Cheating is something many of us have to contend with in life - you’re either the one doing it, or you’re the one on the receiving end.
And it’s a common occurrence - in fact, a YouGov survey revealed that one in five Brits have had an affair, while one third said they’d considered it.
While some people concluded their affairs due to overwhelming feelings of guilt, others ended up staying with the person they cheated with and insist it worked out for the best. Here are their stories...
“I just met someone so much better for me. I met someone that was basically my female twin and we hit it off instantly. I ended up breaking up with the girl I was with and dating her for six months. Turns out there’s such a thing as ‘too much alike’.”
“Was in a five year relationship with my girlfriend at the the time. I started to talk to an old coworker from my teens that I always had a thing for, but she lived a couple [of] states away so I knew nothing would come of it. Well, it turns out that she still had family in my area and regularly visited.
“We made plans to get some dinner and catch up, for old times’ sake. It ended in both of us getting drunk, renting a hotel room and having some fun. This happened a few times over the next several months until I got a text from her...a picture of a sonogram of our child.
“I was going to come clean to my GF, because I never had a father growing up and I didn’t want to put my child through that. However, she ending up losing it a month or so into the pregnancy and we stopped talking. It left me feeling very guilty and anxiety stricken. 0/10 would not do again.”
“When I was deployed to Iraq, my wife cheated on me at least three times. (She was the one to tell me about it.) It hurt like hell and we worked through it, for the most part.
“When I was stationed overseas by myself a few years later, I started an affair with a female service member. It lasted six months. At the time, I justified it as ‘getting even’. But now, I feel terrible about it. It’s done and over with, and I’ll never tell her what happened.”
“My husband and I were going through a rough patch, and were increasingly going out with friends in order to avoid facing our problems, or fighting...He went out with his friends on a trip for the weekend, and when he returned I asked him if he was happier when he was away, as he did not text or call me the whole time he was gone.
“During this period, there was a friend that I had that gave me increasing attention. I told him I was married, that nothing would happen between us unless my husband and I decided on separation. However, I did express that there were feelings there. And we began to act as though we were in the beginning stages of a relationship, often flirting, occasionally holding hands, going to him for my problems instead of my husband.
“My marriage came to a head, and my husband and I had a talk about whether or not we were going to stay together. He cried, and I realised how nice it was to feel as though he cared about me, as I had felt neglected for some time. We decided we were going to spend three days together. Without fighting, and while trying to make each other as happy as possible, and if at the end of these three days, we still wanted to end it, we would. At the end of the three days, after some intimacy was reestablished in the relationship and we were going to try and make it work, I told my friend that I could not talk to or see him again. I felt incredible guilt for the betrayal I had put into my marriage, and couldn’t live with myself. I cried myself to sleep for months every night, knowing that if I told my husband what I had done, he would leave me, and I did not want to give up on my marriage.
“Eventually, I realised I could not deal with the pain of the guilt, I respected him too much to keep this secret, so I told him, through tears that I had an emotional affair, and I was just so sorry. I just felt so alone. He stopped me, before I finished telling him everything, and told me: ‘I forgive you for anything you’ve done, and anything you could have done.’
“I knew I picked the man that was right for me at that moment, felt guilt for all the moments of doubt, and rededicated my life to him. I love him, and how understanding he is.”
“I was young - 19. I had been with a girl for a year when my parents decided I needed to pay rent, so I found a roommate and got an apartment. Day one - I go to the office to turn in my walk-through paperwork. The girl in the office made my heart skip. She made me a believer in the idea of love at first sight.
“She moved in across from my apartment a couple of weeks later and we started to hang out. One night we slept together. The next day I broke up with my girlfriend. Me and new girl talked and we both wanted to be together.
“She moved in with me a month later. That was 17 years ago. She’s currently asleep upstairs next to our daughter.”
“I was in a dud of a marriage. I married too young and against my better judgement. My husband was a controlling and sexually-repressed man who did not respect me and I did not respect him.
“I found out that my husband was on dating sites and talking to women online attempting to solicit dates. He was actively seeking to cheat and the only thing stopping him from taking it to a physical realm was the fact that none of the women were interested in him.
“We worked on our marriage over the years to try to resolve his online cheating, but he’d always start up again. Eventually I got so emotionally worn out by it that I just didn’t have it in me to care much anymore.
“I met a man at work who I was instantly attracted to on a mental and a physical level - something I’d never had with my husband. We started out with harmless conversations and became work friends. We then found excuses to text each other when not at work. We’d grab lunch together here and there... at first with groups and then with just the two of us. I couldn’t wait to go to work every day and see him. I thought about him all the time. I knew I was heading towards dangerous ground but I didn’t want to stop.
