Does Single Parenthood Make You Want To Stay At One Child Or Have More?

This is a serious question everybody.

Sometimes I feel as though I’m in the minority. After having Andrew, I’m pretty convinced I want to stick with one. My mom keeps reminding me, “When you find someone you want to marry, then you’ll change your mind.”

But will I?

I really value my freedom and put A LOT of importance on making my one life count to the fullest. I don’t get a second chance at life- I get one and I better make it the most productive/fun/happy life I can possibly create.

The cost of one child is astronomical. My biggest nightmare is to get married, have children, only to be divorced down the road and playing single mom to several more kids with no more energy to pursue my dreams.

So here’s another poll, since I’m really interested in the crowd’s opinion:

An Amazing Dinner With A Cameo From Lizzy The Roommate Who Is A Little Bit Crazy

I’m a little late, as usual, while I drive almost a half an hour away in Friday afternoon traffic. My make-up is nearly perfect but I am a little disappointed in my outfit. My apartment is a little bit of a wreck right now- a variable clothes explosion- I couldn’t find the outfit I was going to wear to save my life!

I pull up to his house, effortlessly yuppie with a well-manicured lawn, and hear Hipster’s music blasting from the window in the kitchen.

The screen door was propped open, inviting me in.

“Helloooo?” I called.

A half balding, older man popped his head in the hallway, “Hiya. Come on in.”

I walked into the kitchen and was greeted by Liz, a very petite blonde in ass-hugging jeggings, a white blouse, nude pumps and a white Chanel handbag.

“Hi I’m Liz,” she said and shook my hand.

So far so good. The three of them were downing moderately priced champagne. It was a bit early for me to drink so I nursed the glass while Liz went about the kitchen tidying (it was already immaculately clean). Poor Hipster looked agitated at the roommate and boyfriend intrusion.

Liz certainly didn’t get the hint and made herself at home on a bar stool.

“So Penny. Tell me about yourself.”

“What would you like to know?” I asked pleasantly.

“Hipster tells me you’re a single mom. So like do you have baby daddy drama? Are you friendly? Do you guys talk? Were you ever married? Do you miss your kid on weekends?”

I kid you not, this woman asked about 20 inappropriate questions in one breath.

I’m not the kind of woman to divulge my life’s story after knowing a person for five minutes, so I answered some of the more mundane questions.

She then went on to tell me about her impending divorce to a man 15 years older (in his fifties) who was a psychopath and a sex addict. I then learned she was trying to settle for spousal support and the house but the divorce process had taken two years.

“Do you ever want to get married? Was your pregnancy planned? Why don’t you and your ex talk? Even to co-parent?” she kept yammering.

After about an hour and a half of interrogation, I wasn’t sure that I liked this woman. She acted like someone who snorted too much Adderall, running around the house, chasing her dogs.

Finally she and her boyfriend left. I was relieved. Hipster went on to plate our first dish: perfectly cooked gnocchi with pickled artichokes, asparagus and a pesto sauce. The second course was even better: seared scallops on a bed of cauliflower puree (tasting surprisingly nutty) and sun dried tomatoes with flecks of bacon. The first two courses were so big that neither of us could stomach the other three he planned to cook. The desserts were cheese plates, delicious mulberry jam and chocolate-covered, fresh coconut.

We had amazing conversation, plenty of wine and those “come-hither” glances you see in movies. No more than two hours later, Lizzy and her boyfriend came home to make yet another cameo, drunker than before.

The two of them plopped down next to us and restarted our previous conversation. Liz rambled on about her female and male houseplant’s love connection (?!) and said things like “I know we probably shouldn’t be friends, but I think we will be,” “You should bring over your son next time- I love to babysit!” and “you have an intimidating type of style” because I wore black and white and dark makeup.

Our night ended after WE excused ourselves to Hipster’s room. I’m not quite sold on this chick, but their body language didn’t portray any hint of a past, romantic relationship.

At the end of the night, I am happy to report that we are now exclusive :-).

Should I give her the benefit of the doubt and loosen up or is something somewhat unhinged?

Out And About With The Hot Hipster Circa 1997

I was fifteen minutes late. The Uber driver was creeping on back roads at 10 miles per hour. The Hipster was waiting outside of the bar in his parking space. I had waited all week to wear my cute new mid-drift shirt with a long, body-hugging skirt and laced-up black pumps.

