I can’t stop having one-night stands – what’s wrong with me?
I’m 29 years old and I was in a five-year relationship with who I thought was the love of my life. I got on well with his family and friends and I really thought that we would get married as we had bought a house together. But we drifted apart, we were both tired after work and we didn’t do much on the weekends. Life was like a hamster wheel and we would bicker, not really fight, but I could see us growing old together. He began seeing someone from work pretty quickly and I suspect they may have been seeing each other before we actually split. Its been a year now and whenever I go on a night out, I end up sleeping with someone I meet. I feel dreadful in the mornings and can’t stop thinking about how cheap I feel, but it doesn’t seem to stop me from doing it again.
Chloe (not real name)
Hi Chloe, a few practical cautionary notes to begin with. Firstly, I should remind you of social distancing recommendations. You will be aware of the risks of going back to some one’s house and not knowing anything about them. While serial killers are very rare, there are other risks around going back with someone if you have never met them before (even if you know them slightly it can be risky). So, my mother hen duties completed let’s get to the nitty-gritty. I suspect your self-confidence is low after believing you were cheated on and replaced by someone else so quickly. It sounds like you also thought your life was pretty sorted and planned out so having that certainty removed will have been a huge shock. By having one night stands, you are trying to find a replacement for your ex- and your old life. Also, you probably believe that these men are potential partners just because they desire you. Your self-esteem will be boosted in the moment. However, this boost is short-lived proving that this is a bad strategy. I suspect you are trying to convince yourself that you are fine and having a great time, living the independent woman’s dream? These strategies are counter-productive, they are doing the opposite of what you truly want.
When someone stops finding you attractive and doesn’t want to be with you anymore it doesn’t mean that your attractiveness has changed. Just that their preferences have. Jennifer Aniston didn’t become ugly just because Brad Pitt fell in love with Angelina Jolie.
I would suggest finding you! Accept that your life has changed. That part of your old life has gone. You are in a new chapter. You might want a man in your life and that is normal, but only when you realise you don’t need one will you feel at peace. Decide on a length of time to remain single, say 6 months, use that time to cultivate friendships, do the things you’ve been wanting to do for ages and didn’t have the time. Get busy and experience life. Find out who you are and what you want. Make sure you don’t drink too much on the nights out as that lowers your resolve. You are a worthy, valuable gorgeous woman, end of. Do not be fooled into thinking that it is the attention of a man on a night out that makes you worthy and attractive. There is a strong possibility that he is just out for some fun. Eyes open. Shoulders back. Believe in the single you, you will be a much more contented and confident person when you walk into that next relationship.
Sian is a cognitive behaviour therapist and also a clinical hypnotherapist, having trained at Goldsmiths College, University of London and the College of Clinical Hypnosis. Four years ago Sian relocated her Harley Street practice to her native North East after 26 years in central London. Sian now runs her private clinic in Gosforth and also owns a training academy to help organisations with stress reduction. Sian’s approach is to help people become their own therapists, whether they come to see her for panic attacks, depression or OCD (she covers a wide range of emotional and behavioural issues).
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