I’ve always been someone who abhorred cheating. I thought it was a ridiculous thing to do. Why not just be a grownup and break up instead? I went through my whole life without ever so much as looking at another man the wrong way when I was in a relationship. Then I encountered a tumultuous period in my late 20s and everything fell apart. I was cheating and simultaneously disgusted with myself for it. This is why it happened:
- We weren’t officially official. I tried to justify my behavior to myself by protesting that I didn’t have a boyfriend. The guy I was dating never actually asked me to be exclusive. Still, I knew that he liked me and that he wasn’t hooking up with anyone else. I also didn’t come clean about the fact that I was seeing other people.
- I started dating him too soon. I didn’t force it, but it just so happened that I met this new guy the week after my ex and I broke it up. There had been a lot of drama, and it was nice to have a normal man want to take me out and treat me well. I looked for comfort in all the wrong places.
- I wasn’t over my ex. I still had feelings for him, even though he treated me like crap. It’s hard to just force that to disappear, however badly I wanted to be done with him. We worked together, and I was too embarrassed to disclose all this information to the new guy I was dating. That should’ve been my clue right there that I needed to be alone.
- I didn’t really want to be exclusive with anyone. I needed a time period to be on my own and have fun without any commitment. I never gave myself that. Instead, I jumped into something I wasn’t ready for with someone who wanted more than I did. It didn’t help that he was my neighbor! He wanted to hang out all the time. It was like living in a dorm with a college boyfriend.
- He was too nice. I thought it was great at first, but it proved a bit much. He would leave presents on my door almost every day. Sweet or needy? He wanted my approval and affection so much but I didn’t know how to give it. I was ignoring the fact that I needed to heal myself, not use a nice guy to do the work for me. I thought I had found what I wanted, but I was just abusing the poor dude and making him into my crutch.
- I felt suffocated. Even in my late 20s, I was very crappy at communicating with people I was dating. I didn’t know how to tell him that I didn’t want the level of seriousness that he did. I WANTED to want it so badly because he treated me wonderfully. I just kept on trying to make myself desire it, instead of accepting that I didn’t. It wasn’t his fault I felt suffocated. It was mine.
- I wasn’t attracted to him. Again, I wanted very badly to be attracted to him. He was everything I should’ve liked – tall, manly, sweet, and thoughtful. He cuddled with me and gave me all his attention. I felt safe and comfortable – but not turned on. This was a huge problem, and no matter what, it wouldn’t go away. I just did not enjoy the physical aspect of our relationship.
- I was still very attracted to my ex. Our whole saga was predicated upon sex. We started out just hooking up, but it turned into more. That steamy spark was what kept it going on for so long. When we became friendly again after a few months, that attraction was still racing between us. Neither of us could ignore it, and I retreated into my previous naughty behavior. That began a horrible cycle of messing around with my ex, feeling ashamed, and then going to my new guy and trying to be super sweet to make up for it.
- I was self-sabotaging. To clarify, I wasn’t sleeping with both of them. I’m not quite that horrible. I was, however, having sex with Mr. Nice Guy and engaging in other sexual activities with my ex. It wasn’t OK, not by a long shot. I didn’t know how to say no to either of them, and I lost myself in the progress. I put myself on a downward path into self-loathing and shame, and I could’ve completely prevented it. All I had to do was follow my own rules. Tell the truth, both to others and myself. I do believe I have learned my lesson, and that I will never cheat again. I fervently hope to stand by that statement.