Thank you very much for bringing your question to JA.com. I've worked with couples in my private practice who have resolved these kinds of issues. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to better understand you situation?
Are you available for a brief chat?
Yes i am
Do you mind telling me first about your relationship? How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 meaning "in trouble" and 10 meaning "really healthy and happy".
10, i have the perfect boyfriend
the issues i have are from my life before the relationship i am in now but they are affecting my relationship
are you there???
Yes I'm here. I wasn't sure if you were ready to chat.
Ok, sound's like you might have a more precise question?
Can you tell me more about the previous issues and their impact on your current thinking, feeling and acting?
I am seeing a counsellor at the minute but i can't shake off kissing other people, i really wish i hadn't. How can i forget this?
I think the best way to forget this is by really learning and growing from the experience in a way that will protect you and your partner from future instances of the same behavior. Are you worried it will repeat? If so, why do you think it might?
No it definitely won't repeat, i just keep beating myself up about the past times. I hate myself everyday
I'm very sorry that you are feeling so guilty about kissing other men while dating. It must be very difficult for you. If you've really identified the causes of the behavior and the high risk situations where it could happen again, then its really about looking at and challenging the way you think. Do you find yourself thinking about these kissing episodes and then feeling guilty in response to your thoughts? What sort of thoughts to you have on the matter?
I am really guilty, its crushing me
What kind of work are you doing with your counselor to change this guilt pattern?
Also, what specifically are you feeling guilty about? What specific thoughts and feelings define your experience of guilt?
Just that i kissed someone else and my boyfriend has only ever been good to me. Nothing so far, just been talking to her. Is there something i should be doing?
Well the basic goal here is to look at changing your thoughts. You want to learn to identify negative self-talk that supports your guilt feelings. It would be very healthy for you and your partner to learn how to stop these thoughts right when they start and replace them with more positive thoughts, which acknowledge your learning and growth.
that's what i want to learn how to do it
It may be really helpful to write out your worst guilt eliciting thoughts and feelings about the kissing, on a piece of paper. To really feel the words as you write. The idea here is to really get it out of your system one last time before you start to thought stop and replace with healthier thoughts. In this writing exercise, you want to set time aside to cry and write. But when you finish writing, you want to rip up the paper and throw it out, the same way you will start practicing identifying, stopping and replacing any bad thoughts associated with the kissing and guilt.
This is an evidence-based way of dealing with these kinds of thoughts and feelings. It's called "cognitive behavioral therapy". I think it would be very wise to use this approach if you can with your counselor. Let me get you a good link that explains in real detail how it works. One moment please....
This is a very good wiki from the Mayo Clinic on CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Are you able to open the link? If so, what are your thoughts?
I will open it in 5 mins - just swapping desks
No problem take your time.
CBT is also one of the best clincal strategies for increasing self-esteem, which you mentioned in your presenting question.
That's really helpful - i am seeing her tonight so will mention CBT
It sounds just what i need
Well I strongly suggest you look into this approach and read the link from start to finish that I sent.
I want to check one other resources. Back in a moment...
You have been really helpful
Here is a diary resource you can get started with immediately and which I am sure our counselor will be familliar with:
These tools will really help you to start the thought identification and change process. You can target guilt and self-esteem issues to present in your next counseling session. Just writing will help you I think.
I have one other resource......
This is a wonderful relaxation training link. In CBT you also learn to calm negative emotions. You learn to replace negative feelings that get in the way of a happy healthy life with the relaxation-response, just like you learn to stop and change negative thinking to positive thinking. This link is not flashy but its really good. Relaxation training is like learning how to drive a car, you need to practice for a month and it has incredible and far reaching benefits...
I will definitely look through these now and speak to my counsellor tonight about this - after all these years i finally think i can move on with the help of this
Well I'm really happy to have helped in some way.
Is there anything else I can answer for you right now?
No, i think this is all but already i feel relieved that i can try something new
Ok. Well please don't forget to press the "Accept" button so I am paid for my time. I'd also love to have a brief positive feedback statement if you don't mind when you sign out and pay for my answer.
I really wish you the very best!