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Engaged and cheating

Tagged as: Cheating, Dating, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (2 March 2009) 7 Answers - (Newest, 5 March 2009)
A female United States age 30-35, *licia05 writes:

I am engaged and been in a relationship for almost 7 years. However, I have cheated a handful of times throughout the relationship. Since I have been engaged I have cheated 3 times with different people. I feel guilty and know that this can't continue once I am married. I find myself mostly cheating when I am under the influence of alcohol. I don't go out much, but when I do, I ususally cheat. It has almost become habit, a bad one.

I love my finace so very much and he is truly perfect. However, I am the one who has issues and really need to figure things out. I don't know if I should contine the relationship or break up because I know he is my soulmate and I will be crushed.

View related questions: crush, engaged, soulmate

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (5 March 2009):

Whatever you do, don't trap him into a marriage that you won't be faithful to. You'll be destroying his life and complete disrespect to allow him to do that knowing your own faults. Come clean and leave if you feel you can't show him that respect, because he'll deserve better.

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A female reader, Milhan New Zealand +, writes (2 March 2009):

What you are doing is not fair on your finace at all!! How would you feel if the tables were turned?!? How can he be your soulmate when you cheat on him constantly. Sorry but you need to sort yourself out. How unfair on your fiance. He deserves the truth at least. Being married wont stop you so tell him now before the poor guy marries you!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2009):

Just because someone takes a long time to write a response doesn't mean the poster "better listen" - there can be long posts of total crap on here too!!

Having said this - I agree with a good portion of what Tomas wrote - the main thing being that you, dear poster, should seek some professional support around this issue.

Cheating behaviour is something that has been examined and theorised about for a long time now - current opinions state that a 'cheater' has a character flaw that permits them to abandon their usual morals and beliefs and just 'do what feels good' - despite all possible consequences. It also says that once you cross certain lines - it becomes easier and easier to do it again- or to do worse.

You are already well and truly on your way down the slippery slope of cheating - but you don;t have to remain there. Get some therapy - figure out what it is that is influencing and motivating this behaviour in you - understand it - if you do you may be able to stop yourself from behaving like this in relationships.

Whether you should or shouldn't stay with your fiance, whether you do or don;t love him - only you will be able to know this - with the help of a counsellor. In my opinion though - you should not be walking down the ailse with this unresolved - that wouldn't be fair to anyone!

Sort yourself out.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2009):

Wow.. Tomas.. she better listen to your advice because it's always good. He took a long time to write this and help you lady, you better listen, because at the moment, I can't see what you call love and by your behaviour.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2009):

hey there. i was in the exact same situation as you. engaged and cheating. i thought i loved him so much and that we were going to spend our lives together but it turned out ot be just lust. we were together for four years. he was a lovely guy but we had nothing in common. i met this new guy at a course i'm doing and we were really close friends. we had EVERYTHING in common it was freaky how alike we were, then one night out on the piss we hooked up and got jiggy with it. then i fell in love with this guy and he fell in love with me (he was also engaged to another women) now we're together and so strong and i would never dream of cheating because this time i'm truly in love and want to spend my life with this person and have a family. i believe that this is a sign that deep down you don't love this person as your partner, but you care too much about them to hurt them. i also believe in fate, and if its ment to be then it's ment to be. take notice of all the little signs that are signalling wether this relationship is ment to last. you have to live your life to the full and put YOU first

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A male reader, Tomas United States +, writes (2 March 2009):

I'm going to play bad guy on this one, so delicate sensibilities might want to skip to the next answer.



He's not your soulmate. A soulmate implies he understands you, and if you have cheated on him several times, and thrice since engagement, he does not understand you.

He sounds more like the guy who you wished you wanted, or the guy you wish you *only* wanted. The guy you think (or fear) you may never do better than. Someone who you recognize treats you better than anyone else.

You say you love him so very much; I'm going to challenge your understanding of the meaning of love.

Does love mean not going out drinking, because you recognize if you go out drinking that you will do something that, someday, will cause pain to him? Does it mean trusting him enough to show him the real you, warts and all, and risk losing him, so that you will have the security of knowing he loves you, and not an image of you that you maintain in order to keep his approval? Do you love him, or do you just really want to feel the way he makes you feel?

