In an argument, my husband told me he wasn't in love with me and never had been. That he knew it at our wedding. It was the most painful thing I've ever had to hear. We'd been married a year. I decided to stay because I loved him anyway, and hoped he would change. I ended up giving him an ultimatum to go to therapy or end the marriage.
And then I met someone who thought I was amazing and beautiful, who treated me like he loved me. But I didn't want to break up the family.
An acquaintance of mine has been cheating on his wife for 20 years. He confides in my husband who tells me. He's part of an older generation who believes a man's duty is to take care of his family, including financially. It would betray his moral code to to leave his wife.
His wife is asexual and a-romantic as far as we can tell. She's a nice enough lady but she's off in la la land all the time and can't hold a conversation or bond socially unless it's a conversation about the Bible. It's hard to be around her for more than 10 minutes.
If he divorced her, she most likely would be single and destitute for the rest of her life. He cheats so he can stay married. She knows he cheats and turns a blind eye. It's not my cup of tea but they're both happy enough as married roommates.
I cheated on my abusive ex because I was scared sh*tless of him and knew he’d never allow me to break it off independently. I wasn’t actively looking to use some random guy. I was very interested in him and I proved it by marrying him and spending the past 43 years with him! Best decision of my life.
I'm a former cheater. It's 100% the biggest regret of my life. I hate myself for it every single day, even though my spouse has already forgiven me for it (I was fortunate enough to come to my senses, break things off, and tell her everything). I'm several years deep into therapy to understand why, and I think that's going to be a lifelong process. The reasons why are different for everyone, but I'll try to stick to the stuff that I think is applies to the majority of people.
1.) Most of the time, cheating doesn't happen in one fell swoop. It usually starts off pretty innocently - maybe a friendship at work with someone of the opposite sex. Little lines get crossed, one at a time, like the proverbial frog boiling in the pot.
2.) We, as humans, are frighteningly good at rationalizing our behavior. We like to believe that the decisions we make are the product of rational analysis, but I'm a firm believer that we mostly respond to situations based on gut instinct, and then later on we rationalize it. Some of us are better at rationalizing our bad behavior than others. I firmly believe that every single one of us are very capable of cheating, under the right circumstances. I know that's a very controversial opinion. Those of us who are already good at compartmentalization and rationalization are especially vulnerable.
3.) A lot of the time, people who cheat are not that different than people who use drugs, or drink to excess. Which is to say, they are deeply unhappy inside, they don't know why, but they come to understand that doing these things makes them feel better.
There's a popular conception of the cheater as sociopath, and it's the one that tends to be people's default assumption. And honestly, I'm sure it's true in many cases. But I also know that there are many people who hold their infidelities as their deepest regrets. When I finally confronted what I'd done, I slid into the worst depression of my life. I can remember standing over the kitchen sink with a chef's knife resting on my chest, hoping to find the strength to plunge the blade in. It took at least a year of weekly therapy to come to the point where I didn't hate myself all day, only some of it, and that's long after my spouse forgave me. So not all of us are sociopaths, even if some are.
I was with my ex for about 8 years. We were trying to start a life together. We sort of made a pact: if he helped me through school, I’d help him through school.
I finished school and started making the big bucks. It was his turn. Unfortunately, in order to make the big bucks, I had to move and go long distance.
I visited every weekend. He never visited me. About 2 or 3 years into my job, the stress was killing me. The people were hateful and I was working inhumane hours. I’d come home every weekend and just kind of cry and say I can’t wait till we can be together again. He would tell me he just had a few more classes to go and would graduate next year. Next year. Next year for real.
I feel dumb cause in hindsight, it’s obvious. Plain as day. But I never thought he’d lie to me.
This part is important - I was always accepting that he may find that school wasn’t for him. I was always sure to give him an out. I just wanted him to have the same chance he gave me and to be happy.
Anyway - I paid for all of his expenses. Rent, groceries, everything. I even gave him $100 a week for an allowance. I was sure to tell him to save as much as he could, it could be our/his savings to help him out if he found himself in a bad spot.
One weekend, I come home and I’m stressed to the max. I hug him close and tell him I miss him and I count the days down until we can be together again. Once he graduates, we will be unstoppable!
