Fidelity isn't everyone's strong suit and ethical nonmonogamy has been the dominant relationship model for most of human history - but that doesn't mean cheating is okay. Don't get my words twisted
Even among non-monogamous people, cheating is a cardinal sin. (Yes, you can cheat if you're non-monogamous.) Lying, deception, and secrets are the sort of thing that is going to tank a relationship 100% of the time. It's just a matter of when.
Having said all that, even though people know the devastating affects of cheating, it's typically the "homewrecker" that draws ire - even more than the cheater. We never understood that.
But we don't understand being a "homewrecker" either. Like, if you know the person has a partner then what are you doing? Why would you let yourself be the secret, the side piece, the fallback?
One Reddit user asked:
So of course I'm over here rubbing my hands together excited for juicy gossip... but that's not what I got. I got backstory after backstory from people who had been manipulated. People who had been lied to. People who had been purposefully preyed on.
Of course there were a few answers from people who are just happy proud cheaters (boooooo to them) but for the most part these responses once again proved that abusive narcissists leave no one unscathed in their wake.
Snooping In Her Emails
I messed around with a girl a handful of times until I found out her boyfriend was in Iraq. She'd left her laptop up when she was in the shower. I'm kind of a piece of crap and decided to snoop around. Instead, I found her email and the emails from her boyfriend. Talking about marriage after he gets back.
For me. That sh!t is verboten.
I copied down his email address and then wrote him later. Told him everything. Boy was he pissed.
He dumped her.
Him and I are going to a Football game in November.
The Worst Time To Find OutSeason 8 Episode 24 GIF by Friends Giphy
Found out - while in labor - that my child's father had another woman pregnant and was marrying her. We weren't in a relationship, we were just friends with benefits, but he never said a single word about her and I found out they had been dating for over two years.
I actually waited 5 months to tell her anything.
She didn't believe me until I sent her a copy of the DNA test. She ended up thanking me. We talk now and hope to raise the kids knowing each other.
He's not too happy.
I hooked up with a roommate/landlady (dumb move off the bat I know!) because she told me that her and her partner were in an open relationship.
I confirmed with her boyfriend that they were in an open relationship, but neither of them told me that roommates were off the table. I went ahead with it because it was the first time a woman showed that she was into me without me trying. It was a great confidence boost and I hadn't had many before.
We got together a few times before I found out the boyfriend wasn't cool with it. I, of course, broke it off because I felt lied to, but the damage was done. The entire vibe of the house changed.
It was a pretty big house with multiple rooms being rented out. At the start, we had house meals sometimes and game nights, just a general friendly vibe. Afterwards we all kinda isolated.
I apologized to the guy, I didn't know exactly what was going on and I felt terrible about it. In the end the great place I had found with awesome people just fell apart.
Honestly, it's probably the biggest regret of my life, everyone moved out and I hope the couple were able to work things out without me being there as a reminder.
Fell in love with my best friend at 17. He was in a multi-year long relationship with an amazing woman, but I didn't really know her. He told me everything I wanted to hear and was the first man I'd met to express that kind of interest in me. I was young, dumb, and insecure.
So I fell for it (and all the bull he spewed about the reasons his girlfriend wouldn't be mad, he was protecting her mental health by staying with her even though they were totally done, she was unstable, etc.) and we were in a full-blown romantic and sexual affair for a few months. He ended up kind of ghosting me after that, gaslighting me about the seriousness of our relationship, and continuing to date his girlfriend until she left him for another guy (good riddance lol).
I struggled with trust and self-loathing for a long time after that. Ended up dedicating my life to researching and treating infidelity/relational challenges. I now work as a couples therapist and am very passionate about what I do!
I want to someday publish research on the psychological rationalization and aftermath that extradyadic partners (homewreckers) experience. For how common it is, there is virtually no research about that third person, what gets them to participate, and the impact. I am also in a loving relationship with a great guy.
The Ultimatum Didn't Work Out
Lived with a guy for several years that was sort of the home wrecker. Basically he was shagging a married chick that had 2 kids. She would hang out at our place a lot. Eventually roomie caught the feels for her and gave her an ultimatum: to leave her husband and be with him.
Well as you can all guess she did not. So he called her husband and told him about the affair. In the end her and her husband are still together and my roomie got lost in drugs. He later got arrested and spent a few years in TDOC custody.
I no longer speak to either.
I Deserve It
Had an affair with a married man.
Yes, I knew he was married. Yes, I knew his wife. Yes, I thought she "didn't understand him" and we were true love. Yes, he ended up cheating on me with a married woman who ended up leaving her 2nd husband for him.
They are still together. It was the worst thing I ever did and I hope when I die his ex-wife joyfully dances on my grave; I deserve it.
