How to spot a cheater


You are probably wondering if I think about Melissa having an affair with the Farmer.

I do. I think about it all the time.

As a preventive measure I tell the farmer that if he cheats on me, I'll stay with him. Forever. I'll never leave him. He'll be stuck on the farm with me, in misery. I try to create a scene in his head like a Beckett play: Two characters isolated from the world, in a room, making each other miserable.

Melissa and the Farmer always assure me that they will never do that.

One night, in bed alone, I ask the Farmer: “Do you think about having sex with Melissa?”

He says, “Well, I notice her body. But I don't think about having sex with her.”

I say, “Of course you notice her body. She has a size 00 waist and a size C bra cup.”

“Well, okay. Then stop talking to me all the time about having sex with her and then I'll be less likely to think about it.”

When I ask Melissa if she is going to cheat, she is horrified. Probably because it would ruin everything we have here. Also, though, I don't think she's attracted to him.

The problem is that I think she is getting more attracted to him. Which gets me thinking about how you can tell if someone will cheat.

1. Cheating is a lot about proximity.
We are most attracted to the people we see most often. I have read this in a lot of places. Most notably, a co-worker is more apt to like you if you work in the same office, as opposed to telecommuting, or working in another field office.

But the proximity research works for families, as well. A psychologist I interviewed, around the time that the Farmer was dumping me because his parents hated me, told me that if I were living on the farm, his parents would start to like me more because proximity leads to affinity.

This never happened, by the way. The Farmer's parents hate me more than ever and they disinherited the Farmer from their land even though he is still the only one of their kids farming on the land.

What it shows me is that you have to be open to affinity in order for proximity to enhance it.

I think a man is always open to affinity when it comes to a woman half his age.

And check this out: 70% of married investment bankers have cheated on their spouses. This doesn't surprise me as much as the fact that they are most likely to cheat on a business trip, with whoever is near them at the time.

Also, the reason half of Enron was indicted is probably because we become like the people we work with. (The people least likely to believe this, by the way, are law students who take on tons of debt and say they will join a big law firm, not get addicted to power and money, and when their loans are paid they'll join a nonprofit.) So cheaters foster cheaters.

Location location location.

2. You can estimate the verity of someone's response to: will you cheat?
Melissa's horses arrived.

In order to get the Farmer to agree to horses, Melissa told us, over and over again, how great she is with horses.

I believed her.

The Farmer says that a lot of people say they are good with horses, when really, they know nothing.

Melissa told the Farmer about how her parents home schooled her so she could spend all of her adolescence at a stable, helping the trainer with the horses.

The Farmer said, “Okay. Get horses.” But he knows absolutely nothing about training horses and he can't help her at all. So she cannot ask him for help—he doesn't even like horses.

The horses got here and they were supposed to come already accustomed to having a saddle on them. Instead, they reared up like in a Lone Ranger movie when we tried to ride them.

So Melissa left the horses in the stall, sort of ignoring them.

After a few days, the Farmer said, “Something's wrong. She is not doing anything with the horses.”

It turns out that Melissa had no idea how to get them to lunge longe without a pen. I don't even know what the word lunge longe means, actually. But the farmer went out and helped her. And it turns out the farmer is great with horses. It turns out that he knows how to get the horses to lunge and Melissa was not so confident.

This scenario makes sense to me because people’s ability to self assess is generally constant.

For example, the Farmer generally underestimates himself, and Melissa generally overestimates herself. If you can get a read on how someone estimates himself in one scenario, then you can apply it to other scenarios.

All that makes me think that the Farmer is a little less likely to cheat than he tells me, and Melissa is a little more likely to cheat than she tells me. And the farmer loves the horse more than he admits.

3. Assuming everyone is honest is a better way to live.
It's hard to be trusting. But I'm not sure I have another choice. People who trust those around them are happier, more successful people. I want to be that.

And I'm struck how all the same things we do to build trust at work are the same things we do to build trust at home. So the more trusting you are the more trusting you get.

4. Being able to identify cheaters is a useless skill, even if you could do it.
Melissa sent this link from The New Inquiry to me about spotting liars. It’s an interview with a college professor who talks about how he sniffs out plagiarism. When he describes the signs, they make sense, but I might have missed them myself. For example, he says, “The correct use of a semi-colon is a red flag to me,” because most college kids don't use semi-colons at all, let alone correctly, when writing their papers.

