How to overcome the fear of being cheated on

We heard the saddest news recently. Adam’s brother-in-law was caught cheating on his wife. Their child was only less than a year old. They are now separated and will be getting a divorce.

The news cut too close to the bone for me. Before Adam came into my life, I had 2 other serious relationships and I caught both my exes cheating on me.

Fear of being cheated on (pistanthrophobia)

With my first boyfriend, the betrayal left me with this constant fear of being cheated on. It has been almost 20 years and that fear has paled significantly. But it is still there.

Even when I started going out with Adam and found that he was a good man, I had trouble trusting him purely because of my experiences in the past. In fact, I lived in fear that he would cheat on me if given the chance.

It’s scary to think you know someone only to realize they are not who you thought they were.

When will the fear of betrayal go away?

I can tell you now, it will never go away. Some people are more trusting than others, partly from not being betrayed before but more likely, because it is part of their intrinsic character.

But if you have been disappointed before, and you have the fear that your partner will cheat on you, this fear will never go away as long as you are in a relationship.

If you want to be rid of the fear of being cheated on, stay single. That is the only way to be fear-free.

How to deal with the fear of being cheated on

Fortunately, abstinence from relationships is not only way to deal with this. It would be an awful shame if you denied yourself the potential happiness you can get from a relationship just because you are so afraid of being hurt again.

As with any fear and worry, this one can also be ‘managed’.

Accept the possibility your partner might cheat

As hard as it is to face, there is a very real responsibility your partner might cheat on you. All of us have the ability to choose to cheat at any time if we want to. Such is free will.

There is nothing you can do about it. No matter how closely you monitor every step he takes, if he wants to cheat on you, he will.

But if you decided to be with someone in a committed relationship, I assume you have thought about whether you can trust them. If things are going well in your relationship, there is no reason to go looking for signs of cheating. You are just building your own hell and making yourself impossible to live with.

Know that your partner is very likely not cheating on you. Accept the fact that they might. And have a plan.

Imagine life without your partner

The most likely consequence of your partner cheating on you is that you will break up. Does that mean that your life is over? Far from it.

If you can imagine a future without your partner, you know that you can survive and thrive even if he cheats on you.

Feel good about yourself

Almost every time my fears escalate, it is during periods of stress when I don’t feel good about myself, either physically or mentally. 

When you feel bad about yourself, you find it hard to believe that your partner is physically attracted to you. Obviously, this will result in you imagining that they are cheating on you. 

I don’t care what you have to do to get there. Stop eating junk food, exercise more, learn how to use makeup. As long as it is not a temporary fix. A manicure that lasts you 3 weeks doesn’t count.  

Have other pleasures in life

If your sole focus in life is your partner, this can be suffocating and boring for both of you.

Make sure you have other hobbies and interests in life that doesn’t involve them. This gives you lots to talk about and helps your partner see you as a separate interesting entity, instead of an extra limb.

Protect yourself financially

The biggest reason a woman doesn’t leave an unhappy or abusive relationship is her lack of financial independence. Don’t let yourself get so vulnerable that your ability to survive depends on your partner.

Make sure you have a skill and a job, even if it is a part-time job, so you are earning your own money. It can even be a business you do from home or online. It doesn’t matter. All you need is something you can fall back on if things go pear shape with your partner.

Make sure you are happy now

Some people continue trudging along in unhappy relationships for reasons only known to themselves. If you already feel that you are sacrificing your life and doing things you don’t want to do for the sake of the relationship, this will make you feel that you have put in so much into the relationship that if fails, all your energy and time will be wasted. This will heighten the fear of cheating significantly.

However, if you are already happy now and wouldn’t change your life even if you had another chance, then in the worst case scenario, if your relationship breaks up, you didn’t waste any part of your life being unhappy. It just means you will move on to the next happy phase of your life.

Don’t involve your partner

Notice I have not once suggested you talk to your partner about your fears or try to get him to understand why you’re so damn suspicious all the time.

This is because all those ‘open communication’ advice is stupid and makes things worse.

How do I know this? Because I’ve made the mistake of ‘talking about it’ countless times.

Once in a while, it is important to ask questions or to clear a doubt. However, most times, you know the fear is in your mind. Having yet another discussion about it with your partner will only make them feel frustrated and make you feel worse.

Plus, it will only alleviate the fear for a very little while before it comes back full force and you feel you have to talk about it again.

Trust me, the only way to manage your fear of being cheated on is from the inside.

To wrap up

I’m not a psychologist or a marriage therapist. I’m only a woman who has struggled with the fear of being cheated on for too long. I hope these tips help you. Stay strong!

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