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This topic contains 18 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 6 hours, 34 minutes ago.

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  • #235961

    Lucy
    Participant

    I recently discovered this forum and found both compassion and comfort in the answers on previous topics.

    I’m feeling overwhelmed, guilty, numb, afraid, … all together which started with the revelation of my serial infidelity during the 3 year relationship with my boyfriend. He recently discovered a text message I had sent to a friend about a drunken mistake I made and wanted to cover up. At first I tried to act as if I didn’t know why he was upset, but later had to to confess to my mistake (going home with someone from high school my boyfriend and I both know. I went home with him and kissed, left the next morning.

    My boyfriend asked me if anything else had happened then or before and I said no. A huge lie to cover up all the ways I’ve wronged him in the past. Over the next days he kept asking me if more had happened and slowly I shared more details of all I did. Every time I confessed another mistake I told him it was all, even thought it wasn’t. I was afraid he would be appalled by who I really was and  the things I did. I understand this made everything much more traumatizing than it already was. Over the course of our 3 year relationship (we had been together before, but broken up because we went abroad) I had cheated so many times: I had kissed with someone else 5 times when I was drunk at a party, ended up having sex with someone drunk 3 times, then had sex with the same person on an afternoon (when I wasn’t drunk or at a party). I’ve felt bad everytime but that sober time I deeply realized it was so wrong and didn’t want to do it again. A few months later I still ended up kissing someone drunk .

     

    My boyfriend is very hurt but was still open to communication and we’ve talked and he wants me to show him I love him. I really do love him and want to show him ,but have a hard time doing so. I’ve always had to carry the secret of my mistakes and now that I’ve told him everything I did this tension has lifted and made place for overwhelming emotions, thoughts, revelations about myself and my childhood/family relationships.

    He feels as if I don’t make an effort or want to do everything for our relationship which I really want to, but feel so overwhelmed and can’t seem to wrap my thoughts around my feelings. I feel guilty, sad, afraid, dirty, tense and numb at the same time.

    My boyfriend feels I have never known what he wants or given him my love freely and passionately. How can I get more in touch with my emotions so I can better feel and anticipate what my boyfriends needs? I believe I have held back in my relationship because my parent’s marriage was cold and without love and a lot of tension. My family was broken up recently and I’v never took the time to really process it or think about it. That together with my impulsive nature and egoistic thoughts and the way I enjoyed the rush of the mistakes, I think was the reason why I made all these mistakes.

    I want to change and be more in touch, be less impulsive and feel and experience emotions instead of pushing them away and then having them come to the surface when drunk (I often started crying desperately when drunk or forget to think about everyhting by cheating).

    I don’t want to be the person who did all this, but know I cannot change the past. However, I want to change my present and future and be more present and conscious of my feelings, needs so that I can be more conscious of my partners feelings and needs.

    Would love to get some advice from Anita. Your comments on previous threads have brought me comfort and made me think. Especially one thing you said: How will what I do affect me and how will it affect others?

    #235979

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Lucy,

    I’m amazed your boyfriend hasn’t broken up with you yet. (I’m not saying that in a judging way!) If you break up, it might actually be a relief! Then you can begin to look at yourself honestly, with fewer distractions.

    Then see a therapist. Not so you can stop cheating, more so you know WHY you’re cheating.

    Is it really because of your parents? Were you not that into your boyfriend and weren’t being honest with yourself? Are you a highly sexual person? Are you afraid of saying “No” in words AND deeds?

    Concerning Monogamy: “Just because you’re a vegetarian, doesn’t mean bacon doesn’t smell good”!

    Maybe have an open relationship next time.

    Best,

    Inky

     

    #235985

    Lucy
    Participant

    Hi Inky

    I completely understand your reaction! I believe he didn’t break up with me, because he somehow felt things were going on. We ‘agreed’ before that we were serious and exclusive, but a drunk mistake (kissing someone) once wouldn’t be the end of the world. However I obviously crossed these boundaries so far and what I did was so wrong and he never would expect this.

     

    When I think of why I cheated I believe it was more of a dopamine rush and a quick fix to overwhelming emotions that had been put down. I also guess I had always felt some kind of restriction in my relationship because I had this feeling of so many expectations. Not specifically stated by my boyfriend, but some way I felt these expectations on me of doing what is right, what is best for the relationship or what touch he would like instead of just grabbing him and kissing him how I felt. I don’t know if I’m highly sexual, I just think I let go of my control in a very wrong way that really upsets me and I don’t want to do ever again.

