He Forgave Me When I Cheated On Him, And It Was The Worst Punishment Of All

I’ve always felt very strongly that cheating is a clear sign that a relationship is over. After all, what’s the point in sticking around if I’m not happy with my partner or vice versa? I thought it was totally cut and dry… until I had a one-night stand while I was in a relationship. I fessed up the next day, and my boyfriend’s reaction was totally unexpected — and to be honest, kind of unwanted. Here’s why I hate that he forgave me:

  1. There was a reason I strayed. I don’t want to make excuses for my actions, but I’ll provide a little background. I was young and I hadn’t been dating my new boyfriend for very long. He and I had been friends since middle school and it just felt right to give things a shot with us. I knew early on that I had made a mistake, but I didn’t want to hurt him so I stuck around.
  2. I didn’t expect his reaction. I cheated on my boyfriend with the guy I had dated before him. He didn’t seem necessarily surprised by my actions or even particularly hurt. The only one that was surprised was me. Instead of yelling at me or breaking up with me on the spot, he said he needed some time to think things over and then he forgave me hours later!
  3. I felt so lost. A part of me was happy that he forgave me so quickly. He was willing to give me another shot and that was truly a testament to how much he cared for me. Another side of me was totally confused. I figured admitting that I had cheated would make him realize that we didn’t really belong together, that he and I were better off as friends. I felt guilty for feeling that way, but I felt oddly stuck.
  4. He held it over my head. At first, I didn’t mind the guilt trips he sent me on. I felt like I deserved to be punished. Not only did I cheat on my boyfriend, but I betrayed the trust of a long-time friend. After a while, though, I started to wonder why he was bothering to stay with me. He had forgiven me in the sense that he wasn’t going to leave me, but he never forgot. He wouldn’t let me forget either.
  5. The paranoia never went away. I felt like I was on lock down after I admitted I had cheated on my boyfriend. I didn’t bother texting my guy friends anymore because it would just trigger his paranoia. I felt like a kid, checking in with him all the time like he was my parent. Even if I was out with my family, he’d get antsy if I didn’t reply to him within minutes. He was convinced I was going to cheat again and his constant presence was suffocating.
  6. Every fight was the same. The topics of our arguments didn’t matter because every confrontation would end the same. Even if I brought up something he was doing that bothered me, every fight would turn to my transgressions. I started keeping my mouth shut, even when he would do something to upset me, because I was so sick of reliving that same shameful moment.
  7. Our relationship couldn’t move forward. Since my boyfriend had given me a second chance, I figured I’d give our relationship a second chance as well. I wasn’t thrilled with how things were going, but I thought I owed him that much. My efforts were pointless. Our relationship was in a perpetual state of limbo. Neither one of us wanted to look back, but he didn’t have enough trust in me to move forward.
  8. Nothing was ever the same again. Many years have passed since he and I finally called it quits. We attempted to go back to the way things were, but he and I were never the same. I’ve been in many relationships since, and I’ve been cheated on a few times as well. Those experiences have taught me that my ex and I were both at fault. Of course, I ruined an amazing friendship with my actions. I should have told him how I was feeling before I resorted to cheating. His faults lied within his stubbornness. The truth is, he never truly forgave me for my actions. By the time we broke up and attempted to build a friendship back up again, his resentment towards me was too deep.
  9. I had to forgive myself. I was devastated to lose such an important person in my life, and I felt incredibly ashamed for cheating on someone I cared about so deeply. It took a few years before I could forgive myself, but I did. I was young, inexperienced, and totally unsure of what I wanted.
  10. I learned a tough lesson. I still feel a pit in my stomach when I think back on that time in my life, but it taught me a lot. I’m no longer afraid to speak my mind when I’m feeling unhappy in a relationship, and I never stick around with someone for the wrong reasons. Guilt is not a driving force for a healthy, happy partnership and I’ll never make the mistake of thinking that ever again.
Jessica is a proud Pittsburgher that loves to drink tea and adopt cats in her spare time. She is a self-proclaimed Slytherin and would like to visit Harry Potter World as soon as possible!
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