I've always been fascinated with cheating. I know that sounds weird but it's true. It's not the act that interests me but rather the why behind the cheating. Cheating is seen as black or white. But I believe that cheating is a huge gray area.
The reasons are endless. Maybe they weren't there for you when you needed them and you emotionally cheated. Or maybe the sex drive was different and you found someone who wanted you as badly as you wanted them. Maybe it wasn't meant to happen but feelings developed before you knew what was happening.
The reason matters to me and so I snooped around Reddit and found 14 people who addmited why they cheated on their S.O. and the responses were what I expected. All the answers aren't malicious and there is a level of regret and pain over hurting someone they cared about. Some are terrible, but the general consensus is regret and sorrow.
I'm not saying cheating on someone is right or okay, but I am saying that judgment falls very harshly when we don't know the full story and jump to conclusions.
Here are some of our cheater's sides of the story.
1. The Girl Who Wasn't Feeling Loved
"He wasn't giving me enough attention, but his best friend was. We didn't actually do anything sexual, but we cuddled in the same bed and went to sleep. Not horrible, but still pretty messed up."
2. The Guy Who Was Cheated On And Figured "Two Can Play"
"I found out after four years of marriage that my wife had cheated on me while I was in Iraq. Hell, it was with a girl that the two of us had a threesome with right before I left. I would have gladly given her my consent to have a sexual relationship with that woman while I was gone, but it was the deceit that killed it for me. I found myself once again growing cold towards the thought of what she might be doing whenever we weren't together.
I had this smoking hot, young coworker who would drift conversations to inappropriate topics and she sent me a few sexy pics and texts, but I kept things rather professional with her.
I Skyped her [wife] one evening as she was getting ready to go to sleep. She was in the bedroom of the hotel "getting ready" for bed as most women do and she accidentally panned the phone a bit too far to the left and I saw her friend already under the blankets with her tits hanging out on top of the blankets. I, then, texted that hot, young coworker and didn't regret it or really feel anything negative about the entire experience, just great sex with someone new."
3. The Guy Who Tried to Fix Things But Kept Getting Hurt
"She cheated on me. She was having cyber sex sessions on Chatroulette and Skype. When I found this out, I was devastated. My self-esteem had never been lower. I don't know when or why I decided to do it, but one day I signed up for Tinder. I consider myself a little bit above average in the looks department. I got a few matches, had some decent conversations with a few girls, although it was mostly surface and small talk. The attention felt great and my once shattered self-esteem was getting a much-needed boost even though it was all very innocent.
And then I matched with her. She was the exact opposite of my girlfriend in every aspect—looks, personality, interests. She was mixed race with dark curly hair and green eyes. Her body was insane. She was gorgeous. She was funny and interesting and loved all the same things as me. She asked to meet up for coffee and I agreed.
We chatted for several hours. We had a connection. We had chemistry. We went on a few more "dates" until one day she invited me back to her place and f*cked me as I've never been f*cked before. The sex was insane. I was hooked. I would tell my girlfriend various excuses to get out of the house and go f*ck this other girl a couple times a week.
I kept at it for several months. Eventually, I found out my girlfriend cheated on me again, this time physically with a coworker. It was rather hypocritical of me, I know, but I broke up with her for good after I found out.
I don't feel bad or guilty about doing it, either. It gave me a huge boost in my self-esteem, and I had by far the best sex of my life. If that makes me a shitty person, then so be it."
4. The Guilty Guy
"I was falling out of love with her and in love with someone else. Luckily I did not go too far until I realized I was that asshole and broke it off with my ex before I continued.
[I am] still in a relationship with the girl, I cheated on my ex with her after six and a half years so at least I know I made the right decision to move on, but the feeling of cheating on someone is awful and I wouldn't ever do it again."
5. The Girl Who Didn't Love Her Man As Much As He Loved Her
"I was in a relationship where he loved me more than I loved him. I think I was just in it because it was habitual, comforting, and most of all, easy. I barely had to put in any work because whenever I needed him, he'll be there. It wasn't fair to him at all, but I honestly was just too comfortable and lazy to break up with him.
