I Cheated On My Boyfriend And It Taught Me A Lot

I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to cheat, but that changed when I found myself drunkenly kissing my best guy friend. We’d gotten caught up in the moment and confessed all of our hidden feelings for each other, and the next morning we woke up to realize that we’d hurt our significant others thanks to our carelessness. When it all came crashing down, it was ridiculously hard for everyone involved. But despite my horribly crappy judgment error, a lot of things happened that made me a better person in the long run.

I had to come face to face with the woman I’d hurt. 

Few things make you realize just how much you can hurt someone than seeing it in the face of a girl who’s really not so different from you. She would call me every name in the book. She would pass me in the hallway and shoot me looks that could kill. She could be found crying in the bathroom when she should’ve been in class. She was heartbroken. And I had to see that every day: the reminder of what I’d done. Nothing makes you realize you never want to repeat a mistake quite like looking it in the face at every turn.

I Saw Things From His Perspective. 

When I officially came clean with the first boy to tell me he loved me, it was the hardest moment of my life. I watched his illusions of us, our future, of me crumble as I spoke. Hurting the person you love hurts a million times worse than hurting yourself. And no matter how hard you try, that’s something you can’t come back from. That’s something I never wanted to experience again.

I felt guilty. 

You’d think that finally being with the person you secretly had feelings for would feel great. While the “during” wasn’t so bad (hey, I can’t lie), I later couldn’t get out of my head, no matter how hard I tried. “Does his girlfriend like this?” I’d think as he nibbled my ear. “My boyfriend likes this,” I thought, as I kissed him tenderly on the neck. Just because he was doing all of the right things, it didn’t mean that they felt completely right. I realized how much better it felt being with someone you’re actually “allowed” to be with.

Trying To Hide It Was Exhausting. 

I have a feeling that trying to hide an affair is almost as difficult as hiding a body. The stress I felt trying to hide my secret wrongdoings were exhausting. Every call from my boyfriend made my panic, thinking he had figured me out. Every whispered conversation made me sweat bullets, sure it was about me. And no matter how hard I tried to cover things up and swear that it was all just rumors, eventually word got out and my life changed forever. I never want to watch my world crumble because of my mistakes again.

People Lost Respect For Me.

I always took the other people’s respect for granted until it all got taken away. Betraying someone and hooking up with someone else will instantly make people see you differently. Whether it’s future potential partners who wondered if I was worth the risk or my friends who’d stop talking the second I’d approach them, I knew everyone has something to say on the matter. The worst part is that there was no real way to defend myself.

I Learned it takes a certain kind of person to cheat. 

Going into the affair, I thought I knew who I wanted to be with. He had a great laugh, perfect abs, and a smile that made my heart pound. But once it happened and word got out, I saw a whole different side of him. I watched him lie to his girlfriend’s face as he insisted there was nothing between us but friendship and that he had no feelings for me. And I started to realize that she wasn’t the only person who didn’t who he was. I never wanted to be with someone like that again.

I Had To Decide What Kind Of Person I Wanted To Be. 

Being a part of an affair put me in a position I’d never been in before and never plan to be in again. After I hurt so many people, I had to ask myself who I wanted to be. Someone who’s worthy of love? Someone who can be counted on through good times and bad? Or someone who with throw away what she’s built when something new comes along? I quickly learned who I did — and didn’t — want to become.

I Learned How To Respect Someone Else. 

It’s easy to fall for someone who says all the right things, notices all of the things your boyfriend doesn’t, and make your heart flutter in a way you haven’t felt in a while. It’s a lot harder to resist that temptation and refocus on the person you love. Cheating made me realize, once and for all, that I didn’t want to be a cheater. Watching someone who dreamed of a future with you turn cold is torture. I’ve learned how to focus on the great qualities of the person I was with. I realized that if I wanted respect, I first had to give it. If I wanted a good, lasting relationship, I had to not destroy the foundation.

I Learned How To Respect Myself. 

It seems odd that out of all the drama and the fights and the ruined reputations, one of the most important things I learned was to respect myself. But the truth is, that’s what it all came down to. Did I respect myself enough to work hard in my relationship or get out of it if it wasn’t for me? Did I respect myself enough not to be some guy’s secret second choice? And did I respect myself enough to be worthy of love again even after messing up so badly? I knew that if I didn’t make the choice to do it, no one else would.

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