As the saying goes, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater’. And that’s what keeps us ever doubtful of a person’s loyalty in a relationship.
Cheating has almost become a norm in today’s dating age. Many times, we make the mistake of thinking it’s something harmless – from guys cheering on their ‘bro’ who already has a girlfriend but is trying to make a move on a girl at the club to girls encouraging their friend to send that flirtatious text because the guy is cute.
In the moment, it all seems harmless but when it actually happens and people get hurt, is it really?
Cheating is selfish, cheating is ugly and most definitely, cheating is wrong.
We spoke to ten people who dug up a painful part of their past to share what it’s like being cheated on, being a cheater or being the ‘other person’ in someone else’s relationship.
So for all of you looking for some sort of closure, looking to compare how you cheated with how others did (we hope there’s none of you sickos out there!), or if you’re just a busybody and has never experienced cheating or being cheated on (lucky you!), read on to find out just how and why some people cheat.
* Submissions edited for length and clarity. Names changed for privacy, of course.
1. ‘We were in a long-distance relationship’
‘Her family was quite strict back here, so when she went overseas for her studies, I guess she was experiencing some really intense culture shock with her newfound freedom. So, one day, when she came back during her break, she broke the news to me. With tears in her eyes, she admitted that she got drunk one night and ended up having sex with some guy. We had been together for a year. I forgave her.
Lingered on the memory of her, still texted and loved her WHILE she was with the guy she cheated on me with. Because I loved her, I layan
ed her. In the end, I forgave her – because everyone makes mistakes sometimes – but I stopped waiting for her. We’re still friends on social media, we still talk, on and off, but we keep our conversations minimal. I’ve gotten over this completely.’
- Mikhael, 23
2. ‘I didn’t know he had a girlfriend’
‘This guy was cute and all that, but I never really bothered with him because I thought he was way out of my league, especially since he was a few years older. Naturally, when he was so obvious in trying to get with me, I was super flattered. Being the young, love-struck thing I was, I played hard to get and all that stupid stuff but eventually, we started going out.
After about four months of us being exclusively together – or so I thought we were – I found out he was STILL WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND! Douchebag of the year! But of course, young and stupid me forgave him and gave us another shot. As stupid as that sounds, I’m glad I did. Long story short, we’re still together after three years. Of course, there are days when I feel a little doubtful and insecure because when you come across things about cheating, it’s always screaming in your face ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’. But I believe people change as they grow and I know for a fact that he’s a changed man.’
- Nikki, 19
3. ‘I kept forgiving him’
‘We were together for six years. We were serious to the point that we were talking about marriage – of course not now, but some time in the future, we wanted to get married. Throughout the six years we were together, he had gotten physical with other girls more than a couple of times. Being young and stupid, I forgave him. A couple of the girls would even text me from his phone and guess what his excuse was? The girls wanted to borrow his phone to play games. Just wow!
But even after all that, I forgave him and moved in with him for a few months. It was a great time for us because he was starting to get close to my parents after years of them not really accepting him. So I was pretty happy that everything was falling into place. Then one day he just told me he didn’t want to be with me anymore. I was horrified. And confused, because we weren’t fighting or arguing before that. I really didn’t see it coming.
A couple of weeks after we broke up, word got around that he was with the girl that I knew he was cheating on me with. They were together for just a short while before I forgave him and got back with him again. At that time, I still couldn’t see that our relationship really wasn’t healthy for me because he was the first and only love I knew. We lasted for six months before, once again, he cheated on me with that same girl.
So now here I am, while he’s with her. It’s a sad thing to have happened but I’m really enjoying the single life because for six years, I was tied down to someone who really didn’t appreciate me at all. ’
- Amanda, 22
4. ‘I fell out of love’
‘After the fourth year of our relationship, I didn’t feel it anymore. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t connect with her the same way we did before. I started going out with other girls, but just as friends. This particular girl was already in a relationship so I thought it was a sort of ‘safe zone’ since we both were already taken.
But our casual hangouts turned into dates where we’d hold hands, then progress to kiss and you know, all that’s beyond. There simply isn’t an exact explanation or a reason why I did it, but it happened.’
- Thiban, 25
5. ‘I thought it was just a stupid, harmless joke’
‘We texted very briefly and it was obvious he wanted more than to be just friends. I had no intention of being with him, because I really loved – and still really love – my boyfriend, but I ended up leading this other guy on. We were joking around through text and he said something really flirtatious. Instead of immediately cutting off all contact with him, I replied something I shouldn’t have; it was just a joke but it was something that suggested I was interested in having a relationship with him – when I really wasn’t.
It all seemed like a stupid, playful thing at that time but when my boyfriend saw what I had sent, I realised how much I had hurt him. We had a horrible fight and things weren’t really the same for quite some time. Even if, at first, I thought it was just a harmless text, cheating is cheating. There’s no justifying that, and there’s no comparing the ‘degree of cheating’, if that makes sense. I simply have to accept that I made a horrible mistake.’
- Natalie, 19
6. ‘It was my best friend’s guy. We were drunk’
‘I was super close to both my best friend and her boyfriend. We were around 15 or 16 and had just started exploring drinking, so naturally, we were getting drunk at almost every opportunity we had! Since her boyfriend and I lived quite close by, we decided to buy a bottle of cheap liquor and drink the Saturday afternoon away. After about an hour, we got quite drunk and ended up making out.