The interviewer, who is someone who writes college papers for a pay, suggests that maybe so many kids plagiarize because the ability to come up with the stuff on their own isn't that useful when it's right there on the Internet. And maybe the kids just don't value a college education.

Hm. First of all, I think that probably is true. And a Stanford study shows that writing for social media is more educational than writing for class anyway.

So what is the point of the guy being able to identify plagiarizers? Sixteen percent of the students plagiarized. He needs to realize that he has more problems than he does cheaters. For starters, he has the problem that kids obviously don't see value in what he is teaching.

Also, did you know that the biggest problem with theft at Barnes & Noble is employee theft? They spend a lot of money to guard against internal pilfering. It seems like it'd be more effective to spend the money on making people happy at work.

5. Distractions are the best antidote to obsessive worry about cheats.
I did some research about cheaters. And it turns out that people who are likely to cheat have a ring finger that is longer than their index finger. I got this from Dr. Phil via Perez Hilton. But before you bitch about my sources, it does turn out that a longer ring finger is a sign of higher rates of testosterone in utero.

But I don't know how useful this will be to me. Because I have a longer ring finger. And I have never cheated on a boyfriend, or in a 15 year marriage. But I think that testosterone thing does make a difference in work. I think I'm better, more able to compete in a man's world, because of my extra testosterone.

So maybe I've been no use to you as to how to tell if someone is cheating, but you can tell if a woman will fit into an all-male office by looking at her ring finger. Really.

144 replies
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  1. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    My ADHD brain loves how you jump from one thing to the next; I see the connections and do the same thing. But I’m not as good a writer, so you don’t need to worry that I’ll start a better blog.

    The farmer is cute. I’m happy for you. :)

  2. Mishigas
    Mishigas says:

    Penelope, most men have longer ring fingers than index fingers. So effectively he’s saying is men are more likely to cheat.

  3. vicky
    vicky says:

    Three things: I have AS, therefore I do not cheat. And, my ring finger is longer than my index finger.

    2nd thing: I don’t know if bicycle helmets are majorly different than riding helmets, but Melissa is wearing a bicycle helmet. Also, her leg position is not good, meaning she will not be secure if she tries to ride.

    And, the farmer has honest, not ‘planning on cheating’ eyes. Of course, men can always be conned, fwtiw.

    • -k-
      -k- says:

      And the flip side to that: the farmer would have to have a *really* great personality for me to want to bang him. REALLY great.

      So if Matt Delaney and I were your husband and your best friend, respectively, it’d be pretty much a wash.

  4. Pete Michaud
    Pete Michaud says:

    You’re funny Penelope. No, the thought that Mel would cheat with him never crossed my mind for a moment.

    Maybe since you’re so hung up about it you should arrange for them to have sex (maybe while you watch), just to get it out of your system. That way you can move on from the thought and get back to having a strange marriage with him and a strange friendship with her, haha.

    • Kay Lorraine
      Kay Lorraine says:

      Absolutely true. Proximity is dangerous. Get rid of Melissa, the sooner the better. Put her on a plane/train/automobile to Woodstock, NY. It’s very country-ish. She will be able to take lots and lots of pictures and, more importantly, she will be half a continent away from The Farmer. Her pictures are pretty, but they’re not THAT pretty. Goodbye, Melissa! Trust me on this.

      Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt.

  5. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    All my fingers are exactly the same length, including my thumb…and toes. And I STILL agree with Matt. Not that I would actually DO it. I’d back away and SAY I did. Is that REVERSE CHEATING? Or just high school mentality?

    I’m so confused. Or is it acute self assessment? Or is it lack of trust. I don’t trust TRUST, that’s what it is. And I blame it all on my parents. There! I said it! Can I have a horse?


  6. Twister
    Twister says:

    I also noticed she’s not wearing a horse riding helmet. If the horse is untrained she should really be wearing a horse riding helmet because they are designed for falls from a higher distance/have padding in different places. Expect to fall off untrained horses a lot.

    Don’t let your kids ride a horse, even calm ones, in a bike helmet.

    Also, the farmer looks like a man who is good with creatures who are easily spooked…and horses :D

  7. scot
    scot says:

    so if you let your friend share the farmer, it wouldn’t be cheating…and the farmer would be much happier…

    (i’m just sayin’)

  8. Dips
    Dips says:

    Weirdly, the last bit made sense. In my 8 yrs plus of working as a manager, I have never, ever, ever had a female colleague. OK, maybe once, for 5 months, in a parallel department.
    As for cheating – well, if you worry about it, it will happen! Stop putting notions in others’ heads.

