You have found another email or text that shows cheating or at least “heavy flirting.” This isn’t the first relationship where this has happened. You are angry, hurt, and questioning “Why is this always happening to me?” Though there is absolutely NO excuse for cheating (cheaters could just break off the relationship or discuss the issues), if being cheated-on is a pattern for you, it is possible that you have some role in how these events play out.
Giving up the control
As you know, your partner grew up with a different family than you did (I sure hope). They have different perspectives and strengths and will not handle things the way you do. They have learned different lessons and have different strengths and experiences. Demanding that they see things your way can make them feel that you do not see their good intentions and do not truly accept them (even when you don’t agree). “Accepting” does not mean you have to go along with everything your partner wants. The good communication comes from learning to problem-solve together.
Being each other’s confidant
It is important that you and your partner are the most intimate with each other. That requires being each other’s confidant. They can discuss differing opinions and you can still listen to their side. Has work, children, or life stress led to your “closing up?” If so, this can be contributing to your partner’s sense of isolation and loss of their “best friend.” Perhaps stress and your energy level has contributed to your dropping off as their “cheerleader” and they are now having to cheer alone.
You’re a porcupine
Are you someone they CAN bring their concerns to, even when you don’t agree? How do you respond during arguments? Are you calm and open or do you fly off the handle feeling invalidated and angry? Do you feel like your partner should be able to read your mind? Do you believe that love is your partner’s ability to guess what you want and how you feel? If so, can you say you are honestly doing the same for them? This would be a job for a psychic, not a partner. The beauty of sharing your feelings is that you can see your partner listen to you. No guessing required.
Guilty by fear
If you do not trust your partner because you are scared they will cheat, but do not have any other facts to back up these fears, you might be contributing to their feeling that “nothing is good enough.” They may start feeling like you do not see the good person they are and you are making the relationship more about you. This can make them feel lost and hopeless that they aren’t being seen for the person they are. It is your job to work through past hurts that are impacting your ability to trust.
Discussed sexual fantasies
Do you discuss sex? Who controls it? Hopefully no one. Healthy relationships have reciprocity with each partner initiating intimacy. They are also able to discuss fantasies and can have ongoing experimentation (if this is important to either of you).
If you think your partner would agree with any of these points, you might be putting them on eggshells to the point that they are driving alone. Unfortunately, there is bound to be someone else who could be that calm ear to listen and validate their feelings. The beauty is that this person CAN be you. You do not have to agree in order to be calm and validate your partner’s concerns. This IS in your control. If you want to build a healthy relationship, these 5 ways can help make sure you are staying open and collaborative with your partner. If you struggle with any of these, it may be helpful to work with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to help you strengthen the skills necessary to be more confident and open in the relationship.
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