MANILA, Philippines - "Mike," 25, has 3 girlfriends -- but they don't know that they're being cheated on.
He initially found it cool, saying that it helped him get accepted into his group of cheating male friends. But now that he has a baby with one of his girlfriends, Mike said he's starting to regret his life of infidelity and deception.
"Sa barkada, 'pag marami ang babae mo, astig kang tignan. Pero sa ngayon pong may baby na ako, mali na po," he said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda last week.
He continued, "May plano namang mag-seryoso, lalo na kasama ko ang baby kong lumalaki."
Mike said he wants to start a new life, but he doesn't know where to start. For one, he admitted that he's not yet ready to come clean to his girlfriends and face the consequences of getting caught.
"Ngayong lumalaki na ang baby ko, natatakot na rin ako sa epekto sa kanya," he said.
Mike, indeed, has a reason to be afraid as children are likely to follow the cheating ways of their parents, according to relationship expert Maribel Dionisio.
Most children look up to their parents as their role models. If not properly guided, they may end up having an affair as well, she explained.
"May predisposition. 'Pag nagtaksil ang magulang mo, ang mga anak maaaring magtaksil. Parang modelo mo na kasi ang magulang mo. Kaya dapat masusing preparation 'yan para maiwasan," Dionisio said.
Causes of infidelity
Aside from peer pressure and cheating parents, there are many other reasons why people cheat.
Dionisio said infidelity -- whether in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship or in a marriage -- may be caused by insecurity, trust issues, lack of communication, and addiction to sex, among many others.
Sometimes, cheating may even be inevitable in a relationship if the "foundation is weak already to start with," she said.
"Minsan sa simula pa lang, mali na ang pagsasama ng boyfriend/girlfriend. At kapag pumapasok na agad ang pagtatalik sa simula ng relationship, minsan ang friendship hindi maganda," Dionisio explained.
She continued, "Tapos minsan kapag ang courtship less than 3 years, mga one year or 6 months, whirlwind ang courtship so wala talagang connection or compatibility ang couple. Dapat kasi kilala mo na talaga."
How can you tell if your partner is cheating? Here are some common signs, as shared by Dionisio:
- When he or she no longer talks to you, or if he or she only talks about your obligations in the house, such as the children
- When you no longer have the usual once-a-week dates
- When you're no longer happy in the relationship
- When he or she stops being caring and affectionate
- When he or she shows no interest in your relationship's future
- When his or her behavior changes to the point that your friends are starting to notice
- When he or she starts to hide things from you
When things seem wrong, talk to your partner about it, Dionisio said. This applies even if the partner is not yet caught cheating.
"The first thing is to resume the weekly date. Mag-usap kayo about how you feel," she suggested.
It's all about knowing what the other person feels. When the erring partner or spouse has repented and has sincerely promised to stay true to you, Dionisio said there should be room for forgiveness.
If he or she does not have any plans of letting go of the affair, it's best to end the relationship to avoid further damage, she said.
"Dapat makapili siya. Magulo din ang buhay na 'yan eh," Dionisio ended.