  9. Autie Zombie Girl
    Autie Zombie Girl says:

    Penelope, I think our AS makes us naturally distrustful of the motives of others. My husband says I don’t trust him because he’s actually fairly trustworthy and I trusted my ex even though I knew that he was lying because his mouth was moving. The reality is that I never trusted my ex and he cheated constantly
    I do trust my husband now but I trust him with big picture things like paying the bills and keeping his hands to himself. These are things I know I couldn’t trust my ex to do. The other part of this is that we tend to over think everything because our brains don’t know any other way to cope.

  10. Bill
    Bill says:

    Hi, Penelope — Thank you for mentioning trust. That trust issue (point #3 above) has been huge for me this year — so often, I’ve been operating waaaay outside my comfort zone, so much that it’s beyond fish out of water, more like fish on another planet!

    Then something shifted around March. Since then, I’ve noticed that when I approach others from a point of directness and transparency (willing to be more vulnerable, rather than withholding or accusatory), I tend to get that energy in return. And here’s the surprising part: I respect myself a whole lot more too.

    Long story, short version: My life has been moving a lot faster lately, yet I feel a lot more grounded. And I hope that happens for you too. I really do.

  11. justathought
    justathought says:

    Analysis: you subconsciously created this situation so that 1) you could punish yourself for finally being happy and stable (repetition compulsion) 2) you could have an excuse to leave the boring isolated farm. Why do this to yourself?

  12. Judy
    Judy says:

    I love your Blog Penelope; not sure if you're seriously asking advice or indulging your creative writing skills.
    I do believe horses are great teachers and good character judges. (Check out some stories @ )
    We can learn a lot from watching herd behaviour.
    An Alpha mare wouldn't allow the stallion to have quality time with another mare. She'd send her from the herd.
    Regardless of finger length or tendency to cheat, testosterone encourages mating. Show the farmer you have leadership skills and evict Melissa.
    Instead of helping her with her horse your Farmer can take you out to lunch or get on with his farming.

    You might wonder what my qualifications are to give this advice. I'm a 62 year old Grandmother seven years into my third marriage. The first husband of 17 years enjoyed the company of my girlfriends until he found one more exciting than me. The second nine year marriage involved alcohol and violence.

    Experience is a great teacher if we're willing to learn. My farmer husband and I have a wonderful collaborative alliance.

    Just as I wouldn't wait until a horse was bolting to ask it to slow down, I wouldn't wait until my husband and girlfriend were trying not to think about each other to remove the temptation. Far better to have them annoyed at you for a while than live with wishing you'd done something to prevent a disaster.

    A North American Indian said – €˜Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog, all of the time.' When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied – €˜The one I feed the most.'

    Judy O

    • AP
      AP says:

      As the wife of a recovering alcoholic, I recognize the parable about the dogs from a Father Martin lecture:) Nice reference.

  13. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    Don’t go down this path of wondering about Melissa’s intentions because you’ll lose her friendship. In fact, I’m surprised she’s not already insulted that you don’t trust her. I’ve been in Melissa’s postiion…

    My former best friend of 15 years used to make the odd comment here and there about her husband and me. You see, I arrived at their house one time and had to pee really bad and I thought her husband was blowdrying his hair in the bathroom. I said “Is G in there because I have to pee bad?” Meaning..I could ask him to step out while I used the only toilet in the house. Apparently he was in the shower and this was wildly misinterpreed as me thinking it was ok to go in there and pee w/ him in there. Ha. Ha. Big joke.

    Then, about 14 years into our friendship, she made the statement: “The only friends I don’t trust around G is T and you.” My mouth dropped. Why? B/c this other lifelong friend, T, did really try and get it on with her husband. I couldn’t believe that she was comparing me to this other friend and the depth of her mistrust. I can’t even describe how much that “joking” statement ruined our friendship. A year later, I broke off our friendship. There were other reasons but that was the big one.

    Take a page out of my life and learn from it because I’m sure Melissa thinks you don’t trust her and isn’t trust in a friendship pretty major? Yes. It is.


    • Jane
      Jane says:

      My mouth dropped open when I read the first line of this post. Oy, I think this plays into Penelope trying to “start stuff” with her hubby because she’s trying to shake things up & change things. Pre-suspecting him of wanting an affair is one way to piss off a lesser man, but like she says, the Farmer is not a typical fella.

