I recently cheated on my boyfriend and it's tearing me apart inside.
About the Questioner
Hopes and aspirations: I want to graduate from college and begin a career with music.
Since you are a musician, I know you are creative. Creative energy and sexual energy are very good friends. Creative and sexual energy are extremely important and necessary for good health. However, you need to learn how to handle these potent energies so that they are not out of control.
Throughout the centuries, creative men have been allowed the privilege of acting out their sexual energy without any great judgment from others. Whereas, creative women have not been allowed to act out their sexual energy even a little bit without suffering extremely negative consequences.
This observation is to raise your awareness of the double standard that exists, not to encourage you to act like Picasso. I am definitely, NOT suggesting that you act out your sexual, creative or emotional energy.
Acting out behavior is irresponsible and has many unhealthy results. It hurts you and the other people involved. My advice about sexual relationships is to be pure, clean and have your heart and body connected at all times.
However, in reality, there are no rights and wrongs. There are only consequences. If you engage in Mechanic Sex, which is what I call quick, unfeeling sex without love, your energy field will become weaker. This is because your energy field becomes saturated with the other person's unhealthy energy. For more about sexual energy read this free psychology article from one of my past "Sex and Love" columns.
Let me reassure you that having sex of any nature with a consenting adult is not on the same level as killing someone or harming a child. "Cheating" is a word that implies you had an agreement with your boyfriend that you would not be sexual with another person. You did not honor the contract; instead you broke it and had sex with another person.
Now you have huge regrets. Anytime you break a contract of any nature, you run the risk of destroying the trust you had with that person. This is one of the many reasons developing yourself is so important. You need a valuable relationship education that will teach you the skills you need to create and maintain a healthy, loving relationship.
You were not born with the knowledge of how to create healthy emotional relationships. You were not born with the knowledge of how to create healthy sexual relationships. Instead, you learned unhealthy patterns from your parents. Now you need to unlearn these unhealthy patterns and learn new, effective relationship skills.
You are young and have much to learn. So my advice to you is forgive yourself and learn life lessons from this experience. If you do not know the reason you acted out sexually, you definitely need to get to know your motives, feelings, emotions and thoughts much better.
To help you know yourself better, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the reason I acted out sexually with another person? For example, was it emotional? Sexual? Anger? Dissatisfaction?
- What made me tell my best friend such a deep secret? For example, was I looking for approval? Forgiveness? Or was my judgment bad?
- Am I repeating an unhealthy relationship pattern that I learned in the past without knowing it?
- What is the best way for me to correct my mistake?
- How can I forgive myself and move on?
This is the reason I have always used excellent teachers, psychologists and mentors to help me become more aware. You need an outside person to help you become conscious of new information. In addition, since your conditioned responses are very ingrained in your nervous system and physical body, it is very difficult to unlearn these without expert help.
For me to discover the exact reason for your behavior, I would need to do a private consultation with you. There are many reasons people break contracts and cheat on the person they think they love.
The emotional, energy dynamics between two people are complicated and based on the past learning histories of the people involved. However, a skillful emotional-energy teacher can help you become conscious of how the energy is moving back and forth between you and your boyfriend. This is extremely helpful information to know.
I could imagine that you behaved this way because you are angry with your boyfriend and have not admitted this to yourself or him. You could be angry with him because he is not fulfilling your emotional needs. Perhaps he is not a sensitive, skillful lover. Maybe he is a premature ejaculator or very controlling.
I could also imagine if you admitted these truths to yourself, you would have great difficulty being assertive with him. It would be very hard for you to tell him your concerns, needs and fears. Perhaps my imagination is not exactly correct, but you can see what I am getting at here.
There are many emotional, energy dynamics that could be going on between you and your boyfriend. The same is true of the emotional energy between you and your girlfriend. These are yet to be discovered. What you need to know is your intimate relationships have real problems and real solutions.
One thing I know for sure is that you are acting out sexually. You are acting out your emotional feelings instead of feeling your emotions and expressing them in healthy ways. Therefore to become stronger you need to stop acting out your emotions and feelings. Instead, you need to discover what you really feel. If you are not aware of your feelings, you will continue to act them out like you are doing now.
Discovering what you feel emotionally is the work that you need to do.
