Tag Archives: cheat

Guilt: pleasure’s predictable sequel

From the colourful spectrum of human emotions, guilt is one of the darkest, most uncomfortable, and most destructive. Guilt sneaks up on you like the ghost of an uneasy dream but you’ll sense its presence in the way your chest flounders beneath its heavy weight.

Much like worry, guilt is a pretty superfluous emotion. Maybe it’ll stop you from performing a certain guilt-inducing activity again but, more than likely, like some masochistic idiot, you will do these things again, thus welcoming guilt back into your life like a bittersweet drug habit. Guilt sure makes you feel bad but it doesn’t stop you from snapping at your loved ones, reaching for that large bag of Maltesers, or, instead of going to college, lounging in your pyjamas all day as you consume an entire season of Grey’s Anatomy.

“Unhealthy guilt is an autoimmune disease of the soul that causes us to literally reject our own worth as human beings.” Joan Borysenko

Guilt is a sticky subject. Should we discuss how to deal with guilt or should we simply avoid the activities that lead to this unwelcome emotion? If you have a propensity towards feeling guilty, then most anything you do will cause you some level of this ugly emotion. So, when guilt comes knocking at your door, here’s what to do:

1) Don’t punish yourself further

Okay, so you cheated on your partner/skipped class/ate all the pies/drank too much, but this awful feeling should be enough punishment. Guilt affects you physically and robs you of any enjoyment. You have two options: you can decide never to do these things again, or you can accept that what’s done is done and that feeling guilty about it isn’t going to change anything. So, make peace with yourself and with anyone you may have hurt along the way.

2) Accept it

Accept that this is how you’re feeling right now. It will pass. Don’t fight it or it will tighten its grasp over you. If you stand still with it, you’ll simply slip out of its clutches, relatively unharmed.

3) Don’t run from it

Confront this cunning emotion head on. As it sprays you with its familiar but overpowering perfume, inhale it. Pick out the individual scents and explore how they make you feel. If you do this, you’ll be able to work out why you’re feeling this way and what you can do about it.

4) Question it

Now’s the time to interrogate this crafty mofo. Why are you here? What do you want from me? More than likely, it’ll give you the info you’re seeking. And then you can throw it by the wayside. If you cheated on your beautiful, caring wife, ask yourself why. If you can’t stop your late night bingeing, consider the emotions you’re trying to bury. If you continue with your Call of Duty marathons instead of attending class, maybe this course isn’t for you. Or maybe you can’t get over the label of “lazy so-and-so” your mother attached to you. Or you’re terrified of failure. The only reason we feel bad is to direct us towards change. But it’s too easy to get stuck in the emotion. So, allow it to wash over you, then ask why it’s there.

5) Ignore it

If, after accepting and questioning it, the guilt still persists, ignore it. Like an attention-seeking toddler, it just wants you to fuss over it. But if you ignore it, it’ll get bored, stop its fake wails, and move on to some other poor sucker.

Guilt is one of those bad feelings that will eat away at your insides if you allow it to do so. If you dwell on the “shoulds” or “shouldn’t haves”, you’re just feeding it, giving it more energy, and allowing it to grow. Treat guilt like an important but annoying visitor. Be polite, hand it a cuppa, and chat to it for a while, but if you make the mistake of offering it a meal, a bed, and your undivided attention, no wonder it’s not going to want to leave.

Guilt doesn’t have to be useless. Use it to learn more about yourself. It’s only when you dwell on the guilt that it’ll immobilise you. And recognise when you’re feeling guilty over something that’s not worth worrying about. Don’t take life so seriously. Give yourself permission to indulge in your guilty pleasures. Just don’t wallow in the guilt.

Lady Gaga music videos are just one of my guilty pleasures: 

Dumping someone: kickin ’em to the kerb, but with less violence

One could argue that it’s the dumpee who needs the help but sometimes it’s hard to be a dumper. The last thing you want is to hurt the other’s feelings, you’d rather not face their tears and/or wrath, and you worry that you might not make it out of there with all your bits intact.

