Having a partner cheat on you, whether physically or emotionally, can leave anyone breathless from the pain. But the motives might not be so black and white.
If you've ever been cheated on, then you know just how heartbreaking and gut-wrenching it is. The sucker punch you get from knowing your partner chose someone else over you is overwhelming and can leave you reeling from a barrage of self-doubt and the reluctance to trust someone with your heart again. According to the Institute for Family Studies, using information from the General Social Survey, men are more likely to cheat than women, especially when they're married. However, in an article by The Cut, Belgian psychologist Esther Perel wrote in her book, State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity that the rate of married women who report they’ve been unfaithful has increased by 40% since the 1990s, while the rate among men has remained the same.
While these statistics do not take away from the devastation one feels when being cheated on and the consecutive abhorrence for the act, some women explain why they decided to cheat on their partners. And these nine women provide a more insightful perspective on their experience and why for some, it was freeing, according to a few Reddit threads and Huffpost.
1. "He had cheated on me multiple times and I wasn't quite ready to leave him because of the kids, so I tried to exact some kind of revenge by sleeping with someone too. In retrospect, I wish that I had kept the high ground. I left him two months later."
2. "I did cheat on one person in my life ... He wasn't a great guy and he was always accusing me of sleeping with other men when I wasn't. He pushed me over the edge one night when he told me I was going to f*** the guy taking my pictures for a photoshoot, and in my rage, I just decided 'screw it all.' It was immature as hell, but in my defense, I dumped him the next day rather than lying to him and continuing the relationship. I don't plan on cheating again."
4. "I did it because I wasn't happy in my relationship, and I was afraid of being alone. I didn't like confrontation, and I was scared out of my mind of making the wrong decision, whether that decision was staying or leaving. I cried about it a lot. I knew I was hurting him and myself, but couldn't bring myself to just end it. Eventually I convinced myself that what I was doing was simply wrong, and that he deserved way better than me, so I did break up with him after a while. Cheating is unforgivable, and by being the cheater, I didn't deserve to be with him."
5. "(I was) with someone for several years. There was something missing and I by chance met someone and after a year of knowing them, I knew I couldn't hold back what I felt. I cheated emotionally for months, then once physically and then I ended the relationship to be with the other person."
6. "(My husband) would throw things. Hit things. Break things. He would curse at me. Yell at me. He would raise his hands to me. And I couldn't stop him. I wasn't in love with the man I cheated with. But he treated me how I wanted to be treated. If I wanted to take it slow, he moved slow … My wants mattered. I would do anything he wanted me to. Even things I wasn't into. I'd do anything because I knew he would respect my wishes if I decided I wanted to stop. Our relationship was purely sexual. We didn't even cuddle ... But he respected me more than my husband did. So yes, I cheated on my husband. But I never cheated on the man that I married. I cheated on my abuser. I cheated on my tormenter."
7. "He's an ex now, obviously, but I felt like I cheated on him because I wasn't getting enough attention. Like I was the only one 'trying' in the relationship. Believe me when I tried to talk to him about it every time we saw each other but he'd always just blow it off and think good sex would make up for it. I was stupid and made a mistake."
8. "We had grown apart and hadn't been intimate for almost 2 years. We were like friends and roommates. Then a business trip, handsome latino man, connection, electricity, cheat. I told my husband when I came home, it kickstarted counselling but another year went by and we split up. There just wasn't anything there to start with, really. But we both learned a lot from our 'starter marriage', remained friends and we're both very happy now."
9. “I cheated on my boyfriend of four years when I knew the relationship was headed down the drain. It was a last ditch effort to get a reaction out of him and see if he cared. He didn’t, so that gave me my answer. I was also in a lot of denial about the end of our relationship and terrified of the prospect of being single again, mostly because I’d been out of the game for so long and felt completely disconnected from the single life. I think I wanted to prove to myself that the dating world was still out there and it was still available to me and that there were men who would want me."