Sex Q&A: Why We Still Love Those Who Cheat

Liam provides insight into why one woman can’t leave a man who continuously cheats, lies and generally treats her poorly. Why do people fall in love with someone who’s bad for them?

Give Your Love to Someone Who Deserves It

Bessie from Denver, Colorado asks:

Why is it that I can’t seem to leave this man alone when he cheats lies and treats me like crap? Why do I still love him? I feel lost without him and he doesn’t even care.

Liam’s Response:

Greetings, Bessie, and thank you for your inquiry. The question of why people fall in love with folks who are bad for them has been asked over and over for time out of mind. You could find some enlightenment in therapy, or by checking out a few of the many best-selling books on the subject if you wanted. Even evolutionary psychologists have a theory on why nice girls get hung up on bad boys. In any case, there are a lot of people who can relate to this dilemma and personally I’m not even sure that concentrating on the question of why is so important. Who knows why someone cares for someone else?

When looking at your situation I feel that you’re playing out some repetitive, internal script that started fairly early in your life. We all tend to run the same mental programs over and over, replacing one aspect of the same data for another. For some reason you are frantic to obtain the approval of someone who is emotionally indifferent. Search for similar patterns in other relationships, and the why of this particular situation might be at least partially revealed. But would it make any difference? Even with the why answered, you will still feel how you feel. And that, Bessie, is life. I have a client who often observes how having deep feelings for someone is hardly a justification for being around them if you’re bad for that person or they are bad for you. Sometimes we can care very deeply for another and it will still be a fact that for the sake of our sanity we simply have to leave that person alone. People who have been dealt some of the harder lessons life has to offer seem to understand this concept best. Life is too short to to waste time trying to give love where it is repeatedly rejected. It only ensures you neglect those who do want your attention: friends, family and other people in need who are your fellow travelers.

Mick Jagger said it best when he said, “You can’t always get what you want,” and sometimes you just have to accept that. In your case I see that this man really isn’t such a villain. He likes to go to bed with you and have other lovers on the side. He isn’t ever going to change because he doesn’t want to. And that’s his choice. You may always love this man, Bessie. But it is often the things we love the most that bring about our surest destruction. It’s best to accept it and take what you have to offer to those who will appreciate it.


Do you have a question for Liam? Ask Liam your question now.

31 thoughts on “Sex Q&A: Why We Still Love Those Who Cheat

  1. Ehn

    Liam, Thank you for the Articles, I’ll been w/ my Bf(father of my Son)for 9yr. now. the question that Bessie sent it is exactly the same my setuation, right now.
    every body say.. i got a good heart..for i always forgive(him).. but still does’nt care to change..

  2. agnes

    Liam thank you for this great Article,I am in Africa staying in an environment where one man marries six wives,so what will those wives do when talking about cheating?
    In my society were we have shortage of men,many ladies know their rivals ( i mean there boy friends other lovers) it hurts when a lady is aware that her boy friend cheat,but what can a lady do in this case?

  3. Bo

    “Has lovers on the side – will never change” Kid, you are too young to know and many old people feel the same due to lack of experience in the real world and both ages using this as an excuse to get out of a deal they have not worked on in quite awhile – so someone has to be blamed.

    Been there, done that. There’s nothing more flattering than to have at least two deadly beautiful women willing to go to bed with you, especially when they are fun friends for life – you think. One committed, I (at least) was the true blue one, never strayed – she (one of those two) strayed, then covered it up as all my fault. Again, married – never strayed.

    Moral: some may never change but it may be that they never found The One.

  4. Pepi

    I loved reading this article. It is so true.
    Why so many girls make the wrong choices that I am not sure of.
    Leave the cheater and never look back or have feeling for him. You deserve better.

  5. Courtney x5036

    Great article.. Men do put you in a category. If they see you as an interim sex partner it is very hard to upgrade to relationship status. The way a man treats you is directly related to how he feels about you.

  6. Niki

    Wow! Is all I have to say. I couldn’t have heard that at a more perfect time, and you couldn’t have said it anymore clearer.

  7. Lori

    This article could have been written just for me. Over the past year I have loved a man who at best is just plain bad. The psychics here tell me that he does love me, but that the love of himself and his arrogance overrides anything he may feel for me. So I have finally given up, I blocked his number and removed myself from any form of social media. I have made it very difficult for him to ever contact me again, and this is what I need to do to survive. They tell me his bad karma is coming to set things right, but that gives me little comfort. However, I know I tried very hard to love this man and to be good to him, and in the end that is all any of us can do. With some guidance I am looking forward to a better life, which we are all entitled to have.

