Ask Charles: "I was cheated on, and now I'm insecure..."

Dear Charles: 

I was married for 11 years to the man I share four kids with. The marriage ended after he had an affair with a woman who used to be a friend of mine (and who he is now married to). 

I have recently started dating a man after being single for seven years, and he is a wonderful man, who loves spending time with me — and vice versa — and even taking time to get to know my children when we see each other.  We live an hour away from each other and I have never had a long distance relationship before.

My question to you is: How do I get over my insecurity, and thinking he's going to do the same thing to me as my ex-husband did?!?! I have faith in him that he won't cheat on me, but I also had that same faith with my ex husband. I don't want to say anything to my new partner as i don't want him to think i'm clingy or needy (because I'm not, or at least I don't think so... lol), and I truly don't want to be one of those women who wonders what he's up to when he goes out or even when he's home, an hour away from me.

Am I just being silly, or are my feelings natural for someone who's been cheated on in the past and entering into a new relationship?!?! It's not too bad at the moment, but I feel this could end up driving me crazy if I can't get my insecurity under control.



Dear M: 

In truth, you are needing something... and that's okay. :) People come to relationships with some level of baggage... experience, if you will. And their partners need to be understanding about things. That's not to say that your insecurities can run roughshod... but after a blindside affair (which it sounds like is what you experienced), those feelings are understandable.


That said, I'd like you to consider (and remember) two important things: 1) Your new relationship is not your old relationship. And 2) Your new relationship is not with your ex-husband. The issues you faced in your previous marriage are unique to that relationship, and don't necessarily carry over to new people... unless... you bring it with you (meaning: the lessons you needed to learn in that old relationship don't get learned, so you "return to start" in your next relationship, so to speak.). 

Perhaps the most critical piece to remember is this: Feeling insecure that someone is going to cheat in you is rooted in two things: Fear and Lack of Control. To those issues, I offer this: Don't be controlled/driven by fear. Fear is all consuming, and will run you into the ground, cause you to make bad decisions, and miss out on life's great offerings/teachings. As for Control... the harsh truth is that if someone is going to cheat on you... then they are. It's out of your control, and it has nothing to do with you. It's a choice that they are making — selfishly. (After all, before someone cheats, they could just leave and end the relationship before dishonoring you and themselves.). 

My advice: Let go of your need for control... because it's futile. If you trust him, and he's not showing any signs of straying (mood swings, behavior out of the norm, secretive actions), then let go of the past and embrace the future. After all... there's no reason to look backwards... unless you plan on going that way.


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