It happens and we all dread it. Being cheated on. For some of us it ruins our faith in all new potential partners and for others it strengthens our resolve to find the right partner. Getting your heartbroken for the first time is one thing, yes it can take all of the romance out of looking for love but being cheated on multiple times is sheer hell.
Often times, we are left holding the bag, wondering, “what did I do wrong?” Well, I hate to say it but if being cheated on has become a pattern in your life, looking at yourself and how you might have contributed might truly help. I know everyone is a “victim” when this happens but seriously there are a few things you might be doing that contribute to being shit on over and over again. And if you could change this for yourself wouldn’t you? Yes, some people become comfortable with being the victim. It avoids them having to take responsibility in the matter. But sooner or later, it’s like a light switch going off. You need to build some awareness about who you are choosing and why you are ending up in this mess constantly. Here are some suggestions.
You may have a broken “picker”, as the technical term my therapist friends and I use. Are you falling for whomever shows interest in you? Are you afraid to be alone so that the default is good enough? These are a few hard questions you might want to ask yourself. You may be setting yourself up for failure from the beginning because you simply aren’t discerning enough.Be a red flag spotter. Many times after talking with someone who has been cheated on, in hindsight they saw it coming on. Talk to this potential partner, get a history. Do they cop to having a cheating past? Or are they simply incredibly vague when it comes to divulging their partner history. A good partner should have something insightful to say about their dating history; what they’ve learned; why relationships have worked or haven’t. Radio silence is no good.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Once we are in relationships, often times we only want to see the good, so we slap the ol’blinders on. This is especially common during the so called “honeymoon” phase. There may be early signs like wandering eyes, friends they won’t introduce you to, being secretive about where he or she goes without you, or not allowing you to freely use their computer or mobile device. If you are trying too hard to find out a piece of information about your partner, that’s usually a good heads up that something bad is afoot.
You don’t need to be a nosy Nancy or distrustful of your partners, just stay aware and clued into that gut feeling you get when a red flag shows up. And never jump to conclusions. It is always worth having a discussion with him or her to get their side of the story. Hopefully, that will be enough to alleviate any of your fears and allow you to move forward in a healthy, happy relationship.
Dr. Kat is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.
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