My ex breaks down and confesses that he was actually suspended from school and has been just sitting at home for the last year. Seriously. He was sleeping in every day and playing video games while I busted my ass. I even cleaned up that apartment on the weekends--he was always telling me he was so busy with school, he didn’t have time to clean.
About this time I start looking for an out. I knew on some level we wouldn’t recover from this. But we had been together for so long: sunken cost fallacy. I ask him how much he has in the bank. I tell myself that if he can support himself while job hunting, I can leave. Nope, he has $24.
Where in the hell did all that allowance go? Fast food and Magic the Gathering cards.
Two weeks after his confession, he wrecks his car and it's totaled. So he’s got no car, no job, and I’m about to leave him homeless. I didn’t know what to do.
We were still “together” I guess cause I didn’t know how to end it. But I did find someone else during that time and while I never had sexual contact, I guess it’d count as emotional cheating. I still feel guilty about it but this person made me see that I could find better quality partners. This guy had his act together and I realized that my ex made me feel like I was a mom.
Eventually we did split officially when he got a little more stable, and I started dating the guy mentioned above. I still worry about my ex a lot; he’s not doing well these days. But I can’t say I’m surprised. He had a pretty sweet set up, a great thing going for him, and then he managed to blow all of it.
Very expensive lesson to learn on my part. I tell myself it was cheaper than having a baby with that guy. I try not to think about it.
Most people who cheat still love their significant other (SO). They just aren't getting one or more important needs satisfied, and in a lot of cases, haven't been getting it for a long time. Some have attempted multiple times to tell their significant other about being unhappy. Maybe it was subtle. Maybe it was very blunt. But in some way, most try to let their SO know that they aren't satisfied. True, some have made no attempt. Communication is difficult for many, many relationships. In the end, they seek out (consciously or unconsciously) other people to satisfy what's missing. But the important part is that this is usually not with any idea of leaving their SO. That's the important bit. They don't WANT to leave. They want things to work, but they don't know how to make it work.
People are complicated, emotional, and leaving someone you've built a relationship with isn't that easy. And when those emotions run high, sensibility usually goes out the window. There are so many examples of people struggling with doing what is "right" vs. what they want. I think saying, "You can just leave" is honestly kind of ignorant, to be blunt.
I was a stay-at-home mom. Was miserable. Ex was an a**hole and just hated life. I did everything--cooked, cleaned, laundry, took care of our kid and his from a previous relationship. Had sex several times a week. He cheated. Only reason he wanted me to stay was so he wouldn’t have to pay child support/ alimony and lose half his retirement.
I had a bf that cheated (didn't know 'til later) but I'm 90% sure he waited to break up because he was finishing his second playthrough of God of War on my PS4. Like literally the day after he finished he came over to break up. To be fair it's a really good game.
I asked this once of a friend who was cheating on her husband (lover was also married) but wouldn’t leave him despite claiming to be miserable. “Because then who would take care of her.” If she left, she’d need either a job or a sugar daddy, and neither seemed likely.
I was struggling with my sexuality and selfishly explored that during a very rough patch in our relationship instead of doing the right thing. After a few days, the guilt ate me up and I did the right thing in the end. Would never cheat again.
The girl I cheated with was a long time crush I never got over. She got interested when she got jealous of my partner. Twice. My dumb ass ruined two relationships over her. I often think about the girls I hurt with those actions. One I told, one I never did--I just broke it off. What I know now is I would never do that to another person again.
Why didn’t I just end it first? Because things happen in the heat of the moment. Why didn’t I I end it right after? Because I knew she only wanted me because of the jealousy. I cut her out of my life shortly after. Took some time to clear my head. Now I'm in a happy and healthy relationship with the person I intend to marry.
I was with my ex for five years before we married and we were together about 99% of the time (excluding work, of course). As soon as we got married, he decided that he wanted to be "one of the boys" and wanted to spend all his time with them, weekends, playing five-a-side football three nights a week, would go to a match on a Saturday afternoon, stop off at the pub for a pint after and forget to come home till gone 10 o'clock or later. It hurt. It was hard. I couldn't drive and he refused to buy a car (he borrowed his parents' car when he felt like it). I was isolated and left at home alone. We had been together since I was 16 so I pretty much didn't know what to do by myself.
