“Once a cheater always a cheater”, “Cheaters never wins”, ” All men do is cheat”. These are a few common phrases that are often used to objectify someone who has selfishly stepped out of their relationship.
Looking from the perspective of the one being cheated on, there’s no doubt why one would be led to believe to not trust in a person who has cheated on their partner. Trust has been broken, boundaries have been crossed, and to say that I was being “disrespectful” is a complete understatement.
There’s much stigma behind people who have cheated on their partners. Like most types of people, we tend to categorize cheaters into a one-size-fits-all box in order to familiarize ourselves with certain behavior patterns and tendencies that we’ve experienced before.
Common misconceptions of a cheater:
- Cheaters are manipulative
- Cheaters cheat because they are unhappy in their current relationship
- Once a cheater always a cheater
- Cheaters are naturally sex addicts/ highly sexual
Of course, the person who cheated is an asshole and maybe even deserved what is to come their way, but does it mean that those who struggle with infidelity issues should be branded as a cheater who doesn’t deserve to be loved and trusted again?
Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a cheater, but I have to admit that I’ve cheated in my previous relationship. And WHEWW, let me tell you, it was messy. However, aside from the toxicity that spewed from my being at that time– growth has transpired. Here’s my story…..
To protect the confidentiality of my ex-boyfriend, let’s call him Bob.
In the fall of 2017, I met Bob on Grindr. Bob was charming, smart, and funny ( The qualities I highly value in looking for a partner). We exchanged numbers, chatted, and finally decided to meet up for a first date. That first date turned into more dates, and soon I found myself exclusively dating Bob. I subconsciously thought that things were moving a bit fast, but not too fast that the dating process didn’t feel authentic to me.
A few more weeks past and BOOM, I’m in a full-blown relationship. Everything was glittery and gold. I had all the butterflies in my stomach and thought that this is something that will actually work out for me like a “happily ever after” fairy tale.
Are you wondering where I f*cked up at?
It was from the beginning. During me and Bob’s dating phase, I neglected and ignored the internalized process of actually accepting full responsibility for what is to come with a committed relationship. On the exterior, I absolutely loved what was happening for the time being, but on the inside, I wasn’t 100% sure if this was what I wanted.
It wasn’t an attraction to Bob that faded away, yet it was my readiness to commit that weighed down on me. I thought that these feelings of ambivalence and unsureness would fade away into the unknown, unfortunately, they did not.
I locked these feelings away because of the fear of communicating my feelings to Bob, my misleading behavior caused our relationship to head down a dark path.
My silence soon evolved into cheating. My neglectfulness led me to step out of my relationship and engage other men. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I knew that sooner or later I would get caught red-handed, yet I still continued my selfish behavior without thinking of the aftermath of my actions. What was I thinking you might ask? Absolutely nothing.
I wasn’t thinking of Bob’s feelings. I wasn’t thinking that my habit would hurt my relationship in the long run. I wanted the instant gratification I got from being with other men while also being romantic with Bob. Talk about having my cake and eating it too.
To make a long story short, the relationship Bob and I shared was driven to such a toxic space that the relationship had unfortunately ended.
In no way, shape, or form am I validating my behavior, however, there is always a silver lining to every bad situation. I have learned valuable lessons that I will carry with me into my future endeavors.
Without me cheating and feeling the pain I have caused within my relationship, I don’t think I’d ever grow as an adult, friend, and potential partner. I thank the cheating spirit that once lived inside me because, without it, I would have never learned these things…….
It’s Not About Me
I always thought that being selfish is a good thing. I still believe its a trait we must continue to value. Putting yourself first in most circumstances is what most people will consider a great thing. Yeah, not in a relationship. There’s a huge difference between being selfish and being inconsiderate. Blatantly disregarding your partner’s feelings before engaging in any kind of behavior is super inconsiderate if you ask me.
Downloading Grindr behind your partners back and hooking up with a coworker without considering your partner’s feelings is uncalled for. I’ve learned that once you’re in a relationship, it’s not about you anymore. Your thoughts and actions have to be centered around “What would Bob think If I did this?”
If You’re Not Ready, Don’t Waste Your Time
As self-explanatory as this may sound, jumping into a relationship when you aren’t ready is the smartest idea. Have you ever caught baby fever before? When we’re in the presence of another person’s baby it sometimes gives us the feeling of wanting to have our own children. Does it mean that we should find the next woman and get her pregnant? The same rules apply when you get the sudden urge of wanting to be in a relationship. Yeah, a relationship theoretically sounds amazing on paper, but ask yourself this one question. Are you ready? Are you ready to do what is required of you? During Bob and I’s time together, I lied and made myself believe that I was ready and willing to put in the work.
I’ve said this in previous posts, but I honestly believe that communication is the building block to all aspects of life. Have a problem? Open your damn mouth and speak about it. Too many times do we feel troubled in our relationships and fail to communicate our feelings. What stopped me from effectively communicating with Bob was the fear that I automatically attached to it. I was scared to voice my worries. I was scared to open my mouth in fear of judgment and ostracization.
“What you think, usually it is not”
Here’s my best word of advice, if you cheat, go to your partner right away and tell them. Most of the time if you are honest and transparent about your actions, there’s a good chance that you and your partner can come together and find a solution. Usually, what ends relationships is the lying that comes from the cheating– not necessarily the cheating itself ( I understand not all people will agree with this, but from my experience, it was the lying behind my cheating that really dug my grave). There are people who will end a relationship if you cheat and that’s fine because you f*cked up, but I also believed that if you feel like you’re going to cheat, there are conversations that should be had between you and your partner to see if changes can be made within your relationship so that both of you are happy. Protecting your partner from the truth is not the way to go– you will lose in the end.
Set Rules & Boundaries From The Beginning
Monogamy is the only socially acceptable romantic complex in the eyes of society. However, I honestly think we use monogamy as a crutch to define every intimate relationship that we find ourselves in. What usually happens is that two people will find themselves in a relationship without ever discussing any regulations. The whole ” I am with you and you are with me and nothing else” dynamic is outdated because they are so many entities of what a relationship really is. It’s 2019, not 1902. Love can be achieved in many different ways. Relationships aren’t as black and white as you think they are. Were’ setting ourselves up for failure when we allow expectations that aren’t our own to navigate our relationship. Do not assume that both parties clearly understand what is to be expected of them when the conversations were never had. Rules and Boundaries need to be set by both parties on whats to be accepted.