      Penelope, we’re on to you and the Farmer is too. :)


  14. Susy
    Susy says:

    For some reason I did find this blog a bit disturbing.
    You think about your friend and husband having an affair ‘all the time’? Do you want it to happen?
    If you keep on talking about it, as well, you are putting ideas and thoughts into their heads. I’d hate being in a situation like that, and surely it must be getting to you, on some level, otherwise you wouldn’t be thinking about it.
    I’m with Judy, remove the temptation! : )

  15. Paul Hassing
    Paul Hassing says:

    Quick question, Penelope:

    Did the farmer lose his inheritance because of you?

    If so, that’s a high price to pay; but also a rather clear indicator that he’s into you.

    If, having forefeited his birthright for love, he were to ruin your relationship with infidelity, he’d really end up with nothing.

    I don’t know the man from a bar of soap. But he cites Melville and looks square at the camera like he has nothing to hide.

    That’s gotta count for something. P. :)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah. When I think about all this rationally. When I try to. I think to myself that he lost something very big for me, and he is not likely to ruin what he has with me since that’s what he has left.

      On the other hand, sometimes i think people do not get disinherited because of their spouse. They get disinherited because there is a messed up relationship with their parents — it’s not normal for parents to punish a child so severely for the spouse he or she chooses. And then I think the Farmer did not lose the farm because of me. He lost it because of how his parents viewed him to begin with.


      • karelysbeltran
        karelysbeltran says:

        agreed. I think that if handled with honesty this situation can let you in the farmer and the farmer in you. So you end up knowing more about each other and why you think the things you think. It can teach more about yourself too. If you try really hard to distract yourself without finding out why you are arriving to those conclusions so often then it will nag you a long time and create problems rooted in insecurity because they case hasn’t closed.

  16. Maureen Sharib
    Maureen Sharib says:

    On my left hand my ring finger is longer than my index – on my right hand vicey-versa. What’s that mean?
    That is one pretty pony.

    I watched the Joan Rivers reality show about her life w/her daughter Melissa. When Joan arrived in CA and Melissa had both her boyfriend and a boobalicious “nanny” for her son living in Joan asked Melissa what was she trying to prove.
    Just sayin’.

  17. Pete
    Pete says:

    Matt, Matt, Matt – it is not in all men’s genes – that is a load of horseshit.
    I know many men who are faithful to their wives and would not look at another woman.

    The best way to spot a cheater, in my experience, is look for the jealous ones. They’re imagining it already.

    The golden rule of cheating is-“If they’ll do it with you they’ll do it to you”

    The hallmark of evidence is ignore everything your suspect says and look at what they actually do.
    Talk is cheap.

    And Katherine? is it possible that your ex-friend was a bit jealous/anxious about her husband “G” wanting to stray and you happened to catch the flak? A possibility..

    Get some sleep people, it must be at least 5am up in that crazy-ass northern hemisphere

  18. Heather
    Heather says:

    I think the farmer is a gem, and you shouldn’t worry about it too much. It is true that most men do have a longer ring finger than their index finger. Funny thing is mine is longer on my left hand and the same size on my right hand.

  19. Diana
    Diana says:

    You have instincts. Trust your instincts. Also, if it walks like a duck, well…
    And I’ve asked this before: why is she there? Why not a place of her own nearby? Don’t farm hands usually live in the barn, not in the main house? I obviously have trust issues!

  20. Alisa Bowman
    Alisa Bowman says:

    I think many men will look at an attractive woman and see themselves having sex with her. It doesn’t mean they are actually going to do it. Cheating and not cheating is more about self control than anything else. He’s a farmer. He has lots of self control and patience. Both are required skills for farming. The same is true in reverse. I think some of my friend’s husband’s are hot, but I would never act on it. I value my friendships too much. Even if my husband died and my friends died, I’d never have sex with their husbands.

    • Chris M.
      Chris M. says:

      However… If my husband started mentioning repeatedly about my cheating with one of his friends, I might end up thinking, “well, if I’m going to be accused anyway, why not…”.

  21. Amy Parmenter
    Amy Parmenter says:

    I am so psyched!! My ring finger is longer than my index finger!! I have always been told I am ‘more like a dude than a girl’ — usually by some ‘dude’ who thinks that’s a compliment. I used to think it was a compliment…until I wanted to be more like a girl.

