I cheated in the most dishonorable of ways. I cheated on perfectly lovely and attractive partners with people I wasn’t attracted to, and others more than twice my age. I cheated on one girlfriend with her best friend. I cheated on another with an ex. I once left a girlfriend sitting in my apartment while I made out with someone else outside; If she had just looked outside the window, she would have caught us in the act. I once had sex with someone in a pool with my girlfriend sitting on the deck overlooking us. (It was night, so visibility was low, and she didn’t read our entangled swan dance as anything other than a friendly game of chicken). Another girlfriend had the pleasure of visiting me at the end of a week when I’d slept with no fewer than four other people before seeing her. She had no idea.
HAVE YOU EVER CHEATED?
While this behavior may seem extreme to some, sleeping with people who weren’t my main squeeze was a pastime for me—a deeply ingrained horrible and hurtful habit that I believed was just who I was. I truly thought I was a serial cheater by nature and that I couldn’t ever change.
Sometimes my cheating felt pathological, painful. I often drank enough so that it felt like it was the alcohol guiding my bad decisions. It was easier to point a finger at Ketel One than my own shortcomings. It was an extra bonus if I couldn’t remember the actual string of events from the night before; just a vague sense of accomplishment mixed with sharper guilt. I couldn’t be culpable if my brain didn’t produce memories, right?
Wrong, according to relationship expert, love coach, and author Susan Winter. “We are always liable for the actions we take: sober or high,” she tells me. “The difference lies in whether the cheating was a one-off, or a chronic pattern. There are times that individuals can get drunk and blackout. The choices they make are primal, lacking any rational filter. In the case of a good partner with a bad ‘one-time blackout,’ there’s room for forgiveness. Especially if your partner is truly mortified, self-flagellating, and apologetic.”
Are you in a relationship with a serial cheater and need some help? Reach out to Susan today!