Committing to a monogamous relationship means two partners have a mutual understanding that they won't see other people. However, many of us can point to a time, either in our lives or someone else's, when that trust was broken. That could mean we were cheated on, cheated with, or did the cheating ourselves (or witnessed any of the above happen to someone we knew).
If you've ever experienced cheating or seen it in TV and movies, the excuse is often the same: "It just...happened." But what happened? And why? The details are frequently spared in an effort to save someone's feelings, but that means we're rarely given the answers we desperately want to know. However, a recent Reddit thread is shedding light on this subject, often shrouded in lies and deception. Redditors are answering the question: If you've ever cheated on your monogamous partner, under what circumstances and why? Ahead, we rounded up some of the most intriguing answers that get right to the heart of the matter — even if it's not exactly what we wanted to hear.
"I was a serial cheater. I was cheated on, and I just felt like who cares. I would literally jump from relationship to relationship. I never realized I was hurting people, as by the time I left one relationship, I didn't see the aftermath since I was with someone else already."
"Woman here, was in an abusive relationship that I was frightened to end. Confided in a close friend and we had a short-lived intimate relationship that showed me how kind and respectful people can be and helped my self-esteem enough to give me the confidence to leave my abuser. I am so thankful that I slept with that friend, it turned my life around for the better."
"I found that I only ever felt the urge to cheat if I was unhappy in my relationship. Basically, if I felt an urge to cheat, the relationship was already over. 100% of the time. I learned to recognize that sign in new relationships and end them before I did anything stupid."
"Because I was a piece of shit who wanted to have sex. Everyone in this thread is going to have long, drawn-out explanations about their mental state or whatever, but the fact remains that it's fundamentally about a lack of self-control... It's just being a greasy piece of shit. It's not that complicated or interesting."
"I have cheated in previous relationships. I have come to understand that I am not someone who can be happy in a completely monogamous relationship. And there's nothing wrong with that — as long as I don't make monogamous commitments to others that I know I won't keep."
"I was in a bad marriage. He refused to get a job and was an emotionally abusive man and always blaming me for the problems we were having. (The big problem was we didn't have enough money.) I suffer from depression, and due to all of this fighting, it was getting worse.
"Out at a gathering of friends, I meet a guy and he's funny and we have lots in common, and it was a start of something. And I cheated. I told this guy that I was married and that I was conflicted, but he said he wouldn't push me and that he was interested in me, but wouldn't do anything I wasn't comfortable with. But I did it, and he was so different from my selfish husband. "This guy helped me get the guts to leave my husband. I told him that I wanted a divorce soon after, and this new guy helped me in any way he can. I'm still with him over four years later."
"I was always the person to say that cheating was never acceptable and totally inexcusable in a relationship. I never thought I would cheat — but I did. I felt extreme guilt for it and it tore me apart. However, the experience helped me realize that I was truly unhappy in my relationship. Recognizing traits that were really important to me in another person helped uncover that I was settling just because I had been in the relationship for a long time. Being in this position that I NEVER thought I would be in opened my eyes. It forced me to truly think about my relationship and what was missing and decide whether or not I should continue down that path. I ended up breaking up with him very shortly thereafter, and though I hate what I did, it ultimately led me to stop ignoring the fact that I was not happy. I'm fairly sure I would've continued on the same path if something did not trigger action (after all, we didn't communicate very well)."
"At first, I simply didn't think about it, when I first started early high school. I was always real nerdy and awkward. Girl showed an interest in me? I jumped at it because it was so rare. Then I grew into my head a little bit more, got some coordination and confidence, and more girls showed interest. So I jumped at those chances, too. I didn't get caught, so I never saw the hurt it could cause. I guess It was just the innocence that I didn't know what I was doing."
"I take full responsibility for cheating and fully understand what I did was terrible and poorly handled. My boyfriend of two years was the center of my family's whole world. I was severely ill during this time and felt as though his attention, and the attention of my family, should have been on me, selfish I know. So I ventured towards a friend that gave me attention, and it was refreshing. Our relationship became intimate and lasted for a few months. I ended up telling my bf, and we split shortly afterwards."
"I was amazed that guys wanted me and selfishly let myself enjoy it. Until I was cheating for months at a time and realized that if someone told me about a girl doing what I was doing, I'd think she was the scum of the Earth. Broke off both relationships that day and worked on feeling good by myself."
"I've done it multiple times. In each case, there was someone else that I met and had sexual energy with (but not much energy of any other kind) — sometimes because of crazy attraction, sometimes because of the thrill of it being 'wrong' and perverse, sometimes because of something else — and we acted on it. Never prolonged, usually just a few times at most. Multiple times, the other party was also in a relationship and cheating as well, and in every case, they knew I was in a relationship."
"I like validation and pulling intimacy out of people. After a while, I know enough about the person I'm with that I get bored and find someone else for fresh validation and intimate knowledge."
"I cheated because I started talking again with my first boyfriend. I was falling in love all over again, and the relationship I was involved (9 years) was falling apart. I broke up with my boyfriend and returned with my ex."
"The same reason people eat. Not because they need to do that to survive and have energy, but primarily because there is an instinctive urge to. The amount of urge to eat, and cheat, is different for different people."