how do i know what my inner voice is telling me?

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    Hello world,

    My wonderful boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over four years, with very few disagreements, arguments, and pitfalls. We had a lot of trust in our relationship, from sharing vulnerable truths to admitting our deepest fears.

    One of those deepest fears for my boyfriend was being cheated on – he had experienced that before, and I had helped him overcome these trust issues.

    Well I royally ruined everything we had been through by doing the very thing he had feared the most. After a fare amount of inhibiting substances, I cheated on my boyfriend. And instead of telling him the next morning, I waited until the end of the weekend to share the news when all of our eventful weekend plans were over.

    He’s heartbroken. I’m feeling numb – fake – undeserving. He fears that he doesn’t know who I am because I spent a great weekend with him without showing remorse. He doesn’t understand why I didn’t show more pain, more anxiety, more fear.

    Here’s the god-awful terrible truth.

    I enjoyed it – I enjoyed the attention, the look in the other guys eyes, the sense of being “truly” wanted by a stranger. That’s why I didn’t show remorse.

    I knew I was going to tell my boyfriend, and yes, the longer I waited the worse my regret deepened. I started realizing what I had done and the potential impacts it had on my very best friend. It became harder and harder to tell him but I knew I had too.

    I have never seen him go through so much agony than when I told him this. He was so deeply hurt that it makes my stomach cringe just thinking about it. Then he told me late that night that he forgave me – that he loved me so much. That he couldn’t leave me, even though his morals had always told him (and he had admitted to me) that if someone cheated on him, he would leave them and never speak to them again.

    But I’m different – because he loves me with everything he is. But now I’m on “lockdown” as he put it. He has lost all trust in me (and yet he admitted that he knows I would not do something like this ever again – & HE’S RIGHT) so there now has to be boundaries. Absolutely no lying whatsoever, about anything ever (this is obvious). Extensive time with him to prove that I’m trustworthy. No doing things with other people without checking up on me. It’s all elementary again.

    You have to understand a very clear difference between me and my boyfriend. He takes things very seriously. He sets his goals and he reaches them. A very motivating person to be with. I, on the other hand, take things more leisurely. I try not to take things too seriously, including myself. I’ve done that before, and it results in ego-overload, controlling mastermind, crazy micro-manager. I’ve learned to let things go, laugh them off, and carry on. Well, my boyfriend made a frightening analogy between my leisurely state of mind and our relationship. According to him, if I had taken our relationship more seriously, we would have never been in this awful place of mistrust. So, “now i need to start taking things more seriously, and if that means changing who I am, and I can’t do that, then we don’t need to be in a relationship.”

    I know he’s saying this out of a deep dark hurting place, but I also know its true. I can’t change who I am. But I can change my priorities and try to take things with a little more urgency or importance. I just don’t know for how long, how it will change me, if it will be worth it, and if it will ever be good enough for him.

    So here’s the deal:
    I obviously care for him.
    But why did I do it?
    Can I chalk it up it up to a drunken state? Or do I admit that it’s something bigger? How do I find that out?
    If I know deep down inside that I can’t change the essence of who I am, then why am I promising to do so?
    Am I entirely too comfortable in our relationship to imagine feeling loneliness, hurt, and agony that comes with leaving our relationship?

    Needing perspective.



    To begin with your questions, I doubt you would remember the way the fling made you ‘feel’ i.e. “I enjoyed it – I enjoyed the attention, the look in the other guys eyes, the sense of being “truly” wanted by a stranger”, had it been truly a drunken fling. I think this implies something larger within yourself. One big question I would ask myself is, if I love my boyfriend so much, why does a stranger give me this feeling I enjoy, and not him? Only you can know why you did what you did. Its going to take you being extremely humble, and open with yourself. You’re going to need to look in the mirror and be honest with what it is you see, not let your ideal self distort your perception of your actual self. There often is a large disparity between the two. In the middle area lay the answer to your questions. The feeling of comfort or contentment in a relationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just like everything in life, there must be a balance. Being too comfortable and for the wrong reasons, i.e. fear of being alone. Is not a good reason to stay in a ‘comfortable’ relationship.