    Now I can pick and choose.


    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  22. sophie
    sophie says:

    I absolutely knew such a post was coming. In fact, I suspected it would be worst, not because I mistrust the farmer but because Penelope needs fodder for her blog. Or because Penelope has a way of sabotaging everything that is right in her life. Why else would she have Melissa come live with them?

    Melissa very well may have worked with horses as a kid, but they were probably gazillion dollar horses so well trained that a china doll could sit on them. When I was a kid there was a girl in my horse club like that. She was always a bit smug until one day our trainer made everyone ride someone else’s horse. Suddenly, this “experienced rider” knew nothing about riding.

    I think that same concept applies to Melissa. At first glance, she looks super sharp, has great business ideas and impressive work experience. But until now she’s only worked for big, successful businesses or mega wealthy people, where it’s much easier to shine and look brilliant.

    The real brilliance, and the real learning, will be when Melissa gets out of your house and learns to do things on her own. And when she sticks with something long enough to see it through.

  23. Laura-F
    Laura-F says:

    That semicolon thing annoys the hell out of me. They say that here in England too about Personal Statements– that schoolkids write to get into universities. Supposedly if there’s a semicolon the teacher must have written it. Well, I can use semicolons correctly, and probably used them correctly in my personal statement seven years ago, because I looked them up! Equally, clear and coherent prose writing in students really seems to surprise uni lecturers. It’s almost as if they WANT their students to be muddle-headed. It worked for me in university though — write an essay that shows that you can string two sentences together and they’re so happy and relieved that you can get good marks just for your writing. I think that college professor’s cheater-spotting is self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • Erin
      Erin says:

      Thanks, Laura, of everything mentioned in this post, that semicolon thing bugged me the most too. I know how to use a semicolon properly and I have since high school at least. I’m certain I used semicolons properly in several college essays. Thank god I didn’t have professors like the lazy moron mentioned here.

      • ResumeWriter
        ResumeWriter says:

        I was thinking the opposite here. My assumption is that the professor would have seen numerous examples of a student’s work, and would have known the writing level of the student. If Student A writes poorly and Student B writes well and they both turn in great papers at the end of the term, chances are Student A will be questioned, while Student B will have deservedly earned a good grade. You said that you knew how to use semicolons since high school, so your writing was most likely always at a higher level than your peers. I’m sure your professors recognized and appreciated that, while other students were subjected to a bit more scrutiny.

      • Tzipporah
        Tzipporah says:

        Your assumption that the professor will have seen numerous examples of the students’ work only makes sense in a small, liberal arts college. At any large uni or state school, the prof probably has 50-200 kids per class, and assistants who do the majority of grading and one-on-one interaction. You don’t see the same kid’s writing enough in one semester to remember how good or bad they are.

  24. Riley Harrison
    Riley Harrison says:

    Not knowing the real dynamics of the situation and having your reporting as the only source of information (which is overthought and flavored with insecurity), I trust him and suspect he really loves you.

  25. JS
    JS says:

    My grandmother used to say, “if you can cheat on small things, you can cheat on big things.” So I guess one way to spot a cheater is whether or not they are truthful to you in everyday small scenarios.

    • Beach Mama
      Beach Mama says:

      VERY wise words indeed! It’s about values but it’s also about getting our needs met. We’re human. If our needs are being met we’re not likely to look elsewhere.

  26. Yuse Lajiminmuhip
    Yuse Lajiminmuhip says:

    Life is so interesting when you have some things that cannot be predicted. You’ve spoken your part, and given the Farmer and Melissa something to mull over. Trust your husband, and hope your friend will respect your wishes. I think it is as simple as that.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Kathleen! Melissa and I were just saying the same thing. Her ring finger is longer, too. And women with AS clearly are not as feminine as, like, the cheerleader type, so maybe part of AS is too much testosterone.

      I should get an NIH grant or something….


      • kate
        kate says:

        Ironically, i just saw someone post a link that talks about this very thing today

        they are thinking there are many many links to hormone exposure in the womb which also affect finger length and can help with diagnosis (not 100%, obviously, as it’s newish research but it’s very interesting to read)

  27. Paul
    Paul says:

    I’ve been thinking, when I get rich, I will probably need a personal assistant. How do you go about finding one of those? Preferably with a 00 waistline and C (or D) cup. Thanks in advance.

