I’m a cheater. It’s something I have to confess if I’m going to share my thoughts on infidelity with you. Cheating isn’t something that I’m proud of but neither do I beat myself up about it anymore.
I’ve been faithful for the past six years and my current partner (who I’m in the process of separating from) is the first person I haven’t cheated on. Now that I finally know what it’s like not to have cheated in a relationship I’m feeling quite reflective on the whole issue of infidelity.
It’s a huge relief not to feel the insane guilt that I’ve felt in the past when I’ve had to live with the fact that I’d done the dirty on someone. The last time I cheated was with during a relationship with a delightful, charming but incredibly complex French guy that I was totally in love with.
You might ask how could you cheat on someone you love – surely the two actions are completely incompatible. I felt that way too for a while but on reflection I do think that just because you cheat doesn’t mean that you don’t love the person that you’ve been unfaithful to. I think it just means that you’re incredibly immature, insecure, selfish and short-sighted.
For me cheating has always been an expression of some frustration or anger at something that’s going on in my relationship. Kind of like a toddler who picks up a glass and throws it on the floor in a fit of rage it makes sense as you’re driven by your emotions to unleash the pent-up feelings inside and its satisfying to indulge in a destructive form of release. Yet once the act is over, as you survey the broken pieces that surround you the implications of what you have done kick in and the fact is that their effects will be felt for much longer than it took you to commit your indiscretion.
When I cheated on my French guy the moment that it was over I burst into tears. I was sobbing and a total wreck because I was hit by the totality of consequences of what I’d just done. For the next three years I kept it a secret and, worse, ended up putting up with a lot of completely intolerable shit from him because I felt I deserved it.
I finally came clean after we spent some time together after we’d broken up. It was one of those amazing chats that you normally only have at the beginning of a relationship. We lay in bed and talked and talked about life, love, the universe and everything in-between. We poured out our thoughts and feelings under the glare of the moon until the rise of the sun. I told him I’d cheated on him with my ex. He told me he’d always suspected that had been the case. He told me he’d cheated on me twice. I said I didn’t blame him and could understand why he’d felt he needed to seek affection and attention from someone else.
I don’t think either of us was looking to restart our relationship but the freedom we felt from being so open led us to try again. Unsurprisingly it failed after another six months – too much damage had been done, too many other issues needed to be dealt with. So now given the added hindsight that comes with having ended a relationship in which I haven’t cheated , I realise more than ever just how much damage cheating causes and how different my relationship with the French guy could’ve been if only I’d been able to communicate with him instead of seeking sexual revenge.
All of this is to say if you’re thinking of cheating just don’t do it. If you’re that attracted to the person you want to do the dirty with just end your relationship and give yourself the freedom to indulge to your heart’s content. If that seems like too drastic a course of action then DON’T CHEAT! It isn’t worth it. Whatever the reason is you’ll end up doing intense damage to yourself. Even if you don’t really care that much about your partner, care enough about your own well-being and stay true.