Yeah, I did it. I dated a guy for several terrible years, met an amazing man, and I cheated. I should have left my boyfriend when I knew I was into the new guy (who I’ve now been with for four, incredible years), but I didn’t. Was it wrong? Yes. Did I hurt my ex-boyfriend? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Not a chance in hell. I learned a lot of very valuable lessons from cheating, and although I’m not promoting it, cheating was one of the best decisions I ever made (that I don’t plan to ever make again).
- It got me out of a very controlling and mentally abusive relationship. I didn’t have the strength to leave him any other way, and I think subconsciously I knew this would ruin our relationship. It didn’t right away, but about six months later, I was free.
- It taught me what it felt like to actually be loved. I didn’t just cheat sexually, I actually cheated emotionally for months before I ever got busy with ‘the other man’. He treated me with respect, wasn’t afraid to tell me he loved me when he knew he did, didn’t push me, and fought for me. These were things I never had before, and they felt good.
- It gave me insight on why men may have cheated on me. I’ve been cheated on several times in my life and it always ended my relationships immediately. When I look back, those relationships weren’t solid ones anyway, and cheating was the cowardly way out for those guys just like it was for me.
- It made me feel like I mattered. I know not everyone has a good cheating experience, but because mine wasn’t just sex, it was good. My ex never really made an effort to make me feel like I mattered to him but ‘the other man’ went really out of his way to tell me everyday. I felt beautiful and like I was the important person in his life. Turns out, I still am.
- It made me work even harder in my new relationship. I’m not ashamed that my relationship with ‘the other man’ started by cheating, but I recognize what that must have felt like for him. I try to keep in mind that we’re together because I cheated, and sometimes I worry he thinks I’ll do it to him. I make sure he knows that he’s the only one for me. He’s never worried and I’ve never cheated.
- It gave me new perspective on relationships. If you’ve never cheated, you’re probably super judgey of people who have. I was like that once, too. It seemed so easy to pre-cheater me to just leave someone if you were unhappy (and before you cheated). Knowing what I know now, it’s not that easy. I still largely believe you should get out of a relationship before people get really hurt, but I also know that’s easier said then done and I’m much slower to judge these days.
- I realized things about myself I never knew. I never thought I’d be capable of cheating. Although it terrified me to know I could do things to hurt people and feel OK about it, I’m glad I know it now and will make sure I don’t do it again.
- It helped me learn to forgive myself. I’m super hard on myself (the joys of being a perfectionist and Type A). I’m terrible at forgiving myself or letting myself make mistakes. I thought I should be punished endlessly for this misgiving, but since the guy I cheated with didn’t punish me or even ever bring it up over the four years we’ve been together, I’ve learned to forgive myself. Not just in this instance, but in life.
- I now approach relationship problems differently. I don’t ever want to cheat again, not because I’m sorry I did it, but because I know it can be avoided and I can still get what I want without cheating. I’m really happy in my current relationship, but I know if I ever started to become unhappy that I need to watch myself and make decisions I stick with.