So, I was lonely and felt unloved, suffering from clinical depression, and I met someone who promised he would love me and look after me. Left hubby.
Spoiler alert: New guy left me two weeks after I left my hubby. Then I learned what it was really like to be alone.
My grandmother did something similar. Her husband was an abusive alcoholic. She told him she wanted a divorce but he wouldn’t listen to her. Threatened to make it as difficult as possible. This was back in the '60s-'70s. So she cheated with a man way older than her very publicly to get the point across that she wasn’t interested in being married anymore. They happened to live in a town of only 200-ish people. Only after word started getting out, he agreed to divorce her.
Edit for anyone curious: I actually have never met my bio-grandfather. After the divorce he took off and no one ever heard from him again. No child support, no birthday cards, nothing. I only found out when I was a teen that he even existed. My step-grandfather has always been my real grandfather. My mom finally looked him up on a whim last summer. He’s dead. Died in 2017. No one ever contacted my mom or my grandmother. Apparently he had a whole other family.
Because I was a coward. She had only ever been sweet and thoughtful to me but I did not love her. I kept thinking that my feelings would come but they never did. However, the other person was the one who made my heart skip a beat. It took too long for me to leave my girlfriend for the one. In the end I broke two hearts and destroyed my own. Sometimes you gotta pull the Band-aid off, but I couldn’t because in some stupid crazy way I didn’t want to be a bad person. Worst decision of my life and something that haunts me to this day.
I knew a girl that cheated on someone before and asked them this exact question. She told me that she wanted enjoy another experience with someone else. The boyfriend was someone who was successful but lived life "too cautiously." She told me how he wouldn’t want to do crazy stuff that would risk your life (like skydiving). The other guy was carefree but she said he had trouble getting a good-paying job. I told her she sounded like an outgoing person and should have just dated the carefree guy. She then told me she wanted to stay with successful cautious guy because he was more "stable." She got pissed when I told her she just wanted the guy’s income to take care of her.
She ended up getting caught because carefree guy wanted to be official with her so he told cautious guy about everything. She’s with carefree guy now but I’m sure as she is growing old, she is desperately keeping her eye for a big catch.
15 years of no sex. However, I wasn’t looking forward to divorce. I knew it would be WW3 since ex refused to work, but knew she would be extremely greedy in a divorce and demand way more than half, plus knew she would try to turn our kids against me.
I cheated once because I was in a long distance relationship and I was lonely, drunk, and too immature to resist the temptation of someone wanting to be with me. I had been cheated on several times and figured, "Why should I be the only one that's ever faithful? She's probably already cheating on me anyway!" But of course, that was just bullshit and I knew it. I told my girlfriend immediately. Things predictably crumbled over an excruciatingly long time.
As someone who was cheated on, I have always assumed it was because he was a coward and that he was able to vilify me to the point where he could hurt me so much.
I only found out he was cheating AFTER he left me so fear of leaving or not being able to leave was not his issue. We have no kids and we make the same amount of money so the subsequent divorce is actually going quite smoothly.
He was out of love with me for a long time before he left but I had no idea because he kept agreeing to work on our relationship. After he left, when I found out he had cheated with a friend from high school, it all started to fit together.
When he was actually telling me he was leaving me he even brought my height into his reasoning, saying that he was never really attracted to tall women. I am six feet tall and he was a bit over 5'10". This is how it started to dawn on me that he was busy blaming me instead of trying to fix our relationship. We had been together for over 10 years and he only confided this as he was leaving.
I did it because, for the first time in my entire life, I felt wanted. I can blame everything else under the sun, but it was a boost to my ego and my pride, and unfortunately, I was not ready for what it brought me.
So I cheated. It was only after the dust had settled and I grew up a little bit that I realized how much damage I had done, and exactly how late to the party I was. I hate what I did. I can't say I regret it, because it lead to both of my children, but I hate that THAT'S how my children came to be.
There is no good reason to do so, and I should have left, but I didn't.
