Cheating husband afraid to be cheated on

Cheating husband afraid to be cheated on

QUESTION:

your avatar   Ola, 36-year-old man

I have been married to my wife for over 6 years and before then we dated for 7 years. I never caught my wife cheating. The only thing I can remember is that in our second year of dating, we were making confessions to each other and she told me she kissed a guy. I was also with her one day during that period when a guy in her school kissed her. But for those two, I never caught her cheating on me. I am actually the first guy to have sex with her. Yet I don't trust her. Could it be the fact that I know that my mother cheated on my father growing up? Could it be the fact that I also have affairs outside wedlock and with married ladies at that? I fear this may impact negatively on my marriage. I love my wife so dearly.

How do I develop trust in my wife? What can I do to erase the memory of my mother cheating on my father? Please help

ANSWER:

    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Ola,

First, everyone is different. Your wife is not your mother. You need to assess her on her behavior, not on anything else. Before you were married, she had kissed a guy. So what? That is not cheating on you. It is acceptable behavior in our culture. She committed herself to you, and has kept her promise.

You haven't. You wrote that you have had affairs. One of the first findings in psychology was that when we feel bad about ourselves, it is easier to put that fault onto someone else than to deal with it. So, I suggest you stop treating your distress as if your wife was causing it. Own it. You feel like this, not because of your mother, not because of your wife, but because of your own actions.

What to do?

There is no such thing as a mistake, fault or defect. There are only learning opportunities. You have had affairs, and that was a mistake. What can you learn from the fact that your guilt is baselessly driving you to mistrust your wife?

Second, apologize to yourself within your heart and forgive yourself. The problem is not what you did in the past (as long as you never do it again in the future), but the guilt. Feel the responsibility, but toss away the guilt, and then there is no longer a need to project it onto another person.

Third, make restitution. This means, doing something to make up for damage you have caused. In what way can you make your wife's life better?

If she doesn't already know about your past slips, it is probably a bad idea to confess to her. A rule is, "Above all, do no harm." Judge how to treat your situation through this lens.

All the best,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com

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