Cheated on my partner multiple times and I want to stop
I need to know what could be wrong with me and if I can fix my problem so I can never hurt my partner again, if she chooses to take me back.
One month before I proposed my partner and I were on the other sides of the world and had spent 4 weeks apart. I cheated on her with 3 women in the space of a couple weeks. I have a problem where I drink when I am alone, feeling down and missing my partner.
I don’t usually feel sad or down but I do ache when I am not with the person I truly love. Every time I cheated I was intoxicated, I always felt horrible after, only to want to drink more as the pain crept in. I have never committed to a person like had committed to my girlfriend; she was and still is my entire world.
Normally in all my relationships I found a reason to leave or self-sabotage, though I was nervous I was certain I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life.
I didn’t want to tell what I had done, I was ashamed of myself and disgusted with my actions, after the proposal even though we were separated I have not cheated again. Just recently she found out via a 3rd party, as such she was disgusted and devastated with what had happened. She tells me she still loves me and wants to stay, though she cannot be put in a situation where she may be hurt again. I understand that she needs to take time to heal, but I need to understand what this is and how I can avoid ever hurting her again if I am lucky enough, to have the love of my life come back to me.
She wants us to be back together but has to be sure that I am better and will not hurt her again; I need to know how I can understand this and show her I am committed and that she can slowly trust me again.
Many different factors motivate people to cheat on a partner. Identifying the factors that caused you to be unfaithful can help prevent you from cheating again (see likely to cheat).
From the information provided in your question, it appears that your cheating is due to 1) loneliness, which leads to 2) heavy alcohol consumption, leaving you to act in self-destructive ways. Coupled with the fact that you have engaged in self-sabotaging behaviors in prior relationships, suggests that this is on ongoing problem.
For the most part, people change romantic partners, but engage in similar behavior across relationships. If your current behavior is similar to how you have behaved in the past, it is possible that you have anxiety about being loved.
Do you doubt that your partner truly loves you? Do you think that she might leave you? Such feelings often trigger bouts of loneliness and it is common for people to use alcohol to alleviate their distress. If this description matches your feelings and behavior, it might be helpful to address the underlying issue – you may have anxiety when it comes to love (see truth about attachment).
Anxious individuals often behave such as you did. They let their feelings of loneliness overwhelm them and often act in ways that are harmful to themselves and their relationships. Talking to a counselor can be a very effective way of dealing with this issue.
On a practical note, being aware of such patterns can help as well. When you are feeling lonely, consider doing something different than drinking. Exercising, starting a new hobby, volunteering in your community, socializing with friends are great ways of dealing with the feeling of being alone. Avoiding alcohol as means of cooping with your feelings is critical.
If you can work on addressing the underlying issue and avoid putting your self in situations (alcohol and bars) where cheating is likely to occur, that can go along way to resolving the problem.
Simply put, be careful with how you cope with your loneliness and avoid environments, which bring out the worst in your behavior.
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