Basically, I was just a selfish and immature person at the time. I was not very attractive until my senior year in high school. Which meant I went from not getting much attention from girls to getting quite a bit. This got worse once I realized I was attractive and learned to use it to my advantage. I had one girlfriend for this entire time (four years) and cheated on her constantly with numerous different girls. Once I realized I couldn’t marry her without coming clean, I decided it would never work because I did not want her to know that part of me. So, I broke up with her shortly after that realization. I didn’t actually tell her any of what I had done because I didn’t want to hurt her more than necessary, but some girl I had slept with ended up telling her. Then she called me and asked so I came clean and told her everything she wanted to know. I wouldn’t ever do it to anyone again, I watched what I did to the person I cared about and learned my lesson. She didn’t deserve any of what I did--I was just a shitty human at the time.
A wise divorce lawyer told me that generally men cheat to try to stay in a marriage while women generally cheat when they want to end the marriage.
I think what he meant was generally men are looking to get needs met outside the marriage but don’t want to leave their kids/wife while generally a woman might cheat to give the marriage a final nail in the coffin and get out.
Been cheated upon several times. In the end, when I open my heart and put myself in their shoes, I see that they cheated because emotions are complex. A person can love someone and still feel attraction to someone else. They can be conflicted about whether or not they're still in love. They can see traits in their partner that they deeply connect to, but see other traits in someone else that they also connect to.
As much as it makes us feel good to imagine that love and attraction are finite, binary emotions, sometimes they're not. All of the women who cheated on me were good people. Every last one of them. I don't like what they did, and yes, it killed those relationships and my feelings for them. But I'm not going to hate them for being human.
Cheating doesn't mean you were unhappy with your spouse or that they didn't have something I had to go elsewhere to get. I was just really attracted to someone else and at the time didn't show any regard for my partner's feelings because I thought they would never find out.
The way I now look at cheating is like this. No single relationship is going to provide everything a person needs. This is why we don't have just one relationship. It's also nice to have more than one source for some things. And then some relationships will have drawbacks.
An example of this will be how a person can talk to their friend about a hobby, but not their spouse. And they can be physically attracted to their spouse but not their friend. Some people may have only a few strong connections, and others will have many connections of varying importance.
When my friend's fiancée cheated on him, I used the following analogy. He was providing 60% of what she needed, which was less than the 80% it used to be because of the new demanding job he just got. She wanted that 40% he couldn't provide. She was getting half of it from other people/friendships. But that left 20%. In her mind that 20% was really 50% of what she needed.
My friend is a great guy. He would have quit the job to work on the relationship. But it was poisoned and too late by the time she was cheating. He has long since married another woman and they recently had a kid. Both are happy in their relationship. And I am very happy for both of them.
Hate me if you want, I do not condone what I've done in the least. But part of it was the thrill, the secrets, the meeting up when you can for only minutes. It makes you feel like life's a movie. Until it crashes down, hard. You regret every decision. It's not worth it. Gentlemen, it may hurt you later more. But you'll be guilty even longer.
Not me, but my dad. He recently came clean with everything after he discovered he had cancer. Let's not talk about my mom's reaction. My siblings and I sat down and asked him, somewhat trying to reason with him about his life decisions. When we asked why would he do such a thing 10+ years ago and continued it until now, he simply gave the stupidest, most selfish answer: "Some things can't be explained. It was fate. We were destined to meet. If we hadn't met and continued our relationship, she wouldn't have advised me to get a blood test and we wouldn't have discovered that I have cancer.”
He shows no remorse nor guilt. His affair started when I was three years old. I'm 18 now. He constantly educates us children about karma and advises us to always do good. Hypocritical for him to not realize that perhaps his cancer was karma biting him back for cheating on my mom and aborting his illegitimate child.
Some people are just terrible spouses. Their significant other could be the most supportive, loving and loyal person to them, but their arrogance often makes them take it for granted.
She was a year into awful postpartum depression. I talked and talked with her about medication or therapy. She was awful to live with but I loved her and was committed, but she was no longer the woman I knew for seven years prior.
She is now happily remarried and we share a son. I still love her.