How do I stop from repeating the same mistakes?

by cj
(london uk)

Break up after six years, six months later in a new relationship. How do I stop from repeating the same mistakes?

I was with my previous partner for six years. We were extremely close, we kept nothing from each other and on many levels had a highly well functioning relationship. in the last year of our relationship i started to get scared about the seriousness of the relationship and craved some degree of freedom, though being deeply in love with my partner, i felt as though my life could continue in the same way for ever and i greatly needed change. foolishly i ended up repeatedly cheating on my partner with someone very close to him. (we didnt sleep together, but kissed and made out from time to time)i had no feelings for the other guy, but it was liberating and exciting. after the first time something happened I was so guilt ridden i told my partner what had happened. he was devastated, but knew that we could work through it, but if it happened again it was over. i genuinely didnt want it to happen again, but the other guy had a hold over me. every time something happened i wanted to tell my partner the truth but was terrified of him leaving me.

eventually i told him the truth, it was killing me lying to him. i loved him and we were so close. in short i went in to self destruct mode. i hoped that he could forgive me,i begged! but he made it clear that he still loves me, but could never be with me again. which i have learnt to accept. and we are now good friends. we are so close how could we not be, he's the only one who knows me fully. we dont see each other too often, just at social events and occasionally for coffee. I harbour no wishes to get back with him now. i know it didnt work for a reason. i often doubted my feelings for him throughout our relationship. and though i still love him, i dont think i had been in love with him for quite some time.

obviously working through the break up was a nightmare, never have i been so depressed or felt as though i didnt deserve anything, not friendship, not love-from anyone. i pushed people away and punished myself for months on end. eventually some close friends pulled me out of the dark and helped me feel that it was ok to be me, that i am only human, and yes i messed up, but everyone makes mistakes. my ex partner has forgiven me, and thats whats important. those people who cant forgive me, i shouldnt stress about. (though i do, one of my closest friends is like a stranger to me now, ive tried to make it up to her, but i have no idea what to do!)

since my break up i started spending a lot of time with a set group of friends. one of these was a guy who i had known for years, but never very well. we grew close spending time together and there was a definite attraction from the start. soon enough we were being intimate with each other (which of course at first was thrilling!) but i made it clear to him that i wasnt looking for anything serious and that i still needed time to get over my ex. so it was very casual and fun for a few months. gradually though he wanted more from it, he wanted to go on dates and i was quickly falling for him and wanted the same, though i knew it was risky getting seriously involved after my break up.
But im in love with him now, head over heals in love. we have been officially together for 2 months now.

I just need to know what to do to keep from repeating past mistakes.

my new guy is head over heals in love with me, but once again i find myself in disbelief. i dismiss his compliments, which he says makes it hard for him to be that way with me. i know i need some time to myself, though i find myself spending every spare moment with him and its all getting a bit intense and i can feel myself becoming the same paranoid lover i was before.

it didnt start off like that, in the beginning it was great, i felt like a different person, i was comfortable being myself, i didnt stress when i didnt see him, i just wish i could get my mind frame back to that!

my dad left when i was very young and i wonder if i have some abandonment issues? i am often paralysed by fear at the thought of loosing my partner (past and present) and i often react by acting recklessly (whether thats drinking more than i should, creating problems out of nothing, and in the past kissing the other guy) i really like the guy im with now and feel that we could have a brilliant future if i could just learn to relax in to it. Please help me!

Sincerely,
A love stuck twenty something.

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Jun 15, 2011
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To CJ
by: Angie Carter

Hi! thanks for your post, sounds like you have a situation that you are not wanting to sabotage. I can relate to parts of your post.
I sabotaged a lot of different things in my life before I got clean and sober and got into recovery. I did not know why I did it, but inevitably I did, even when part of my mind said "don't mess this up"
It took a lot of deep soul searching and work (ie. therapy, journaling, working a program) to figure out things about myself and why I did them.
Just because I found out "why" I reacted and acted the way I did, did not necessarily mean it just stopped. Knowing why I do something and then changing that behavior are two different things!
Many times everything in the beginning of a relationship was new and exciting and "being head over heels" in love can be a very powerful feeling. For me, I came to understand that I really didn't have the skills, tools, or even understanding to do long term relationships or intimacy. I sabotaged relationships (because usually the people I picked had their own dysfunction going on too) in order to maintain my sense of identity and autonomy.
I may have wanted the relationship but subconsciously I had a tremendous fear of losing myself in the relationship, or of being controlled and not able to do what I wanted to do. And a great fear of abandonment that if I did 'let go' and become totally involved I would eventually get abandoned and then be totally devastated. So I did things that caused people to respond (usually in a negative way) and then it would be over.
I, too, would beat myself up, feel guilt, shame and regret BUT...there was a part of me that felt strong and protected and like somehow I won. Very strange mixed up feelings, but today I understand all of it. I have done 'parts work' therapy and know which part of me is responsible for those behaviors and why I did reacted the way I did.
There is no quick fix, nor any short answers. But keep on the path of self discovery and your answers will come. Keep reading, writing, and talking to those who have been there and you will know yourself more and more as time goes on.
Good luck to you and your endeavors!
Angie Carter

Jun 12, 2011
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Please
by: Anonymous

any help or advice or even just thoughts on the issue would really help!

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