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Many years ago, I suspected my then girlfriend was cheating on me with a mutual friend.

When I was ready to begin dating again, I couldn’t help but wonder: how can I make sure I never again become the victim of this type of damaging manipulation?

Over the years, as I have come to trust my intuition again I came up with a few ways to guard against the addictive cycle of toxic relationships.

For example, she doesn’t tell you that she met up with a friend for lunch, or that she had a friend over while you were out of town. But when, post argument, Ex said I could go through her phone, I did.

And the next day all her texts from Former Friend were deleted.

Even if it doesn’t mean what you’re afraid it means, it’s likely that there is something going on that she doesn’t want you to know about. Her words and actions don’t line up For some women, it’s easy to lie with words. And she may even mean it when she says it, particularly if she’s not in tune with her own feelings and motivations.

But when you hear those words and then notice her actions don’t match, it’s time to pay attention.

Part of being mindful is to be aware that there are some shady women out there who may try to manipulate us.

Remembering who we are is a virtual bouncer to our hearts.

She also began carrying her phone everywhere with her, including into the bathroom when she showered.

Overprotectiveness of an electronic device is not typical relationship behavior.

After all, even if my girlfriend would do such a shady thing, surely my friend never would.