He saw me and walked across the highway wearing a dress jacket, T-shirt, thick black framed glasses and a scarf with yesterday’s gruff. He was the perfect display of San- Fran hippie and I loved his style.

He greeted me pleasantly with a hug and a quick “Nice to meet you.”

“Have you been waiting long?” I asked. I hate keeping people waiting.

“Only since 4:00 p.m.,” he joked. “I like to get a head start.”

We found a place at the bar and immediately I was struck by how gorgeous he was. His pictures definitely didn’t do him justice.

“So did I catfish you?” I asked. Our text messages that week were about his catfish experiences and since it’s hard to find me online, he was worried about a repeat.

“No,” he said. “You are absolutely stunning.”

I liked him instantly.

I was besotted by his intensely passionate energy. He was a smooth talker for sure, but not in a creepy, player kind of way. His eyes were authentic. His hand movements and gestures were excited.

We drank at the bar until I spied an open table and he pounced on it. To be honest, I wanted to have some space between us so he wouldn’t keep touching my leg- too intimate and sexual for a first meeting.

I always like to swap stories about online dating horrors- they’re always good ice breakers. He regaled me in his recent catfish story about a date with a women who was ten years older than her profile stated and with an ass the size of a “table.”

The Hipster kept asking me “what’s my story?” meaning he wanted the details of my ex-fiancee and so called “baby daddy.” I wasn’t too keen on getting into the particulars- it sounds crazy when I tell it aloud and it’s not really first date material. He backed off but told me he was divorced two years, co-parents well with his ex and is a very hands-on dad. He owns a catering company that allows him to work the hours he wants and spend ample time with his kid. I found it very refreshing. He’s also somewhat of a relator maverick, working his way to getting his real estate license and dabbling in selling property.

However, there were some potential red flags:

  • He lives with a female roommate in a six bedroom home who once tried to date him (He swore he never slept with her, however I’m not so sure…)
  • He seems to have few boundaries with his ex (they’re best friends…could she be the jealous type? We’ll see).
  • He is a bit materialistic. He kept talking about his passion to manifest wealth and interest in personal style and having nice things. I’m not really of that mindset. I think modesty and balance is best.
  • He’s somewhat of a cross between conservative and libertarian. I’m a moderate liberal, so we will probably disagree about most things political.
  • He was exceptionally forthcoming about his manic-depressive traits. My ex is borderline, possibly anti-social and it was hell, so I date The Hipster with hesitation.

The night ended with him driving me home. I wouldn’t let him come up because I knew we might sleep together and that’s really not in my best interest right now. I’m not looking to hit-it-and-quit-it at this juncture in my life. But we did sit in his car for an hour just kissing, which was a nice departure for me because I’m not much of a make-out chick. He was an EXCELLENT kisser.

We have plans for lunch later this week since I have no free time for the ten days. Updates to come…

Online Dating Don’ts For The Guys

A second wave of online dating messages crowd my inbox, because, as well all know, spring ushers in the mating-season mentality. Everyone comes out of hibernation from old relationships and break ups.

This post is largely targeted to my male counterparts looking for a date, a relationship, or something causal. Let’s just call it a little bit of friendly advice for those that really need it.

  1.  Picture Don’ts:
  • Blurry Faces. Stop blurring your face out of shots. It definitely let’s me know you’re married, in a relationship, about to divorce or a serial rapist/killer. It’s shady. And no, I will not send you my email address to receive your “real” pictures.OnlineDating Don't.png
  • Mirror Selfies. In fact, stay away from mirrors. Especially hotel bathroom mirrors. It conjures the image of you taking a shit while you wait for a sexy liaison with a hooker.
  • Distance Shots. If I have to squint to see you hovering on a large rock because you’re a thrill seeker, how will I even recognize you when we meet?
  • Gaggle of Girls. I know it really boosts your ego to be in a crowd among attractive women, but it won’t win you points with me. It means: PLAYER. And I hate both the “player” and the “game.”
  • Zoolander Face. You know how annoying it is to see girls doing the kiss-y face in every photo? Well the pursed lips, Zoolander equivalent is even worse.
  • Gym Pics. There’s something so sad and narcissistic about a guy who pauses after his dead lift to take a selfie (and thereby snapping a picture of innocent gym goers behind him).
  • Double Fisting Drinks. Screams alcoholism, binge drinking and lack of impulse control. Not a good look.
  • Tattoo Photo Montage. Look, I’m glad you’re proud of your tats, but honestly, no one cares about the snake and cross bones on your lower back. Is it trampy? I don’t know. We’ll definitely be the judge.
  • Body Parts. Ugh. If I see another headless torso shot, I think I might dry heave.
  • No Picture. This seems like a ploy to catch a cheating girlfriend. Also see Blurry Faces. OnlinedatingDont2

