Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

Processing anxiety/double standard

Community Member


First time poster here. But been resding through the forums to try find something I can relate to so I can understand and process my emotions right now.

I am trying to put sense and logic into why I feel hurt and upset knowing and seeing that the person I've been seeing for the past 4 months have been chatting and organising meeting up with other women whilst I have been doing the same thing behind his back.

I feel selfish and unreasonable for feeling this way that it has caused me anxiety with sudden low moods, broken sleep and having trouble sleeping.

I know I will get over this eventually but I also have realised this is a recurrence with past relationships. Why do I have this double standard mentality and how do I stop and get rid of it.

4 Replies 4

That Other Guy
Community Member

I was in an open relationship last year. I met a woman and we became quite close friends. She had a lot of guys on the go, but expected them all to be 'faithful' to her (apart from cheating on their wives). Knowing her quite well, I'd say she was using intimacy for validation and felt validated if she gave men something they couldn't find elsewhere. It's not a double standard, if you understand the person's needs.

It sounds like a toxic situation overall though, perhaps you're best moving away from it? I don't think you need to blame yourself, you've been stuck in a bad situation and navigated it as best you could. We're all human.

I think the other thing is, if your intimate with someone else, you know what it meant to you and what your relationship meant to you. If your partner did the same, you have no idea what meant to him, or to your relationship.  I was intimate with this woman once, and my wife did as well, and I really struggled with it because I imagined it meant she didn't want me any more. I knew *I* didn't feel that. I had no clue what SHE felt.

Community Member


I imagine you are feeling betrayed and having issues with self confidence. Wondering why you were not enough. The same kinds of things that you would feel if you were not also seeing other men behind his back. I don't think your actions preclude these feelings.

I guess my question is: were trying for an open relationship? Or do you want an open relationship? Doing things behind each other's backs is just going to cause pain, no matter what each of you are doing because the trust is being broken.

Thank you for your response Karen.

Several points you mentioned stood out.

We had talks about exclusivity but we both agreed we were not ready yet but would work towards it. However the moment I saw proof of him meeting up with other women, the feeling of betray felt the same as if I wasn't doing the same thing! That part baffles me.

I suppose the purpose of my post was to validate my feelings from a non-biased POV so I really appreciate your response.
I have chosen to end the relationship/arrangement (if I can even call it that). Clearly doing things behind each others' backs shows incompatibility.

No problem. I'm glad I was able to provide some clarity.

My guess as to why you felt betrayed despite deciding not to be exclusive, is probably because we often don't know how we are going to react to a situation until it is our current reality. Sort of like young men going off to war, thinking they will be brave etc., but then they get there and the reality of the situation hits and they want to come home.

Good luck with it and I think the best idea is just follow what feels right to you.