He Took Me Back After I Cheated On Him—Here’s Why He Shouldn’t Have

Once upon a time, I cheated on a guy that I dated for several years. It happened two or three years into our relationship, which lasted for another two years after that. I came clean about what I did immediately after it happened and rather than break up with me, he took me back and he stayed with me. He really shouldn’t have done that.

  1. I cheated instead of being mature enough to communicate. I have to admit that I cheated on him because I didn’t know how to communicate to that I was unhappy. Instead of talking to him about the ambivalence I was feeling toward our relationship, I channeled my feels into hooking up with another guy. I was definitely attracted to the guy I hooked up with but it was never going to be more than that. It was just a crappy thing to do to someone, especially someone I loved and cared about.
  2. I couldn’t give him an explanation for my actions. When he asked me why I hooked up with another guy, I couldn’t even muster a half-hearted explanation. I probably muttered some answer like “I don’t know.” He deserved a better answer than that. In fact, every person cheated on by someone they love deserves a full explanation at the very least.
  3. I needed to face the ultimate consequence for my actions. I needed to lose him to truly comprehend how wrong my actions had been. After he forgave me, I convinced myself that it must not have been that bad. I didn’t want to believe that I was capable of doing something like terrible but I obviously was. I do believe people can change; I definitely did. I’ve never cheated on anyone since and never would, but I still regret doing it once. It’s hurtful. It breaks trust and creates unbalance in an otherwise equal relationship. The ultimate consequence for doing all of that to someone should be losing them forever, not granting him or her a second chance.
  4. I was drunk but I made a choice. I think he blamed it on the alcohol as a way to justify his choice to stay with me. He shouldn’t have. I sought this guy out. I made the moves. I was the bad guy. I chose someone else. The alcohol gave me liquid courage to do something that I wanted to do anyway deep down. In some ways, that’s worse because it made me the coward.
  5. I needed to do serious work on myself. Sometimes I think back to that time of my life and realize how much personal work I needed to do to improve myself. If he’d dumped me instead of taking me back, it would’ve forced me to face and fix things about myself that I didn’t get to fix until we actually broke up two years later.
  6. I always felt like I owed him and it created a bad dynamic between us.  Since he forgave me and took me back, it took a long time for us to get back to a good place. Even when we did find a semblance of happiness again, I couldn’t help but always feel like I owed him for it. I would overcompensate and try harder than necessary to be a worthy girlfriend because I was constantly worried that he’d break up with me. It was taxing on us both. He should have spared us both the grief and let me go when it first happened.
  7. We were afraid of life without each other and that’s not a reason to stay in a relationship. At the end of the day, that’s why we ended up staying together. He was afraid to be alone so he forgave me and I was afraid to be alone so I begged him to take me back. We were the absolute best of friends, family even, but that doesn’t always justify a romantic relationship. I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that fear is a horrible excuse to keep people together.
  8. When he eventually cheated on me, it felt like he was getting even. Our relationship ended in part because he met someone new and cheated on me with her. They’re still together. When I found out that he cheated, I wanted to feel every kind of rage in the world against him. Instead, I felt like I wasn’t entitled to it. In fact, I felt guilty for even considering rage. I felt like he was getting even on his end for something that started. Had our relationship ended when it should have, he wouldn’t have cheated and I wouldn’t have to feel guilty for an otherwise legitimate emotion.
  9. Some love stories just need to end. My experience being on both sides of cheating remind me that sometimes walking away from something is the only way you can fix it. People stay in relationships longer than they should. Whether it’s a gut feeling telling you to GTFO or an overt act like cheating glaring you in the face, sometimes you just have to look at the facts and decide that enough is enough. There are more love stories to make with people who will treat you right.
Marie is an ambitious millennial woman, leading a corporate life by day and doing her best to live, laugh and love.