It sounds like you expect that if you feel a strong enough emotional connection for someone, if you feel enough need and desire and protection and safety and gratitude, that somehow that will make everything okay. That there is a magical Disney-like place called Love, and that you either have a ticket or not, and your fiance is your ticket, and once you get in things will be okay. You want this fairy tale, and you hope that if you can just fix yourself, it will be real.

You feel what you call "love" for him, and love is for soulmates, and soulmates understand you, but he doesn't. So you are stuck.

Here's the answer to that puzzle. It is perfectly possible to like someone and lie to them. To want safety and to hide behind a mask to get it. To feel contentment and resentment at the same time. To live your entire life as someone you are not.

Plenty of guys get married and cheat on their wives. And they love their wives (love=feeling, rather than love=something you do). But they would rather have their egos or libidos than their partners' understanding. Women do the same to men.

Soulmate is a dangerous term, because it implies a kind of perfection, a unity, a single personality. A lack of loneliness.

Two people in love still have to decide whose career comes first. Who changes the diapers. Whether the mother-in-law can stay. What the money gets spent on. Whose parents to visit at Christmas.

You need to decide what you want out of your relationship. Do you want him to really understand you, or do you just want someone to be affectionate to you, and to help you with the various chores of life? I don't mean that to be a facetious choice. A lot of people really just want a business partner in life, who is sweet to them and will watch a movie and have sex with them from time to time.

But if you are continuing to have affairs with other men (or women) while in the relationship, it sounds like you need something more. I doubt you will keep this secret. And the only thing that changes after marriage is the vague sense of "now what" that comes after you realize nothing else changed.

My suggestions:

1) Decide if you really want your fiance to know (and thus love) you, the real whole you.

2) If you do, first find a therapist. Yellow pages or online, whatever. Call and enquire about costs and appointments. Make one if you like, or not yet.

3) Talk to your fiance. Tell him that you have a side of yourself that you've kept from him, that you are ashamed of (if you are). That you cannot control it, and that you will continue to hurt yourself and him if you do not take responsibility for it. That you've been compulsively unfaithful, that you are not in love with anyone else (if that is true), and that you do not know why you've done it or why you can't stop. That you realize that this will hurt him, but you know that unless you learn to understand your behavior, you won't be able to stop it, and he will eventually find out, and that will hurt even more. That you do not want to lose him, but that until he sees and understands and loves the real you, the beautiful and the ugly, you don't really have him anyway. That you understand you have no claims over him, though you don't want to be with anyone else. That he gets time to think what he wants to do next. That you have already looked up (and perhaps booked) an appointment with a therapist.

4) You go to the therapist, and give him time to decide what he wants to do (even if the first thing he says is it is over ... a couple months will tell).

5) Optionally, if being known by him is not that important to you, go and stay on birth control (out of respect for him and the possible consequences). And if you decide to stay with him without telling him, recognize now that if you cheat in the future, and he finds out in 5 or 7 or 13 years, it may be too late for him to have the life he wants with someone else who would be faithful to him. Even if you would be willing to struggle, if you fail you fail both of you.

At the least, consider whether you can tell him that you've seen many relationships (any family of yours?) where there has been unfaithfulness, even when people loved each other, and it scares you, not just that he could be unfaithful to you, but you to him. That it scares you enough to have doubts about getting married, even though he's the only guy you love, and that it would mean a lot to you if he would understand if you saw a therapist, to work through those issues. (Even better if your wedding date is not too near.)

But I would get thee to a therapist in any event, whether you stay with him, leave him, tell him or not. Best to tell, truth is easier jumping in than one toe at a time. You need to know what motivates you. What you are missing. Maybe you will be able to address those needs in a loving relationship with your partner. Maybe you are a swinger at heart. In any event, having children without understanding this side of you would be a terrible, terrible disservice to them and to their father, so the birth control stays until the therapy works (or at least until you've had the honest talk).

I wish you the best of luck. Be brave.

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A female reader, jessica04 United States +, writes (2 March 2009):

jessica04 agony auntYou owe it to him to be honest with him. He deserves to know what he is about to marry. Do you even get STD tests done after these encounters? You are endangering not just your life by having random sex, but also his, and nothing about that is fair.

Tell him the truth. If he leaves you, then that's his choice. He may want to stay and work things out with you. Seek couples counseling, and counseling for yourself. Hold on on the wedding if he decides to stick things out with you.

He deserves the chance to make an informed decision about how he is going to spend the rest of his life. Ad think, do you want this guilt hanging over your head forever?

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