2. Message Don’ts:

  • The Sick. If you’re looking for a fling, fine, but at least look at my profile first to see if I list that as well. Messaging about what you’d like to do to me is a one-way train to BLOCK (example: I’d love to drip hot wax on your…).
  • The Strange. I get it, opening up conversation can be rough. Asking me which of the Power Rangers I embody is a cute, interesting conversation starter. Asking me which of the Power Rangers I’d rather marry, murder or mate with is CREEPY.
  • The Machismo. WE GET IT. You’re hot. You clearly are letting me know you’re hot. Saying things like “Congratulations! I’ve chosen you as a potential dater. If we share the same interests in our chat, you should meet for a drink this Wednesday,” is at the very least, presumptuous and a douche move.
  • The Long-Winded. I just plain won’t read your novel. You may have taken an hour to write it, spell check and re-read for grammar mistakes, but chances are I will read the first three sentences and fall into a comatose state of information overload. That’s why people go on dates- to learn and discover if they have mutual interests. A pithy, cute opener goes a long way towards actual interaction.
  • The Template. Also known as the Cookie Cutter or Reply All message. Women are becoming very adept at weeding out messages that appear to be sent to 200 others simultaneously. How do we know this? There’s not one mention of our interests from our profile and usually goes like this “Hey! So I have a very unusual request…” Check…mate.
  • The One Word. Dude, stop being lazy. No matter how many emoticons you stick beside the “Hi,” it really doesn’t peek my interest. Nor does “Beautiful” or “Sexy” for that matter.

3. Profile Dont’s:

  • Writing Nothing. If you don’t spend the time to even create a summary you’re either shallow and rest on your picture’s laurels, lazy, looking for an instant hook-up or all three.
  • Blame. Saying that you’re not sure about online dating because your heart was broken a million times sounds desperate. And sad. And like I will give you a hug and then leave when you’re a pile of mushy, sobbing mess.
  • Long Listicles. See “The Long-Winded” section.
  • Poems. I kid you not, I’ve come across a few guys who include poems in their summary.
  • All About The Shallow. I’ll lead with an example. The first paragraph in the summary read as follows, “I’m looking for a cool girl to chill with. You and I will click if you’re not superficial, a stage 1-5 clinger, mentally unstable, or need a pound of make up smeared on your face before leaving the house.”
  • Accomplishment Whore. That’s why they invented LinkedIn. Need I say more?

4. Username Dont’s:

  • The list is too long, so I’ll give some examples of less savory usernames (all are real):

– Gettin-itIN54!








You’re Not Alone

single mom and babyTo all single, by choice, married, divorced and separated mothers.

To the moms who do it all with one arm rocking her sleeping baby while the other hand is answering an email.

  • You’re never alone. You are among friends, confidants and very, very loved.
  • You are stronger than yesterday.
  • You are braver than last year.
  • You look onto the future with hope and promise.
  • You know that destiny is yours and happiness is now.
  • You may want a cleaner house, but you are kind to yourself and know that sanity comes first.
  • You treat yourself with respect, always.
  • You take guilt-free “me” time.
  • You parent in trial-and-error and that’s okay.
  • There will always be something left undone, but you take it in stride.
  • You’re not superhuman, but you’re damn close.

Bad Advice: Couples Therapy Advocate Wants Unhappy Married Partners To SUCK IT UP For Their Kids

I just read an article that CHAPPED my ass. I mean really chapped to the fact I feel like moisturizer is necessary.

Granted, “Ms. Debra Macleod is a YourTango Expert and couples’ mediator turned relationship author-expert who uses her extensive training, experience and skill set to help individuals and couples save their relationships, avoid divorce and make positive changes to their family and personal lives,” has a hidden agenda= by her books $$$.

unhappy2Here are some of the most offensive examples of her “advice,” which she titles, “Kids Are Resilient and 7 Other Lies Divorcing Parents Should Stop Believing” :

1. My kids want me to be happy.
Macleod advice: No, your kids want their biological mom and dad to get their act together, behave like grownups, and create a stable, happy home for them. Kids are focused on their own happiness and childhood gives them that privilege.

