While I know it might make me seem like a crappy person and I know cheating isn’t something to be proud of in any situation, I did learn some pretty important things about myself and relationships from being unfaithful to my ex-husband:
It’s never “just physical.”
Cheating is fueled by emotion, I don’t care what anyone else says. If you care enough about your partner, you won’t cheat. Maybe despite caring about them, you care more about the person you cheated with. Maybe you’re just unhappy in the relationship. No matter what the true cause is, it is tied to your emotions.
It’s not always about the other person.
Sometimes cheating isn’t about searching for something outside of your relationship that you aren’t getting from your partner — sometimes it’s purely selfish. For me, it was selfish. I wanted out of my marriage by any means necessary. I didn’t care for the person I cheated with, nor did I consider how it would make my husband feel; I only thought about myself, and the fact that I wanted an excuse for a divorce.
Sometimes love isn’t enough.
I loved my husband, and I still care about him — I wouldn’t have married him if I didn’t. But some loves aren’t meant to be forever. You can’t hold a marriage together with just love. It needs communication, understanding, trust, respect, loyalty, etc. I cheated because love wasn’t enough to keep our relationship strong.
It feels bad for everyone.
At first I didn’t think I’d feel bad because it was such a spiteful and purposeful action, but as soon as it was over, I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me. How did I become this person who would allow herself to break someone’s heart so coldly? The guy I cheated with never spoke to me again because he felt so bad for contributing to the ending of my marriage. I felt so crappy that it took me a few weeks to build up the nerve to admit what I had done. Obviously my ex didn’t take the news very well.
“Once a cheater, always a cheater” is BS.
Once was enough for me, thanks. After watching the light go out from someone’s eyes when they realize what you’ve done, it’s pretty damn hard to do that again. If I could go back, I probably would have handled things differently. Moving forward, I definitely couldn’t put myself or anyone else through that horrible experience.
There’s never a good reason to cheat.
Even to convince someone to agree to divorce. There are more civilized and respectful ways to end a relationship than by saying, “Oh, by the way, I had sex with someone else. Bye.” Literally anything would be better. Hell, I’d rather ghost someone than cheat on them. At least ghosting is a little less hurtful. If you’re so inclined to cheat because of an attraction for another person, have the decency to end your current relationship first.
It’s a violation of trust that can’t be forgiven.
Although he initially begged me to stay, claiming that we could work through our problems and that he could someday forgive me for cheating, I think we both knew things would never have been the same again. When someone cheats, it’s impossible to forget how bad it made you feel, so you’ll continue to hold that grudge for the duration of your relationship, sometimes even longer.
Even if you’re a one-time offender, it’ll never be forgotten.
It’s been an entire year since I cheated – eleven months since we’ve split up – and just last month he made a comment about still being pissed at me, even though we’ve remained friendly to one another. Even if he someday forgives me, he’ll never forget what I did to him. Neither will anyone else who knows about it.
You’ll carry the guilt with you every day.
There hasn’t been a single day where I’ve not thought about the choices I’ve made, and how it’s impacted my life. And every time I think about it, a pang of guilt strikes. I don’t think that’s ever going to go away.
Nobody deserves to be cheated on.
Nobody’s perfect, but even the worst person in the world doesn’t deserve to feel that kind of betrayal — and my ex was one of the few good guys left in the world who definitely didn’t deserve to be hurt the way I hurt him. Not only did I break his heart and our marriage, I think I also put a crack in his hope of finding a love that will treat him right. And for making him question his faith in love and relationships, I am truly sorry.
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