    Cheating is the ultimate wake up call that there is something seriously wrong with a relationship, period. People who are happy, emotionally healthy, and responsible in a relationship, simply do not cheat. I dont know that you need to take the relationship more responsibly. Perhaps you need to take a look at the commitment you have made to him, and take that more seriously. To me commitment means more than just sticking it out through all else. If you really care about this guy, commitment also means being committed to not just the relationship but to *him* as a person. Wanting to see him happy and having the best in their life. Even if that means you have to exit from it.

    Personally, I can related to your situation. I was with someone who had a paralyzing fear that I too, would cheat. It was the constant source of so much grief, distrust, paranoia, insecurity, and breakdown in communication in our relationship. While I didnt do the dirty deed in presence. I did allow myself to become embroiled in an inappropriate facebook exchange. My ex walked over it.

    In situations like these there are so many dynamics. You say you never argued or fought/argued much, why not? do you find this a plus or a negative? Most relationships will eventually have these struggles. A lack of which isnt always a sign of poor boundaries, but it might be….. To me and by my past experience. No fighting/arguing means neither of us was willing to stand up for ourselves. Go with the flow, just easier not to. Was the attitude, which lead to a lot of resentment and what not later on. To me arguing is learning, about each other that is. Learning where the boundaries are, and marking danger zones on the map. Also being with someone with healthy conflict resolution skills is paramount to a relationship more than simply, ignoring the issues and moving on. Like I tend to do.

    I think its great you told him, good for you for ultimately making a good choice although your first one wasnt great. Im happy he is willing to give you and the relationship time to rebuild. I wish I had heard the same words from my ex, seems yours cares about you more than mine did. My advice on this front is, its going to take time. Its probably only going to get worse before it gets better. Your “lockdown” is normal. You’re going to have to earn his trust back. Which means your life moving forward must be an open book to him. Do not deny any inquisition, be completely open and loose any defensiveness.

    Its extremely hard for a relationship to go back to the way it was before the infidelity. Honestly? it never will. You’re both going to need to throw away the way it was, because something about that dynamic wasnt working for you. You need to find the rifts that existed between you and sew them up. This is going to be a long an intensive search. I’ll be honest, most of what gets uncovered as a result of an infidelity often tend to be what really ends a relationship. Not so much the act of cheating itself but the deeper reasons it occurred in the first place. Most people wont admit this to themselves. Look at it like this, the cheating is just the tip of the ice berg. Its just the point where all the latent issues in the relationship finally broke through to the surface. Below the surface is where the root of all this lay.

    If he is willing to scratch the surface with you and dig deeper and deal with whatever you may find beneath. He’s a really good guy. Keep him. You said, you’re willing to change for him, but you dont know how long this modification to your thinking will last. It may be difficult to accept. This thought may suggest, that you two just arent compatible. There is something to be said for maturity and ability to bridge gaps between differences but sometimes they are just too large. That however, is for the two of you to decide. Whether or not you are good enough for him is not the question. Its whether or not you are good enough for you….. changing for him wont stick. Changing for yourself will. For me I realized I was unhappy with the way I acted period, it was out of character and I wasnt acting like the type of person I know I can be in a relationship. Once getting to the bottom of my own issues. I realized Im going to have to change them for myself to be a better person for me, none the less if I ever want to participate and have a go at any healthy relationship in the future.

    Its going to be one step forward, two steps back for awhile. If you’re both in it for the *right* reasons, yall will be ok and stronger than ever. If not, then that too will show. Please embrace whatever you find in this process even though it may be not what you want right now. You’ll eventually see this challenge was placed before you for a reason. As soon as you learn what you needed to from it, you’ll move forward with or without, better and wiser than you were before. Either way try to look at it as a positive for you and for him. Best of luck.



