I can honestly say I have cheated on a boyfriend, and I have absolutely no regrets about it.
Although that statement sounds cold and harsh, hear me out before judging me.
When I was in college, I had my first “real” boyfriend. I was young, and swept up in what I thought was love. My entire world revolved around my boyfriend. I wanted to be with him between classes, eat with him every meal and spend every night snuggled up with him.
After spending several months blinded by “love," I found out my “perfect” relationship wasn't so perfect at all. My boyfriend had cheated on me, several times, all with the same married woman.
At the time, this hurt me so much I couldn't even comprehend it, and I went straight into denial. In my mind, there was no way he would betray me.
After more and more sources came out confirming the truth I couldn't bear to face, I started to realize it wasn't all a conspiracy to ruin my relationship -- it was the truth.
I went from feeling complete love for someone to feeling the most gutted I ever have in my life. After months apart, I decided to give him a second chance.
When you love someone, there are a lot of things you're willing to try and forgive, and his cheating was something I was willing to try and get over in order to be with him. While the second try had some great moments, our relationship was never the same. It was broken, and he was the one broke it.
As we started “fresh," he went right back to doing the same shit things that probably led him to cheat in the first place. He didn't want to hang out on the weekends at all. I wasn't allowed to see him unless it was on his terms, and he still would talk to other girls all the time.
Our relationship had turned into something we both wanted for comfort and stability, but not because we respected each other or wanted to be committed to each other.
This is when I started cheating as well. It didn't come as a form of revenge, or a “he did it to me” mindset. I did it because I was completely disconnected in my relationship.
I honestly felt like I was single most of the time. I felt no love and no connection to my boyfriend, so as a young girl, I did the only thing I knew at the time. I sought affection and connections with guys who did want me around, and who did want to make me a real part of their lives.
To no one's shock, this relationship didn't last much longer beyond this stage. And when we broke up, I felt nothing. I wasn't sad, I didn't miss him and mostly, I didn't regret cheating on him.
Cheating on him taught me a whole lot about relationships, especially about ones I shouldn't waste my time in.
My next relationship came quickly after I split from the cheater. And it was completely and totally different. It was an actual, loving relationship. We both respected each other, we wanted to make each other parts of our lives and we both felt fierce affection for one another.
I realized when I was in this truly amazing relationship what love really was, and that was all thanks to the comparison with my previous, cheating-filled relationship.
While in my happily committed bliss, I didn't feel any temptation to cheat at all. I was happy to receive affection from only one guy.
The thought of cheating was one I couldn't even stomach. I actually loved and respected my boyfriend that much. Our relationship was worth the world to me, and I certainly wouldn't have thrown it all away to cheat.
The fact that no part of me wanted to cheat or even look at other guys told me my boyfriend was someone I wanted for the long haul, and I had something to lose if I lost him.
Yes, I did cheat on a boyfriend once, but I can't regret it because of what it taught me about love.
Cheating taught me how bad it hurts to hurt someone else. Cheating taught me if you're willing to risk losing someone by cheating, you don't really like them all that much. Cheating taught me what respect in a relationship really means.
And above all, cheating taught me that if you're in a relationship in which you want to cheat, that's no longer a relationship you should be in.