Puppy-Dog Philanderer's: Cheating & Relationships: Part 3

Pretty valid (although I've come up against more reasons that just this). Sounds pretty petty when you put it this bluntly huh?

So, you’re in a great relationship. Your mate treats you very well, you get along great and share everything with each other, have passed that 3 year mark and are even talking about moving in with one another/getting married/having kids/__________(insert taking it to the next level example here), and then BAM!, without warning you find that your mate is spending more and more time online chatting, spending more time with a friend or co-worker, or arranging to see that play they really were dying to see with someone special-with someone else. You, being the fully secure, rational human being that you are, chalk it up to a healthy expansion of your mate’s social life – but you’re still feeling uneasy about what’s going on.

How can you tell if it’s simply your green-eyed monster rearing it’s ugly head for no good reason or if it’s really a sign that something is amiss? Again, it’s all in the little details when it comes to emotional cheating. Many people begin to look for signs of sexual infidelity, and become frustrated once they cannot find any signs. However, if your mate is having an emotional affair, the tell-tale signs we are all used to looking for won’t be present, so trying to go into Ama-D mode is useless (how could they? A conversation where you share your innermost secrets with someone doesn’t involve condoms, shared fluids, or even shady late night disappearances).

Much like the diddlers, these cheaters will tend to hide conversations or internet correspondences they have with their emotional lover from you. And they will also be more evasive or general when it comes to telling you the details of what they talk about. If you walk into his office and your man quickly closes the window he was chatting in and stands up from the computer to walk towards you, that could be a sign of guile. His actions tell you that he wants you nowhere near the computer, and doesn’t want you to catch a glimpse of the conversation he was having or to see whom he was having it with, as though he wants to avoid you coming near the scene of the crime.

Another thing you may want to observe is their general moods and or attitudes to you versus the suspected affairee. If you find that your mate is always laughing, jovial, excited to hear from, and , god forbid blushing, while talking to the suspect this could be a good sign that an emotional affair is afoot. Especially if this behaviour is out of character for your mate, the suspect is the only person they respond to in any of those ways, or they are never like that while speaking with you anymore. The reason this is a sign? It could be that your mate is freaked out about the seriousness of your relationship and is looking to connect with someone where there is less pressure to be serious about life with, and a person whom they aren’t actually having any type of “real” relationship with (or sexual contact with) allows them to feel carefree. It could be also that you and your mate over time have grown apart, and although they still love you they don’t feel as though you are jibing in the same way, but they want to make it work with you so they turn to another to give them the aspects of the relationship or intimacy that they are lacking. Or they could be of the Puppy-Dog Philanderer variety (which can be thought of as sort of a combination of the two, but with a whole new aspect thrown in).

"That's a good dog!!!"
"That's a good dog!!!"

Puppy-Dog Philanderers: There is a type of cheating that does not involve sexual infidelity. We are referring to emotional cheating: Which can be defined as a full fledged emotional relationship with someone in which the emotional cheater grows deep, complex emotions for another person (which can be anything from falling in love, to lusting after, to crushing on). The emotional cheater then engages in behaviours that involve pursuing further, and increased, contact and a deeper connection with the individual of interest. For more details click here.

Now, a Puppy-Dog Philanderer is a special kind of emotional cheater. They engage in such emotional affairs because they require consistent praise, love, and attention from an outside source. The Puppy-Dog Philanderer (or PDP) thrives on the honeymoon phase of relationships, as this is when their mate is looking at them through rose coloured glasses and is too riding on infatuation, and therefore lavishes the PDP with love, praise, attention, and unconditional happiness and love. Once the honeymoon phase has ended however, mates tend to be more realistic with one another, and have also grown accustomed to each other. They can also be more personally demanding and critical as the relationship becomes more serious.

The PDP. at this point, can end the relationship in search of a new one, being in a never-ending cycle of committed shorter term relationships to ride the infatuation high forever. However, the majority of PDP’s understand that relationships cannot always be rosy, and often judge whether they will remain in the relationship based on other normal factors. However, the PDP is addicted to the aforementioned feelings , and this is where the emotional cheating comes in to play: they get to remain “faithful” as far as they are concerned, get to be in the serious adult relationship that they desire with the person that they love, while still being able to experience all of those warm and fuzzy feelings that they so desire.

PDP’s can take the emotional affair to a physical level with relative ease, and end it equally as easily, as soon as the gratification from the affair is no longer as fulfilling. They will also end the affair if their mate suddenly begins to lavish them with the love and attention, or if they go through a bonding experience which heightens the sense of love and fulfillment in the relationship. There is a reason for the Puppy-Dog reference: The PDP needs to be patted on the head, or scratched behind the ears, while hearing someone chuff and coo at the “That’s a good boy! Who’s my good boy?? That’s a good doggie!” . They want to be just as worshipped and praised, regardless of what wrongs they have done, they want to be just as deeply admired and obviously loved and cuddled as they were in month three of their relationship with their mate.

