I was abused at 8, cheated on by my first love – now I can't stop hurting people
DEAR DEIDRE: MY girlfriend and I were out celebrating our first-year anniversary when she got a text from a girl she had been at school with saying I’d had sex with her the previous week. It was true.
My girlfriend had been out for the evening and I’d gone down the pub and hooked up with the first pretty girl I met. She was the same age as my girlfriend but I had no idea she knew her.
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The sex was fun at the time but my girlfriend was so hurt when that message arrived. She knew it was likely to be true.
I’m 35 and I keep cheating. I was unfaithful when I was married, then walked out on my wife, although she was blameless.
I was lucky to meet my girlfriend two years later. She’s three years younger than me with a heart of gold and the sex was amazing. She showed me her love in so many ways but I threw it all back in her face and dumped her.
I missed her like mad so I cheated on the next girl by having sex with my ex, but then I messed her around yet again and we’re finally over now.
ADDICTION to online porn is the fastest-growing problem counsellors deal with these days.
My leaflet Internet Pornography Worry? explains self-help tactics.
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I have no excuse as I know just how much cheating hurts. When I was 18 I was in love with a girl and thought she felt the same but she slept with a friend. It completely destroyed me.
I felt I had been used, like I had been used before. When I was eight I was sexually abused by a 12-year-old boy. I know I should have stopped it but I let it go on for two years. That makes me feel guilty as hell. So I’ve been badly hurt and I’ve hurt other people as well. I deserve all this pain, and after seeing how much I hurt my latest partner, I even thought about killing myself.
How do I stop being a cheat? I don’t want to hurt anyone ever again.
DEIDRE SAYS: I’m sorry you are in so much pain. You don’t need me to tell you that cheating is wrong but you do need to understand more about what drives you to do it.
It seems you feel you don’t deserve to be loved. That most likely stems from your abuse as a child. You were in no way to blame for that – a four-year age gap is plenty wide enough to create a power imbalance – but it is common for victims of abuse to suffer from guilt.
You have been badly hurt and, sadly, hurt people often pass on their hurt to others, by backing away when it feels like they are getting too close. It’s self-protection.
My e-leaflet Abused As A Child explains more and provides some sources of help.
You can find support when you are low by calling CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (thecalmzone.net, 0800 58 58 58).
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