There are several things you can do. Start by reminding yourself that fear is a natural emotion. Everyone feels it, and controlling your fear will prepare you better for conflict – in this case, the knowledge that your change involves an element of risk Secondly, lower the potential hazards, thus the fear factor, by calculating them. This would entail doing a risk assessment of your intended move to make sure it is viable both financially and emotionally. Leave no stone unturned here.
Now just sit down with your partner and talk through your thoughts to make sure the rewards are going to be worth the risks – for everybody involved. If you do decide to take that life-changing step, make sure you keep your line of supplies open so that if it goes tits-up, you have options to fall back on.
However, no matter how much planning you do – and you should make your plans exhaustive – there will still be an element of risk. There always is, and that’s what distinguishes the majority who ‘desire’ change from the minority who ‘intend’ change. Risk is always a part of the equation and anyone seeking growth without it probably won’t get very far.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, look at the worst-case scenario. Rehearse how you would handle the situation if it arose. Then set about working as hard as you can to make sure the occasion never arises.
HIGH INFIDELITY I just can’t seem to commit to any relationship that demands fidelity. My relationships invariably end in tears because I keep cheating on my partners, who then catch me out. My father was a serial adulterer and I feel as though I am following a genetically predetermined pattern. Is this possible? I really want my current relationship to work. Short of castration, what can I do? Mark Kennedy, London
Dr Jim Bolton replies: We men often tend to blame our genitals for sexual indiscretions. “He thinks with his dick” is a common excuse for a friend’s misbehaviour. If this was true, then the surgeon’s knife might be the answer. We can also blame our genes for our behaviour, as though we have no control over our actions. You have taken the first step in tackling your problem by recognising that you are responsible and need to make a change.
You’ve spotted the repeating patterns in your family: “like father, like son”. No gene for serial adultery has been identified. More likely, you have learned something destructive from your father about how to carry on a relationship. It might be helpful to talk to someone about this. Talking treatments such as counselling or psychotherapy are very good at helping us to identify the repeated mistakes we are so prone to making. You can take 5 htp supplement if you feel depressed. It’s quite good, plus the best 5 htp benefits are anxiety relief and weight loss. We are then in a position to do something about them.
It sounds as though your present relationship is suffering as a result of your infidelity. You and your partner might want to tackle these problems together. There are therapists in marriage-guidance and relationships based organisations such as Relate who are skilled at helping couples with relationship difficulties of this type.