Why am I having thoughts about cheating?

Postby Howitzer14 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:27 am

I love my girlfriend, but something is amiss. I’ve lost some of the spark that was there in the beginning. The spark that kept my eyes from wondering. But now they do, and in the worst way. I have began speaking with other women over online chat. I’ve used the term “open-relationship” a number of times. I’m not sure if I could ever actually follow through with what I’ve been moving towards. Everything that is moral in me says, “don’t you dare do this, she does not deserve this and this is not who you are”. I’ve done this before in a past relationship when I was having doubts, but I was not living with that person so it was easy to end the relationship. I simply was not in love with that person ever. I’m not saying that ending the relationship is what I want, either. I’m unsure of what I want and I don’t know exactly why I’m doing it. Perhaps there is a bit of fear? Fear of the unknown and fear of not experiencing that “unknown”? Could I be missing out on something better? I don’t understand why what I have with her doesn’t feel like enough. Our personalities are similar on some levels and very off on others (she’s from Spain and I’m Canadian). And then there is the physical attraction aspect. Maybe it’s social media, maybe it’s where I’m living, maybe it’s that it is summer time, but I am just seeing so many beautiful women around. It’s making me kind of crazy to be in a monogamous relationship. Part of me wants to be free but a large part of me really wants to settle down, start a family, and dig in some roots. The Spain/Canada life scares me though. It sounds like a grand adventure but Spain also doesn’t align with my identity. Do I place too much emphasis on my identity as an outdoorsman? A hunter? A fisherman? A man capable of fixing things? I can fix a car but I can’t fix my head. I don’t want to be a expat living a city life in Spain where I’m bound to start drinking more and be in the countryside less. From a young age I knew I would always need rivers, mountains, and wilderness to be a large part of my life. My current home has seemed to be a fairly good balance of city/country life. I don’t think I could do much more “city” than this.

So what is my fear? Not being with another woman who is potentially better for me? A Canadian perhaps? Not having the physical attraction I use to have? The VISA application we are currently working on is putting pressure on me to make a decision. But why do I feel like there is a decision to be made in the first place?

Everytime her and I fight we automatically end the fight with the “well let’s breakup”; she pointed that out. And it’s true. Why do we do that? It is my belief that most couples that are truly in love don’t use that as “ammo” or would never even consider such things. It was my thought, that if you are truly in love, despite the fights you may have, you both are always moving towards a joint-solution, not a division of your relationship.

So what do I do? Do I tell her all of this? Is it better for her to know my doubts are still very alive inside me? Do I need time? Do I need to find myself? Find someone else? Or is she actually the one and I’m delusional because I’ve never had someone love me this way. I read her friends VISA application. The WhatsApp conversations expressing their love towards one another. Wanting a family and kids. In that moment I thought of her and myself. I didn’t want kids with her. I didn’t want a family with her. If she told me she wanted a child in two years today I might be inclined to say yes to avoid any conflict but inside I would feel deeply conflicted over the idea of her as the mother of my children.

We have a dog now, she is a beauty. I love that dog more then I thought I was going to (I had my reservations about getting it). Part of that makes me wondering if this is a little “micro-family” now and I’m having a harder time from a moral standpoint ending this? We are a couple, we share bills, rent, a dog, a home, vehicle, friends, etc... She’s travelled halfway across the world to be here. Her being here depends on me loving her. If I don’t love her she wouldn’t be here. So I have to love her. She has no one but a few friends. Her happiness depends on me right now it feels like.

We’ve broken up multiple times. I don’t look to her with the same spark I use to. I’m not always happy with who I chose as a partner. I sometimes feel like I could’ve done better. If I have this resentment can it ever be fixed?

This is a terrible way to end this, forgive me— my mind has been all over the place. I forgot to mention the sex life, which is important. Believe it or not, despite all of what I’ve said, our sex life is still good. Despite losing some attraction I’ve never had issues with her turning me on or vice versa. There are just a few things that I wish were aesthetically different about her now. Is that normal? To want your partners body to change from what initially might have a attracted you in the first place? She’s rather petite with a large “back-end”. I didn’t realize I was attracted to larger breasts and thicker thighs until recently (still love that back-end though). Forgive me, I was trying to be as polite as possible when speaking about her body. Or is this psychological and I’m really just wanting something different?
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:05 pm

A few points to consider:

-1- Your thoughts are fairly normal. You are not the only person to go down the path of slowly getting deeper and deeper into a relationship. I've done it. More than once. Most people experience the "escalation of commitment" at some point in their lives. It can sneak up on you.

