Auntie SparkNotes: Am I a Cheater Forever?
I've only been in a few relationships in my life, however, I have cheated on each of my exes. I guess it's just because I like hooking up more than I like commitment.
That being said, I know I'm probably going to want to settle down, get married, and have a family someday. But I don't want this horrible habit of mine to carry into a future marriage. I've heard two theories on this dilemma — one, that if you love someone enough, you'll never cheat on them. (I call BS on that one.) Two, that cheating and bad habits will carry over into marriage no matter what.
So Auntie my question is, how do I stop this horrible cheating habit? Should I just try to stay single forever so that I never have to deal with heartbreak and divorce in a future marriage? Can I somehow break this habit, or is it too late?
Well... no. No, it's not too late.
And more to the point, if the way people acted as teenagers was any kind of accurate predictor of how they'd behave as adults, then nobody would ever get married—not least because a hefty percentage of the eligible males would be too busy having a taco-eating contest and then trying to light each other's farts on fire.
But fortunately, the things we do in our capricious youths just don't mean much about how we'll end up living the rest of our lives, and cheating on your teenage boyfriends means jack squat about whether or how happily you'll ever be married.
And actually, you know this. Like you said: someday, you'll want to settle down, get married, and have a family—the operative words being someday and want. But commitment isn't something you want right now, and that's why you don't stay true to your boyfriends: not that you're a compulsive cheater, but that you don't want a boyfriend in the first place.
So presumably, if and when you end up getting hitched, it won't be in spite of your inability to be faithful to one person; it'll be because you've grown, changed, and decided that monogamy is desirable to you. (Or maybe you'll still be a person who craves sexual variety, but you'll have found a spouse who feels the same and doesn't mind having an open marriage, which is also a Thing People Do.)
Anyway, the point is this: your habitual infidelity is telling you something important, not about the health of your hypothetical future marriage, but about who you are right now. Which is why you should take a hint from your own behavior and quit getting yourself into relationships until or unless you actually want to commit. (Seriously, dude, it's 2013; you can enjoy the casual hookups you want without the nasty, cheaty aftertaste.) And if you do want to commit, but you still don't want monogamy, then just be honest about that until you find a relationship that works for you. Have the self-awareness to live, and love, the way you want to. Have the decency not to hurt people while you do it. Learn from your mistakes, so that you don't repeat them. And trust that by doing this, you'll end up with the life that's right for you—whether it's the one you think you might want someday, or one you haven't even imagined yet.