I have been dating my girlfriend for the past year and a half. I love her with all my heart. Except I keep flirting with other people. She found out once and didn’t break up with me. This is the second time I did it and I lied to her saying that I wasn’t flirting and erased texts so she wouldn’t find out the truth. I ended up telling her anyway, and she didn’t break up with me again. I feel horrible about what I did but I don’t know why I keep flirting with other girls. I love her and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to try a break because I don’t want her to run off with someone else.
I’m glad you’re willing to admit that you have a problem staying faithful to your girlfriend. Hopefully you can stay accountable and honest about your situation as you work on this problem. Clearly, this is something that isn’t going to disappear from your life with good intentions. You have a serious problem that needs further assistance.
I don’t know why you continue to flirt with other people while you’re in a committed relationship, but I do know that you can change your behavior. That change will happen much more quickly if you’re willing to commit to a few initial things.
First, I recommend you both get in to see a relationship counselor. You both seem to be confused about how to handle these multiple betrayals. I imagine your girlfriend is in great pain and very confused. I can see that you’re confused as well. You owe it to both of you to find a counselor who can help you make sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing and give you both some guidance on how to proceed forward.
Second, make a commitment to full transparency. Healthy relationships have no secrets. The burden of proof is on you and you have to carry the hope in this relationship moving forward. I recommend you give your girlfriend all of your passwords to your email, social media, and phone. Let her know she can check if she needs to, even if she says she doesn’t want to. The important thing isn’t whether she checks for evidence of your fidelity, but rather that you’ve offered it with humility.
Go out of your way to reassure her of your whereabouts, look for reasons to be with her, and do everything you can to give her reassurance that you’re turning fully to this relationship. Healing multiple betrayals requires serious lifestyle changes to show that you’re not going to do things the same way you’ve always done them. It’s difficult to prove you’re NOT doing something anymore, so living life differently helps tremendously.
As you work with your counselor, seek to find out why commitment is so difficult for you. Be willing to make the necessary changes in your life so you can be the kind of partner that creates a safe and dependable relationship.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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