Monday, January 7, 2008

If You Cheated And It's Over

How can I avoid cheating again?

If you've broken the bonds of your matrimony once, to do it again unfortunately becomes easier. To not cheat again takes a lot of consciousness and a choice; a promise to your partner - but even more to yourself - to live with radical honesty and to be in alignment and integrity with yourself. To avoid cheating you must not break your promise with yourself which is not to cheat, because you have to know your vulnerabilities. Truthfully, you are vulnerable: you've cheated, and if it was at all good, you're going to want to do it again. You've got to learn faithfulness in order to not cheat again. It's not anything that's just natural. It starts with creating a bond to be absolutely walking the line of honesty, so that if you feel yourself sway, you feel yourself attracted, you feel yourself rationalizing any kind of behavior that's about cheating, you tell yourself no. You've got a bond with yourself and you've got a bond with your partner that you will not break. Another thing to remember in order to avoid cheating again is don't set yourself up. Avoid your former lover if you are vulnerable to that. Avoid places that you used to go. Avoid places that you remember are romantic places with someone else. Avoid situations that are a setup. This is where you honesty comes in. Know your setups and don't go there.

How do I ask for forgiveness after I have been unfaithful to my spouse?

Seeking forgiveness after being unfaithful is the first step of the healing process. When you seek forgiveness, you've got to be prepared that you may not get it right away, or you may get it in stages. You have to be open to taking responsibility for your choices, and saying I am sorry, authentically, over and over again. When asking for forgiveness for being unfaithful, you also have to be willing to make your life an open book, because your partner is not going to trust you very much. The seeking of forgiveness is saying, "I am so sorry I betrayed you. I know how much I've hurt you" - and making that real, not because you're thinking that's what they want to hear, but it coming from authentically you. "I am sorry. I recognize my actions have hurt you, and I want to rebuild. I love you. I want to come home and stay home. Please take me back. Please forgive me." Over and over and over again. And be patient, because it may take a while for your partner to be able to forgive you after you have unfaithful.

How can I ease my guilt after ending my affair?

Usually when we have an affair, there's a bond there. It doesn't matter really either whether it's a cyber affair, an emotional affair, or definitely with a physical affair; you've gotten close to somebody. There's going to be withdrawal; you're going to feel sad because there's a vacuum there. You were expressing all of this emotion and love and contact and 'pffft'. Now there's none. So, it is appropriate and unfortunate you're going to feel sad, you're going to feel depressed, you're grieving, and you're going through loss. You're going to be going through a lot of feelings beside sadness; you're going to be feeling some anger, you're going to be feeling angry that you had to end the affair, you're going to be angry at your spouse if you've been busted, and you're going to be angry that you can't have everything, your cake and eat it too. You're going to be sad because you're going to be missing whatever that person filled in you. It's time to understand that you got yourself in this mess; you're going to have feelings, they're natural. You're going to have to feel the feelings. Maybe do some writing about them. Try to connect with your partner as much as you can. Certain feelings, especially ones about being sad about your loss, you're probably not going to be able to share with your partner. Talk to some friends, go to a therapist, talk to your spiritual leader, your pastor, or your priest. Get the feelings out, understand that they're natural. They will pass. You've also got to move on beyond the affair and this is the step to take. Feel the feelings and move on. Of course you feel guilty, you messed up. You have created this havoc. There may be a reason why you were drawn to go outside of your relationship to get your needs met. Guilt's a natural by-product. Of course you feel guilty, and what you can do with the guilt is take actions to make amends with your partner. Take your guilt and rather than going mea culpa, mea culpa, with the knife, try to turn it into love, "I'm so sorry. I love you. I feel awful". Truthfully, your partner wants to know you feel awful. It's good you feel awful, that you feel guilty, and that you want to make amends. Be prepared to make amends. Make amends by being an open book, by answering your partners questions, by recognizing that you've hurt your partner and that your partner is going to need a lot of proof that you're really coming back home before they're going to trust you again. Guilt is actually in this case a good motivator for taking action towards your partner. Don't close up in it and feel sorry for yourself; let your partner know how bad you feel and make amends. Find out what they need, and what you can do to change the situation; to make the situation better.

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