-2- You both have made some bad decisions. Based on what you wrote, there are red flags all over the place. You have now backed yourself into a corner. She expects marriage and family. She moved, she is applying for a VISA, you agreed to the family pet. The expectations she has is going to add up to a lot of pain. You know this.

-3- But, the decision to end the relationship has already been made. All you are doing now is trying to explain away, rationalize, justify, or hope that somehow things might or can change. You know that you are not fully, 100% invested in the relationship. This is unfair to her and you know that. You know that the "moral" thing to do is to end the relationship, but understandably this is very difficult.

-4- Again, I've been in this same position. It is a lose/lose situation. To this day I carry the inescapable pain of regret. You can't avoid it. Whether you stay with her or not you will suffer from regret. If you stay with her you will regret wasting years of your life in a half-committed relationship. If you end the relationship you will regret the pain you have caused her and the decisions you made that slowly took you down this path.

It's regret either way, so you might as get ready to embrace it. And that is how I will end this post because ultimately that is the decision you now face. Which regret is worse? It is a really tough decision. I wish you the best.
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#2

Postby Howitzer14 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:53 am

It is a sobering feeling when you know deep down things aren’t right but you hold on not just for yourself but also because there are still feelings for the person you love and the thought of hurting them is overwhelming. But you are right, really I’m wasting everyone’s time here.

The title of this post isn’t fitting, I’m just so all over the place I don’t know what to call it. I would never cheat, it’s not in my nature (unless flirting is cheating in which case I’m a horrible person).

She doesn’t expect marriage or kids but ultimately that’s what we both are aimed at in the future. It’s just tough to get this far along and realize that she may not be “the one”. I feel like “the one” should make me automatically want to sacrifice parts of my life for her, which I have done none of the sort.

I have had it pretty good. Very little in my life has changed; perhaps that makes this harder to swallow, that I can have someone head over heels for me (seriously) and do everything they could to make it work and still
Not have that feeling inside being reciprocated.

So when is the best time? And how do I even go about breaking this terrible news? It seems so complicated.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Aug 05, 2020 3:53 am

Howitzer14 wrote: She doesn’t expect marriage or kids but ultimately that’s what we both are aimed at in the future.


The above is a contradiction. She didn’t move across the world on a whim. She isn’t applying for a VISA without serious expectations. She didn’t get a dog for herself. She got it with you. She has expectations of marriage and family with you. Sure, you can play the “future” game, but in her future it is not some other man. She has demonstrated a high degree of commitment to you by her actions.

It’s just tough to get this far along and realize that she may not be “the one”. I feel like “the one” should make me automatically want to sacrifice parts of my life for her, which I have done none of the sort.


You know why marriage is a contract with vows in front of a community of people? Because marriage is not a feeling you get. Think about it. IF it was the case that automatically feeling the desire to sacrifice was how people ended up in love, then the very act of marriage would not serve a purpose.

The very idea of committing to another person means work. If it is automatic then it isn’t really commitment now is it? It takes commitment to do the things that don’t bring automatic satisfaction or desire.

I have had it pretty good. Very little in my life has changed; perhaps that makes this harder to swallow, that I can have someone head over heels for me (seriously) and do everything they could to make it work and still
Not have that feeling inside being reciprocated.


Yep, been there. I’ve been 80% committed while she is 110%. It sucks. I wasted her time and mine. I tried. I rationalized that maybe I could change, I could reframe and get to 100%. A year later and the pill was that much harder to swallow.

So when is the best time? And how do I even go about breaking this terrible news? It seems so complicated.


It is not complicated. It is brutal.

You are going to rip out her heart and crush her future. That isn’t complicated. It is pretty clear actually. Breaking up isn’t a complex issue. It is an immensely painful issue.

When is the best time? Now. There is no “best”. Sure, avoid her birthday or at a funeral, but outside a few social norms the sooner the better. She isn’t getting younger and neither is the dog. Every day you delay to avoid the pain is one more day digging the hole deeper.
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#4

Postby tokeless » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:54 am

Been in this situation.. 2 dogs, house and she moved to where I was but in the same country. It was incredibly difficult see someone who you did 'love' but didn't really and truly love fall apart and be devastated. However, she survived and the feeling she wouldn't was all my feelings, probably guilt driven but still there. As Richard says there is no right time or good time but delaying it is unfair and she needs to know. She may plead, beg and offer to be all you need but you know she's not.... I wish you both well but get it done soon as is practical.
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#5

Postby Candid » Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:55 am

Howitzer14 wrote:Or is she actually the one ...
It’s just tough to get this far along and realize that she may not be “the one”.


