Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
In today’s society, infidelity has become so common with young couples. I constantly hear stories about cheating. The lies, the pain and the heartbreak, followed by the inevitable question — why?
So I decided to ask some people: “Why did you cheat?”
1. “I should not have let my FWB manipulate me to cheat.”
“Growing up in a broken family made me very insecure about myself. I constantly had the need to find validation from other people, especially boys,” Li Ying says.
“At 15, I dated Chris for a year. Then he ended the relationship, saying he had unrequited feelings for someone else and did not want to string me along.”
This deepened her insecurities and lowered her self-confidence. She felt she was not good enough.
“For about a few months after, we did not talk. But then we rekindled our friendship, although we both knew a proper relationship was not in the cards. We became friends with benefits.”
Since Li Ying and Chris were not committed to each other, Li Ying would date around and even be in a monogamous relationship. However, this relationship only lasted 8 months.
“I used to be very guarded. I would not have the confidence to show my then-boyfriend my personality, because what if he doesn’t like it?” Li Ying admitted.
“Chris, who knew everything about me, would take advantage of this and convince me that if my boyfriend really liked me, he would have got me to open up.”
“Chris would often make it seem like there was no point in putting effort and being loyal in my own relationship, because “They are only dating you out of pity” and it was not going to last anyway.”
He would convince Li Ying to give him attention instead, which would usually lead to something physical.
“This went on over the span of 3 years. Sometimes I would avoid him so that he wouldn’t know about my relationships, but since I did not have any other positive male influence in my life, I would go back to him for a man’s opinion on my relationships,” Li Ying shared.
It eventually became a habit for her to rely on Chris emotionally and physically, even though she was in a relationship with another person.
“It just felt nice at the moment to be wanted by someone else. But the numbness and regret that come after was not worth it.”
This lowered Li Ying’s self-esteem even more. She would constantly think she is a bad person since she is capable of doing something so horrible.
“It was definitely not fair on the people who I was with, regardless of why they were interested in me. They were with me and I should have respected that, rather than let Chris plant a seed of doubt in me,” Li Ying admitted.
Li Ying shares that up to this day she is yet to forgive herself. “ Morally, it’s still wrong even if my past boyfriends don’t know about it.”
“There is no point telling them. All my break ups have ended amicably. Yes, maybe it would make me feel better if I tell them, but isn’t that just selfish?”
“I’d rather just not tell them something that is going to hurt them just for me to feel better. I will just carry this burden,” Li Ying replied.
She wishes she was more respectful towards the lines that define a relationship, no matter how fresh it was, and regrets allowing one person to influence all her past relationships.
“Even recently, Chris has tried his luck, but I refused and stayed loyal, out of affection and respect to my current boyfriend.”
“It ended up benefiting me, because my relationship now is healthy and positive,” Li Ying said brightly. “We have been together for a year plus and I never once thought to go back to Chris and cheat like in the past.”
Li Ying and her recent boyfriend connected immediately and his nature is very complimentary. He makes little comments about her that just helps boost her confidence.
“This was a huge thing for me, it was what I always wanted. Someone just to give me genuine compliments. It might seem like an unimportant quality, but it was exactly what I was looking for.”
She has made respecting her partner a huge part of her relationships. “Relationships are meant for longevity and that’s why loyalty in a relationship should be respected, regardless of length.”
“I realised I needed to respect myself so that people can’t manipulate or distort my perception of my choices and sense of self.”
2. “It was never meant to be, but he set my standards high.”
Ameera* (*not her real name) shared her story with me:
“I was 20, he was 19, and we were together for 3 years. We clicked very well and had similar values. We sort of lived together. He would stay over at my place alot and vice versa,” said Ameera.
“During the third year, I started getting bored in the relationship. I had my side business, doing theatre while in college. Meanwhile, all he was doing was failing his studies, playing games and getting high.”
“This made me lose passion for him, and the spark was gone. I needed some kind of excitement. An adrenaline rush. So, I downloaded Tinder.”
“I started talking to this one man and met up with him. It was exhilarating. So it made me open up to more people.”
“I started enjoying those conversations and sleeping with other men with no guilt. I was going to leave soon, but I needed to find the right time to break things off with my partner.”
This kept going on for a few months. Despite Ameera not wanting to prolong her relationship, she wanted to ensure she was out of love before ending it.
“I remember the day as if it was yesterday,” Ameera answered. “I told him we should take some time off from each other and it hit him out of nowhere.”
That day, while Ameera was taking a nap, her partner went through her phone. “I knew the moment he woke me from nap that he knew. The look on his face said it all,” she recalled.
“I knew I should have put a password on my phone, but deep down I wanted to get caught. The fight just made it convenient. I don’t know if he would have been able to let me go if I just said I don’t love him anymore.”