Running From Proud Boys
Here's the story, and I'll leave it to to you guys whether or not I'm in the wrong. I'm too deep into it now for it to matter either way.
I had known my best friend for about a decade when this all went down. We were about as close as friends can be, even though we lived in different states. Talked to each other almost daily to check in, knew pretty much everything there was to know about each other. She had been with the same boyfriend for about five of those years.
I was supportive of their relationship for a while, as we always had been with each other's romantic trysts. But the last two years had seen a number of giant red flags pointing to evidence of abuse. She eventually admitted it to me, but begged me not to get involved. I decided to anyway after she attempted suicide.
I moved out to her state under other pretenses (I had been planning on going back to school anyway, I just made sure it was near where she lived). She and I hadn't spent much time in person together for a number of years, so there was a lot of making up for lost time. Now that I was closer, I saw all kinds of evidence of gaslighting, verbal, and physical abuse. They also ostensibly had an "open" relationship, which was basically just a way to justify his cheating on her.
When a third party mentioned that he seemed to take part in outside affairs way more than she did, he jokingly started encouraging me to sleep with her. This continued for another month or two, with him constantly pushing me to sleep with her so everyone would get off his back. Long story short, we did we did end up in bed together. And then we continued to do it for the next week, whenever we had the chance. A lot of deeply buried feelings came out during this, and we realized we had been in love with each other for a long time.
So she dumped him. We had to flee the state pretty soon after. The ex was a member of a group of White supremacists who called themselves Proud Boys (I don't know if it's the same ones who have featured so prominently in recent weeks), and he had rallied his racist buddies to kill us. I'm a Jew anyway, so they just needed an excuse.
We've been married for almost eight years now. Our son just turned five.
High School Mean Girli know right mean girls GIF Giphy
I suppose high school is too young to be considered a home wrecker, but back then I was so desperate for love that I back stabbed almost every female friend I had.
I'm very aware of it now, and I'm just sad that I was that person. I feel bad for everyone that I hurt. Especially because high school guys are really stupid, and they weren't worth what I ended up going through as a result of hurting people.
19 And Naive
Ughhh....here it goes. Slept with a married man for years. He lied and told me they were divorcing as soon as the kids got out of high school and they were only together for the kids. She ended up showing up at my work and confronted me....of course I told the truth and holy sh*t did my life suck after that.
I fell for the lies hook, line and sinker. Turns out he was a sex addict. Had been with many, many women and I guess I was the only one dumb enough to tell her the truth.
I was know as the "home wrecker" and 20 years later it still gets thrown in my face.
She actually believed his dumb-ass and she just assumed I was some crazy girl. I literally gave her details about her home, bed, etc and she still thought I was lying. His charades went on for many years after...like 15 more years...until the gig was up. Too many women were now coming forward and accusing him of cheating and lying.
They finally divorced just recently. I saw her at a local gathering and wanted to apologize to her so badly, but the look of disgust on her face was too intimidating. It is something I will regret for the rest of my entire life.
Funny how the one that had vows and children with her got zero punishment, yet I got bashed and shunned for falling for his BS. I was only a teenager (19) then. It literally destroyed my life and self-esteem. He was a professional manipulator that took advantage of a young naïve girl and wrecked her young world.
It's like he got away with it free and clear. She was so in denial until she busted him with one of her friends and broke up their marriage. But she STILL stayed with him after that!
I wish I would have known the impact it would have on the rest of my life then. Literally 20 years later it still gets brought up. We were having a get together at my house and someone felt the need to tell my husband (as if he didnt know) and it blew up into a big mess. I was so "in love" with him and had many plans for our future once his kids moved out. How dumb I was.
The people in my life that matter all know about it and know that I was completely taken advantage. God, I hate that man.
They're The Ones Making The Choice
I've been with a few married, engaged and otherwise attached girls.
It doesn't bother me now, and it didn't when I did it. They were up-front about their status, and I didn't particularly care one way or the other. I'm not the one that caused them to make their decisions.
I don't know why it should bother me; they were all adults and made their own decisions.
I'm The Sort Of Person Who Could Do That
I felt guilty pretty much all the time, but at that point I was severely depressed, I'd never felt anything close to happy and I was fully convinced I never would again. I tried to rationalize it a million ways but a part of me always hated myself for it. Yet at the same time I couldn't find the mental strength to break out of it. Until they told me they were going to marry their partner.. that snapped me out of denial and I finally managed to do the right thing and get out of the situation.
I don't regret it in the sense that I know I did my best given my mental state at the time, but I will always wish I didn't find out that I'm the sort of person who could do something like that.
