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I Talked To Some Women About Why They Cheat. Here's What They Said.
Love & Relationships

I Talked To Some Women About Why They Cheat. Here's What They Said.

Yeah, this one is about to be interesting. And let me just say this — since I know that the topic may be triggering for some of you, let me explain my thought process before we get into the thick of it all.

First, as a marriage life coach for many years now, let me just say that when it comes to who has confessed to committing infidelity (which can mean marital disloyalty or disloyalty, in general) more, at this point, it’s kind of neck and neck — if the wives don’t actually have a slight lead. Hmph, to tell you the truth, that’s why my eyebrow goes up (and sometimes my eyes roll as well) whenever I see the constant gender war topic of cheating coming up on social media — a part of me wonders if it’s the paranoia that comes from projecting more than anything else. After all, reportedly, 20 percent of men cheat, and 13 percent of women do yet let’s not overlook that the stats are based on how many have actually admitted to doing it before.


Second, as much as some of y’all wanna dog the Tubi app out, let me just say that for every 15 sucky movies, there are 4.5 good ones (LOL), especially in the indie section. One that I checked out a couple of years back is entitled28 Hotel Rooms. The gist is, it’s about two people who meet in — yep, you guessed it — 28 hotel rooms and share snippets of their lives over the course of a few years. At some point, they both are married. Throughout the entire film, things are complicated. It’s a cinematic reminder that asks the question, is cheating morally right? Telling someone you are going to do something and then not doing it never is. Cheating is not exempt. Yet is cheating as black and white as folks want it to be? Not by a country mile.

And third, rather than just say that cheating comes in shades of gray, I wanted to give some women who have experienced it firsthand to explain why. For the record, this isn’t about justification. It’s also not about seeking anyone’s approval. I just think that, again, as someone who works in the area of relationships, whether you’ve cheated, been cheated on, or are considering cheating, it’s important to look at the mindset behind it — one that is beyond something as simple as a person is “bad” or “selfish.” After all, since rarely does anyone ever plan to cheat…let’s look at 12 women (they picked a name to go by; pretty sure you can guess why they went that route) and how they found themselves in that type of, let’s go with, arduous dynamic. For some, it will bring clarity. For others, it will be a cautionary tale. Of that, I am sure.

(Heads up: I sought out women who physically cheated; emotional cheating is still cheating, yet it’s a beast of a totally different color. We’ll tackle that at another time.)

1. Irsula. 41. Married for 10 Years. Been Cheating for One.

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“No one prepares you for how many changes you go through as a wife and that you have to go through it times two because your husband is too. Sometimes you can roll over in bed and feel like you’re in it with a complete stranger — and that they are feeling the same way. You can’t decide if you still love them or who you loved when you were someone different — and since the questions are all so complex, it’s not as simple as ‘just leave.’

"So, you stay and try and make it work, as best as you can, while still trying to get the needs that the ‘new you’ has…and that’s where another man can come in for me. ‘He’ fulfills who I am now. My husband satisfies who I once was and still am in some ways. I’m not saying that it’s right. I’m just explaining that infidelity can be really complex.”

"‘He’ fulfills who I am now. My husband satisfies who I once was and still am in some ways. I’m not saying that it’s right. I’m just explaining that infidelity can be really complex.”

2. Robin. 28. Engaged for Two Years. Been Cheating with Her Ex for Four Months.

“Since no one is going to know it’s me, I’ll just put it right on out there, okay? A lot of women cheat, and that’s why they’re always paranoid about their man doing it. And guess who a lot of them cheat with? Their ex. I love my man. He’s dragging his feet when it comes to setting a [wedding] date, and I’m sure that’s not helping things as far as my ex goes.

"But there’s also a chemistry between me and my ex that has never gone away. So, why not just marry him? Because chemistry is all we have. We wouldn’t be good partners or parents, but there is something about him that I haven’t found in anyone else — and so, until I’m officially a ‘Mrs.’, I see it as our last call.”