“Even after finding out, he remained calm. He was furious and disappointed but he assured me it was fine. I felt so guilty for hurting someone so sincere and kind but I knew despite how upset her partner might be, I wanted the relationship to end.”
After that, Ameera remained single for about 2 years and dated around.
“He set my standards very high,” Ameera says. “Most of my relationships now are toxic and I know I should not just settle.”
3. “My boyfriend did not deserve me, I should have dumped him instead.”
“Before becoming exclusive with my boyfriend, I worked on this project with my guy friend. I started to catch feelings for him but did not act upon it.”
“I chose my boyfriend over this guy friend because I hung out with my boyfriend more and thought I was his type.” Amanda* said (*not her real name).
He would also often comfort her and would listen to her whenever she was down.
Sooner she realised she made the wrong decision. “When we officially got together, my boyfriend changed,” Amanda explained, “He believes in honesty is the best policy.”
What he did not realise was how hurtful his words were. He would constantly fat shame Amanda and downplay her looks. He would even tell her how he is ashamed to introduce her to his friends because she was a chubby girl.
“I lost 8kg hoping he would look at me differently, but it was pointless. He still acted like he was ashamed of me,” Amanda expressed.
Since Amanda grew up in a patriarchal environment, it never registered to her that this was wrong. “I just felt I needed to do whatever it takes to impress him. Because, after all, I went after him first,” she reasoned.
There were times when Amanda would ask him to join an event and his response was apathetic: “I am not like you, you went to a better school. You won’t understand how stupid I feel.”
He would be negative and bring down the mood of the room. “I would try to distract myself by focusing on my projects with my guy friend.”
Until one day, Amanda’s guy friend was leaving for the UK, and he started talking about how no one will ever love him.
That’s when Amanda felt bad and decided to cheer him up by confessing her feelings for him in the past.
As they got closer, it led to other things. They started exchanging nudes. “At that time, I thought it was the biggest sin because I have never done such things,” Amanda shared.
“Eventually, I came clean to my boyfriend, but obviously, it did not fix things and we broke up. It also made things complicated with my guy friend.”
From that point onwards, she had a very destructive mindset. “I used to think the only way to get a man’s heart and attention was by stripping.”
“Nevertheless, I do regret cheating on my boyfriend. I wish I would have dumped him since he did not deserve me,” Amanda admits. “I should have been more confident about myself so that I would not let others take advantage of me.”
Amanda has learnt her lesson now and hopes she can get a second chance in love with someone sincere. She is also learning to herself first. “It’s ok to be single than to date the wrong guy,” she concluded.
4. “When my girlfriend gave me an ultimatum, I made the wrong choice.”
Adam’s first serious relationship was with a girl that he met on facebook. They dated for 5 years. “We were in a long distance relationship for 2 ½ and everything was fine. The first 4 years it was smooth sailing,” he shares.
However, in the last year of the relationship, he felt that only he was putting effort into the relationship. Despite being together for years, they never met each other’s family or friends.
“She would constantly give excuses to not see them or say how we are not ready for it,” Adam expresses.
“One day she dropped a bomb saying we should take a small break. She justified saying that it would be good and that’s how we could get back the spark,” Adam explains.
The break lasted about 3 months and that is when he met a girl from twitter, Nadia (not her real name). They hit it off and met up a few days after.
“I felt uncomfortable with the guilt. I knew it was wrong but I still wanted to do it.” Adam says. “She was more affectionate than my girlfriend and I wanted to feel like I was loved again.”
Adam was so disappointed with himself. “I knew I am not the best person, but I never thought I was capable of cheating. Lo and behold, I could.”
In time, his girlfriend found out. She was devastated and infuriated. “I just felt more ashamed of myself.” Adam confesses.
To his surprise, it was Nadia who helped his girlfriend get some closure. She met up with her and said, “If you love him, go back to him. He will accept you no matter what.”
“After that, my girlfriend came to my house and gave me an ultimatum.” Adam added. She asked him to choose between her and Nadia.
“I chose my girlfriend because of the history we had. We dated for 5 years. Having said that, I do regret choosing her now.” Adam went on. “She broke up with me a few months after.”
“It was hard to date after getting back together. She messages infrequently and it was all over the place. There was distance between us.”
When Adam pointed out the distance between them, she agreed and said maybe they should just be friends instead. Adam told me how he tried to salvage the relationship but he knew it was final.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Adam said. “I reconnected with Nadia, and now we are in a serious relationship. We have only been together for a few weeks and I have met her family.”
This was important to Adam. All he wanted was his partner’s family to know him and vice versa, something he never got with his previous ex.
“Nadia makes me feel special and wanted. She is also easy to communicate with. And if the opportunity arises I hope I will not repeat what I did.” Adam shares.
“I should not have cheated but the incident taught me to be with someone who appreciates you,” Adam acknowledged.
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