How do I stop my serial cheating?

Dear Guys,

I am 26 and a serial cheater. I have never been faithful to anyone. At times have even been with three guys who all thought they were the only one. I have never been dumped and I lie and cheat. Even when I come clean I still get forgiveness. I’m not proud of my actions and only one friend in my life knows the true me because I’m too ashamed to tell anyone else. After years of this behaviour I met my man.

I’ve been with him for over four years now and in the beginning everything was perfect. Then after a year he became too comfortable being around me and was happy just playing his games and having me watch. Boredom sank in and my old ways came back. A year I lasted (terrible to say but that’s the longest I’ve been faithful) and then the floodgates opened and within the past three years I have bedded about 14 men behind his back and one which I told him about. Three were one night stands, I dated the others…one for nearly a year.

He knows what I’m doing but he’ll never admit it. We’ve lived together about two and a half years now and I’ve been trying to break my habit. I even left my job because I had a “friends with benefits” thing going on and I wanted to stop. I know it seems I don’t, but I do love my boyfriend and I have done so much for him out of love. I want to be loyal to him especially because he’s been dropping marriage hints for the last few months.

Please, how can I break this 13 year-old habit??

G

Dear G,

Thanks for your question and your honesty. We do believe that you want to change your behavior, otherwise you wouldn’t have contacted us looking for advice.

The first step to changing, is understanding why you’re cheating in the first place. You cite boredom as the reason in your current relationship, but more likely, there’s a more deep-seated reason you’re wandering into other men’s arms.

Some people cheat because they can. (We’re speaking mostly about men, but we assume this could apply to women as well.) Chris Rock said—and we’re paraphrasing here— “men are only as faithful as their opportunities.” He’s speaking about men in positions of power: athletes, politicians, movie stars, rich men, professors, any man that has access to a large group of willing fans, students, or admirers.

However, many people cheat because they need a particular type of validation. They want to know they’re desirable. Or rather, they need the constant reassurance that they’re desirable. This often stems from low self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem might cheat preemptively, for fear that their partner will leave them. In this case it’s about retaining some sort of control over their lives and future.

You may be dealing with a blend of all the above issues. In your case it seems, one man is not enough to fill your need to be desired. You can be happy for a short time, but the low-level hum of a daily relationship isn’t enough, so you seek the excitement of illicit affairs, AND the validation of other men.

Understand that we’re simplifying. And that we understand that you’re issues are probably much more complex and in-depth than we can address here. We strongly suggest you seek professional help. Possibly a therapist to help you work through some of your underlying issues.

You’ve taken a good first step, awareness. Now the second step is action.

We wish you the best,

THE GUYS

Read more Relationship Advice and Dating Advice on Cheating: 

I hooked up with a guy while married

My cheating boyfriend; can I learn to trust him again 

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