Getting Drunk and Kissing Other People, Now My Boyfriend Doesn’t Trust Me

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Reader’s Question

I am incredibly guilty and shameful about something. I have been with my boyfriend for 2 years. Before him, I had a very unhealthy dating life which really scarred me for life. I love my boyfriend more than I ever imagined I could love anyone. We are planning on getting married very soon. We’ve had some difficult times, and I’ve made some very wrong decisions. I got very drunk and kissed someone the first year we were dating. I didn’t even remember doing it until a friend who took me to the club told me. I felt so incredibly guilty afterward. So, I told my boyfriend and told him I was so sorry. He forgave me. Later on in the year, we were going through a difficult time and he told me he wanted a break. I didn’t want a break. But, I later found out he was “talking” to someone else. He apologized and said that it only made him see how much he loved me and that there was no one else. Then we went through a big slump. I cheated on him! I met someone from across the country, and we had a lot of the same interests. I told this person I didn’t want to hurt my boyfriend, but the temptation only got worse, and I spent time with him and cheated. After that, I felt more regret and hurt and ache than I’ve ever felt in my life.

My boyfriend didn’t know about what I did, but we broke up and got back together within a few weeks. I knew I had to tell him, and the pain of doing so was the worst. We worked through a lot of issues and were finally understanding one another and in a really healthy spot. I’ve loved him for so long, but my love for him just keeps growing stronger and stronger. Then, he lost his job and had to move back to his hometown. So, we are in a long distance relationship. When he left I went out with a friend and a married couple. I was lonely and not in a good set of mind. I missed my love. I just wanted him home. I got very drunk and ended up kissing a married man. The next day I found out what I had done. I was in the backseat of a car talking about how much I missed my love and kept drinking until I was obliterated and I don’t even remember doing the kissing. I couldn’t believe it happened. I told my boyfriend, and he forgave me but told me that if he ever found out I cheated on him or did anything else again he was done with me.

It’s been months and months since that time. Still, there was another night when I went out and drank a lot and woke up on the couch and my friend’s friend had fallen asleep passed out right next to me with his arm around me. I remember he might have kissed me, but not in a romantic way if he did. Still, I’m worried that he did kiss me. And I don’t want my boyfriend to worry about it, because nothing really happened. Still, the guilt of it is killing me. I didn’t want to even be in that kind of situation. I know it could have been prevented by not drinking as much.

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I don’t want to keep this from my boyfriend, but if I tell him I’m scared he’ll think something worse happened and never trust me again. I hate myself for being in this situation. I know that alcohol has been an issue with me, and I’m striving to be more responsible. And that event made a huge impact on me. But, I just don’t know what to do.

Psychologist’s Reply

The eminent psychologist Carl Jung once pointed out that all “neurosis is a substitute for legitimate suffering.” That includes feelings of guilt for behaviors that don’t change. It’s always a lot easier to simply whip yourself after-the-fact for your misdeeds than it is to take up the really tough burden of leading a responsible life. I emphasize that point in my soon to be released book Character Disturbance [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].

You say you don’t know what to do. But you also demonstrate remarkable insight into what you know to be your problems. You have issues surrounding your alcohol use. You have problems controlling your impulses and enforcing limits and boundaries. You feel badly later, but you don’t stop and think beforehand. In short, you want the fruits of a healthy relationship but don’t want to pay the price to have them (and you don’t seem to demand that of your partners or associates either). My best suggestion: turn your attention toward developing the strength and integrity of character absolutely essential to having psychologically healthy relationships. Even though it’s initially more painful than just feeling bad about your misdeeds, building a self you can be proud of gets much easier once you accept the burden that comes with the task.

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