Knowing what you feel and learning to stay with yourself in your feeling state will stop your acting out behaviors. When you do not acknowledge and express your feelings and emotions, you will either act them in or act them out.
Acting out behaviors occurs when you express an external behavior that is inappropriate due to the fact that you are denying your authentic emotions. For example, you feel anger toward your boyfriend. You do not admit you feel anger toward him. Instead, you deny this strong energy and as a result, you cheat on him.
There are many ways to act out. You can act out sexually, physically or emotionally. When someone hits another person, this is a form of acting out. Psychologists refer to these behaviors as reactions. Another example of acting out is when children have temper tantrums.
Acting out is a conditioned response. As a child, your parents and other adults in your life blocked your ability to express your emotions. You were not allowed to feel anger, hurt and fear. Consequently, you acted-this-strong energy-out by expressing an inappropriate behavior. You screamed. You cheated. You lied. You hit. You reacted.
Now, as an adult you continue to deny your emotions and feelings. If you become aware of what you really feel, you will know exactly what was going on inside of you that made you behave the way you did. Finding out this information is the number one priority if you want to stop acting out.
Let me explain acting in behaviors, which are the opposite of acting out behaviors. Acting in is when you turn against yourself and behave toward yourself in inappropriate ways due to your emotional feelings that have not been properly expressed.
Instead of hitting someone else, you hit yourself. Instead of blaming someone else, you blame yourself. Women often act in. You may have heard the joke. The wife says, "I blame myself for missing the road." The husband says, "I blame you for missing the road."
The woman gets it from both ways! You seem to have acted out sexually and then acted in, by blaming yourself. So you also received a double whammy!
Cleaning Up the Mess You Made
Can you be responsible and clean up your mess? Of course. There is no need to torture and find fault with yourself. This does not help you or your boyfriend. You need to take responsibility for your behavior and do anything you can to correct the problem. You also need to learn from this experience so you become more skillful and effective in relationships.
If your boyfriend asks you about this event, you need to tell him the truth. These are the consequences I mentioned earlier. You have to face the music and hope that he is forgiving. If he is not forgiving, then you need to forgive yourself anyway. This will be a good lesson to learn.
If he does not ask you about this event, you do not have to tell him about it. Wait until you have forgiven yourself and feel stronger and more knowledgeable about your motives and emotions. Then you can have an open, honest, assertive talk about what is going on between you.
You also need to look at your best friend more realistically. She was not a good person for you to trust. This is also a helpful lesson to learn. Most friends are not trustworthy or skillful enough to be helpful in psychological situations.
You need to turn to people who you know you can trust. This means you need a psychologist who is confidential. You need a qualified person who can help you with your acting out behaviors by teaching you how to feel your emotional and physical feelings.
Know that you have a right to forgive yourself. Others need to forgive you. No one can throw the first stone for we have all behaved in ways that we felt bad about.
Hold your head high.
Know that you are learning what you need to learn to be a wonderful musician. You will play for us the wondrous sounds of life with deep feelings that touch our soul.
Action Steps to Stop Acting Out Behaviors
- Work with a holistic psychologist or qualified professional. You need to do deep emotional awareness work to stop your acting out behaviors. You, as well as the rest of humanity, need to learn more effective relationships skills. For help picking out a good holistic health practitioner read this free psychology article.
- Give up guilt. Never make any life decision based on guilt. Guilt is a form of manipulation. Notice how often you feel guilty. Get to know the energy of guilt so you can eliminate it. Here is a free psychology article on guilt.
- Forgive yourself. Forgiveness is the only way to live a life that is meaningful and rich. You need to forgive yourself and others of all things. To forgive, stop making yourself wrong. Stop judging yourself or your girlfriend. For help with your judgmental thoughts study the audio, "Find the Peace Beyond Judgment and Guilt."
- Discover what you feel inside. This means you must look inward until you sense and feel the energy of your authentic emotions. For an emotional health guide into your emotional energy study and work with the E-book and audio, "Opening the Heart."
Coaching copyright © 2010 Dr. Doris Jeanette
Doris Jeanette is a licensed psychologist with 35 years of clinical experience helping people learn better relationships skills. She is currently available for in-person emotional energy sessions in Glenwood Springs, CO. If you are interested in private sessions, Energy Intensives or holistic psychology mentoring visit my site here - and sign up for myfree holistic psychology newsletter, "The Vibrant Moment."