Cheating is bad. We all know that. We all know that it is a dishonest and hurtful thing to do to a person with whom you are in a relationship. Still, people do it without regard for their significant other’s feelings. They also don’t seem to care about the consequences, most of the time.
How do I know this? Well, I’ve cheated. Yes, that makes me somewhat of a sh*tty person, I get it. However, allow me to explain myself before you jump on the hate train.
It wasn’t that I thought my girlfriend at the time was a bad person, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t into her; it wasn’t that I didn’t love her. It was something far more complex than that, something that I don’t think most people can understand. So, here’s my best explanation as to why I did it and why I believe I’m not alone:
Many, if not most, men are self-conscious creatures who harbor plenty of insecurities. I certainly do, at least. The story of how I cheated has nothing to do with the girl I was dating, but everything to do with an internal conflict that I’m sure plagues many cheaters: the notion that we’re undesirable.
Many women experience guys throwing themselves at them at a near nightly basis. Guys on the street, guys at the bar, guys online… Guys everywhere are constantly throwing themselves at women in hopes of mating with them.
While a lot of women find this kind of behavior to be offensive, it conveys the notion of desirability in a way that many men crave to experience.
Generally speaking, when we walk down the street, no one catcalls. When we are at the bar, it’s rare for a stranger to strike up conversation with the intent to charm us. The majority of our activities go unnoticed throughout the day. Therein lies the issue.
What many women have a hard time understanding is that while yes, catcalling and guys constantly hitting on you is annoying and unwanted, it provides for a form of validation. Men, on the other hand, rarely get such validation. That’s exactly why I did it.
The trouble with being in a long-term relationship is that you can only get that kind of validation from your significant other, and sometimes, it’s not enough. This is especially true if your significant other has a difficult time expressing her feelings and true desires for you.
Dating a girl who has a hard time opening up and being honest with you can eventually cause trouble. It can leave you feeling unwanted or unsexy, which will likely leave you to do something regrettable. This is how it happened with me.
I was dating a girl who no longer made me feel special. I felt like I wasn’t a desirable person. I felt unsexy. I was going through a phase where I didn’t know if anyone would ever look my way again, until suddenly, one day… A different girl showed interest in me.
It was exciting. It felt awesome. I finally felt the validation that I wasn’t getting from my girlfriend of the time. Unfortunately, I gave in to that desire and did the unthinkable: I cheated. Afterward, I was mortified. I couldn’t believe what I had just done.
I promised myself that I’d never cheat and here I was, doing what I thought to be so unspeakably disgusting that I didn’t even know I was capable of ever doing it.
I preached and preached about how if you want to see someone else, you should just break up with the person you are dating. But, here I was, living the life of a cheater. I had no idea what to do next. Do I cover it up? Do I act like it never happened? Do I tell my significant other? Do I break up with my partner?
Ultimately, my relationship ended. I thought it was for the best, but that truth offered no consolation. I had broken one of my morals. I felt weak and cowardly. The only truth that I believed could bring me validation only drove me deeper into the hole of feeling like a bad person.
The important thing to understand about cheaters is that a lot of the time, it’s not that the person who cheats is unhappy with his or her significant other, but that the issue is symptomatic of an internal problem.
Sure, there are certainly people who cheat because they feel like a relationship might already be over and they are too afraid to have the break-up talk. Sure, some people just generally don’t like their significant others. However, some people are just sex fiends and have little regard for ANYONE around them.
I know this much: I was in a great relationship with an awesome girlfriend, who I found to be super sexy.
It wasn’t her; it was me. I had emotional problems that I didn’t believe she could fix or help. I felt a void that I thought I could fill through cheating. Unfortunately, that void wasn’t filled and I left the situation embarrassed and humiliated.
I learned from that experience that cheating didn’t help, and I have since vowed to never do it again. Though my subsequent relationships haven’t worked out, I feel validated in sticking to my promise to myself. I can’t know for sure whether or not I’ll ever cheat again, but I certainly hope I don’t.