    Thank you for your response.

    It’s not like our life is void of conflict, we have a heartfelt conversation every couple months that tend to sew up our relationship; but there probably is an amount of tension that I blow off- I let go because I don’t feeling like dealing with the blame game. He’s kind of nit-picky about the way things “should be” so I just go along with it most of the time, even if it bothers me. I don’t know if this is a cause of my general disregard to our commitment. It is surely a reflection of my dislike of confrontation.

    To hear that our life will never be the same as before is frightening, but I get it. It just can’t be the same if we expect to grow stronger. I need to figure out why our relationship wasn’t working for me. This will take a lot of honesty about things that are hard to confront.

    I’ll do my best to embrace the lessons that will come from my actions and these circumstances.

    Thanks for your thoughts.



    In addition to Chad’s heartfelt wisdom, consider that a relationship doesn’t work long term if both parties don’t feel free, feel safe. Perhaps his nitpicky nature suppresses a part of you that the stranger called to. Sure, the drunken fling perhaps wasnt skillful, but it happens. Such things can be from his side “how could you have done that to us?”, but also, ideally, together “why did that bump come up between us?”

    That’s when we can unpack and sew up the intimacy. Consider that the cheating isn’t something you bear alone, despite it being on your shoulders, something you did. If you weren’t hungry, you wouldn’t have eaten from a stranger’s plate. It wont work to suppress the hunger, such as submitting to more of his control, rather, its important to look deeply at your needs, his needs, and what you two bring to the relationship. Where do you two need to grow?

    Also, consider that “listening to our inner voice” is not the same as following our every whim and fancy. We have lots of styles of inner voice, lots of “selves” cooking and spinning. When we listen to the loving voice, the inner Buddha, it has a quality of space and acceptance that surrounds it. For instance, there might be a voice that says “I am a cheater”, but that is not love, that is judgment. The voice of the Buddha is perhaps “the events had a cause, and those causes are impermanent, dependent on the conditions”. Ie, there was a hunger, and you ate unskillfully, what’s that about? No need for self flogging, blame, judging… they don’t help. What is the lack in the relationship? The voice that explores that openly, accepting that what came up did so for a real reason, though impermanent, allows us to explore the nature of that hunger and seek to settle it more skillfully. Then, its not a question of “I am just this way, so how do I become someone else”, but rather “I am changing all the time, never the same being through two breaths, so what do I want to grow for myself? Who do I wish to become? How do I wish to sing my song?”

    Finally, it sounds to me like he hasn’t really forgiven you… rather he wants you more than he is pained by the event. There is a great difference. Right now, he closes his fist, tries to prevent it happening again through controlling the circumstances, placing bars around you, a cage. This is not the way, this is not toward freedom. When he can sit with you, see your hunger from your side, and try to help you find freedom from it, then true forgiveness will blossom for him, because he won’t be making it all about him, his needs, and how you transgressed against him and his desires. That will take time for his faith to regrow, but placing yourself in his little cage won’t get him there, or you. Perhaps it will just create more need in you for freedom, and when that need becomes stronger than the bars of shame and guilt you two have tried to place around you, things will snap and the intimacy will collapse. Said differently, yes, it was a mistake, but we all make mistakes. Don’t make another one by willingly stepping into an cage as punishment, not only do you not deserve that, but it will only make the problem worse. Instead, heartfelt communication is necessary, even if its painful. When he says something that is controlling, if its “ah, he’s scared and being pokey” its fine to let it go. If its “he’s right, I should clip my wings”, refute, confront, challenge, express. You need your wings, dear sister, don’t clip them just because you feel guilty. You were hungry for a reason! Internally from your past or externally from the relationship not being nourishing… there is a cause, and its not “I’m just flawed”.

    Namaste, dear sister, may your space open and blossom with skillfulness and light.

    With warmth,

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