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How can you tell if the guy you're dating is married?

Only about one percent of married men who have affairs leave their wives, and many men cheat on their wives. With the Internet, there's even more chance to be elusive in the early stages. Of course you're concerned and want to know if that guy you just met who's coming on to you so delightfully is married before you get involved. But how can you be sure he isn't married and just fooling around?

Make no mistake, married men who are fooling around can be wonderfully attentive and romantic. He can be emailing you and calling you on his cell all day long, filling your hungry heart with the wildest affirmations you've ever dreamed of, showering you with gifts, and making rapturous love to you when you get together.

It can be the stuff of which fantasies are made and here's why: to him it is a fantasy.

If you've experienced it, you'll wonder how a man could do that to his wife. That's a topic for another article. Meanwhile, it's important not to delude yourself.

Here are 10 ways to know he's cheating on his wife:

1. You're suspicious. If you generically suspect every man you meet of this, it's a prejudice and not worth much. However, if you suddenly get suspicious about the individual man you're dealing with, then trust your instincts. Where there's smoke, there's fire.

2. His tone of voice gets guarded, or he won't make eye contact and is evasive when certain topics come up like family, children, vacations, where he lives, etc.

3. He insists that all contact be on his terms only. He gives some reason why you must only call him at work or on his cell. Disregard the "reason." They can be ingenious about this, and if you're love-daffy, you'll find a way to rationalize his particular excuse. Don't.

4. You ask for his home phone number and he refuses to give it to you. Again, disregard the "reason."

5. His heart's not on the line. You sense an imbalance of vulnerability, and this is intuitive. When two available people are dating, both presumably are anxious for it to work out, and are equally at-risk. When you're playing for keeps and he's just playing, he won't care as much about how you're getting along. He has the security of the marriage and nothing to lose but an exciting good time.

6. There's a white line on the fourth finger of his left hand, a tan-line from where his wedding ring usually is, or there's the outline of a ring in his shirt pocket.

7. He isn't fully disclosing when it would seem appropriate. He alludes to "things he'll tell you about later."

8. He gives strange reasons for not wanting to go to certain places (like your favorite restaurant). You first met him at a dance hall (where he's known and someone might tell his wife) and after that, every place he takes you to is in another county. (There's a part of town he definitely avoids. Guess why?)

9. He seems strangely addicted to paying for restaurants, motels, resorts, and airplane tickets in cash rather than by credit card.

10. He is never available on Sundays. In some cultures, and with many men, Saturday night may be Boys Night Out, but Sunday is strictly "family time." Ditto for holidays. This is part of that peculiar male honor code: OK to cheat. But not on July 4th. That's family time.

Your surest guide is your gut instinct. Keep three meta-points in mind.

Point one: What he says and what he doesn't say. Anything you sense as secretive should set off alarms. Lovers in a developing relationship disclose more as time goes by. The married gigolo discloses up to a point and that's it.

Point two: His "aplomb." No matter how self-confident a man is, if he's available and romancing a woman he cares about, he'll show moments of anxiety and confusion. But a married man who's dating is coasting. With the security of a wife back home, what's to stress over?

Point three: The sex is the best you've ever had. Nothing stokes a man's fire like forbidden love unless it's forbidden love that carries no threat of the "c" word.

Keep your head about you. If you find out he's married and confront him about it and he says he'll divorce her, don't count on it. The odds are strongly against you.

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