    I guess in the experiences with the other guys, there were no expectations + was drunk and totally let loose. Because the one time I cheated while I was sober it felt wrong and didn’t satisfy me at all (neither did the other time sex wise, they just gave me a kick of dopamine). I have adhd and this never really bothered my in work or school, but I’m starting to realize I have to be aware in personal relationships and not suppress feelings then letting them over boil and blurt out when drinking. I’ve also decided I’m going to stop going out and drinking for a while, since I want to face my feelings and emotions when completely sober and focussed. Not distracted by partying or feeling hungover next day. It’s not that I’m such a heavy drinker or do it so much. It’s just that when these things happened it was almost always because I got completely wasted and didn’t keep a boundary for myself.

    As far as your advice on the open relationship: I’m not even sure it was about the other people or even the sex. It didn’t bring me anything I didn’t have with my boyfriend and I never felt like he couldn’t give it to me. I just feel so guilty and bad that it’s cheating what I did. I feel like it could have been anything else, but this was a easy way that happens when you go out and you’re young. I want to find another way to find this excitement that I felt when doing these things that were so wrong and hidden and secret. I believe that’s what made it “attractive” to do, which is even worse and heartbreaking for my boyfriend and myself.

    #235987

    Lucy
    Participant

    PS: I went to a therapist on Tuesday and it felt good. Even though I was blurting everything out and saying so many confusing things and overthinking overanalyzing everything. She asked me if I would be open for a meditation next time to get out of my head and into my feelings. Since seeing her I’ve realized I am not at all in touch with my emotions or feelings. My boyfriend and I had longs talks since he knows everything that happened and what I didn’t realize or could see or feel, was that whats botters him (apart from the heartbreak, lying and cheating) is that I was still just talking and trying to find reasons why I did it instead of just holding him, showing him I love him and stating him how I really feel about him.

    Thank you for replying by the way, feels good to write it all out. Really appreciate it.

    #235995

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lucy:

    First priority: promise yourself that if and when you cheat on your boyfriend again, that you will end the relationship right after. It is your responsibility to  do-no-harm to others, I call it social responsibility.

    Second priority (right behind the first): personal responsibility: help yourself. Clearly you are suffering and have  been suffering  for a long time. I would like  it if  you no longer suffered. You cried when drunk because of the pain inside. You cheated perhaps because it was exciting, a distraction from that pain. Like any other animal we are born with the  instinct to run away from pain.

    Alcohol, that  makes us feel better, even if we  cry,  it  feels good to cry, release that tension of holding the pain in. And the cheating, well, it’s something to do, something you make  happen, something to disrupt the heaviness  of keeping that pain locked  in.

    I remember all too well my  own childhood, not a lot of detail, but I remember  the heaviness, that never-ending tension, the no relief. The eternity feeling to it. Of course I had  to escape, any which  way. There was nowhere  for  me to run to, so  I ran to fantasy, daydreaming, and  later, I ran to distractions, have things  happen just so to experience something different, different from the same old,  same   old heavy, eternal tension, that tangible misery.

    Can you relate?

    anita

    #235997

    anita
    Participant

    * I posted to you following reading your original post only, after submitting the above  I noticed you posted twice  more.

    #236031

    Lucy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

     

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    I hear, understand and want to commit to the first priority you state. I’ve made this decision/commitment after finally telling him the whole truth. I realize now that this quick and easy distraction brings no healing, but only does more harm. Obviously to the man I betrayed, but also to myself now that I am trying to take responsibility for my emotions and actions.

    I do relate to your the experience you’ve shared. That’s why I believe and hope that the relationship with my boyfriend can be healed. I’ve used the infidelity as a way to cover up unresolved conflicts within myself but was also just straight up impulsive, careless about my prtner’s feelings and ignorant to the consequences.

    Even though I did feel guilty after doing so, I’m just starting to process everything I did now that it is out in the open and I can no longer run from it. I could run from it, but that’s not what I want as it would erase every hope of reconciliation with my boyfriend and would do me more harm too. I want to take responsibility and make a change both for him and for me. The betrayal and continuous lying feel connected to the numbness I’ve created in myself as well as my (un)conciously ignoring of both mine and his feelings.

    I’ve never shared on this forum before, but am so grateful for your vision and reply on the emotional crisis I find myself in.

    #236037

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lucy:

    I am not focused enough to respond to you as attentively as I would like. What you brought up here is very meaningful in my mind, and deserves my better state  of  mind. I  will soon be away from the computer for about sixteen hours.

    If  you would like to add anything you think is relevant, childhood  experience, current relationships with parents and life circumstances, please do. I will re-read  what you already share,   read  what you may still post to me and/ or to other members, and  will post to you when I am back.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 7 hours ago by  anita.
    #236043

    Lucy
    Participant

    I truly appreciate you taking time to help me think/feel/talk  this through.

    I have a good relationship with my mother, but it’s only recently (about a year) that we’re sharing our difficulties and the emotions we experience. We don’t discuss them deeply but let each other know when we’re in pain or when we don’t know where to go or what to do with our feelings.