I know it’s hard but, please, don’t employ the “never contact again” approach. It’s just cowardly and unfair. A number of years ago, I met a handsome fellow skier in Austria. We hit it off and went on a couple of dates when we came back to Ireland. And then, nothing. We’d had a great last date, he drove me home, and we kissed. And then, not a dickie bird. I spent the next week checking my phone and wondering. Maybe he dropped his mobile down the loo. Did he get back with an ex? Did my breath smell? I shouldn’t have worn my hair up. He could have been in an accident. Maybe he’s dead. I kinda hope he’s dead.

After a week of theorising, I decided to bite the bullet and text him myself. I asked how he was. He complained about being sick all week. But I knew something wasn’t right. So, I told him that I’d wondered why I hadn’t heard from him. It was only at my courage and prodding that he finally told me he wasn’t interested in having a girl friend. I replied: “That’s ok. Just needed to know.” It wasn’t the response I’d been hoping for but at least now, I knew where I stood. I didn’t have to waste any more time inventing scenarios where his sexy female friends had lured him into an alcohol-induced coma. So, I stopped acting like a crazy person and moved on.

It’s not easy to be the bearer of bad news. Your partner may be oblivious to how you’ve been feeling. Things had been going great. You like them as a person but you no longer want to share your saliva or your plans for the future with them. You’d rather study/work/wash your hair several times in a row than hang out with them. And your partner deserves to know this. Well, not about the washing your hair part but you know what I mean. Your future ex will be unhappy for a bit but it’s better to end it now than have two very unhappy people further down the line.

Here’s how to end a relationship (and come out alive):

1) Be honest

If it comes from the heart, it’ll make sense to your soon-to-be ex and it’ll hurt a lot less too. Tell him/her how you’re feeling and what you want and don’t want. This will allow them to fully understand what’s happening and to air their own feelings. Who knows, you may even wind up being mates.

After a (mostly) wonderful four months of fun and kisses and romantic sunsets together, I decided to end it with a lovely chap from Wicklow. Because, despite the fun and kisses and romantic sunsets, there was just something off. I felt he was trying to be something he wasn’t just so I’d like him more. After a good stint of gentle pleading, flattery, and pulling at the heart-strings, he changed tactics. He told me I was too afraid to commit, that I was gullible, that I lived with my head in the clouds, and that I clearly had issues with my mother. He obviously knew deep down that I wasn’t suitable for him. But he chose to ignore our differences, and instead tried to change himself just so we’d have a chance at working out. And it was only when he knew he’d lost me that he was finally honest. No doubting my decision so!

2) Choose your moment

Don’t dump them on their birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s Day/New Year’s Eve/right before an important exam or job interview/on the anniversary of their mother’s death. This doesn’t leave you with a lot of time. So, do it on a Saturday when they’re not in work. This will give them space to blubber and wail and plot your assassination without having to hide their tears and snotty noses from their co-workers.

3) Choose your medium

Ideally, do it face-to-face. Your partner deserves this. You need to suck it up and deal with their shock, sadness and possible rage. Having said that, it’s not always possible to end it in person. Thanks to modern technology, you can also dump someone via text message, phone call, email, Skype or Facebook chat. DO NOT dump someone on their Facebook wall, even if they did cheat on you with the young wan you used to babysit. It’ll just make you look like an insecure, psychotic, bitter biatch.

4) Know that you’re doing the right thing

This knowledge may make it easier for you. You’ll both be better off in the future. If two people, who are totally unsuited, stay together, they’ll only damage each other with resentment and anger in the long-term. At least, once the pain-staking break up is over, you can move on, and enjoy being single for a while. And as a result, you’ll know a little bit more about what you want (and don’t want) from your next relationship.

5) The beauty of the white lie

If you want to make a clean break, maybe it’s best not to divulge how much you hate the way they chew, and how you sometimes had sexy dreams about their brother. Or that their new hair style makes them look like Susan Boyle. Before the makeover. If you haven’t been together long, the white lie manoeuvre is ideal. Tell them that you’re just not ready for a relationship, or you’re not over your ex, or that they’re just too good for you and you’re too messed up to appreciate that right now.

Alternatively, you could do like Chandler in Friends and tell them that you’re moving to Yemen. 

