I have been thinking of my reasons for cheating on my ex for awhile now, trying to focus on the culminating factors that led to the act. So many people make cheating out to be this malicious well thought out evil act that someone does purposefully to hurt their partner but I think that for many people it is just something they fall into and lose control of.
When I broke up with my ex the first time, it was less than a week after I had cheated, I felt bad yet strangely elated by the act. As much as people would like to reject this thought, most people will find cheating to be exciting at first. And this is completely normal, think of anytime you did something you know you weren’t supposed too and chances are you were nervous, aroused and pumped with adrenaline. Humans enjoy doing risky things, things that are off limits, we strain against limitations, especially when it involves novelty.
Most assuredly other factors played a part in my cheating besides the novelty and excitement. It is something that worries me, that my ex believes that perhaps her attention was not enough for me, and that she feels that she is less or unworthy.
In reality she was and is an incredible person, probably the single most important person to come into my life, she loved me for me, saw all my faults and forgave me, gave all of herself to me. She is beautiful and intelligent and fulfilled me in so many ways. And yet sadly I would have to say that yes her attention was not enough for me, but the thing is she should not feel that it was because of something she did wrong, whereas the problem lies in my own personal self-esteem and control problems.
I grew up a shy,awkward, weak child. Not attractive in any particular way, not smart or good at much of anything, prone to speaking out at the wrong times, saying the wrong things. My father is an alcoholic who has spent the last 40 years drowning his own inadequacies in booze, stuck forever in the past, and he imprinted this inadequacy on me at a young age, while also doubly making me feel less, because he was a very verbally abusive man. My mother on the other hand, although a good woman, was very withdrawn, especially in my teenage years, keeping to herself and not really being capable of uplifting a troubled child.
I do not share this to say that my life has been difficult, in fact I count myself lucky comparatively to many people living on this planet. All I have to do is look at my fathers childhood to know how lucky I am, because his suffering was 5 times my own. I was simply a lost boy, not knowing where he belonged, and I have struggled for years to try to build something out of this crumbled world that is my mind.
For most of my life, this struggle has been relatively self-contained, I was single for such a long time that my destructive tendencies, which ran towards weeks of depression where I locked myself in my room and barely did anything. only to rally myself and come out swinging, full of arrogance at the weakness of others I compared my own meager willpower too. Basically no one was caught in the crossfire because I was alone, my relationships usually lasted no more than a few weeks so I never got to any point where my insecurities and bad habits would affect another person.
But then I met my Anny, and everything changed. It is difficult to describe the feeling of wanting to grasp someone and pull them so tight against you that you merge into one complete being while simultaneously wanting to push that person as far away as possible to save them from you.
I told myself that the reason I spoke and flirted with other women was that it was just old habits and did not mean anything, that I loved Anny. Then I would say that I knew that she and I would not be together forever so it was fine for me to have some harmless fun talking to others. But then it built upon itself, I would constantly be worrying about my work, my debt, my physical performance, my looks, getting out of the country, my father, being stuck at my mothers.
Inadequacy upon inadequacy, smashing into me from every side. Of course I looked to Anny to relieve many of my fears, but you can only rely so much on someone to fix your own issues. And so I looked to others to feel good. And yes it does feel good, when someone you are not dating looks to you and compliments you, showers you with attention, it lifts you up, Sometimes much more than your partner can sadly, because they slowly become part of your feelings of inadequacy, how can they understand how worthless you are, they chose you didn’t they? they must have issues also. Of course you don’t recognize this in the moment, the self created bullshit you spew out to justify your own torment.
I can remember so many nights staying up late, watching tons of porn or talking with a bunch of girls, being sexual..and the next day I would simply feel disgusted with myself. The satisfaction taken from being ego boosted by others was extremely temporary and fleeting, and made you feel like trash after. To anyone who has an addiction to substances, like alcohol or drugs, I am sure you will recognize the feeling. You know you shouldn’t do it, you know it wont really stop the pain, you know you will regret it after, but in the moment, you’re so high that you do not care. You’re a robot, you just do it, even while a part of you is screaming in the back of your mind to stop…STOP STOP STOP.
There are obviously many reasons for cheating, partly due to the fact that we are a non monogamous species that craves novelty and variety, but I think for most people who cheat on someone they love a big part is from a feeling of sadness, of dissatisfaction with their selves and so it leads us to do stupid, irrational, impulsive things. Some people will start fights, others will do drugs, and some cheat. We all look for our highs in different ways. Unfortunately I decided to get my high while I was with the perfect girl for me and now she is lost to me.
I just hope that armed with this realization that I can use it to drive me forward and properly address all my personal issues, and I truly hope that she was not too harmed by my actions.
We all learn the hard way.