No one's pointed this out yet, so I'll chime in and say there's no such thing as "the one", and in fact men are biologically programmed to have as many partners as they can get because that's the way to pass on as many of your genes as you can, while a woman can usually produce only one child a year (and most don't want to have anywhere near that many).

I agree there's going to be distress either way, but the hurt is not equally balanced. You will hurt her and yourself much more by continuing down this road than by separating now. You don't mention your ages, and she may say she doesn't want kids -- perhaps because she senses you're not committed yet -- but at some stage she'll be faced with the fact that "it's now or never" which for you would feel like "coming ready or not".

It's not an issue to present to her as "doubts", which she would surely try to soothe. As Richard has pointed out, she has already committed to the extent of moving to Canada whereas you're not willing to live in Spain or stop fancying other women. The majority of women, once they start reproducing, want to be near their mothers for advice and practical help.

So when is the best time? And how do I even go about breaking this terrible news? It seems so complicated.


Unpleasant, obviously, but far from complicated. The best time is as soon as possible. For her sake, don't drag it out by cooling off and waitng until she asks you what's wrong. It needs to be quick, clean, and irrevocable... no telling her "I'm not ready yet" or in any way implying it may work out at some point in the future. You'll find lots of hits if you google 'how to end a relationship', so just screw up your courage and do it. Maybe start by scuppering the visa application.

Be kind. Let her have the dog if she wants her, help her book her flight if she wants that, ditto getting her to the airport.

In other words just tell her you want to play the field, in Canada, as you clearly do, and then end it as cleanly as possible.
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#6

Postby Howitzer14 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:22 pm

We are both 29 turning 30. And the dog is actually her emotional support animal and is registered as such. We have broken up several times. The worst was at the start of COVID. She actually moved back to Spain and it was thought this was over. That time spent apart was painful. We both missed each other a tremendous amount. Me probably more so. I talked a good talk and got her to come back to me. I genuinely felt like I needed and wanted her. I was even on the online scene again during our time apart and I couldn’t do it; I just thought about her. This is the problem. I don’t know if I can trust my feelings anymore. Sometimes it feels right, sometimes it feels wrong and I can’t pin point the trigger. I appreciate all the insight that has been shed here. I think I’ve moved toward the conclusion that I’m just hurting the both of us.
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#7

Postby Candid » Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:18 am

Can you afford to live at different addresses in Canada and go back to dating? Maybe you can move in with friends? It would take the pressure off both of you.

Since you've broken up several times, she probably has the same doubts as you do. Maybe you should be talking about that, see how she feels about 'things' moving too fast.
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:17 pm

Candid wrote:Can you afford to live at different addresses in Canada and go back to dating? Maybe you can move in with friends? It would take the pressure off both of you.

Since you've broken up several times, she probably has the same doubts as you do. Maybe you should be talking about that, see how she feels about 'things' moving too fast.


On one hand, I see this as a reasonable option. On the other hand, I see it as way to further delay, avoid, and/or escape the pain while wasting more time for both.

Only the OP has the context to explore a "friendship" path.

If I'm her that isn't happening. I moved across an ocean, to a country where Spanish is not the primary language and away from family, because you made commitments to a serious relationship. Now? Now you want to back out and be "friends"? And you want me to stay in Canada? So you want me to be your f-buddy to get your emotional fix, then have me go to my apartment so that you don't feel the pressure of a serious relationship?
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#9

Postby whybotherwhynot » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:04 am

Divorce costs more money than wedding. Breaking up when there are children and a house is much harder than when there's nothing shared together yet [except a dog].
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#10

Postby Candid » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:58 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote: I see it as way to further delay, avoid, and/or escape the pain while wasting more time for both.


I agree. Howitzer14 needs to be telling his girlfriend, not us, that commitment is uncomfortable for him and he thinks he might prefer someone else, or several someone elses. Then she has the facts and can make an informed decision. It won't be an easy conversation.

It seemed to me he might spare her some financial cost if she stuck around until he realised what he was throwing away, but tbh his allegiance to Canada and the physical description of her seem to justify his first five words: I love my girlfriend BUT
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