I have a real problem trusting women. Not only was I cheated on in the two serious relationships I\’ve been in, I\’ve had trysts with more than a few women who were otherwise attached, even married. Just last month, I spent a week in Vegas with a woman whose boyfriend thought she was on business elsewhere. Having been "the other man" so often, I know how cunning and deceitful women can be and I\’m constantly wondering what a woman I\’m seeing is "really" doing when we\’re apart. Say she has a "girls night out." If she says she\’ll call but doesn\’t, it nags at me all night and I can\’t sleep. I know this isn\’t fair because there are those out there who are faithful. How can I get past my instinctive distrust of women? 

— Burned

Don\’t tell me … you and that other guy\’s girlfriend spent your week in Vegas on a bench in the Bellagio lobby, reading aloud to each other from Aristotle\’s "Nicomachean Ethics"? That\’s some moral compass you\’ve got there. What? Instead of pointing to magnetic north, it defaults in the direction of your zipper?

Naturally, the guys who howl the loudest about being cheated on have just rolled off some other guy\’s wife or girlfriend. Is this some "new math" version of ethics you\’re all going by? Forget "do unto others," just "do others" whenever their other half\’s out of town. Then there\’s the revised edition of "looking out for your fellow man" — peeking out your neighbor\’s bedroom window from time to time to make sure her husband isn\’t pulling into the driveway and storming into the house with a loaded shotgun. 

While you can never "really" know what a woman\’s doing when your surveillance cameras go down, or if she doesn\’t believe the electronic ankle bracelet in the Tiffany\’s box is fine jewelry, there is such a thing as an educated guess. Am I suggesting you\’re to blame for your girlfriends\’ nooners? Well, yes.

Call it the "Hormones First, Questions Later" approach to relationships — merely crossing your fingers that a woman\’s ethical standards involve more than a willingness to apologize after getting caught bumping uglies with another guy. By the time you start smelling something, you\’re already attached. At that point, what can you do but try to convince yourself that your septic tank is on the fritz? (If only you had a septic tank.)

Sure, you have trust issues. What you need are tryst issues. If you personally come to see cheating as more than a moral lapse on the scale of jaywalking, you\’re likely to attract women who share your sentiment. Still, your transformation has to go beyond an attempt to avoid getting chumped. Think about the kind of guy you want to be — then be him. Don\’t just tell yourself you\’ll be "a good person." Come up with a detailed set of personal ethical standards and stick to them — even when it\’s easier, cheaper and more naked fun if you don\’t.

After you work that hard on yourself, you aren\’t going to let just anyone into your life —for example, a guy who locks himself in your closet while your girlfriend tries to pass him off as a "bedding inspector" sent by the city. Sure, somebody\’s got to crack down on all the people removing those "penalty of law" tags from their mattresses — a job which, apparently, can only be performed while not wearing any pants.

Laddies who lunch

On my fifth date with a guy, I asked what he was looking for. He said he wasn\’t interested in commitment, but thinks I\’m "yummy" and wants to continue seeing me sexually. I was OK with that — until I inquired further. He told me we\’re an impractical match because we\’re both struggling financially and, if he met a woman a little more well-to-do, he\’d have to be on his way. Livid, I cut off all contact, as he clearly has nothing to offer in a relationship. (Let\’s start with manners!) Am I right to feel so enraged?

—Disrespected And Rejected

So, you\’re looking for love, he\’s looking for venture capital. In the movies, the shallow bastard eventually gets swept up by the woman\’s beauty, booty and charm, and learns to like canned corn. In real life, he informs her that he\’s willing to live paycheck to paycheck — providing it\’s somebody else\’s paycheck — and she\’s left seething with rage that love didn\’t transcend all, let alone much. It is possible this guy had some sadistic desire to humiliate you, but chances are, he\’s just lazy about hiding how lazy he is. You can sit around feeling enraged — or drag that "yummy" self of yours on dates, in search of a guy whose ambition in love isn\’t walking with his hand out into the sunset.