Me: Yes, because constant arguments, verbal abuse and staying in a loveless marriage is “healthy” and reinforces a healthy childhood.

2. My kids will be better off.
Macleod advice: Probably not. Research shows that children of divorce experience higher rates of emotional and behavioral problems. They are also more likely to experience poverty and mistreatment, whether it is outright abuse or cruel indifference, from an unrelated adult in the home.

Me: Research also shows that children in blended families adapt well as long as the family is healthy, non-toxic and open communication is encouraged. Single parent homes are also on the rise, and yield very happy, functional children.

4. My relationship with my children won’t change.
Macleod advice:Yes, it will. A parent who does not live under the same roof as his or her child cannot have the same stature or influence in that child’s life as a parent who does. Whether it’s a 2 a.m. nightmare or a house fire, you’re simply not there to do your job. Regardless of the reason for the divorce, chances are good that at some point, your child will resent you for breaking up the family unit. Even worse, your child will likely blame him/herself, rationalizing that he/she was not “lovable” enough for the biological parents to work through their problems.

Me: This is temporary. I argue kids will resent you more after seeing years of mistreatment and having to endure the heartache of battling parents. The home then becomes a battlefield, not a safe place to form happy childhood memories.

8. Kids are resilient and will adapt to the new situation.
Macleod advice:Think this won’t affect them in the long-term? Kids don’t adapt … they make do. When you break up their home or bring your new love interests into their life, they hunker down emotionally and do their best to cope. Like it or not, you have taught them that love is unreliable. As adults, children of divorce are more likely to also be divorced and break up their own families. Of course, divorce isn’t always a bad thing. It’s the best course of action in some cases, such as abuse, unmanaged personality disorders and infidelity, to name a few. There are rare cases where one spouse is entirely at fault and where kids are better off having a destructive or dangerous parent out of their home or even out of their life. But the fact is, most broken homes are caused by two self-focused, short-sighted adults who wallow in their own misery and rancor for each other, instead of keeping their promises to work through their problems—to put their spouse’s needs ahead of their own and to see conflict from his or her point of view; to put their obligations as parents above their own pettiness as partners and to do whatever it takes to bring happiness back into their marriage and home.

Me: Rare cases? Are you f*cking kidding me??? So all single parents must be self focused, short sighted adults who would rather wallow in their own misery. No, single parents make the tough decisions to separate for their children because they put their KID’S happiness before their own. And romantic love is unreliable while parent-child love is unconditional. Happiness isn’t guaranteed just because you’re trying to work through your marriage. Unless you live an idealized world, free of verbal and emotional abuse. How dare you call a single parent self-focused and short-sighted you nit-wit!

Macleod’s bottom line to parents: Suck it up you good for nothing narcissists and work it out! Your kids should live in an illusion where real life, aka heartbreak, isn’t allowed to be felt or talked about and where hiding your true problems and feeling are encouraged. And by taking my training sessions and reading my books, you too can perpetuate 1800’s style marital unhappiness.

Ugh go soak your head in a bucket of ice cold water Macleod and come back to reality. Once you sell your books, of course.

Courage: Here’s to the rational adults who made the hard decision to separate because it was best for their child/children’s mental well being.

Dating Dead End: The Losers

loservilleIt’s official, I’ve run into a dating dead end.

In the words of one of my few male friends:

“Maybe you should stop trying to be Carrie Bradshaw, dating losers just so you can blog about it.”

Point well taken.

It’s kind of true. I rely on online dating because I’m not approachable in person. In fact, I give that LEAVE ME ALONE (Re: Chronic Bitch Face) vibe almost daily. I’ve been accustomed to slithery, slimy or lecherous advances, so I put up my bitch face, self-defense mechanism before I walk out the door.

Do people really meet out anymore? All of my friends met their significant someones on Tinder, Zoosk, POF, OKCupid, Match, etc. Some started as a hook-up, while others were as serious as a dating contract from the beginning.