I was in a polyamorous relationship with a married couple. The wife ended up being psycho and abusive to the husband. I started pointing it out to him. She didn't like that and broke us all up. The husband and I reconnected because he was miserable. He needed someone he trusted to talk to. He left her and moved in with me. We're now married and having a baby.
His ex is still awful and makes it very difficult to see his kids.
We're happy together and we have a very healthy relationship. I do feel bad for being involved in the end of a marriage, but honestly she was terribly abusive.
Nothing I Wouldn't Risk
I lost everything except my dogs. 5 ish years later, I still haven't recovered from the series of events and poor decisions it set in motion.
I don't regret it though. I realize I was a fool for thinking it would work out and we would get married or whatever, but it was the happiest I have ever been, and there wasn't anything I wouldn't have risked to live the rest of my life like that.
The Side Chick Who Had No Idea
I just found out my engagement of 5 years was a fraud. I was getting impatient and wanted our relationship to move forward and I started to ask questions and snoop. Ends up he was married the whole time.
I was the side chick who probably was seen as a home wrecker and I had no idea. He told me he was divorced from day one.
TylerOh No Facepalm GIF by moodman Giphy
I met this guy named Tyler on a dating app and we got along and everything seemed fine. One day I get a text from a number I don't know and they tell me that they are Tyler's wife and ask if I've had sex with Tyler. Thankfully we didn't have sex yet but she tells me she wants me to send her any text messages I have between Tyler and I so she can use them as evidence when she divorces him.
Found out from his wife that Tyler has been cheating on her with multiple women for months and even had another apartment that he would take women to so they could fck. Not only that, but he had 2 small kids. I felt like such a sl*t, I know I didn't know he had a wife but it made me feel so horrible that I was flirting and almost went on a date with a married man. I hope his wife went through with the divorce, she deserves better.
That's the thing with the term "home wrecker" a lot of women are dragged into it. You didn't know so it's not your fault but thank Goodness you dodged a bullet to!
I slept with my boss a few times, with permission from his wife (they had an open marriage and would regularly have "side pieces"). A year later, they were starting divorce proceedings, we were still working together. She was really controlling and- turns out, vindictive as Hell. She was moving things out of their house when he was at work one day and she got into his computer, screenshot messages between he and I about hooking up from the year before and got him fired. I've always felt so bad for that and his life went way downhill from there.
Not Proud, But It's The Truth
So, looking back on this, I'm not proud of this. My only excuse is that in an abusive friendship at the time and didn't have much of a sense of self-confidence or self-worth.
Back in High School, there was a girl who had a crush on me. I was pining for a different girl, and didn't really notice. Nothing really happened.
A few years later, in my early 20s, we got in contact and started chatting on MSN messenger. We meet up one night, and one thing leads to another, and we end up making out with some fondling.
She had a fiance at this time. I knew.
We make plans to hang out the next day. We watch a movie, and right after we had sex. I actually lost my virginity that day.
After that nothing happened and we eventually lost contact with each other. Last I heard she was now married to the guy and had a kid with him.
Looking back on it, I know it was wrong. But at the time... it was a big confidence booster that I needed. It felt really good to know that a girl wanted to have sex with me enough to risk her relationship to do so. I'm definitely not proud of feeling that way, but it's the truth of what I felt.
And while some people might be angry with this, I can't say that, even today, I regret it. I wouldn't do it today, even if I was single, but I can't say I regret. It's completely selfish, but I was in a bad place at the time, and it was what I needed.
I Fell For The Lies
I fell for the lies- they are breaking up soon, she's waiting for the kid to graduate high school, they haven't had sex in years, she's already seeing someone else...he even brought me to their house to see her boxes to prove she was leaving (ends up they were for their jointly purchased vacation house)- I was realizing slowly that it wasn't all adding up when he "accidentally" left his phone unlocked while she was home.
She called me livid- I refused to talk to her but told her I'd text as long as she wanted. She kept trying to goad me- saying I had to have known, they had sex all the time, they just bought a vacation house- I told her it really didn't matter- I didn't know they were "together" and as far as I was concerned he was all hers.
She contacted me again a week later saying he told her I was just some crazy chick who wouldn't leave him alone- I told her a few details to show I wasn't lying but again it didn't really matter, I was done with him.
She contacted me AGAIN a month after that saying she's dug through more of his emails and I wasn't the only one- I told her it didn't matter to me, I hadn't had anything to do with him since the first time she called...that seemed to break her. I think she wanted to just blame it all on me, but clearly he's been doing this awhile.
Ran into him months later, he asked how I'd been, I asked how SHE was- he said she'd left him not long after that last call. I said she was a smart girl.
I still feel terribly guilty- I should have seen right through all that crap. I have/had trust issues with relationships since then.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.