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I feel guilty about cheating on him

By Julie Coker

Aunty Julie,

My guy and I have been together for the past 10 years. We have been living together but we are not married and my family is kicking. I have always felt like we had a pretty good relationship and although I am away for work quite often, I have never felt tempted to stray.But last year, I met another guy at a conference and we clicked well and ended up talking for hours. However, one thing led to another and things happened that I never intended to happen. I’s not really a big deal but I’m actually dying inside over the guilt I have now.

I haven’t seen the guy again but I am struggling because on one hand, I want to tell my partner but on the other, I feel like it will hurt him so much. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. At the same time, I also wonder to myself why this happened and if I’m happy in my relationship, what made this so available and easy? Is there something more, is there a reason this happened?

Laila, Kogi

 Dear Laila,

You are feeling guilty and confused. You seem to care but wonder how you could do this at the same time. The truth is, when our feelings, thoughts and behaviours don’t match, we enter the state of cognitive dissonance, which is usually difficult until we get aligned by either reassessing our values or changing our behaviours, so that things line up again. You are struggling because you are evolving and growing from the situation inside you.

But I’m curious if you are more troubled by telling your partner the truth or feeling the judgments. The biggest judge is the person in the mirror. Just like you can love someone but not everything they do, you can love yourself but not everything you’ve done. That might be a starting point.

We often judge others for actions that don’t align with their personal value system or the value systems of communities, families and so on. Everyone has their own value system and maybe it’s a good time to evaluate your own. Behaviours are deeper rooted and until you examine what that is for you, it may be unclear as to not only why this happened but what you want to do next.


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