My issue has always been my weird/fuzzy attraction to losers. Some of the common themes of Loserville (which really require further examination of myself):

1.) AAA: Aggression/Anger/Addiction


My dad was such a straight-arrow. A mild-mannered kind of guy. So why is this #1 on the list?! I have zero “daddy issues” to speak of. To my credit, the last boyfriend I dumped, I did so at the first sign of unnecessary/unfounded anger and aggression. I’m getting better…I think.

2.) Uneducated.

I’m not knocking blue collar- it seems like I’m attracted to it. I’m a pretty educated woman with a resume that includes Ivy League training, so what’s the commonality? I like to think you can be educated in hard knocks with interest in the world around you without going to college. I’ve met some pretty intellectual guys who dropped out of college. But 80% did turn out to be from the City of No Ambition, Loserville.


3.) Tall, Built Physique and Self-Involved.

Okay what woman doesn’t like to feel feminine? I’m pretty tall (5″8), so it’s nice to have some height so that I don’t have to worry about towering over my dates. Most of the really built, tall guys are a little bit more vapid (too gym-hungry) than I should settle for. But I also believe that physical attraction is a must for the long haul.


4.) Misdemeanor Rap-Sheet.

They’ve got that bad-boy edge I’ve been searching for and a rap-sheet to prove it. I like a little mystique to my dates, but this seems to royally fuck me over. Drunk in public. DUIs. Possession. They all should be flagged for Loserville. Silly me, I think I’m “different,” and they can change. I’m the rule, not the exception.


5.) Somewhat Attached.

Ugh I could write a novella on the pit falls of dating separated or newly divorced guys. Clearly I like getting close, but not too close. I love the autonomy you have with a separated/newly divorced guy. They don’t rush things. They give you plenty of space. There’s less jealousy. But all road signs still point to the City of I’m-Still-Not-Over-Her, Loserville.


Cue a blog post on commitment issues.

When Blind Faith Isn’t Enough: Finding Your Inner Powerhouse

I read blogs in the “marriage,” “parenting” and “divorce” categories that speak of faith. Faith in God. Faith in your marriage/relationships. Faith in your spouse. While I applaud the well-intentioned affirmations, faith is simply not enough. This of course is coming from an secularist, so consider the source before your emotions swell.

Sitting idly by, hoping, wishing, praying that your husband doesn’t cheat again or that you wish your girlfriend would let you see your kids more is tantamount to doing nothing.

Living mindful means action. It focuses the faith of external sources inward and holds you accountable for your own happiness. It’s only when you place high value on your self-esteem, self worth and love of yourself, do you see changes.


All the silly, internal arguments to stay in a relationship that is toxic are unacceptable. They hinge on fear, an unproductive and stifling emotion:

a.) Fear of abandonment

b.) Fear of the unknown

c.) Fear of a broken home

d.) Fear of societal expectations

e.) Fear of new financial responsibility

f.) Fear of lifestyle changes

g.) Fear of family and friend criticism

h.) Fear of child deliquency

i.) Fear of the career changes

j.) Fear of religious expectations

Before I left an abusive relationship, all 10 fears kept me stagnant. Empowerment was the only anecdote. The steps I took to find my inner powerhouse included:

1.) Reading literature on how to identify toxic/abusive relationship indicators (thanks Google Books!)- Knowledge is power! Get educated. It’s the first step.

2.) Self-preservation- systematic emotional distancing by realizing that the problem is my partner, not myself, slowly started building back my self esteem. When communication is impossible and toxic, you go into self-preservation mode. It’s an instinct. Build on this instinct and keep your self image independent from the negativity of your partner.

3.) Checklists- making mental notes of what needs to happen prior to physically leaving your partner. Dividing financial accounts. Child custody arrangements with the court. Separation papers and a divorce attorney. A safe place to stay. Emotional support (the relatives and friends who will allow you to lean on them temporarily). Job considerations (do I need to take time off? How long?). Marital assets (what will be divided?). Make sure you include timelines to keep you motivated. Make a promise to complete a check off the list EVERY DAY.

4.) Physically leaving- sometimes this is forced (as was my experience) and sometimes you leave when all your checks are complete. If your partner is reasonable, you can communicate your wishes. If she/he is not, you must take all your strength to leave. Otherwise you will remain stagnant.

5.) Implementing your checklists- the second hardest part. I got my act together and secured a new job weeks after I left. My financial accounts were already separate. I was in court the week before I started my new job. I lived with my parents for two months before I secured child care. I won access to my apartment and moved back in. I started over financially.