“We started flirting and I began to sneak away from home to meet up with him for hikes, dinner, you name it. I met up with him for hours at a time on evenings and weekends, and my husband never really noticed because his attention was always occupied with his friends or his online chats with women. My friend from work and I were always careful not to make physical contact, until one day in his car when he leaned over to help me with my jammed seat belt and he kissed me. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever felt in my life.
“Over the next few weeks meeting up to have dinner turned into meeting up to find a secluded spot and make out in his car. Then that eventually turned into groping, hand jobs, oral sex...you get the idea. I could not get enough of this guy.
“I felt tremendously guilty the entire time because I never thought of myself as the type who would cheat. I came clean with my husband before my affair progressed any deeper. I broke off the affair and agreed to try marriage counselling. I quickly changed my mind when during the course of an argument (I didn’t want to go to his church and he wanted me to) my husband slapped me and told me I wasn’t allowed to have any unsupervised visits with my family or friends anymore.
“After I told my husband I wanted a divorce, he attempted to destroy my life...It didn’t take long after filing divorce papers for me to hook back up with my friend and officially start dating him. My husband harassed and threatened us both until my boyfriend called his bluff and then he just sort of faded out. My boyfriend is now my husband and we have been together for 10 years and going strong. I love him more than anything and I respect him more than anyone I’ve ever met. I would never dream of cheating on him and I feel confident that he’d never cheat on me.”
“He cheated on me, things weren’t going great. I decided to go cheat as well. It took no time before we opened the relationship and things have been better in terms of that since.”
“A few years ago, I met this amazing guy. Let’s call him Guy A. Fell very much in love with him, he was so kind and sweet. We kissed a few times and hooked up once, but he was starting to see this other girl, so it never went further than that. I was pretty heartbroken over it.
“Fast forward a few years. I’m a year and a half into this horrible relationship. We’ll call him Shithead. Shithead is a compulsive liar, yells at me, threatens to break up every time I do something he doesn’t like, like whenever I had a panic attack.
“I’m at a concert without Shithead and I look across the dance floor, and I see Guy A, dancing his heart out, laughing and just being amazing. Hadn’t seen him since the time we hooked up, which was a few years ago. My heart skipped a beat. I approached him, we talked for hours, and I told him I was living with a really shitty guy and that I wanted out. When he kissed me goodbye, I just knew.
“I continued the relationship with my Shithead for about a week (while still seeing the other guy on the side) before I finally worked up the courage to break up with him. I’ve been with Guy A ever since, and haven’t looked back once.”
“I (gay guy) was seeing a guy (let’s call him A) nothing crazy serious but headed that direction. He was at a college pretty far away but was from my area. Started talking to a guy (let’s call him B) I had a class with who I was pretty attracted to. We start talking, turns out B has been seeing A for the last year or so too, and they actually got arrested together fairly recently. B and I got along really well and started seeing each other. B stopped seeing A but I was still talking to him.
“It all ended when A was in town and came over one night and saw a sext from B show up on my phone that was sitting on the table. He didn’t know we knew each other and he definitely didn’t know we were hooking up. He wasn’t happy and we broke up.
“B and I had a short summer affair and realised neither of us wanted a relationship. We’re now best friends and there’s nobody I trust more in the world. I moved across the county and we still talk all the time and go to music festivals together.”
“I was 40, had been married 10+ years and had a couple of kids. Our marriage had turned into something that made me really unhappy. We barely had sex and our connection seemed completely gone. We fought a lot and it was always me who needed to apologise and compromise.
“I met a woman 15 years younger at the office. We started flirting and it turned into an intense emotional affair that lasted about a month. I fell deeply in love with her and decided I should really divorce my wife, since I was so unhappy. I told my wife about the other woman and that I wanted to divorce.
“My wife begged me to try and work it out, go into couple’s counselling, and started having sex with me every day. I stayed and agreed to take three months to see if we could work it out. It was incredibly hard but we eventually did feel like we overcame it and we’re still together.”
“I have cheated on every single person I’ve been involved with except for one. I compartmentalise love and sex so the two have very little, if any, overlap. I also never had much desire to fix relationships, preferring them to just cease to exist. So, I guess every affair started when the relationship started to get a little bit serious or have a problem. And ended when I was bored with the person I was cheating with because they got too serious.
“I met my now husband and completely changed. As terrible as it sounds, I actually give a shit about this relationship.”
“Started off as two people who became friends. We then started both working nights and would sometimes hang out after work. Through a bit of time, things turned to an affair.
“I told my wife. I came clean because I didn’t want her to find out from anyone other than me. It was my fault and my mistake and I owned up to it.”