Then I met someone. He made me laugh, he challenged me, and we had so many more things in common. Since we worked together and I was still in a relationship, I didn't really pick up on the fact that he had feelings for me. We would talk for hours each night about the most random things and it never felt forced. On my last day of work, he asked me to get celebration drinks.
He didn't know I was in a relationship with someone else, he still doesn't. We grabbed dinner and just ran around town like a couple of idiots. And I felt what was missing in my relationship—spark. Later that night, he kissed me goodbye.
I broke up with my then boyfriend the very next day because I told myself, I cannot and will not remain in that relationship with a loving guy who has done no wrong. But, I later realized, what I had was an emotional affair. The second relationship did not last for more than two months. But I'm still grateful that it gave me the push to finally end the first relationship and set that wonderful guy free to someone who will love him back."
6. The Girl Who Couldn't Take The Distance
"We were in a long distance relationship. Dated in high school and I went to college. He always complained about coming to see me every other month when I would come back to see him every weekend. He also didn't like texting or calling as much as I wanted him to. Then I met a guy who enjoyed talking to me and hanging out with me. I didn't make many friends so I took what I could get, even if he had a girlfriend while he was constantly hitting on me. I was lonely and weak. He was very manipulative. My S.O. and I eventually broke up but I didn't tell him about the affair until after we got back together and dated for two more years. He was hurt, but understood I regretted it and felt disgusted with myself."
7. The Guy Who Has A Problem But Isn't Ready To Fix It
Because I'm a sex addict. Yes, it's a thing. No, I didn't self-diagnose.
I'm not going to sit here and say that it's not my fault. I may have an issue, a problem, a sickness, or whatever you want to call it. I also have the ability to correct it, and I don't. So at the end of the day, I have no one but myself to blame.
It started really small, I'd flirt with people when I was with my S.O. Her former marriage was open and we'd agreed that our relationship should be, too. In three years, I had one disclosed liaison with her knowledge. Between kids and work, neither of us had time for anything else. Then it snowballed into stuff via text, Skype, and finally, Craigslist meetups.
Fast forward a few years and into the next few relationships. I still do all of these things. And it doesn't matter who it is, could be a woman or a man. I'm going to be sick until I decide I want to get better. And I do because I know that I am never going to have a normal relationship until I can fix myself."
8. The Guy Who Was Upfront And Still Got The Short End Of The Stick
"I cheated on an S.O. a few times when I was in my late teens, early 20s Hormones and a horrible sense of entitlement. Will always regret it. These sordid experiences taught me that there's nothing cheating can offer me which will make up for the horrible feeling you get later. So when I settled down I had no problems being faithful.
But eventually, many years later, the resentments, sexual incompatibility and lack of communication caught up with me. One day I woke up and felt nothing. No hope, no love, no nothing. Once you reach that point it's only a matter of time. Half a year later I fell in love with someone else. I told the S.O. straight away that someone new was in the picture before there was sex because there was no way I was going to go down the cheating path again. We separated three weeks later.
Sadly that was still not considered to be "upfront" enough and I got still branded as a liar and a cheater. I let them have everything during the divorce, didn't matter. To this day the ex S.O. feels extremely ill-used and derives great satisfaction in being the 'injured party.'"
9. The Girl Who Was Bored, At First
"I've cheated a few times in the past. The first time I felt so bored and stagnant in my relationship and the guy I cheated with was so exciting. It was stupid of me but at the time I felt like my whole world was crashing down. Fast forward to me being 26 in a very meaningless relationship with an older man and then I cheated again. I fell in love with a married coworker and the sex was just insane. I felt immense guilt since he was totally married with a toddler. I ended up quitting my job and moving out of state because I didn't think we'd ever be able to stop. He asked to see me the day before my move. He claimed he loved me and he cried and he said he felt so bad that I was getting run out of town. I never told my actual boyfriend about the affair. The wife had suspected something but I never said anything to her. It's been over a year since I've seen him and when I left that city, but I think about him still. I hate it. I wish I had never met him or crossed that line. He randomly emails me with his secret email but I just feel anger."
10. The Guy Who Just Couldn't Keep It In His Pants
"Married for more than 25 years, and have had multiple affairs during that time. Some of them lasted for years.