    My father however never really showed his emotions to me. I believe this is partly because I have a deeper bond with my mother and the relay between my parents was difficult. Difficult meaning they never could connect with each other and fights/pain/frustrations could never be resolved or cleared up but just put away until the next fight where everything got blurted out.

    With all that has happened, I just to call myself apathetic, careless (both in a positive and negative way), etc but now I’m starting to believe I just never learned how to connect with my inner emotions and just overcompensated feeling with rationalization. Even now when my partner is clearly in pain and I am too, I cannot stop to think how ‘other people are going through worse’. Which is very true, but right now it is time to immerse myself into the love I feel for my partner so that he feels it and could maybe one day some day repair the damage this awful betrayal has done.

    Even while typing this I say how I feel but cannot seem to really feel it. The words that are streaming out of my fingertips must be coming from somewhere but why can’t I truly feel them?

    #236129

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lucy:

    I read/ re-read your posts. One  thing  that jumped  up from the screen for me was  this sentence regarding your parents’ relationship: “fights/pain/frustrations could  never be resolved or cleared up but  just put away until the  next fight where everything got blurted out”- that was their impulsivity that you witnessed. Similarly,  your feelings are “put away until the  next” drunken episode where you let loose, parallel to “everything got blurted  out”.

    I  have a few questions so to help me understand more:

    1. You mentioned  that after you told your boyfriend everything, you had “revelations about.. my  childhood/family relationships”. What are those revelations?

    2. You wrote: “My boyfriend feels I have never  known what  he wants”- did he tell you what he wants, and if so, what  did he tell you that he  wants, specifically?

    3.  You wrote regarding the relationship with your boyfriend: “I had always felt some kind of restriction… I had this feeling  of so many expectations… of doing what is right.. or what touch he would like instead of just grabbing  him and  kissing him how I felt”-

    a. Did your boyfriend express disapproval of you when you did something spontaneously with him; has he been critical of you?

    b. In your childhood home, while your parents were fighting  and in-between their fights, what  did you do (and what did you avoid doing) to stop their fighting  or prevent the next  one?

    anita

     

    #236185

    Lucy
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thank you for your question.

    1. These revelations were more like an understanding of how he had felt neglected by me during our relationship. I must have taken some distance for a while every time I was unfaithful. Even though this distance wasn’t really physical I suppose there had to be emotional distance. This must have had an impact of my boyfriend’s feeling of me not loving him or not loving him enough to give him a lot of loving attention bot verbal and physical. The revelation I am talking about is how I see now that our vision on showing love has always been different. Maybe not in our minds, but surely in the ways we’ve seen it in our homes as children. He comes from a close knit family that emphasizes the importance of communication and talking out issues. His parents are loving and still kiss, have fun, cuddle, dance in the living room. Not always and I know and understand every family has some issues, this is still in great contrast to my household. Where we could have fun, but I have only seen my parents be loving twice: once they kissed on the cheek and once they held hands while walking.

    Even though I want to break this cycle and be a touchy, loving person and even though I thought I was I still hold back a bit. There’s such a huge difference between how both of our parents acted and still act in their marriage (my parents are going through divorce right now). This doesn’t have to mean our love cannot be different, but I just recently became aware of how this is something we both have to work on. Especially me since I kept distance both physically (I am touchy with him, but wouldn’t always initiate sex or kiss him As passionately as I wanted too) and emotionally (because I kept all this infidelity a secret and the guilt must have created distance).

    2. He does tell me, but not specifically. He finds it really important to know and feel what the other wants and needs. Something that’s difficult for me (I don’t know why but this comes easier for me in friendships than in my relationship). I believe this is partly because I’m not very in touch with my emotions, I don’t take the time to feel them or observe them and see how I really feel. This must also be partly because of what was normal at home as a child, but obviously this  holding back must also come from my keeping a secret and being unfaithful.

    I hope that my boyfriend and I can become more in sync once we continue to communicate more openly (I am so grateful that we are still having conversations and I am constantly trying to be more open and not hold back) and once I start to  make time and room for my emotions. The therapist I went to suggested a meditation to get inside my body instead of only being in my mind. I am looking forward to this hollistic approach and hope it will bring me some comfort.

    I have to go now, but will answer your other questions very soon. Thank you so much!

     

    #236187

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lucy:

    I read your recent post. Take all the time that you need and want to answer 3b, as well as the other questions more thoroughly.

    I want to make  sure that you understand  that I know that you don’t have to answer any of my questions, that it is your choice to answer or not, and if you answer, and to what extent. My understanding though is as good as  the  information I get.

    anita

    #236189

    anita
    Participant

    And you are very welcome!

    anita

    #236297

    Lucy
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    I’m back after spending last night and today with my boyfriend. We had more honest conversations than we had in the beginning of this week. Especially more open for me since I took time to think about what I did and why and also because I try to be more compassionate and try to listen to him just to hear his thoughts and feelings instead of listening to answer.

