Like a lot of people on TAM, I have seen firsthand how awful the effects of cheating can be. It was pretty devastating and I feel like I have worked on myself to the point to where I can trust my own judgment, and to where I don't have an automatic distrust of people in general, and men in particular.
I'm now wondering if there is a way to ask someone when you're first going out with them: "Have you ever cheated?" I saw someone do it on a TV program recently, and it occurred to me: wow, that's really ballsy, but as important a question as something like "ever been in jail?" to me.
Like any other question you ask someone when you first date, of course, they might not answer honestly. If they have cheated before, they might so "no," but there is a small chance if they answer honestly, it could help weed out people who have cheated in the past, and have poor boundaries.
I can't quite find a good time to ask, and feel like it's an awkward and very personal question, but one whose answer is kind of important to me. If they have cheated in the past, it's kind of a deal breaker.
1) What is a good way to phrase the question so they won't feel offended?
2) Is it OK to ask someone this?
3) If so, when should I ask? First date? Second date?
What I have been finding out is that the topic usually comes up in the course of regular conversation. Att his point in our lives we all have some past history that has placed us where we are (in this case the dating world). It has become fairly typical at least for me to become involved in a discussion of our pasts when I am out with someone for the first time. It is kind of dumb to act as if we existed in a vacuum before meeting each other. So inevitably the topic comes up about past relationships. I guess if they don't offer, just ask.
Typically the women I have dated have been very frank and honest. I have had a few tell me that they did cheat and then explain why. I am not excusing the behavior, but again "cheating" is an act that is defined many different ways by many other people. Technically even if it is the day before your divorce becomes final - you are still married and it would be cheating to be with some one other than your then spouse.
Depending on how it went down, I don't necessarily consider it an instant deal breaker, although it does make me much more vigilant. If your ex had been dragging out a divorce for months and you are just waiting it out, what difference did it make? OTOH, if they just decided one day to get some strange, well that is a different story.
So #1 - just ask. If they get offended they are too thin skinned to want to be around anyways
#2 - absolutely it is OK to ask. Part of the purpose of dating is to get to know the other person, I would think whether or not they cheated is pretty important as to who that person is.
#3 - I think it just depends on the conversation. If the first date is just a simple meet and greet and doesn't involve any deeper conversation, probably not then. But definitely in the first few before anything physical takes place (which tends to cement a relationship)