I felt so horrible after that and couldn’t bear the thought of losing my best friend over what happened. I didn’t know how to tell her so I hid it from her. But eventually, the truth will always surface. So, in the end, she found out, they broke up and I stopped talking to him. Years later, I’m still close friends with her. It was a terrible mistake that I regret until this day. I learned to never ever let a guy come in between friendships. It’s ugly.’
- Michelle, 21
7. ‘I didn’t have any other way to get rid of her’
‘I didn’t want to be with her anymore. We were together for over two years and I just felt that things weren’t going anywhere. We were young when we got together and I thought it was love. Maybe it was, but it definitely wore off. She got too possessive. Possessive to the point where I couldn’t leave her even if I wanted to. I tried telling her we weren’t working out anymore but she didn’t want to come to terms with it.
I was afraid to face it, so that was a mistake on my part, but she wasn’t making it any easier for the both of us either. Towards the end of our relationship, I cheated on her with my current girlfriend, who I’ve been with for close to three years now. It was a very wrong thing for me to do, but at that time, I felt as if I had no other choice because she didn’t let me go.’
- Alex, 22
8. ‘He was cute’
‘I was new to uni when I got to know him. We clicked right away, so we hung out quite a lot. I found him to be really cute and extremely sweet but I knew from the start that he was taken. So, I thought we were in the ‘safe zone’. Slowly, we both started to notice clear signs of mutual attraction but we made it clear to just be friends. Unfortunately, the more we tried to keep our distance, the closer we got.
We started spending hours in my dorm room, just talking, laughing and watching movies. We would take naps together in between classes, but there was nothing physical between us. Since his girlfriend was studying in another area, I kinda felt like a ‘fill-in’ for her, but I continued to spend time with him. We went on grocery shopping trips, cooked together, went Christmas shopping together and did all sorts of stuff he should have been doing with his girlfriend instead. We did talk about her on occasion, which always ended up with me feel like I was nothing to him.
Then one day – this sounds so scandalous but – we took a shower together, which led to sex. The next day, I was bound to fly back to see my family so we didn’t speak much about it. After the semester break, we had a talk and he told me he felt a connection with me, unlike with his girlfriend. But they we each other’s first love so he couldn’t just leave her. He did ask me if I ever thought he’d leave her for me. I never did.’
- Kristal, 20
9. ‘I don’t know why she did it. I gave her everything’
‘I had caught her cheating on me a couple of times before – lies, texts, drunk nights. But she came from a broken family, so I had a real soft spot for her. Because she was orphaned at a young age, I wanted her to have the best life I could possibly give her. I promised myself that I would be the one who would take care of her. I gave her a place to stay and we lived together for close to a year. I dedicated a lot of my time for her because I really loved her. I would send her to work every morning and pick her up after work.
Halfway through the relationship, she became jobless. I was the one who would look for job openings and take her to interviews. I did my best for her, in every way I could. When I finally found her a job, it was all going good until I noticed something was off. She went by two different names, and at work, she called herself a third name. It was a red flag I didn’t put much thought into.
Then there was another red flag I looked past: some weekends she would tell me she had ‘outstation work’ to do. I thought nothing of it, but I feel disgusted because now I know that in reality, she was out sleeping with someone else. This guy was, in fact, her one-time driver from a taxi-hailing service. They started texting – in May this year I found texts that went all the way back to September last year – and ended up having a sexual relationship. So for almost the whole year she was living with me, she was getting down and dirty with this guy she met on a taxi-hailing service!
When I found out about all this, I had already bought her an engagement ring. I had envisioned and planned everything perfectly. I was going to propose to when we went on our vacation in a few months’ time. I’m glad that didn’t happen because now I know who and how she really is.
I kicked her out of my place, dumped out all of her stuff and even took pictures of the whole thing for Facebook. But when the post started gaining attention, I deleted it because even though I hate her for doing this to me, I realised I don’t ever want to stoop that low. As much as what she did was horrible, I simply leave it to karma. I just hope that one day she can change and not hurt someone else the way she hurt me.’
- Benjamin, 24
10. ‘I loved the attention’
‘I was 19 and with a girl I loved, but I couldn’t resist the attention other girls were giving me. I liked the idea of having other girls wanting to be with me and I couldn’t help but entertain that. I led them on in ways I shouldn’t have. It went beyond just flirtatious texts and innocent hangout sessions. I went to the extent of actually dating them.
I lied to them that I had broken up with my girlfriend and eventually, I was with three different girls all at once – each of them thought I was exclusively dating them. I was young and really foolish. I don’t ever want to go back to that phase, ever.’
- Aakash, 22
We hope these experiences have shed light on cheating and have taught you to look out for the red flags and to walk away if you’re in a toxic relationship, walk away if you’re not happy in your relationship, walk away if your attention has shifted. Cheating should never be an option.
So, if you’ve ever cheated, let these experiences help you understand what pain such an act brings about and how you can avoid hurting those who love you. If you’ve been cheated on, know that you are most definitely not alone in this. And if you’re that busybody we were talking about at the start of this article, we hope your busybody-ness has been satisfied!
These sharings and experiences go to show that even if not all stories have a happy ending, one thing is certain:
Once a cheater, not always a cheater. People grow; people change.