‘I’ve turned into a violent person since my man cheated on me’
Tell Me About It: ‘I feel he is planning to cheat on me again and my feelings are very hurt’
I have never been violent or arrogant before, but since I met him and since he cheated on me, I see myself changing. Photograph: iStock
Question: I have been in a relationship for one year and a month, but my man cheated on me and I eventually got him to admit it. Since that day, I have huge trust issues with him.
I forgave him, but the effect is that I have become violent after what happened. I get so angry when I see him chatting with other girls, calling them “honey, sweetheart, darling, love” etc. When challenged, he says that these are just words and he has no feelings for anyone other than me. But I feel that he is planning to cheat on me again and my feelings are very hurt. We have been trying to talk and he promised to stop but he continues to charm the other women.
I don’t trust him but still I love him so much. I have found myself changing from being polite to the point where I can even hit and hurt him, and this upsets me so much.
It has reached a point where I check his texts, emails and calls and I am always questioning him. I can’t stop blaming him – sometimes I hit him and hurt him and then after I start to cry and cry. I feel bad, why have I hurt my babe. I don’t understand what this is, I have never been violent or arrogant before, but since I met him and since he cheated on me, I see myself changing. It is the love which is not changing because I still love him so much.
I have been trying and trying to break up with him, but he says he will do anything to get me back. I don’t really know if he loves me or is just using me. I want to build back my trust of him and I want to stop hitting and abusing him. If there is a problem, I think the best way to solve it is to talk about it, but this is not what happens with us – we just end up fighting.
I want to save my relationship. I want us to be happy again.
Answer: You have a recipe for disaster here – you have completely attached your happiness to your partner’s fidelity with you, and you know that this is risky due to his past behaviour and there is no great evidence that he has understood or changed his behaviour or attitude. Plus, you have become someone you don’t recognise – being violent is not something you want to practise, and you are now associating this with love, thus creating a toxic combination.
Your obsessive scrutiny of his phone and technology will not ease your fears or suspicions but will only result in giving you no rest or peace. You have to find a way to trust your judgment and not swing from blame and rage to fear and panic. In other words, you need to take some time out, figure out what is going on for you and how you came to be in this particular relationship and situation and only then choose what will be good for you going forward.
Can you imagine a future where you have a child together and when you both become unhappy with the child’s behaviour – how might you react?
The hitting and hurting is probably an attempt on your part to get your partner to connect with how distressed you are but it only makes you feel unhinged and it is unlikely that it is helping in any way. This behaviour has to stop, not just because it is unlawful but if it continues one of you could get seriously hurt. You say that you love him but this requires you to do what is best for your loved one – surely it is good for him to look into the motivation and causes of his actions so that the past does not keep repeating. Forgiveness is a difficult task and it is usually not a once-off thing – generally we bump up against our lack of forgiveness over and over and we have to continually work on it until we find there is no edge left.
Along with your partner, you also could do with some self-examination – what leads you to stay with someone whom you feel does not treat you as the most important person in his life and what has led to your outbursts of violence? Can you imagine a future where you have a child together and when you both become unhappy with the child’s behaviour – how might you react ?
You know the best way to solve or unravel the conflict is to talk, so can you start this process now. Can you use the above questions as a basis for discussion? This means that both of you have to agree to manage your feelings before you talk – no huge reactions, just listening and questioning. The best option might be to agree to have these discussions at a set time, and somewhere public so that no anger can spill over, or you can ask a trusted friend to be the mediator of your discussions.
Neither of you have a history of this kind of engagement so you will need to commit to time and effort and if you can afford it, a couples therapist could be the best money you could spend. It may be that the patterns in this relationship are too difficult to overcome and separation might be the only outcome, but even in this situation you will need to investigate your responses so that you do not bring them into any future relationships.