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How to Heal the Fear of Being Cheated On When You Are in a Healthy Relationship

04/17/2015 01:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 17, 2015
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Maria grew up watching her mother cry her eyes out every time Maria's dad cheated on her. Even though Maria's parents were very much in love when they married, they, like most couples, didn't know what to do after the passion dwindled in their relationship. Once inseparable, this couple drifted with the daily routine and constant responsibility that came with raising Maria.

Without the faintest clue as to how to recapture the connection and passion they naturally felt at the beginning of their relationship, Maria's parents fell victim to the difficulty of maintaining a long-lasting relationship and, little by little, their relationship devolved into two strangers living under the same roof. The only ties they shared were the vows they exchanged at their wedding, and their love for their daughter.

Maria's parents did their best to seem like a happy couple, but the truth is that Jose, her father, cheated on his wife many times in a desperate attempt to feel alive and satisfy his unfulfilled needs.

Although her father tried to hide his cheating, Maria knew about his indiscretions. To make matters worse, it seemed that just about every one of her friend's dads also had extramarital affairs. Moreover, all of her uncles, male cousins and friends openly bragged about their affairs, boasting like proud peacocks.

Sadly, being around cheaters became a normal part of Maria's life; her culture celebrated unfaithful men that valued each other by the number of women they had. Since Maria was raised to believe that all men were unfaithful, it was only logical for her to subconsciously believe that her relationships would also be imbued with infidelity -- and that's exactly what happened. In fact, she broke up with her first two boyfriends after discovering that they were cheating on her, only to marry a man who also cheated on her. After her divorce, heartbroken Maria swore that she would have nothing to do with men again.

Maria kept her promise for many years, until she met Victor, who was "different." As much as Maria tried to resist her attraction to Victor, she finally decided to give him a chance, but, due to her past relationships, she insisted that they take things slowly. In reality, Maria wanted time to ensure that Victor was a man with values, one that appreciated loyalty and fidelity in a relationship.

After a while, Maria knew that she had a new opportunity to have the relationship she had always dreamed about with Victor, but the ghosts of cheaters in her past haunted her, and she feared that one day that she would discover that Victor was having an affair. As much as she tried to trust Victor, who, in reality, had given no signs of even looking at another woman, Maria couldn't shake her insecurities that her new love might stray.

What can Maria, or you in her situation, do to overcome the fear of being cheated on?

Don't generalize.

Although it's normal to have fear based on past experiences, it's important to remember that history does not have to repeat itself in your new relationship. Notice every time you start to create stories in your mind that your partner is -- or might become -- unfaithful.

Remind yourself that you are making generalizations and tell yourself, "That story does not have to repeat itself, and right now my partner and I are doing great together!"

By simply becoming aware of your false thoughts, you will learn to take control of your fears and redirect your thoughts to a new, better reality: the here and now, where no problem of infidelity exists.

Express your fears to your partner.

The idea of telling your partner that you sometimes fear that he will be unfaithful might be uncomfortable for you. Perhaps you don't want to seem insecure and vulnerable for having such thoughts.

Not telling him, though, will disable the possibility of him helping cure the fears and insecurities that have burdened you for so long.

Healthy relationships offer us the chance to heal many of the deep wounds that both you and your partner have. If your relationship is truly happy and healthy, your partner will listen to your pain and then do everything possible to help you heal those wounds.

You can then explain why sometimes you feel insecure, and also ask your partner to do certain things that will help you feel more secure of his love.

For example, you can request that he often tells you how much he loves you. You might also ask him if you can read his text messages or emails at times. Perhaps asking him to call you when he'll be late coming home will help you feel more secure as well.

Decide together what each of you can do to help you feel more secure about your relationship. In time, you will feel much more confident, and your fears and insecurities will fade more and more.

Take care of your relationship.

Most unfaithful people cheat because their relationship is not satisfying their most important needs.

Neither the unfaithful one nor the other partner knew how to maintain a healthy relationship.

Although in most cases it is easier to blame each other for the infidelity, in the majority of the cases, both partners have a part to play in a relationship gone bad -- just as both share responsibility in keeping a relationship healthy.

Ideally, you and your partner need to make conscious efforts to protect your relationship by learning how to keep it thriving.

For example, invite your partner to read a book about relationships together, go to a couple's seminar, or get relationship coaching.

Hopefully, your partner will agree; otherwise, do it on your own and apply what you learn anyway!

If you start making positive changes in your relationship, the dynamics of your partnership will change, and if he sees that you are actively making efforts to improve things between the two of you, he will most likely respond in the same way.