6.) Routinize immediately- I established a new routine with my son as soon as possible. This kept my sanity. My son was able to remain emotionally stable. I got up early, commuted to daycare, went to work, picked him up, fed him, walked the dog, bathed him, played with him, and then put him down for the night. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat! It’s simple, but VERY effective.

7.) Working on yourself- by the time your settled and you can process what happened, that’s when the healing begins. My healing started when I wrote my first blog post. Find at least one thing you couldn’t pursue before and make time for it! This will start the process of reflection and decoupling your partner image to an independent image of yourself.

8.) Loving yourself- no one is a perfect parent. Everyone suffers from parenting guilt. But like fear, guilt is an unproductive emotion. Start small, but allow yourself the precious moments of feeling “present.” Enjoy the newness of being single again and don’t dwell on the emotional emptiness. With time, it will pass. You’re strong enough. You’re good enough.

I never valued the last principle more than when I was faced with starting over as a single mom. My caffine-addled mind was fueled with self-loathing. But when I paused and looked around, at my family, my relationships, my career, my new start in grad school, my son and my life as a whole, I found inner empowerment. My life was fucking awesome! I am the reason I found success. Faith didn’t bring me to this conclusion. Action and knowing I have one life to live made success happen.


Make your one chance count!

Destined To Cheat Again?

If a person has cheated in the past, are they destined to cheat again?

Genes May Cause a Predisposition to Cheat

missed callAccording to SUNY doctoral fellow Justin Garcia, for some, the urge to cheat may be part of one’s DNA, the DRD4 gene to be exact.

“What seems to be important is that individuals with a particular variant of the gene need more dopamine (feel- good neurotransmitter) to get a rush. They need more stimuli, more excitement to really feel satiated,” explained Garcia.

While for some, a variation in the sensation-seeking gene may mean alcohol or gambling, Garcia says others look to get that same rush from cheating. Garcia studied the sexual and relationship history of nearly 200 college students, along with samples of their DNA.

“What we found was a strong relationship between a particular gene and people’s likelihood of engaging in these types of behavior, suggesting a certain biological motivation for why we might do it,” Garcia said.

Thrill Seeking Behavior

Is your significant other obsessed with getting a thrill out of dangerous situations? Does he/she feel energized after a wild fight? Do they like to play when the stakes are at their highest? Do they often lie for no particular reason other than the rush of trying to explain themselves and insert self-doubt into your psyche?
According to the research, they may have a genetic predisposition for thrill-seeking behavior, including the urge to cheat and the thrill of getting away with it.
To determine if he/she is destined to cheat again, one should look at the reasons behind the infidelity. If you hear excuses like “he/she meant nothing to me,” “it just happened,” or “the opportunity presented itself,” chances are you can predict the likelihood of the perpetrator cheating again based on his/her insatiable thrill-seeking needs. If you’re dealing with someone who also has psychological problems, such as impulse control, it’s probable they fall into the thrill-seeking category.
I believe there is a myriad of other reasons why people cheat: a loveless relationship, incompatibility, lack of respect for the significant other, apathy, low self worth, feeling misunderstood, lack of communication, etc. Some of these reasons, through intense counseling, re-commitment and time are great starting points to again build trust. After positive change, he/she may NEVER cheat again, but the trust will never go back to the way it was.  Only time and a heavy dose of honestly will scab open wounds.
Thrill-seekers and those with serious impulse controls and psychological issues make me less confident that they won’t re-offend their spouse.
Full discloser: I’ve cheated before. My reason was solely on the lack of communication between my S.O. and I. It was my one and only dalliance with cheating and I regret it wholeheartedly. I learned that my then-S.O. had cheated on me numerous times, however his reason fell under an “opportunistic” variant. He was an alcoholic, didn’t know when he had enough and made poor decisions based on impulse and the need for a thrill. He has since been in several relationships- all ending with cheating. I’ve been in several relationships, none of which I cheated.


So no, not everyone is destined to cheat again. But as science proves, if your partner (who has previously cheated) has a penchant for a dangerous or thrilling lifestyle, a need for constant, external stimuli, or poor impulse control, brace yourself. Determine if your sanity can handle the late nights and explanations before continuing the relationship. If something is really OFF, go with your gut- it probably is.
If he/she cheats a second time, be brave, be strong. Just walk away. You’re too good for that form of abuse.