The truth is, I cheated on my boyfriend – twice actually. Now, three years, a lot of heartache and several new relationships down the line, I can finally make sense of my thoughts and actions . . . and come to realise that I’ve learned a lot.
I still consider the person I cheated on my first love, and I can hear people saying, “Well, if you loved them you wouldn’t have cheated” . . . and maybe they’re right, but I think I was just too young to understand the meaning of a true and honest relationship. I was too scared of being committed to one person entirely at 17 – and, as much as I loved him, the fear of missing out on other things happening around me took over.
What I did really hurt my ex, but despite my behaviour he decided that he really wanted us to try and push past it. He said he forgave me, and we didn’t actually break up until almost 2 months later, but I’m sure me cheating contributed to our final breakup and it’s definitely something he remained bitter about for a long time.
Could you forgive your partner for cheating on you and take them back?
— OpinionPanel (@OpinionPanelEd) August 9, 2016
I think he was most hurt because he couldn’t understand why I’d cheated, he felt it was because of him and something he lacked. He was hurt because I had broken the trust between us, and a relationship cannot survive without trust. Although I can’t say exactly how he felt, something he said 4 months after we broke up stuck with me:
“I miss us so much, and I get so sad, I cried again last night, it’s still all so raw for me. You can’t imagine what this feels like and I hope you never have to. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, just explain. To be cheated on by the person you love so much, and because you love them you take them back, again, and again but each time, you realise that they mustn’t really love you the way they say, or at least the way you loved them…”
We continued to talk nearly every day for almost a year post-breakup, and I had this pathetic hope that we’d get back together. I really believed we could still be good friends at least, but we were just making it harder for each other to move on. It took me almost 2 years to realise that any kind of relationship was impossible and that we were just hurting each other more by keeping in contact.
“Seeing how much I hurt my ex by cheating made me want to be a way better person – I don’t want to be someone whose actions hurt people”
I regret what I did because it hurt the person I loved most, but I spent so long beating myself up about it that I learnt a lot about relationships, and myself. Seeing how much I hurt my ex by cheating made me want to be a way better person – I don’t want to be someone whose actions hurt people.
I’ve learnt that it’s unfair to hold someone back by trying to maintain a relationship and make it go back to the way it was. I’ve learnt that you can still care about someone from a distance. However, if I could still learn everything that I have without having cheated, I would definitely go back and change what I did to save my ex from feeling horrible for so long.
Even three years on I still think about how much I regret hurting him, and being the reason he felt so sad for so long.
Each relationship is unique but my message to people who are cheating, or considering it, is this: think about how much you care about your relationship, and how much you want to keep it. If you don’t care, then leave; don’t string your partner along. You need to really think about whether it’s worth the pain and grief you’ll cause the other person, and whether you’ll be able to forgive yourself.