“After multiple affairs, he promised he’d never cheat on me again. Can I trust him this time?”

"Shh!" Tiger Woods by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

No. Sorry to say, someone who repeatedly cheats on his or her partner is unlikely to stop.

Repeated cheating often involves a ravenous craving for both psychological validation and the dopamine high that are briefly produced in the affair. Having multiple liaisons allows a person to escape his anxieties, feel pleasure, and feel validated by being desired.

A vicious cycle of release, shame, and desire to fend off unwanted emotions by seeking release has probably been wired into his brain—it has become an addiction.

If his behavior is that of a sex addict, it has probably caused his self-esteem and average dopamine levels to be lowered. This will likely drive him to an even more desperate pursuit of the temporary high that affairs provide.

Novelty heightens the senses and intensifies passion. For someone who has affairs, the novelty lies in being with a new person.

Novelty with the same partner means having the courage to bring new meaning and depth to that relationship—to let oneself be known on a deeper level, to bring freshness to the relationship. To do these things, one must risk rejection.

It takes courage and a sense of adventure to go beyond the routine of a committed relationship, and bring the BEST of oneself to the same partner. It would be far more challenging, and ultimately rewarding, for your partner to face his fears and risk invalidation with someone who really knows him—you, OR at least to approach you honestly in discussing the troubles in your relationship.

As for any addict, it takes a great deal of motivation and courage to learn to resist seeking the quick high that the addict has found so compelling. To rewire a neurological highway requires tremendous determination to be willing to face emotional anxieties and resist physical cravings, and will likely require getting counseling and/or going to Sex Addicts Anonymous.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Attractions outside the Marriage.”

Read “Sustaining Desire: ‘It doesn’t matter. Let’s just watch TV.’”

Watch “Seven Keys To A Fantastic Relationship.”

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