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Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

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Written by   9
5 months ago

We've all heard the statement, once a cheater, always a cheater. But is it 100 percent true? I can't answer that for sure, there's no empirical data to back up either claim. I can only speak for myself. And up until a few years ago, the answer would have been a resounding, yes.

I've always had difficulty remaining monogamous. There are a multitude of reasons/excuses for my behavior, but the older I get and the more research I do into the topic (and myself), the more I realize, it boiled down to one main issue. Although it sounds completely counterintuitive, I was afraid of being left alone.

Right. I know it sounds crazy. In order to ensure I was never alone, I cheated on those who gave me the opportunity to be in a relationship with them. But hear me out. I'm not saying it's right, by any means, but it's how my mind worked. I figured, if I always had someone (or multiple someones) on the side, I would never have to worry about being alone. I never claimed to be smart. There were times I didn't even bother pretending I wanted a relationship, as it's damn near impossible to maintain one, much less four or five. I would just show up on my day, that I typically assigned to myself, do my thing, and be unavailable beyond texting for the rest of the week.

When I think back to the amount of effort I put into my schedule, juggling multiple people at once, I'm astounded. If only I had put in that much work with a real, lasting relationship. However, I can't regret any of it, because I wouldn't be where I am today, nor would I have the amazing wife and relationship I do right now.

I wish I could tell you I learned from my past, saw the error of my ways, and never cheated on my wife, but that would be a lie. I was already in a relationship with someone else when we first met, engaged to be married more specifically. But I still began dating my now wife, and pretended she was the only one for six months, until I was caught. My relationship with my first wife wasn't a romantic one at that point, but I had agreed to marry her for various reasons and went ahead with it. Even though less than an hour away from where we lived, I had a woman who I knew was the love of my life, waiting on me to come home every weekend and continue our relationship.

After I married my first wife, it wasn't long before my then girlfriend found out everything. She was devastated, but gave me the opportunity to come clean and explain myself. To this day, I'll never know why she did this for me, because I definitely didn't deserve it. She asked pointed questions, and expected honesty, even though I had been slack in providing that up until this point in time. I had to decide, once and for all, if I wanted to continue with my sham of a marriage to make one person happy, or begin to work on ending things and move forward with my life, potentially making myself and my girlfriend happy.

It wasn't a difficult decision. Just over a year after I married a woman I didn't love, an almost ruined the best thing that's ever happened to me, I was divorced. In the state where we reside, you're required to be separated for a year and a day before the court will grant a divorce. I filed less than a week after our marriage to ensure our divorce could happen as quickly as possible.

I had been given a second chance at happiness and I didn't want to screw it up. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I was doing the right thing and moving in a positive direction. My soon to be new wife forgave me, but beyond that, she gave me a safe place to land. A place where I knew I wouldn't be judged immediately for my past bad acts, a place where I could share my misgivings and fears without judgment.

It hasn't been perfect by any means, which is on me more than anything. That wasn't the last time I cheated. I was weak and went back to old bad habits when I became afraid. But through it all, my wife has stood by my side. She's provided counseling, an ear, a shoulder, and her heart; None of which I fully deserve in my mind, but she thinks I do, which is what matters.

I've been faithful in this relationship longer than I ever had before in my life. In the past couple of years, we have discussed being polyamorous and have moved forward with that, and it's been a game changer for us both. My wife has experience in this lifestyle and has guided me since the beginning, ensuring we're both comfortable with every aspect of it before embarking on anything new.

For me, I hope the old adage isn't true. I can't say I'll never cheat again, because I don't know the future. What I do know, is for the first time in my life, I have zero desire to do so. Maybe, I've finally learned to accept the love I'm being given and in turn, can fully respond in kind.

@JonicaBradley - Thank you for the prompt, I hope I did it justice.

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Written by   9
5 months ago
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Comments

It is interesting that you say you had a fear of being left alone. Not trying to be offensive but that reason or excuse sounds so lame! That's the whole point of a monogamous relationship. COMMITMENT. A partner who sticks with you through thick and thin, through the good and the bad, through the sunshine and the rain. The two of you grow old together. I have seen couples who were married for 70 years and they still hold each other's hand when they walk together. Why would you risk giving up such a beautiful and lasting relationship by CHEATING???

By the way, I'm not sure about your background or culture, but marrying someone you do not love TOTALLY DEFEATS the whole point of a monogamous relationship.

All I can say is … marriage to the one love is one of the greatest joys in this life. You are literally CHEATING yourself AND that person you married of the JOY OF LIVING. That's not right!

$ 0.00
1 month ago

thanks for taking the time to read. You're welcome to your opinion, as am I. My wife and I are not monogamous, we are polyamorous. No, we were not when I cheated. I know what mistakes I made and have worked hard to get where I am today through them all.

$ 0.02
1 month ago

Of course. I assumed you wanted an honest expression, not just somebody who agreed with you. Otherwise you would not have written about this at all. It's definitely not a topic I would write about. But it is one I would comment about. If you don't believe me, just ask my kids. 😁

$ 0.00
1 month ago

You're not wrong :) I have no issue with someone disagreeing with me. Honestly, writing about this situation is more about helping me realize where I was compared to where I am now, and to show others who may be currently in this situation they can change.

$ 0.00
1 month ago

Writing is good therapy. There was once a time in my life when I went through a very dark period. The writing helped heal me.

$ 0.00
1 month ago

Well done. It must be difficult to talk about something most people consider a character flaw. I'm happy you participated in the prompt. P.S. All of the prompts are here forever, so you can participate in any of them at any time. There's no limit.

$ 0.00
5 months ago

Definitely not easy, but I would rather expose myself and continue to work towards being a better person, rather than keep things hidden. Plus, I get very tired of the trope that people cheat because of something missing at home (that's definitely not the case here)

$ 0.02
1 month ago

I don't believe people cheat because something is missing at home. Unless that something is communication. I understand marrying someone you don't love. I understand not really knowing what love is, how to express it, how to accept it.

Mistakes are made. I'm happy you found forgiveness and are working toward a better you.

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1 month ago

Unfortunately, that seems to be the trope most would rather spew than actually get to the heart of the story. In my case, it was lack of communication and being open, on my end. I had to work on myself before i was able to realize what I was doing to myself and to the one I love. I'm thankful she gave me so many chances to figure it out and the help along the way. Thanks for being such a good friend.

$ 0.00
1 month ago