I can’t forgive myself for cheating on him

I can’t forgive myself for cheating on him
I can’t forgive myself for cheating on him

Two years ago my last boyfriend and I broke up. We co-habited for just under two years, rarely argued, made each other laugh, and had an outstanding mutual group of friends. About 6 months before the break up our sex life drastically plummeted. He denied every attempt I made, and when he initiated it was quick and passionless. I internalised these denials as signs that I was inadequate and unattractive to my partner. My self esteem started declining and I eventually went into panic mode. One particularly drunken/vulnerable night I made the very poor decision to let a complete stranger go down on me at a party. I was horrified with myself and confessed to my partner immediately… and he immediately dumped me.

The problem is that I have not been able to move on. I cant seem to shake the shame/guilt of cheating. I realise that I really messed up and hurt my ex-partner… but it’s been two years! Can’t decent people make poor choices? Will I ever be able to feel happy again? Do I even deserve happiness? Troubled

I think you’ve beat yourself up over a one-time mistake at a party for about 23 months too long. You’ve suffered over it, you lost the guy you loved over it – and the speed at which your ex dumped you made me wonder if already had one foot out the door. Did he ever explain why your sex life had headed south? Or talk about trying to fix things? Did he ever tell you his lack of interest was down to stress or illness or some random resentment towards you over another issue? I’m clutching at straws here, but if he didn’t, of course that messed with your head. I’m not condoning cheating; you could’ve made better choices or insisted on counselling or even left the relationship – but I can understand why you were driven to it.

What now? It’s time to take a deep breath and leave it in the rear view mirror. For good. If you really can’t do that, you need to get some help in breaking the cycle of fixating on it, because that’s just bloody exhausting and unhelpful going forward (a psychologist can help you with strategies). Ultimately, everyone does shitty things in relationships, but one poor choice doesn’t eradicate your right to future happiness (even if your ex has made you feel that way). Like anyone, you deserve a chance to meet someone who’s a better fit for you – and I wish you all the best in making that happen.

Love, reality chick


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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

2 Comments

  1. Author

    Love your insights Starwoman… hope you had a nice Easter yourself. x

  2. Starwoman 2 years ago

    Right on!
    Why should you forgive yourself and why should anyone else forgive you?
    A cheat is more than a cheat. A cheat is an expert liar and much more.
    Get yourself together, take a long, hard look at your true self and take steps to change that person into the singlest, greatest truth.
    You will find the greatest happiness, right there in the mist of your solitary truth – your self. And others will know that you are no longer the cheat, the liar etc.
    Words are cheap – actions are not.
    Move on. You have a world of experience to examine and to use as your launching pad to a new and happy life.
    Happy Easter.

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