3. Lillian. 37. In a Committed Relationship for Three Years. Cheated During the First Year.

“My man knows about my cheating. It’s a long story, but the easiest way to explain is I didn’t think I deserved him. He loves me in a way that’s unfamiliar, and so I cheated with a guy, kind of like a backup plan, because I thought that eventually, he would leave. The guy wasn’t anything but sex, and it wasn’t even good sex.

"We started messing around a couple of months after my man and I made it official, and I didn’t tell my man until the second year of our relationship. He was hurt but not really shocked. He told me that he wished I’d love us enough to stop trying to ruin it. Because he didn’t leave, it changed my whole mindset about love and men.”

4. Mia. 29. Married for One Year. Cheated While Engaged.

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“You know how they say that once you commit, men come out from everywhere? That’s basically what happened. A man from my past, who I had been looking for off and on since college, hit me up on my IG, and we started hanging out about three years into my engagement. My husband and I had been engaged for that long, and it kind of felt like marriage wasn’t going to happen. I’m not sure if it was more about not believing that my husband was serious about marrying me or [if] I wanted to see if something was still there with ole’ boy.

"What I will say is don’t play around with possibilities. Love ain’t a game of Spades. For the record, we had oral sex and not intercourse, and even that was only a couple of times. But the emotional ties? That’s what was really hard to get out of my system. I’m still doing it. My therapist knows all about it.”

"I’m not sure if it was more about not believing that my husband was serious about marrying me or [if] I wanted to see if something was still there with ole’ boy. What I will say is don’t play around with possibilities. Love ain’t a game of Spades."

5. Tonya. 33. Divorced for 10 Months. Because She Cheated.

“One side to being a virgin when you get married is a part of you always wonders if you missed out by not having sex with other people. At least, that’s my story. There’s nothing long or complicated about what happened. Sex with my husband seemed to have something missing. There was a guy I was really attracted to, and so we started having an affair. The sex was so good that I didn’t know how to keep matters separate, so I told my husband that I thought I was in love with someone else. He said that it was the love and not the sex that was a deal-breaker.

"What’s wild is now that I’m single, even though the guy and I still have sex, I realize that I was more caught up in how I felt during sex, not after. It was a hard lesson that cost me a lot. I’m not sure how much I regret it, but it’s not something that I would recommend — or repeat.”

6. Seraphina. 23. In a Committed Long-Distance Relationship. Currently Cheating.

“People say that long-distance relationships don’t work. I think it’s more like it can be difficult if you expect your partner not to cheat. I’m in the kind of relationship where my boyfriend doesn’t have as high of a sex drive as I do, and so, at least according to him, he can go several weeks without sex. I can’t.

"So, what I’m doing is more about sex maintenance than anything. And before y’all start, I don’t want to end my relationship. When I finish school, and my boyfriend and I can be in the same city, then this will end. Until then…”

7. Talia. 40. Married for 15 Years. Cheated Twice with an Ex While Married.

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“You counsel married couples, right? Please tell people to get their sh-t with their exes cleared up before jumping a damn broom because that sh-t will catch up to you in ways that you would never imagine, especially if there have always been unresolved feelings. I think I read in one of your articles that you had to finally just stop speaking to your first love because the two of you were always trying to figure out a way to make it work. That’s me and my ex in a nutshell.

"He’s in a long-term situation, I’m married. There’s something between us. So yeah, we’ve hooked up a couple of times in my marriage. I’m not proud, but it’s not until you actually get married that you realize how long marriage is. And no, I don’t want to leave my husband. And yes, I am prepared that karma might kick my ass. If my husband cheated — or has already cheated — I wouldn’t leave him. One thing about cheating is it gives you grace for your partner because you see how easily it can happen.”