Why? Mostly due to a lack of sex from my wife and a need to feel wanted/attractive. Honestly, having affairs is probably a big part of the reason I'm still married to her. When things were at the worst between us, the affairs helped to keep me level.
Many of the women I slept with were very good friends of hers. There were only a couple who didn't know her at all, but all of them knew I was married before anything happened. Big tip for anyone thinking of cheating—never hide your relationship from the person you're cheating with."
11. The Guy Who Says Affairs Are A Way Of Blowing Off Steam
"She told me she didn't love me anymore, I moved with my brother in a neighbor city and started working on a nightclub as a photographer, bumped into an old flame and she began going to the club and after my shift we usually would go to my place, have a good night and leave it at that.
I finally worked things out with my wife, our marriage carried on, then a few years later we were kind of growing apart, I found liberating to have long chats with a female friend, completely platonic at first, I had absolutely no intentions of anything else but one night my wife was visiting her mom and my friend and I had sex, my relationship with my wife got better and we share a nice and healthy sex life, usual normal fights here and there but we still love each other and have a good life.
I think that if I tell her she's gonna be pissed and stop trusting me, and many may think that's totally right for her to do, but the fact is that having sex with another person didn't mean anything else to me than a good experience and like 'blowing steam' but actually don't mean anything to me beyond that, for me it was just as relevant as having a day at the spa, and I love my wife more than ever, wouldn't want to damage our relationship with something that means way more to her than it does to me, and frankly, if she does it and I have a way to be absolutely sure that it doesn't mean anything to her and it won't become something prevalent or that the other guy is gonna be on her thoughts while we're together, I would not mind."
12. The Guy Who Cheated For Love
"I had a girlfriend in high school that I struggled for two years to get out of the friend zone with. We lasted like five months as a couple before I fell out of love with her very suddenly. I started dreading interactions with her because I knew that she was putting so much more into the relationship than I was. I just wasn't emotionally invested or satisfied anymore. Basically, I felt like I was just using her for sex while she thought that we actually had a solid relationship. This situation lasted for like two months, May and June.
Jump cut: two years before that I met a girl from Pennsylvania (I'm from Indiana) on summer vacation. We became very good long distance friends/pen pals over the years, and around the same time that I started having relationship issues, I fell hard for Pennsylvania girl.
I never told my girlfriend the truth about the trip. I told Pennsylvania girl that I'd broken up with my girlfriend before the trip, and we proceeded to have passionate sex. We actually ended up having a long-distance relationship for a while. In the end, I felt like I cheated on both of them in that one event. To be a guy that had a vehement hatred of cheaters and cheating and to all of a sudden find yourself in that situation with really no idea how you got there is terrible. 'Cheater' is an internal stigma that sticks with me to this day."
13. The Girl Who Was Young And Stupid
"I'm not making excuses, but I was young and stupid. I actually cheated on two different boyfriends and it was awful for both of them. I stomped on their hearts. I was pretty insecure as a teenager, as most of us are. Whenever a guy told me I was pretty or he liked me it was like I couldn't help myself. I gave in. The first time was my high school boyfriend. He found out by going through my MySpace messages. It made him a bit crazy, understandably, but we ended up staying together another two years. The second guy... that was worse. I cheated on the second guy with the first guy's brother. First guy basically walked in on me with his brother and he told my boyfriend about it the next day after filming me leaving their house. So awful.
14. The Girl Who Was Hurt And Just Wanted To Feel Wanted
"I never considered myself to be the type of person to cheat but I met this guy who was sweet when I met him. When we started dating, he was flirting with other girls, would hide his phone, started mistreating me...would tell me I was insecure because I felt he was talking to other people. It really took a toll on me emotionally. .At the time, my closest guy friend would always treat me really well. My ex was a mean drunk and would yell at me, push me, so one day when I was hanging out with my friend, he told me he liked me and it just happened. We kissed. We did that a few more times after and eventually slept together once. I never told my ex. He broke up with me a few months after because I had seen him dancing with a girl he had been flirting with and was mad that people told him off for it. It was a bad relationship."
Responses have been edited for length or clarity.
And those are some of the black, white, and grey sides of the story!