Friday, March 11, 2011

Dear Brookey,

I’m ashamed to admit that I was a cheater. I’ve cheated on every boyfriend I’ve ever had until recently. I always felt justified because the sex was bad, or the relationship was stifling, or he was too short. I found a way to justify my cheating in any way possible. My last boyfriend was devastated when he found out, and although I wanted to break up, I didn’t want to break anyone’s heart. I believe that is when I decided to change.

Now I’m dating a great guy who I have no plans on cheating on. I feel that he is “it” for me, and that I have been rehabilitated through him. Should I tell him about my cheating past, or just keep it to myself since I never plan to cheat on him (or anyone else) ever again?

Reformed
.

Dear Reformed,

First, I’m glad to hear that you are a "rehabilitated cheater." Most people feel that once a cheater, always a cheater – but that’s not true, in my humble opinion. There are several reasons why people cheat. None of those reasons should serve as a valid excuse, but understanding the reasons why you do something can help you to overcome this behavior if you want to. After all, a person can and will change only when they want to.

I don’t think you’ve been “rehabilitated through him.” If you plan on being a faithful person from here on out, it has to be because that’s the type of person you want to be for yourself. Of course, there are things that may help you come to that decision. Seeing how you hurt your ex may be one of the reasons you decided to change. For others, finding someone they want to be faithful to helps them to change. Some have to feel that pain for themselves. Most people don’t know how their actions hurt others until they’ve been cheated on themselves.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to change, it takes a strong person to resist temptation, and an emotionally mature person knows that they can’t have a successful relationship without trust. To be faithful, you have to be secure and self aware.

Secure people don’t feel the need to be selfish or seek affection/sex/love from multiple people. Self aware people are honest with themselves about if they’re ready or willing to settle down and do all the work that comes with it. If you’re not ready to be faithful, don’t be in a relationship. You’d be surprised just how many people can’t admit that they’re not finished sewing their royal oats :-) There is nothing wrong with wanting to play the field for as long as you want to – just be sure you’re honest with yourself and others about it.

However, it seems to me that you ARE ready to settle down with this guy, so now you’re wondering if you should put all your cards on the table for him to see. If he asks you if you’ve ever cheated before, by all means be honest. If you’ve truly learned your lesson, are remorseful and can assure him that you’ve grown as a person who has no desire to repeat that behavior, I don’t see why you can’t share that with him.

However, if he doesn’t ask you, I don’t think there’s a reason to bring it up. You know yourself better than anyone, so if you know in your heart you’ll be a faithful person from now on, then just be the best you can be and leave it at that. There’s no need to give him a reason to be insecure or the idea that you may possibly cheat on him one day. If you’re in a healthy, thriving relationship, enjoy it. Most people who are chronic cheaters became that way because they found themselves in a string of bad relationships where they feel unfulfilled. It sounds as if you’re finally happy in a relationship that works for you – so unless he asks, just leave it alone and don’t mess it up!

What do you all think? Once a cheater always a cheater….or can people be “rehabilitated?”

Give your advice!

7 comments:

Annamaria said...

First PEOPLE... I can't wait til I can curse again... LOL

Stef said...

Well, I can curse...dammit!

@Brooke,

great advise, as always. I think a person can change if they want to, but it's hard. I can say that from experience.

Sometimes it's just a matter of growing up. Sometimes it takes getting hurt yourself. Whatever it is, we all have to get their on our own. I don't think all cheaters are bad people, so I hope it works out for her.

The Fury said...

Hey Reformed Cheater,

It sounds like you subconciously sabotage your relationships. Now that you're happy, you subconciously don't feel worthy and now you're thinking about doing it again. Cut that shit out! Be happy! If he asks then you can tell him. Don't go so far as to tell him positions and just how your trickery went down (ie. More sabotage) just say yes and I feel bad about it...and move on. Hope I'm wrong. Be happy! Take Brooke's advice.

Courtney said...

I think Fury is right...you're looking for a way to mess it up. Don't! It takes a big person to admit they've cheated and moved on, so just continue to be a good person and enjoy your relationship and keep the details to yourself.

The Cable Guy said...

Sounds to me like you still feel guilty about cheating, and that's why you want to tell. You have to forgive yourself and move on. No one is perfect, we've all done something bad in relationships I'm sure we regret. But you have to give yourself some credit for wanting to change and following through on it. Don't let your past dictate your future. Everyone deserves a second chance, even reformed cheaters.

Jaz said...

Good advice Brooke. Temptation is everywhere, it's hard NOT to cheat, especially when you're unfulfilled. Still doesn't make it right, but people do it for various reasons.

I hope it truly is out of her system cuz it sounds like she's happy with a good guy. Good luck!

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