    He’s confused (which is completely understandable of course and I’m still in awe of him being open to have conversations with me) because he doesn’t know if we’ll be able to get past this, because he doesn’t want to ‘waste’ more time on a dishonest relationship (me neither) and because he thinks he can never see me the way he saw me before all the lies and betrayal. I completely understand and have reassured him that I want to confront my past mistakes and deal with the unresolved pain inside me no matter his decision. I never want to cheat and betray someone like I’ve done because it only brings heartbreak and also took a piece of me and distracted me from my personal path.

    To answer your previous questions;

    a. Did your boyfriend express disapproval of you when you did something spontaneously with him; has he been critical of you? He has been critical of my being too loud, enthusiastic, too takative to strangers. He says he did this because he was afraid of me crossing boundaries and cheating. Which has happened, but I had taken this criticism in a different way where I would tone down when being with him and would rather go crazy with friends or when going out. This criticism is no excuse for what I did, but I believe that’s part of why I created some distance between him and me and wouldn’t show him my true sides (being emotional, in pain, or just really  outgoing and kind of reckless when drunk). I lied about the cheating because I was afraid to tell him, but I have also lied about smaller things in the past. For example about the times I cried when going out, because that’s when my emotions got out. I never shared this with him because I thought he would think of me as an emotionally unstable person and just be mad that I got too drunk. Which is mostly my interpretation and the way I took this criticism. We have talked about this today and he says he just said these things to warn me and because he was afraid I would cross some lines. I took it as ‘he gets angry when I laugh out loud, do crazy, let loose so I better not show him or tell him when something goes wrong of when I’m to reckless or impulsive’. Which makes me really sad, because even thought it isn’t an excuse for my behavior I want to believe i wouldn’t have cheated on him that many times or so severely if I could have shown this side of me to him. The infidelity was just an ‘easy’ way to deal with my unresolved emotions. Which I really regret and now realize it wasn’t a way out, it just makes everything ore complicated and distracts me from my emotions.

    b. About my parent’s fights: I don’t really recall what I did. I would listen to them and stay quiet calm I guess. I only recall really crying about it once during a fight in holiday when my mom said she was leaving the holiday home by herself and I was afraid she would take the car. So still end up thinking about the practical side and not trying to think of the emotional side and how I felt. I would mostly remain calm I believe or that’s what I recall.

     

    #236329

    John
    Participant

    A couple of quick thoughts. Keep in mind, my assessment is likely to be quite blunt because of how I have been on the receiving side of this (been cheated on, but never cheated), but it will be all said with compassion and truth for what is best for you and him.

     

    First of all, you need to seek some sort of care for your drinking. It seems like it is being used as the shield to sort of soften the blow of your infidelity, but when I saw you mention it so often, it seemed less so and more like just perhaps a problem. I am not judging, I too was an…..enthusiastic drinker? Yeah, let’s go with that. What I am really afraid of is someone doing something to you without your consent. It is what I fear most for my daughters. I am a realist and know that someday, they will likely be at a party with alcohol and I hope and pray that they keep their wits about them so they are safe, because I can’t spend 25 to life in prison for some house party. But in all seriousness, it sort of seems like alcohol played a large factor in this story except for one instance.

     

    Second, you need to sit down and make a very important decision with him: can he forgive you? That doesn’t mean forget. And THAT doesn’t mean he gets to throw it in your face every time he gets angry. He has to be able to let it go, completely, or this relationship is over. If he sees you doing the things that led you to infidelity all the times before, then you should expect that he will voice that with you. Don’t take it as an attack or an allegation, just realize that he sees in you some of the things you did in the past that may or may not be signs of further infidelity, and address those with him.

     

    Third, to put it as bluntly as possible, you really screwed up the whole reveal part. You were caught. It was time to come clean. The problem is now, in order to forgive you, he must know that he knows about all of it. HOWEVER, because you did what I call the “truth trickle” with my kids, he is ALWAYS going to wonder if you held the worst of it back. And that will damage the trust. And without trust, love cannot survive.

     

    If I had to be 100% honest, I would say it is on you to let him go. The damage done to this relationship is likely fatal. But I don’t know either of you personally, and he could really be so in love with you that he can look past all of that. The first and second points are CRUCIAL right now. You likely need to address the drinking issue (I say likely because you could just be someone who likes to drink on the weekend, but you must now realize that it is negatively influencing your life which is a huge red flag), and HE really needs to decide if he can move past this. Because if he can’t, this is over.

     

    No matter what happens, keep your chin up. We all make mistakes in life. Not a single one of us is without fault somewhere. Keep working on yourself and bettering yourself. And if you need anymore help, you know where we are.

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