PDPing is hard to cure, as it is also hard to diagnose in advance, except for in extreme cases. The majority of PDP’s are only diagnosed after a pathology of this behaviour has been observed by an outside party over an extended period of time (or through self report stories combined with first hand experience). Normally treatment involves personal counselling for the PDPer so that they may recognize why they look to outside sources to feel validated and secure. Often, well masked insecurity issues are to blame. Another very effective treatment is self-directed praise (rather than saying “I’m so proud of you!” say “aren’t you so proud of yourself?”), which teaches the PDP the important skill of positive self talk, although this technique works best in conjunction with dealing with insecurity issues as well as learning to communicate feelings more effectively with their mate, and their mate effectively learning how to communicate without negative references to the PDP.

Braving barbed wire and possible strangulation...all because the grass SEEMED greener on the other side...good call Bessie!!
Braving barbed wire and possible strangulation...all because the grass SEEMED greener on the other side...good call Bessie!!

Ok, Ruby, you think exasperatedly to yourself, I know that my mate is having an emotional affair…but who cares, it’s just a little crush, it will fade with time- our relationship is true blue and will stand the test of time. Right? Ummm…not exactly. Just because an affair begins as an emotional one doesn’t mean that it won’t progress to something more. Sexuality for men is based on physical attraction, but like women they also can feel sexual chemistry inspired by an emotional connection too. And, just as in the beginning stages of any romance, things seem all bright, rosy, and perfect in their emotional affair, which can lead to ideations of how perfect a full out relationship can be. And, of course, there’s ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome, so if you look all dull and gray and boring and the affair looks all exciting and great, regardless of the reasons why, it could lead your mate to try and take things a bit further – of course, keeping you around as a safety net in case their new little romance doesn’t work out.

So what can you do? Your best bet, as always, is to be open and honest about your concerns. However, in this case, just talking about the suspected affair, or requesting them to spend less time together or whatever just isn’t enough in this case. Often times, emotional affairs signal major underlying issues, either personal ones or ones within the relationship. Telling your mate that you’ve noticed their increased closeness with this other person and your uneasiness about it, and then letting them know of any concerns you have within the relationship is a good way of broaching the subject. You can also let them know that you really want them to be happy and want to know if there’s anything you both can do together so you both can feel 100% fulfilled in your relationship.

Keep in mind, that like most situations, nothing is foolproof. However, your mates reactions to you bringing up the subject should be a good indicator of whether or not you should remain in the relationship, or whether or not they are interested in staying. Relationships are hard work, and if you are both willing to be open about your feelings and voice your desires with one another, and still are in love with one another, then you’ll be able to pull through. Just remember that BOTH people have to be willing to work on it, otherwise you’ll never have a healthy relationship.

And, honestly, do you want to be in a relationship that’s sufficient (or even great) knowing that your mates mind or heart is on, or with, someone else? Didn’t think so.

This ends my 3 part special on Cheating in Relationships. But, based on the email responses I’ve gotten asking questions not only about the topics I have covered, but about other aspects of cheating and relationships, I’ll be continuing this series as a weekly column. Please, continue sending in your questions and concerns, and stay tuned for next Friday’s continuation of Cheating & Relationships.

Have an awesome weekend, y’all!


11 thoughts on “Puppy-Dog Philanderer's: Cheating & Relationships: Part 3

  1. I swear, reading this was like reading a history of my relationship. My man is doing this to me, and I know it cause I caught him more than once before, and now I keep subtle tabs on him (yes, I save his browser and chat history on the sly and read it later – not putting up my name in case he comes by this post and catches on).

    The thing is, and I’m not sure if this fits the PDP (I love the new terminology and my friend died laughing when I told her about it) but he has been doing it all the time for the past 4 years! And, yeah, he needs to have his ego stroked ALL THE TIME!! He actually asks me all the time about if I love him, if he’s good enough, etc etc, and all in a baby kinda voice. It gets to the point where he almost makes me sick!!!! Like, get off of me, and grow a spine! And I guess then he goes out and finds himself someone to scratch him behind his ears and tell him he’s special. Like seriously, why can’t people like him just own a dog or something?!?!? They’ll love you unconditionally even if you do suck (not saying my man sucks, but you know).

