“Hi Felicity – I need some advice. I am in a great relationship, we’ve been going strong for about six months now. I am happy and in love, and he seems just as content. But the problem is my last boyfriend was a cheater. When I discovered his betrayal, I was devastated. I even swore off love forever. Although, eventually I got tired of being single. And I met a really great guy (we were set up by my good friend, a co-worker of his). And even though my new guy is very different, and I love him very much, I’m still terrified he’s going to cheat on me, too. Is there anything I can do to make sure he won’t stray from our relationship?”
Well, short of locking him in a shed and hiding the key (which I do NOT recommend btw), the harsh answer is no, there isn’t anything you can do to “make sure” he won’t stray.
And I can tell you the quickest way to push him away (and possibly encourage him TO stray) is to constantly worry about him cheating.
Because your constant anxiety will come across in your communication. And it will feel to him like you are saying “I don’t trust you”.
Over time, this weighs heavy on the relationship. It’s actually downright toxic. He may even begin to feel like you are accusing him of cheating. And being made to feel guilty when you are innocent builds resentment.
Big time resentment.
I remember when I was a kid and my mom didn’t trust me to not get into the Halloween candy she’d bought in early October. So she hid it (not very well). And she kept tabs on me. And she questioned me. And watched me…
And finally, I just got so sick of being made to feel like I’d snuck some candy when I hadn’t…that I climbed up to the place she hid it in the hall closet and snatched a big handful.
Obviously this is a lot more serious than sneaking a few fun-size chocolate bars…but the result could end up the same. I’m not saying he’s going to run out and cheat. But if he feels like he’s already paying the price for a crime he didn’t commit…well…
It sounds to me like you have some processing to do from your last relationship. A therapist or counselor can be a great option to help you work through your feelings of betrayal from the past. There are also tons of great books out there that can walk you through the steps of healing and learning to trust again.
And give your new boyfriend the benefit of the doubt. If he gives you no reasons to be distrustful, then for the sake of your relationship, you’ve got to knock it off with your worrying.
Here is the tough reality when it comes to love and cheating: on some level, you have to understand that it is possible you could get cheated on again.
And it will suck big time if it happens. But the good news is you will survive. You made it through before and have even been able to fall in love again.
Now, for some super fun ways to bolster both your emotional and physical connection…it sounds to me like taking a proactive approach to deepening your intimacy is one remedy for your anxiety.
And, while it doesn’t “cheat-proof” your relationship, generally speaking, when both partners are feeling really connected to one another the chances of any wandering eyes go way way down. And when you are having a blast in the bedroom, you are focused on each other more than the idea of extra-curricular affairs.
Recently I put together a new program called Language of Desire.
In it you will find over 30 techniques specifically designed to not only give you both an awesomely fun sex life, but ways to deepen the emotional intimacy component of your relationship, too.