8. Xia. 37. Currently Single. Has Cheated in Every Relationship.

“Folks love to overanalyze other people. No offense, Shellie [Shellie here: none taken. LOL]. I came from a two-parent home. My parents are happily married. I was never abused or sexually assaulted. I don’t like porn. I think I’m attractive. Every guy I dated has been good to me. Hmm…what other reasons can people come up with for why I just don’t do commitment well? I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think that infidelity applies unless you’re actually engaged or married — but no, I have not been in a relationship where I haven’t slept with another person too.

"To be fair, I’ve only had three serious boyfriends in my life but…I think I just like variety. That’s why I’ve ‘cheated’ in every relationship and why I’ve resigned to just be single for the foreseeable future. Not really because [cheating] bothers me, but because I don’t want to hurt someone who might have a different value system than I do.”

"I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think that infidelity applies unless you’re actually engaged or married — but no, I have not been in a relationship where I haven’t slept with another person too."

9. Helen. 29. In a Committed Relationship for One Year. Currently Cheating.

“Remember how you once said to me that you think it’s wild that folks will defend casual sex all day long, and yet cheating is all of a sudden the worst thing that someone can do? That if we valued sex more, it should be applied across the board? I get what you mean. I just see ‘sex as sex’ whether I’m with someone or not.

"I didn’t really sign up to give my body only to my boyfriend — just my heart. He pretty much knows this about me, so although I haven’t told him that I have sex with someone else from time to time, men aren’t as stupid as some women say. I think he knows. Eventually, we’ll talk about it.”

10. Gaia. 34. Broken Engagement. Because She Cheated.

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“Everything about my relationship with my fiancé was perfect — except for the sex. The mechanics of it were fine, it just wasn’t the kind of sex that I could see myself having for the rest of my life. I talked about it with my ex, especially after we got engaged, but it turned into hurt feelings on his part and resentment on mine.

"I cheated to see if it was a shallow situation; it wasn’t. Believe it or not, I broke off the engagement because, when I saw that sex could be more than what I was getting, I figured that I was overlooking some other real needs too.”

11. Olivia. 40. Engaged for Five Years. Currently Cheating.

“I’m not proud of what I’m doing, but I feel like I’m in between a rock and a hard place because my fiancé is someone I love, who isn’t rushing to get married, and the guy I’m cheating with is someone who fills all of the voids of my fiancé. I don’t wish this kind of situation on anyone, but I am thankful that you’re touching [on] this topic because it’s so easy for people to think that everything is black and white.‘

Just leave’ sounds real easy when feelings, families, and livelihoods aren’t involved. I don’t want to ‘just leave’ — I want more than what I’m getting is all.”

12. Dinah. 50. Married for 22 Years. Has Been Cheating Off and On the Entire Time.

“We’ve been together forever. We have children. When you have kids, and you care about your partner, no, it’s not as simple as just leaving. Sometimes cheating happens because you’re not unhappy, you’re just not totally satisfied. There are so many things that go into making a marriage work, and sometimes the stress of it all makes you want to get an escape.

"While I wouldn’t say that I’m in an ‘open marriage’ but I do see my choices as a way to make marriage easier to handle. Some people see a therapist to get through. Every couple of years or so, I’ll see…someone else. Oh, and it’s easy to cast judgment until you tell someone that you’ll have their back until you die. Personally, I don’t see how divorcing is more admirable than cheating is. Tell your readers I said that."

"While I wouldn’t say that I’m in an ‘open marriage’ but I do see my choices as a way to make marriage easier to handle."

____

There you have it: 12 women, 12 angles, 12 reasons to, yes, keep your standards wherever they are as far as infidelity goes. However, also realize that life can put you in some pretty complex situations if you’re so busy looking down on people that you don’t use their situations as teachable moments more than anything else.

I’ve been in this counseling game long enough to know that while I personally don’t condone cheating, I do have a level of compassion for people who are somehow (pardon the overuse of the next word) entangled in it — and have survived it.

Relationships have so many layers to them. For those who cheat, that is one of them. A very, yes, absolutely not black and white…one.

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Featured image by Prostock Studio/Getty Images

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