Here's Part Two, a second and final look at the leftover questions from last month's live online chat about whether "Cheating" is affecting your relationship:
I always end up cheating after a year in a relationship. I don't know why. I'm still in love with whomever I'm with, but I start to wander and get bored. How do I stop doing this?
You just stop... because you're not helpless, and you can exercise will power, if you want. If you do NOT want to stop cheating - despite the risk that you could lose the person you love - you need therapy to find out why you court danger, and/or escape commitment by eventually ruining your relationships.
What do you say to those who contend that human beings aren't wired for monogamy and that cheating is the natural result of an unnatural situation?
Anyone can rationalize his or her own behaviour with quasi-anthropological theories that have some element of fact. Humans are culturally attuned to monogamy - and yes, that can include serial monogamy - because it stabilizes societies in which parents raise their own children. Generally, families need stability and trust, and the majority of people try hard to stay faithful.
My husband's been contacting another woman for eight years (email/phone from work). I called her; she said it was more than a friendship, but nothing physical. He says she's lying, they've only been friends. Whom do I believe?
Decide first on your goal. If you want to stay together, believe him, but say this private friendship has gone too far. Either you're invited into their circle, or it must stop. If he refuses, believe her.
I had a texting/email issue three years ago. My wife and kids found out, and said they forgave me. Yet they all brought it up again and have made it bigger than it was. I went to counseling, but now my wife's asked for a divorce... so much for forgiveness.
By calling it an "issue" instead of an emotional affair, you show unwillingness to truly come clean. That's why your wife can't accept that you're fully past it. She sure isn't. Go back to counseling and explore why you obscure your personal feelings, and how to try to convince your wife that you really want to re-build your relationship... if you do want to.
How do you rebuild intimacy after an affair?
Slowly, thoughtfully, consistently, and with understanding that there'll be peaks and valleys in the progress of that effort. On both sides. Marital therapy can help. So can openness from both people about what might've contributed to this affair being one party's choice.
If I say NO to the open relationship she suggests, I'm afraid she'll cheat on me behind my back anyway. Do you think that would be a possibility? Isn't it better to be open and know what's happening?
No, not if it's not what you want and goes against your basic precepts of a relationship. You may have to face that you have different value systems and are not a good fit for the long-term.
I cheated several years ago, and then decided I wanted out of my marriage. But I still carry a lot of guilt. How do I stop beating myself up?
Maybe you need some guilt, to keep you from using infidelity as an escape hatch again. I suspect you're actually angry with yourself for not finding the courage to say earlier that the marriage wasn't working.
My fiancée cancelled the wedding by text message. It turns out that she'd been cheating around. I still love her and she claims to love me. What do I do?
Stay apart for six months. Then, therapy for her would be crucial... before you even consider getting together again. She may've been scared but instead of confessing to cold feet, she got hot pants! That doesn't bode well for you to have a stable future relationship, especially when normal challenges arise.
I'm a widow, 52. A former schoolmate whom I've run into (supposedly happily married) keeps asking me to go for a hot chocolate. I know his wife.
He emails that it's great to reconnect. Is this cheating? I feel uncomfortable.
Ask that he invite his wife along. If he hesitates or pursues more time together alone, you KNOW he's looking for more than a chocolate hit, and thinks you're vulnerable enough to agree.
Tip of the day:
Cheating affects everyone involved in a relationship, including kids. Be aware of the consequences.