  8. abosede

    How does it look if a lady discovered that either is husband to be or husband cheats on her and
    take the Holy Bible to swear he never does. Should one believe this or not. ( i mean to swear
    with Bible). Please, i need your comment on this. Thanks

  9. marc from the uk

    How reassuring to read his article and relate to it, I feel you have never loved properly or understand love if you have not been through these situations and emotions. I have recently bumped into some one at a friends 60th birthay party and if truth be told I had feeling for this woman, who although holds a responsible position as a senior nurse dealing with head cancer patients, and by all accounts is highly respected and thought of, is actualy a Jeckyl and Hyde character with men! I found she treated me at times terribly always behind friends backs, but in front of them she was life and soul of a party, but in private could be great or bad, she knew how to press my buttons after knowing her briefly she had the full measure of me and I took to her. However my pride did not allow me to put up with this and after the three strikes and your out rule! I stopped contact with her, I don’t think she took that very well! I never pulled her down to friends we knew, and remained dignified, but that burning question always was, was it me? am really that peron she said I was? whats wrong with me? why does she treat me like this ? It really knocked my confidence and it took a lot of resolve to realise that I was dealing with someone who has issues, and after analysing her history I realised she had attachment issues, starting with her father, whoserved his country as a professional sodier, more than his children, her husband left her for another woman, she stayed alone but dated men, never for long, I came to the conclusion that she I am sure longs to be loved and desired, and wanted, and enjoys the chase, but fears she will be let down so she does the hurting, to feel empowered and in control! Sad in a way a I am sure she really just wants to be approved and wanted, and if only she could let go of past hurts ad be open to it, she could get on with her life, and let some one in and be happier. However getting back to the party!!! I made sure I looked my best! Behaved properly! and remained dignified,we never spoke or acknowledged each other, sure she flirted her boyfrend around, but I just remembeed thinking ” poor sod” ! I am sure he’s got it coming ! Did I feel a twingef hurt? Yes of course I did, But I realised I am not capable of healing her although I would of been up to helping her, she alone has to deal with her issue, and likemany others I am not capable of changing someone, or being that special person who can, so just like Bessie from Denver, it is sometimes out of our hands and we have to accept that. The positives for me, was we had great sex! great food, massaged each others ego’s, for a while, and she put me oto the tread mill of keeping a diary for a daughter I am estranged from, so hey, it’s not all bad if you learn to look for the positives, oh and before I forget, her eyes, were burnng a hole in my back if she thought I was not looking! So I must of meant something!!!

  10. irmz dayaganon

    helo, i have this case of mine.
    I want your opinion or advice to want is the best thing to decide or do in my situation now.

    I am separetely wth my husband for a 2 years, after knwing that he cheated me, he had an affair with other girl behind my back until i found him thru his phone mgs.

    after that inccident i leave him with my kid at that time im pregnant with our secnd baby girl, until a lot of sitatuation happen untill now..


  11. blackie

    well I have to agree with this and it is so hard. To admit this and decide you have had enough can realy breake your heart for life. I know this all to well and it seem to me girls think this only happens to them. Wel here is a newsflash girls do guysthe sme way. Irelly love someone with a passion only few would understand. Even though this was over thiry yrs. ago I still love her. I have been married twice and really only conferable with this last marriage in which my daughter was used to getting my undivided attention. I have got to see now my only grand child once. Her mother has lied about me all her life. Now she will he nothing to do with me. I only have my emidiate family. At fifty 4 and disabled you hve to look at things in away that not very pleasing. SSDI ill not give me what I paiad for and I fill I served my country by profiding those that served over seas with the best. I’m proud to have been able to have had the honor of severing with he best. The smile you might get is worth more than your pay. Now even in my prison of walls it seems like. All I have left to say i god bless America so many take ntange of. Amerca was not jut built for the oil companies to rob you at the pumps wit secound class fuel that over in Suadi Arabia sells for 91 cemts better un watered down fuel. People need to take gound on this because if we build another pipe line we will pay what ever they put on the pumps like now. God bless all who understands this and if your getting your heartroke it might be best to do like me and go it alone.

  12. sbsteinb1Suzanne

    It has been a while since I have read your collumn, Liam. Tis, it has. I think this is a rather hard situtation as well, for love is such a trick devil. It comes with throns and two minds, and we are expected to somehow capture it, with nettings of logic and peaceful sacrifices. I think in our culture today we emphasize romantic love to an extreme. I think that deep love is often hard to find, and sometimes I have personal payed the price in unrequited love affairs. I think they are a right of passage in life, to break a cycle is to live through it, though that is not always easy. As every cycle will eventually end, as it will re-begin. It is only the timing and the choices of when we experience things that we can control. To live through the experience of loving someone who doesn’t return that affection is humbling and isolating and at the end of the day change everything about what matters. If I can impart any wisdom I can say it made me love myself more, because when I look back at those days I see me, me searching for myself, and thinking a dead end would eventually be a door, when really the only door was from within. If I never stared at the dead ends in life I would have never have looked at myself through my own eyes, I would always have been staring at a far, from another, and than another and another thinking their view of me was what mattered. When really another set of eyes, is only a version it is not reality. Reality only comes from within. If you love someoe who treats you like you don’t matter, perhaps you must learn the hard way what it means to love yourself, and have valuable your love is. ( So I guess I agree with you Liam. Not always, I do have my own opinions.)