    • Missy
      Missy says:

      one other thing, treacherous people like you become easy to spot, and therefore easy to avoid.

      my current roommate would scew someone over/cheat/attempt to steal a bf at the drop of a hat, if it somehow benefited her. a sample of some tell-tale signs:

      1. she “forgot” to give her last roommate back his deposit
      2. she has no qualms about marrying 100% for money
      3. one time we went out and a dude was talking to me…he offered to get both of us drinks, and she followed him to the bar and cornered him, got his business card, and emailed him.

      it’s no big deal really, i just don’t extend our relationship beyond roommates.

      oh, and my ring finger is longer than my index finger…which explains a lot.

  28. Missy
    Missy says:

    I don’t see it happening. And take it from someone who’s experienced this myself.

    At the ripe old age of 24 I learned a huge lesson:

    One of my best friends at the time, “Anna,” just moved to the city and had to leave her current apartment* suddenly. My bf** at the time was living with a college friend and they had a 3rd room. I got the brilliant idea that she should just take over the 3rd room. The rent was super cheap, and my bf would save money – it was win-win!


    I knew deep down that what would happen was inevitable, given both their personalities. They hooked up 5 months in and 6 years later, I haven’t heard from Anna since, and the (ex) bf occasionally attempts contact in hopes of getting back together.

    So, my point: I don’t know about Melissa, but Farmer is not a cheater.


    *The circumstances around this were shady and should have raised some flags: She was staying rent free in her boss’s beautiful apartment while he was out of town for a few months (he was in love with her) she decided to flee in the middle of the night, after emailing him her letter of resignation. RED. FLAG.

    **My then bf had a history of cheating – he was jealous of his ex-gf’s accomplishments and family so lashed out by cheating on her (with the girl his best buddy was in love with!), thereby ending their 5 year relationship. Red. Flag.

  29. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Exceptionally useful post. And, yes, worked in male-rich environments all my life, with a longer ring finger. The guys used to tell me I had more testosterone than they did, as software developers. I guess they were right.

  30. Lady Blue
    Lady Blue says:

    I hope Melissa is at least paying rent for all this trouble.

    I don’t think the Farmer seems like a cheater, the honesty in his answer and in his eyes says it all, IMO.

    Both of my ring fingers are longer than my index fingers… although I’m physically very girlish, my personality is quite masculine, so I’m not at all surprised.

  31. Long Ring Finger
    Long Ring Finger says:

    So … we’ve heard from lots of ladies whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers (me included) … are there any girly girls out there with short ring fingers?

    • MJ
      MJ says:

      My ring finger is a hair shorter than my index, but I’m not a girly-girl. I could have been male and been fine with it, and I’ve never been into fashion, shoes, babies, girltalk etc.

      Maybe “a hair shorter” is close enough to “longer than?” for this purpose?

    • MM
      MM says:

      On my left hand my ring and index are exactly the same size…I wonder what that means?? On my right, my ring finger is a bit shorter…. I am a girly girl in alot of ways, but super competitive, which generally isn’t very girly.

    • Thuy
      Thuy says:

      On my left hand, my index finger is longer, but on my right hand, my ring finger is longer. No sure what that indicates, but I like to think it’s the best of both worlds.
      When I was a teen and in my early twenties, I was anti-feminine, active, good at math, music, and logical systems, as well as very skinny. In my late twenties, I’ve become curvier (boobs, hips, ass) and more comfortable with my feminine side. I’ve also come to realise that while I analyse every situation rationally in great detail and have trouble identifying and expressing my emotions, ultimately, all my decisions are based purely on emotion.

      I’ve cheated once, but whether it was cheating depends on who you ask. We had already decided to end a long distance relationship but still wanted to see each other one last time before parting for good. Between deciding to break up, and rubberstamping it in person, I was with someone else.
      So am I a cheater? I guess it depends whether I look at my right hand or my left hand.

      Deep down we know when something’s off in a relationship. It’s just about having the courage to stare it in the face.

  32. Jens Fiederer
    Jens Fiederer says:

    You mean when a woman talks about a friend to her man in a sexual way like that she is NOT actually suggesting it and giving her tacit permission?


  33. CL
    CL says:

    I am considering getting a PhD and becoming a professor. I am also a writing tutor and it would be really simple for me to do what the person named “Cheat” does. I read more quickly than most people do and I can synthesize information well; I can write an excellent paper in 4-8 hours. So many of my kids would love to just pay somebody to write their papers for them; a lot of the time, they try to push me into writing it. The demand is there and I am capable of supplying the services required. Sadly, I am ethical and I don’t write other peoples’ papers for them. However, I was really attracted by the idea of taking over a semester’s courseload while the student travels around 48 states. How incredible would that be? The student probably learned things that were more valuable than what he would have learned at school.