    I’ve actually tried to get it into his head that he’s insecure before actually, but he’s seemingly so confident and popular and outgoing, he doesn’t realize what hes doing exactly. Its frustrating because I think we could have a long happy life together, he is like the ying to my yang, and I guess I could deal with the emotional cheating thing…but he has taken it to an actual affair level…MORE THAN ONCE!!!…ok, I know I am stupid and stuff to stay, but its so hard to leave something good, especially when you know its not exactly his fault, and you don’t think he’s actually really trying to be a bad guy or hurt you.

    Am I making excuses for him? Like, when do I say enough’s enough already and kick him to the curb? I don’t want to give him an ultimatum to change or I’ll leave cause I did that with an ex once (different situation but still) and he called my bluff on it..and sicnce I didn’t leave him the relationship started sucking hard cause he knew he didn’t have to respect me anymore cause I wouldn’t do anything about it. So yeah, clearly don’t want that to happen again. What should I do? Sorry, for the long winded post, just thought your post was so clear and understandable and you didn’t exactly address my issue 100 % so I thought I would ask. And give you a background history.


  2. Well, anonymous, first I would like to say thank you for your comments and questions. I will try my best to answer what I can.

    But I gotta say, it’s not exactly his fault?? How is it not his fault if he chooses to engage in an emotional or even physical affair? Did someone hold a gun to his head and make him do it? Several times? Listen, just because there are explanations for human behaviour, just because there are underlying causes sometimes for people’s behaviour, it doesn’t mean they’re not at fault what they do. We all have choices to make, and he chooses to have affairs on you (emotional and physical).

    Now, you can’t really go up to someone and say “hey, you’re an insecure person just so you know”. Nobody is going to respond well to that. However, if you get into a conversation and address the times that he has cheated in the past, and try and figure out for him what was going wrong in the relationship or in his life at the time, that might help you help him deal with some of these insecurity issues, just without under any circumstances labelling it as such.

    Now, nobody can answer for you when it’s time for you to ‘kick him to the curb’, this is a decision you have to make. In your heart and soul, as long as you continue to believe that he is the one for you and that it’s not his fault/he doesn’t mean to/he really loves you, you’re not going anywhere. So, maybe what you need to do rather than focusing on fixing him (cause you can’t hun-you can help people help themselves but you can’t fix them…if he doesn’t want to change, if he doesn’t see it as a problem, then this is how it’s going to be)maybe you need to start focusing on yourself.

    Ask yourself some questions…namely, why is it that you feel that someone who cheats on you and isn’t fulfilled by you is the ‘ying to your yang’? And why is it that you have been in this situation before and gave an ultimatum that you couldn’t follow through on? And why did you stay when things got worse? (remember that “because I loved him/want to be there for him/show him that he can trust me” or whatever other clicheed sentence you can come up with is not an answer…we are talking about answers that ONLY have to do with you and your self esteem/self image/self worth).

    I hope I answered your questions.


  3. Great post! this reminds me so much of my past relationships! I swear he meant tons of girls off mypsace and @ first it was just emotional but it then turned into something physical. All the signs were there.

    Yet I still took him back but that had to do with how I felt about myself. I did not feel I deserved more so I put up with anything just to keep him around because I did not know how to be alone.

    I gave him all kinds of excuses saying that it wasn’t his fault because if I would do this, or do that, then he would have cheated but in reality I could have been the perfect girlfriend and he still would have cheated. He just was not ready to be in a relationship.


  4. @ GinaMarie

    I am so glad you came to the realization that him and his shitty behaviour had nothing to do with you and your treatment of him. Like you said, he just wasn’t ready for a relationship, or maybe he wasn’t ready to grow up, or whatever the case may be, but it was on him.


  5. this post is really the greatest on this topic. I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your upcoming updates. Saying thanks, great lucidity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Delightful work and much success in your next topics!


  6. Pretty Interesting post. Couldnt be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a well enjoyed read. Many thanks for sharing!


    1. @Getting An Ex Back
      Well, thank you! Understanding cheating in relationships IMO is key to catching and more importantly preventing yourself from falling into these traps or getting caught up with someone who can’t help falling into these traps. I hope you picked up some valuable info you are able to apply to your relationships going forward, and I hope your old room mate enjoys the post as well. If you’re the old room mate reading this, leave a comment and let me know what you think!


  7. Reblogged this on Classic Ruby: Unadulterated and commented:

    I’ve been getting some emails, as well as being asked by some friends, about cheating concerns… rather than rewrite about topics I’ve already covered, I figured reintroducing you all to my three part series on cheating and relationships might be just the thing to do in this situation. So enjoy y’all, I hope for those of you with questions it’ll help give your situation some clarity. For some of your more specific questions that aren’t answered by this series, stay tuned for the follow up… part 4 of this series coming soon to a Classic Ruby post near you!


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