Insecurities lead my partner to cheat on me

I am struggling to process my thoughts after my partner cheated on me. I feel rather confused but also angry and disappointed. We haven't been together officially for long but the time investment of seeing each other is 4-5months. The main issue I have is that I cannot get my head around why she cheated.

1. Her reason(s) was that it was a stupid drunken mistake, which is a poor excuse to say the least, but I can sort of accept that. However, I struggle to understand how I have got the situation so wrong regarding trust. A few days prior to the incident we had an argument in which she told me that she is very scared of being hurt by a partner and puts up barriers to protect herself, essentially "testing" me to push me away to protect herself. After hearing this my alarm bells were ringing as I felt as if she was looking for a reason to not invest in our relationship. Regardless of this, I still completely trusted her on the night of the incident but now I feel very betrayed and disappointed.

2. Fast-forward to the current situation and I find myself absolutely puzzled as to why she would cheat regardless of how drunk she was. I have spoken to her and heard her reasons for cheating to try and understand it from her perspective, yet I am still struggling to see how being scared of getting hurt justifies cheating? To worsen the situation, the night of the incident she told me that she loves me for the first time, whether this is genuine or an attempt to get me to stick around is another question I keep asking myself. She understands how hurt I am and how I feel about the current situation.

3. As much as I should not tolerate cheating, I feel as if we have both invested too much time and effort to throw things away over a stupid mistake, which is the most frustrating aspect. I am willing to try and forgive but I need to set out a logical plan in my head to go about forgiveness. Another issue is suspicion and trust in the future, I don't think I will ever be able to forget her cheating on me or understand the reasons why she did so, how would I go about confronting this issue to rebuild my trust in her? Also, how would I go about making her truly consider her actions and in turn, deterring future infidelity?

Its very difficult for me to picture her in a positive light, especially when the perception I built of her has been entirely ruined by her recent actions. I don't want to lose my feelings for her yet at the same time I don't want to lie to myself.

4. I feel like the best course of action would be to inform her that I need time and space to reflect, would putting things on hold be the best solution for this? I feel like she needs to reflect on her actions and make the effort to regain my trust but I don't know how to do this without being too cold or too open. It's almost as if I need to regain some control to restore a balance without letting her off lightly.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Your partner’s behavior is very common. People who have insecurities about being able to trust others are more likely to engage in infidelity. Think of it this way: she’s afraid to put all of her trust into you—she’s afraid that you might betray her trust and hurt her. To protect herself from being hurt, she puts her needs and interests ahead of yours and by doing so she feels safe (in control of the situation). By cheating on you, you don’t have the power to hurt her, which helps her cope with her fears.

If her infidelity is driven by her insecurities, then the best course of action is to work on making her feel safe and secure, which is no easy task. To help her feel more safe and secure, she needs to see that someone will be there for her—that someone cares about her and won’t leave her. She also needs to learn to talk about her insecurities and share them with you rather than act on them (easier said than done). When she’s feeling insecure she needs to express her feelings to you, which won’t be easy because sharing feelings makes her feel vulnerable (probably the thing she fears the most).

Hope this explanation makes sense and you can see why it’s such a difficult problem to solve. In order to address her insecurities she needs to approach them ahead on, which requires trust—the very thing she struggles with the most.

If this interpretation is correct, you have a difficult choice to make. Do you make yourself vulnerable in order to help her feel secure? Or do you protect yourself and find someone who doesn’t struggle with insecurities about trusting others? If you try to help her, working with a counselor is the best way to go. People can overcome their insecurities, if they are willing to approach them head on and have a partner who is willing to help.

You might also want to read the sections on attachment and rebuilding trust.

 anxious attachment | cheating girlfriend | trust issues

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