it now. This indicates to me some trouble in paradise. But I can't bank on them breaking up. And even if they do break up, how could I trust him seeing as how he cheated on his fiance with me?
Even knowing and feeling all of this, I still can't help the fact that I like this guy. He is so different from all of the men that I've run into lately. He's smart, an entrepreneur, very goal-oriented, ambitious, witty, great sense of humor, good looking, tall, attends church regularly, etc but I'm 26 now and I'm the mother of a 4 year old. And I'm not looking for a "friends with benefits" type situation. I'm looking for someone that I am compatible with and that I can build with. Someone that encourages me (which he already does and we aren't even together) and someone that inspires me by their own actions. Aside from him being engaged (and a cheater), he seems like a pretty good guy (an oxymoron of sorts).

What do you guys think about this? Should I just leave him alone? Should I be the one that puts an end to the continuous flirting that we've done?

Thanks for your advice guys. Best Regards,

Desperately Confused...In DC

GARLAND: Thanks for the question my confused DC Sister!

For this one, I think you truly know the answer. You close your question with "should I be the one that puts and end to this continuous flirting?" So, you KNOW this is only heading to a bad place emotionally for you.

While this guy is handsome and fine and smart and wonderful and everything that a growing girl [uh, woman] needs. He's engaged. That means that before he met you he dated, fell in love with, went to the jewlery store for, and proposed to - ANOTHER WOMAN. He can call it what he wants and he can play all of the "we broke up for a few days, but got back together last week" games he wants to. But don't let his loneliness and/or emotional hangups break YOUR heart! Sadly, you are just something for him to do until his girlfriend gets back home. He has laid his cards [no pun intended] face up on the table, so YOU know what you are getting into. When his girl comes back home, I'm pretty sure your phone will grow a little quieter.

Don't fool yourself into thinking, "Well, I'll just get him to do my website and we'll just be friends..." or "I'll just let him take me to dinner, because [after all] I DID when the bet, and we'll be strictly platonic..." Don't fool yourself!!! Cut your losses and walk away. Tell him that you don't want to get involved with a guy that has a girlfriend. Don't let him get all semantic on you and start trying to explain or justify the differences between fiances, girlfriends, wives, lovers, etc. Just let him go, because now you are officially The Other Woman, and I doubt if you really want that title.

My best to you!

CHUCK: Believe me, sometimes I get tired of telling women that they need to drop the guy they're seeing, or cut things off with the guy that they're halfway seeing. I really do. It would give me no greater pleasure than to say, "You're doing the right thing. Godspeed." But as long as as Garland and myself are presented with circumstances like these, I can't do that.

I am really sorry that you let yourself get involved with this guy, because there is no way this situation can end well for you. If you cut off contact, you'll be hurt because you have invested some feelings in this man. But if you go on, you're exactly right to be concerned that he may attempt to play you the same way he's playing his fiancee. People do this all the time, and forget this simple part of the equation: The same way you got him/her, is the same way you could lose him/her.

The good thing here is, at least the guy wasn't a total a-hole. He didn't lie to you about having a fiancee. It seems as though he never volunteered any info following that admission, but at least he was truthful. He hasn't hit you with a lot of promises (lies) about how they are on the verge of breaking up, etc., to give you false hope. For a liar and a cheater, you could do a lot worse.

But a liar and cheater IS what you have. So stop looking for cheap ways to get your webpage set up. If you can remain platonic with this man, and not go running around the bases with him, cool. But if not, leave him alone.