  34. Rosie
    Rosie says:

    Heh – Farmer does look good.
    And I was thinking this was a menage-a-trois-post.
    (Now I have to get my brain from youknowhere, and confess to the priest on Sunday).

  35. Jana R
    Jana R says:

    I will only say that I am similar in many ways to Melissa, to a large extent I derive my feelings of self-worth and happiness from the attention & affection of men.

    I have to confess that while I don’t set out to fall for other my friends’ husbands, it’s happened to me a few times. Most of the time the attraction is mutual. So far only one or two wives have found about our flings. I just can’t help myself, even though I know it’s wrong. And I usually hate myself afterwards. But I can’t stop.

    I would give Melissa the boot. She needs to get on with her life, and her presence can only drive a wedge between you and the farmer, even if unintentionally.

    • Beach Mama
      Beach Mama says:

      Saying “I can’t help myself” is a lie and a cop-out. Cheating is a conscious choice.

      I’ve been on both sides (not proud of this). I’ve been cheated on and I’ve cheated. It’s a personality deficit that if allowed to go unchecked will not only ruin the lives of those you cheated on, but also your own sorry-ass life. Get help, find out what it is that has you feel so poorly about yourself.

      Best of luck to you . . . truly.

  36. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    The first red flag I heard about Melissa, she’s a stereotypical bludger. I have seen and experienced my fair share of them. You seem to believe she was making hundreds of thousands of dollars as an investment banker? Doubt it. More likely she was the nanny sleeping with the daddy in Italy, thats why she was sent packing. Her immaturity with work and farm animals is what one would expect from a millenium upbringing. The farmer “doesn’t know anything about horses” because he saw the writing on the wall and didn’t want to get stuck holding the responsibility. The term longe is not spelled lunge. Thats one of the things you want to avoid, a lunging horse will hurt you. I think Melissa will say anything to get what she wants at the moment no matter the expense and inconvenience to her hosts(what parasites attach to). As for the farmers parents disinheriting him, they would have thought of some other reason if you hadn’t come along. Parents who love their kids don’t pull the inheritance card. If they were not trying to control him they could always set up a trust so you couldn’t palimony him out of his property. Inheritance is not usually considered community property. It seems like you are putting thoughts in writing and learning from having them stare back at you. It’s a very effective method. You might try learning about the subconscious and how you manifest what happens in life. When you utilize thought, word and deed you can acconplish almost anything, even setting up the scenario for the farmer to sleep with your houseguest/girlfriend.

  37. Someone
    Someone says:

    RE: Cheating – I’ve never cheated on anyone in the 20 years I’ve been dating even when there were very blatant invitations. I’ve been cheated on plenty and am miserably unhappy with my lack of a sex life and lack of partnership. Having been through quite a bit of scenarios related to relationships and infidelity, I can say this – there are overall sex differences in desires in relationships. Men want lots of sex with ideally young and enthusiastic women. They also want an honest, lifelong relationship with a partner they really trust. Women really want an honest, lifelong commited relationship with a partner of high status who will provide for them. They also occasionally want some sex. I say that with great respect for other men who have their urges under control and the few but precious really horny women out there. It’s a statics game. Fundamentally, the way it’s set up is rigged against both sexes – nobody can ever be quite happy. From a man’s perspective, the ideal woman would be someone who he can live and prosper with for the rest of his life but who actively encourages and creates opportunities to have fun but short term encounters to keep him happy.

    • Spooked
      Spooked says:

      I think “Someone” nailed it.(no pun intended). I’m the same age as Melissa and scared out of my mind. He’s right. It seems there is no way to reach a happy medium or for each person in a relationship to “win.” Men want the young, enthusiastic partner and women want the emotional partner/financial provider. This strikes a precarious balance that never holds up. It seems like two magnets forced together, that, when left untended for even just a moment, will be pushed apart towards a better match. And women have so much more to lose. The most desirable category is 18 – 25/26. Then 27/28 is still ok but not ideal for men, and 29 – 32/33 is the final frontier. After that most women are seen as worthless in the eyes of men.

      • Jens Fiederer
        Jens Fiederer says:

        That’s a bit exaggerated.