Infidelity: Guilty kisses and confessions

I was 20 years old and I was at a college dance. Without my boyfriend of two weeks. I was wearing the lovely blue dress that I should have worn to the Debs that I hadn’t attended. This was like a second chance for Cinderella to shine at the ball. As I danced and drank and laughed with friends, a very good-looking guy kept approaching me. Complimenting me. Trying to kiss me. And I kept turning him down. Until the temptation became too much. The magic of the night where I was the princess of the ball with the most handsome prince pursuing me. And then he kissed me. And I let him. Of course, I felt awful. Guilty. Bad for my new fella. Okay, we’d only been together two weeks. And I had only just hit my twenties. But I still cried when I went home and confessed my sins to a surprised mother.

Infidelity affects many people. Some are the perpetrators, others the victims. But usually both parties suffer. I know because I’ve lived both sides.

I was seeing a guy for a few months but we weren’t “committed to each other”. His words. This still didn’t stop me falling for him. I was in denial about my ability to take things casually but I guess I was secretly hoping that he’d realise his love for me. And I definitely didn’t think he’d be with anyone else. Not while he was seeing me at least. Until one night, in a club, I saw him lean in to kiss a girl at the bar. As difficult as it was to witness, I believe everything happens for a reason. I was supposed to see that. Even though it was a shock and it hurt and I walked home alone in the rain that night, I had to see it to realise that he wasn’t serious about me, and that he didn’t respect me. His “infidelity” forced me to finally cut him out of my life and move on.

There are some who will argue that men and women shouldn’t even be in monogamous relationships, that it’s just not in our nature as human beings to live and mate together for life. And maybe they’re right. But even if that is the case, we’re so used to living in a society where marriage is the finish line we’re all hoping to cross, and infidelity is a huge breach of trust. Infidelity causes total heart-break and, more often than not, brings relationships to a tear-jerking halt.

Someone close to me learned of her boyfriend’s infidelity at 3am one fateful morning when she was rudely awoken by the phone ringing. Between tears, regret, and declarations of love, he confessed that he’d been with someone else. She was devastated. Ultimately though, I think he suffered more. Partly due to the humiliation of her pouring a large Coke over his head in front of the whole town the following day, but mostly due to the fact that he loved her and wanted her back. And that never happened.

So, whether you’re the cheater or the cheated on, infidelity is a tough one to get through. Here are some tips…

1) Look on it as a blessing

The infidelity could be a sign that you and your other half really shouldn’t be together any more. Learning of an infidelity is the blessing in disguise you badly needed to kick this thing to the kerb.

2) Get revenge

This one’s for the cheatees. My friend felt at least marginally better after almost drowning her former flame in a soft drink. Another girl I know texted, “I hate you!” before dumping all of her ex’s stuff on the street. Closure comes in many forms. I think the best form of revenge is simply living the most wonderful life possible. Concentrate on yourself, your wants and needs and happiness. Soon, you’ll be so absorbed in living a life that you love, that you’ll forget you ever liked that shady so-and-so in the first place.

3) To tell or not to tell

For the cheaters, you now have the dilemma of whether or not to disclose your behaviour to your partner. You may want to be brave and own up. After all, honesty is very important for any healthy relationship. Or you may feel that baring all would actually be selfish. It may relieve you of the burden of guilt but it will more than likely devastate your other half and possibly end the relationship. Alternatively, you could take Shaggy’s advice and insist, “It wasn’t me!” 

4) Think insecurity

The thought of your other half with someone else is unbearable. It can bring out feelings of betrayal and insecurity. Why have they chosen to be with someone other than you? Are you not enough? This is not the case. When I kissed that twenty-something college boy, I still wanted to be with my boyfriend. I still found him sweet and attractive. But I was immature and insecure enough to let that feeling of being desired by someone take over. So, if you’ve just been cheated on, call him/her an insecure f*ckface (preferably to their face) and move on.

Infidelity is not the end of the world. And despite how you’re probably feeling right now, there is nothing wrong with you. You will get over it. This will either put an end to something that was coming to its best before date anyhow, or it will make you realise that this one is worth the work. I don’t know if this will make you feel better or worse but infidelity is actually very common. On the bright side, if your partnership is based more on mutual respect, love, and independence, and less on control, jealousy and possessiveness, you’ve got nothing to worry about.