You want to think that there's nothing more beautiful than a cheater getting caught, exposed, and dragged through the mud, preferably by his own mother, if possible. You want to picture the two beautiful people from the stock photo above, or the shameless idiot from the sext below.
And look, sometimes that's how it goes down. Sometimes that's the right thing. But in a classic Ask Reddit therapy session for cheaters, dozens of lovelorn people told the internet about some of the gray areas.
Was cheating the right move in these cases? Probably not. But was it the gruesome horror we—as collective gossip hounds of the internet—love to shame? Maybe yes. But also maybe not.
First, let's feast on the red meat. Our first three guys don't bring a lot of nuance to the conversation. Rip them apart.
1. GenitalDiddler deserves no sympathy.
2. This guy sucks.
3. Damien_ is also the worst.
I shouldn't have been in a relationship in the first place as I wanted to fuck every decent looking girl I met. And if they were up for it, then we went at it.
I'm done with all that now.
But now it gets all Breaking Bad and the heroes are villains, the villains are heroes, it's complicated. It's a lot harder to crucify these people once you know their stories. But they're interesting in other ways.
4. Macintosh answered a challenge.
5. SombraBlanca should have broken up earlier.
6. Refrith still regrets it.
I was in a serious car accident. My GF at the time was really busy and couldn't be there for me the way I wished. But my ex was. One thing led to another, and I ended up sleeping with my ex. Worst decision of my life
7. Anonymous does too.
8. Atticah was in a terrible place.
9. Gilga-Mosh puts it like this: "It's f*cked up."
10. Cheating helped DuckfatPopcorn out of an abusive relationship, so can you blame her?
11. What about when cheating leads to true love? Lunanublado:
I started dating my high school sweetheart when we were both 16.
We moved in together when we were 19, because that's what you do when you've been in a relationship that long.
We got engaged when we were 20 because that's what you do when you've been together for four years.
We got married at 21 because that's what you do once you're engaged for a while.
I'd had doubts about our relationship for a long time before we got married, and afterwards, they just grew stronger. "Why am I with this guy who is so different than me in every way - cleanliness, attitude towards finances, politics, acceptance of other cultures, ways of showing affection?" But I told myself that he was probably the best fit for me, and hey, we already lived together, and our families liked each other, and whatever, too much effort to give up now.
Then I became best friends with my coworker. He complemented me in every way, and treated me so well. One night, I drunkenly texted him and admitted I had a crush on him, and he told me he had a crush on me too.
We tried to stay friends because neither one of us wanted to ruin my marriage, and I still believed I was in love with my husband. It didn't work. We flirted for months (occasionally telling ourselves we had to stop, and achieving that for a day or two). We fell in love, and couldn't stand to be apart from each other.
I told myself I was still in love with my husband, but I was also in love with my coworker. Eventually, my willpower broke down and I slept with him.
After that, it didn't take long for my marriage to fall apart. My husband moved 200 miles away for a job, which, of course, made my affair much easier to carry on. My husband and I kept drifting further and further apart, until I finally told him I wanted a divorce after less than six months of marriage.
I've never admitted to my ex husband that I cheated on him, even though he assumes so. I'm actually married to the man I cheated with, and I'm happier than I've ever been before.
I'm don't regret marrying my first husband, because it smashed a lot of my ideals on what a marriage entailed.
I don't regret getting with my current husband, because I do feel we are very well matched and I love him much more than I ever loved my ex.
I do regret having cheated. I wish I had finished one relationship before starting another. I constantly think of the phrase "once a cheater, always a cheater", and it tears me apart because I know I'm capable of doing such an awful thing. But I simply remind myself that everyone fucks up sometimes, and people are capable of changing.
tl;dr married high school sweetheart, wasn't actually in love with him; fell in love with coworker, didn't have patience to finish one relationship before starting another
12. Slaughterhouse451 waxes philosophical:
13. AJKettels still can't move past it, but you would never blame them for cheating.
I was sad, I was angry, I was being emotionally and physically abused in my relationship. I wanted comfort. I was in the middle of nowhere and couldn't really escape.
Definitely not my proudest moment, and even though my ex was an abusive bastard, I don't think he deserved that. 10/10 would never cheat again.
Even though there were reasons that some people might deem understandable, in my eyes I still cheated and it was wrong
14. Fuzzlechan opens up about mental health.
Honestly, undiagnosed borderline personality disorder. My brain was fucked up, whole bunch of emotions I didn't understand and a lack of impulse control. What I did was still my fault, I'm not denying that. But after I was diagnosed I went through a lot of self-help therapy books, saw a counsellor... And the urge to cheat has never come up in the past 3 years with my current SO.
Mental illness is a bitch. It can influence you to do things that you never thought you would do. Those things are still your actions, and your responsibility. But it's like your brain holding a gun to your head and telling you to do something. And if you don't have the right coping skills, you don't know how to say no to your brain.
15. And The_72nd_ reinforces the importance of communication.
I wasn't clear what our relationship boundaries were. He was adamant that we weren't dating, but we still exchanged "I love yous" and essentially lived together.
He was very new age, had talked about previous open relationships, and generally spoke in vague terms.
We were briefly long distance at the start of our relationship (so not many people knew we were together) and a friend kissed me. I panicked, called my SO and told him, and he responded nonchalantly. If anything, he was irritated and confused that I called him about it. I left the conversation with the impression that he was seeing other people and rather expected I was as well.
So I slept with the friend. And then later found out that my SO considered me his "monogamous primary partner", which makes me a cheater.
I felt shitty about it for a long time, but in the end, I learned from the experience and Paul was a shite anyway.
See? It's not always so simple. Just promise me you won't send this list to your ex as an apology.