I would much rather be cheated on than be a cheater. Although no one wants to get hurt, I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I can say I found it undeniably easier to deal with the hurt of being cheated on than to deal with the guilt of being a cheater.
When my then-boyfriend confessed during our anniversary dinner — yeah, thanks for that — that he had hooked up with another girl on a night out, I was shocked and hurt. But I got over it. I went to the bathroom, cried for about 10 minutes and came back out.
With my makeup a little worse for wear (but my heart still intact), I told him I forgave him, and that we could get over it. I only freaked out about it a couple of times. (I'm only human.) In the end, we broke up for totally unrelated reasons.
In the relationship before that one, I had been the cheater. The guilt crushed me for about a year. So, after a confession session, I felt relieved and assumed it could only go up from there. How wrong I was.
The relationship became worse than I could ever have imagined. He became jealous and controlling, and we argued almost every day. I knew if I wanted to go out with my friends, I would have to face days of arguing. Any short or sexy outfits were a no-go.
Plus, he was verbally abusive. I was called a lying whore on an almost daily basis.
Although I realize I was the one who had done the damage, I didn't deserve to be punished so severely and for so long. It was obvious that he couldn't forgive me. I wish that one of us had had the strength to leave, rather than stay and make the other person miserable.
So, you can probably see why, based on my own personal experiences, I found it so much easier to forgive than be forgiven. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, if I am being completely honest, it is much easier to be a victim and have someone trying to make you happy than to work hard at trying to fix something.
When you have been hurt, you will generally get showered with love and attention. But trying to regain trust is an extremely long, difficult and demoralizing process. Sometimes, it can feel like nothing you do is good enough.
You have to really be willing to sacrifice your happiness for a while, in order to make the other person happy again. You have put him or her through hell, so (within reason), you have to expect that the other person is going to put you through some sh*t, too.
Furthermore, you have a complete lack of control. You can control your emotions, but you can't control your partner's. The other person is now in the driving seat because it is up to him or her to decide to forgive you or not.
The scariest thing is not knowing how someone is going to react. On top of that, nothing is certain: Even if your partner decides to forgive you, he or she will have ups and downs, and you will not be able to predict when they might happen.
Even if your partner has your best intentions at heart, he or she may not actually be able to forgive you in the long run. You might spend months (or even years) of your life trying to convince someone to be with you for nothing.
The last reason (and probably one of the main factors for me) is, women forgive more easily than men. This is a generally accepted fact, and it is clearly shown in the two examples I have given you here. When I was cheated on, I cried for 10 minutes. When my ex was cheated on, he put both of us through hell for nearly a year.
But don't take my word for it. Statistics show that men are more likely to file for divorce over infidelity than women. Psychologists say that although society has changed in terms of sexual equality, attitudes haven't caught up.
What I mean by this is the age-old story of "whore versus player." It is historically acceptable for men to cheat and sleep around. They often have multiple mistresses, or even multiple wives in some cultures.
So, I don't really find it surprising that even in monogamous relationships, it is still far more acceptable when a man cheats than when a woman does. It's socially ingrained.
Then, there's also the fact that men's egos are massive. Seriously, it must be all the testosterone that makes them much more territorial.
I've learned a lot from my past relationships, and I would say this: If you get cheated on, either forgive or don't forgive. But don't live in limbo, for the sake of both your sanities.
If you do cheat, be prepared to work. I mean that you should really work hard to earn your partner's forgiveness.
Your partner won't owe it to you: You need to earn it. Don't get me wrong; I really hope I never get cheated on again. I don't think it will always be smooth sailing.
Cheating is devastating for both parties. But as f*cked up as it sounds, if I had to choose, I wouldn't find the decision whether or not to be cheated on that difficult.