        True, if you are a man intending to start a family then a forty year old woman is a bad bet. If you are looking for a roll in the hay, I’m not sure where the limits would be – I suspect the upper age limit just keeps going up, while the lower age limit doesn’t move all that much – I’ve seen plenty of women in their fifties that would be enjoyable if I were single – and I’ve already had my kids.

        The pickings might not be as easy, but I’m sure they are by no means gone.

      • Someone
        Someone says:

        @Spooked – Hm :) You sound wonderful… let me know if you are ever around Seattle.

        That said, the “worthless” part is not true. Men are desiring younger enthusiastic partners. They also want “the one” who really gets them, is interesting to be with and could be in their life for the rest of it.

        There is the weird bit about the idea that women have an earlier expiry date then men. I don’tthink that’s true; while from a men’s perspective, I always thought less of men dating younger women, if you want children and need some time to establish the relationship, 30 is an upper limit of sorts. At the same time, you don’t want to be in your seventies when your kids graduate.

        I think the problem is that once you realize that you’re in your thirties and you want the family and the kids, you’re pretty much screwed.

    • someone else
      someone else says:

      Yes, I am one of those non-neurotypical precious horny women who is happily coupled with a rare male who has absolute self control. But in my experience, they are not so rare. Every man I have ever been with has been faithful to a fault.

  38. Brad
    Brad says:

    The farmer is saving everyone else in that household from homelessness and probable starvation. Heck of a guy.

  39. Diana
    Diana says:

    Please provide Melissa’s blog address; I would like to compare and contrast yours, hers, and the Farmer’s.
    I agree with you about the real reasons he was disinherited.
    But don’t ever forget, as a man, he is not immune completely from infidelity. I base this on experience as well as numerous studies. It is only a matter, for Melissa, of finding the perfect combination for his specific lock.
    You would do her a favor to give her the boot sooner rather than later.

  40. Belinda Gomez
    Belinda Gomez says:

    The cheerleader type? I think you’re sort of stuck in the past–have you seen what cheerleaders do?
    Melissa is, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle. I don’t think you need a side-kick.

  41. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    “You are probably wondering if I think about Melissa having an affair with the Farmer.”

    Not once. Is that weird?

  42. Beach Mama
    Beach Mama says:

    I’ve been there . . . all over the place and I can tell you fretting and worrying about your partner cheating is not only a waste of time it’s surely a way to set it up to happen.

    It’s not about the farmer and it’s not about Melissa . . . it’s about you Penelope. There’s something inside of you that’s feels ‘less than’. I’m not a shrink so don’t take my word for it but get some guidance on this because if you don’t it will eat you up.

    I am married to a gorgeous, younger man (2nd marriage) who adores me. Women are always hitting on him . . . women 1/2 his age. He is VERY flattered and enjoys the attention. I don’t fret about him cheating on me. I love him and I love him the way he likes and works for our relationship. As long as he feels valued and wanted by me it’s unlikely he’ll stray elsewhere. Of course there are other factors but I believe these are the most important.

    What do the guys think?

    • questions info
      questions info says:

      It’s not about the Farmer, and it’s not about Melissa, but it could be after the questions.

      Google “question-behavior link.” There’s good research that if people have a little bit of interest in something, asking them about that topic increases their interest in it a lot. “Will you buy a car?” makes people more likely to buy a car, even months later, than not having been asked that question.

      There’s a controversial and intriguing side to this research. When polling teenagers and asking, “Will you do drugs in the next three months?” the simple poll may increase their likelihood of doing drugs.

      So asking friends, “Will you go to the gym this week?” could be helpful. But asking friends, “Will you sit at home and feel sorry for yourself?” may not be.

      As an aside, it can be useful to think about what questions we’re asking our kids.

      It’s a little ironic – you have these thoughts in your head, and perhaps you think speaking about them will make things better. Yes, it might in your head, but it might not to the others around you.

      Imagine if the witches in Macbeth instead of hailing him as Thane of Cawdor and future king… if they had instead asked, “Will you be Thane of Cawdor? Will you be the future king?” Perhaps the result would have been the same.

  43. Jules
    Jules says:

    From the perspective of a stranger:

    Melissa gets too much from your friendship to lose it over a one-time sexual encounter with the Farmer. I doubt she is interested in spending the rest of her life on the farm.

    And the Farmer is just plain not That Kind of Man.

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