  13. Deborah Rowerdink

    This really hits home for me. It’s so hard to believe that trying to please and help people “see the light” about me or the world can be bad for me. What about do unto others? Why is it so important to be liked and understood? I am the ultimate “pick the most impossible people to make happy, win over, or change” I have forsaken my loved ones to take on those who aren’t happy or are friendless or down right evil and try to change them especially if they are indifferent about me. I will keep trying until I’m nearly dead inside and suffered so much emotional stress and pain that I don’t feel anything anymore. But, even if I’m phyically away from that person, I keep trying to win them over or change their opinion about me. My list of people the last few years would be embarrassing to admit.

    Current cheating boyfriend of nearly 5 years, his current and former mistresses, his ex girlfriend, his friends, my ex-husband of 22 years, his current wife, etc. These are the notable ones. WHY THE HELL DO I TRY SO HARD TO CHANGE THE PERCEPTION THESE PEOPLE HAVE OF ME? EVERYTHING THEY KNOW TO BE TRUE ISN’T. IF THEY ARE LIVING A LIE AND BELIEVE THE LIES THAT HAVE BEEN TOLD ABOUT, WHY SHOULD I CARE? I don’t need people like this in my life, right?

    Simple solutions, right? Love myself first, set boundries for myself and those around me, move on quickly if the red flags start to fly, seek healthy friends and relationships, realize I can’t change anyone if they don’t want to be changed and ask myself why is this so important and is it more important then my life, my future, my family and those who love me. Right?

    So, how do I do this and shed the life sucking people out of my life, especially the boyfriend, that I couldn’t possibly love but do?

    Please tell me how to save my own life before I kill myself trying to save the world.


  14. Lisa

    I do have a question for Liam, I have been in a relationship with the guy since 2004. We both have kids and now the kids are adults. He has always been a wonderful dad. My boyfriends son has lived with him now for the last 2 years. He signed up for colledge with Minneapolis Media Institute. My boyfriend is paying for all of it. He is also paying for his sons car payment and insurannce. Supposedly his son is now done with school and will not give us a graduaiton ceremony date. Did he really graduate?? My boyfriends son is working parttime and is not looking for work in the field that he went to school for. How much longer will my boyfriends son say in the picture by living rent free and only working part time. When will my boyfriend see that he is now 21 and needs to move on to his own life and pay his own bills. My sons mom doesnt help out at all. I think that my boyfriends son is taking advantage of him. This partime job is his first job ever. I am wondering if My boyfrinend and I will even have a life with out his son living with him.

    Thank you


  15. Annetta

    I was in the same situation but I found out through the ugliness in my stomach and when I went to get my things he had moved her in the house that we shared for 10 years. I later divorced him and soon found out that she had moved out. But I still have the feeling I should go back – but in return I feel I would get treated the same exact way that he would of treated me when we were married to each other. What do you think.

  16. Theresa

    That is so on target. I think a person gets caught up with hoping things will change and they will live this fantasy life of true love , but if it were true love he wouldn’t be cheating. People need to evaluate the situation most of the time a cheater does it for the thrill quite often it’s their way of feeling king of the mountain to me all I see is a very insecure selfish person who feels intitled above the rules of respect and decency. Anyone can break away from a person who has hurt them by learning to truly love their selfs and putting their selfs first in front of these insecure controlling people whatever it is you like about them you can find in another person who will treat you better even alone is better than being mistreated or feeling used and abused. If you continue to allow them to hurt you they learn nothing if you walk out it’s like taking their candy away doesn’t mean they will change but for me it’s better they become someone else’s headache!

  17. Cc

    Awesome and so very true i appreciate how this was written not condenming the cheater but matter of factly stating they are who they are and that yes you may care and love them but they wont change and the love you deserve will not ve returned in a manner in which you deserve or wanr

  18. Brandi

    Hello Liam,I am Brandi I befriended a man after i decided to drop my loser baby daddy of 10yrs and one thing led to another so now 4yrs later i finally have a light go off n this head of mines. I am here for this man if he hungry,need a ride,borrow money,sick,ect.But i don’t understand y he has never taken me to his house or to meet any og his

  19. Somima

    hard hard lesson to learn: …it is often the things we love the most that bring about our surest destruction. do we really have a choice than???

  20. Deborah Kemp

    Hi, i have bn wiv this man who cheated on me. I saw all t sign! It was a coincedence that i was led 2 believe him & he treated me very badly. I didnt cry bt i got angry. I told myself that he wasnt gg 2 be around. He will go back 2 his country & find a life there. I was a phrase passing t time. I have 2 move, still i missed his company! He gave me wt i wt & yet i coulnt do it anymore.

  21. SH

    you nailed it Liam…story of many lives out there and yes, people who have been given some hard lessons in life, will be forced to learn this concept, no matter how much they try to resist!

    Move on Bessie, you deserve a lot more…In my view, this is not love and ‘addiction’…just an ‘addiction of luving someone to self destruction’…you /we do not need this…so brreak out of this sure you will…identifying the pattern (which you have) is the first step in this journey; now take the second step and YES, you can 🙂


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