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I'm the guilty party in this scenario.

History ( Before I emotionally cheated this time)
I've been with my partner for about 4 years. We've gone through a lot of growing pains and had lots of great memories. He's emotionally cheated on me and I emotionally cheated in the past as well.

Present
The last few weeks have been extra difficult I was feeling extra alone despite having family, friends, and a partner who's generally always available. Last weekend, we had a blowup where we almost decided to end things because we were struggling so much. I was feeling unwanted and alone and he was feeling overwhelmed in general and irritable with me. So during that conflict when I was emotional he showed no empathy and it broke my soul and I felt so alone. That this person ultimately possibly didn't care for me (he does it's a struggle even though we know our love languages and we communicate).

So the next day I ridiculously gave in and reached out to my ex best friend who I had emotionally cheated before with (not on this relationship). My intention was to simply connect with someone emotionally feel less alone. My ex best friend tried to push for more the idea that maybe him and I could consider a future I did tell him about my partner and the things I enjoyed and that's why I was with him and was putting in the effort. My ex. best friend brought up our past sexual ventures (years ago) and I did acknowledge that it was flattering that he would remember that. Anywho, while I didn't sext or send pix I did reach out to him , I did entertain the idea of a future but insisted I just wanted to chat to figure out things ...clearly I'm in the wrong...as I was doing it in a few days time I also realized that if I tried harder to treat my partner better maybe things can improve and I was making the effort and I was learning from this mistake. Yesterday my ex best friend screenshot and shared everything to my partner so he now knows and is pretty convinced that I was going to leave him.


Aftermath
Hes disappointed and irritable but was able to sit down and have a discussion without yelling at me. I was surprised how well he took it. He left to a dinner came back we continued to discuss our relationship and I shared what I had been doing while he was gone which was reading articles, reflecting and trying to understand what lead me down this road again. Journaled and looked up support groups. Reading about others experiences and what they did to stop. We can't currently afford counseling but it is something that he brought up and I'm willing to go to in the very near future.

I don't blame my ex best friend, I'm upset at myself for failing the relationship and him again despite all our issues he didn't deserve for me to emotionally cheat again. We're sleeping on things for now the discussing if the relationship is even worth saving.. discussion will continue likely today. Any recommendations/advice would be appreciated.
 

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To be honest until you get to the point of stopping this cheating you shouldnt be in a relationship. You have admitted to emotionally cheating at least 3 times now, on him and someone else, maybe there have been more times with others as well.
4 years is nothing. How would you possibly cope with 10 or 20 or 30 years without always running to another man whenever you have a row? Or whenever things get rocky?

I don't think either of you are anywhere near ready to be in a faithful committed relationship.
 

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If you’re not married, and cheating, I think it might be a sign that you and your partner need to move on.

I noticed that you built up the beginning of your story with what may have led you to cheat. The thing is, even if you’re fighting or in a bad place in your current relationship, cheating will only make things worse and it’s always a choice.

To answer your question - how do you stop emotionally cheating - you have to decide if commitment is what you’re ready for and if so, that you’ll turn to your partner when something’s wrong, not other men. Social media makes it easy to emotionally cheat so safeguard yourself from that, if it’s a temptation.

Whatever you decide, hope you find peace. The holidays are here, so it can be tough to think of breaking up.😔
 

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You began the paragraph that you both emotionally cheat. And, it seems like you cheat when you fight with your partner. (This is common now.)

Maybe you're not be ready for a monogamous relationship?

Perhaps, you don't have good reason to commit to one person at this time.
 

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@Riley22

After 4 years, emotional cheating by both of you, your needs not getting met & you two having on-going problems it may be time to consider that you & your SO just aren't working anymore & it's time to let go.

Reaching out for emotional support when you are feeling down is natural. Your problem is that you chose the wrong person -- an EX lover. it's OK that you wanted comfort but you picked the wrong person.
 
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