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When we think about cheating in relationships, it often feels like an open and shut case: the cheater was heartless, selfish, and nothing but a villain.


And while we still may come to that conclusion in the end, it can be worth hearing the finer details of the situation.

Perhaps those dynamics can help us to understand the warning signs of wandering eyes and possible infidelity when our own situation becomes less than ideal.

It's never the right move, but there are multiple reasons why it happens. A recent Reddit thread explored those, for better or worse.

Redditor Romantic_Sandals asked:

"People who cheated on their SO, why did you do it?"

Many people confessed to have been cheaters for reasons that were entirely selfish. They used the thread as a space to express their guilt and their desire to change.

Young and Dumb

"In high school I did. At the time, I was 17 and I was just starting to have a lot of girls notice me so it went to my head, and I ended up getting a side chick. After three months of having the side chick and my girlfriend at the time, the guilt was too much and I ended up tell my girlfriend the truth and then left."

"The side chick became my next girlfriend, and we spent about another year together before I left her too for legitimate relationship reason. The fallout and heart ache from all those decisions from that ordeal has made me swear to myself and god that I'd never do that again."

-- Ok-Championship1978

Keep Going

"Because I was a narcissist insecure a**hole. I'm in treatment now. It's a bit late for me but better late than never. Almost 50."

-- netgirljimi

Communicate!

"Cuz I was a fu**in idiot and I chose to listen to someone that I thought I could trust instead of asking my girl if she was cheating on me.ūüėě"

-- Little_Juan86

Rationalizing

"I was 18, undiagnosed bipolar, and hypomanic. I didn't take the relationship very seriously at all, and decided 'hey, if I break up with her right after I do it then I won't be such a bad person.' "

"Turns out I was still a shitty person. I never cheated again, never will. I'm madly in love with my partner and literally nothing could distract me from that."

-- grae23

A Smattering of Factors

"Drugs, miscommunication, lust, and then after, post nut clarity is a bi***. The guilt will eat you alive. You don't know why you do it really, other than animal instinct. But then you hate yourself after it"

-- Formal_Moose_4627

Caught Up In It

"I was a serial cheater from my teens to my early 20s. To me it was all for the thrill and ego boost. It was fun and exciting doing something I knew I wasnt supposed to especially with a new sexual partner."

"It bloated my ego to astronomical proportions. I remember feeling like some type of rockstar because I had 'h*e's.' I even challenged myself to see how many girls I could sleep with in a single day. Thankfully I matured and realized what an a**hole I had been. It's been 8 years since I last cheated."

-- pokemamorytrainer

Others discussed the flaws of the relationship they turned their back on. There are often plenty of toxic elements that lead to one--or both--partners straying.

Mutual Departure

"We were drifting away from each other. We hadn't seen each other in a month. Just started college, meet the woman I would marry."

"We talked right after it happened, she said she had done the same thing a week prior, we were pretty much broken up at this point anyway. Mutual assured destruction I guess"

-- GearDarkness

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Tip of the Iceberg

"I thought at the time the only thing wrong in the relationship was just that the sex was bad."

"Afterward I realized a lot of what made the sex bad was lack of attraction and poor communication. Broke up with her and never cheated again."

-- rezuler

Know When to Fold Em

"She was very emotionally abusive and manipulative and I used attention from other women as an escape from that and to help my self esteem. I should have just gotten out of the relationship."

-- SinterClauss

One Who Would Listen

"I was married to a self-centered man/child who saw me as his bang/maid. I put up with it for years and tried to improve the marriage with couples counseling, so many different therapies for couples counseling til I found one he was listening to. I tried and tried, and was the only one putting in any work."

"I had to go onto antidepressants. When this happens you need someone to 'spot' you as the doctors told me that antidepressants increase the chance of suicide. My husband couldn't even be bothered to do that. He couldn't check in on his wife, living in the same house, caring for his children in case she was suicidal."

"The only person willing to do that was a close friend of both of us who actually cared. He would regularly talk with me through my stuff with my family while we gamed. He was my sanity. He was the dear sweet man who I have lived with now for longer then the marriage relationship. He is a wonderful caring human who treats me as an equal."

-- coldandwet

A Key Element of Any Relationship

"He has no interest in sexual contact with me. I'd have to beg and chide for anything once a year. At a certain point, it just became too much work."

-- sjd2109

Hurt People Hurt People

"He was controlling, I needed therapy, I wanted to regain control of myself so I cheated. Multiple times. With multiple guys. He never found out but it eats away at me. I had been cheated on in the past so I never thought I'd do the same to someone else. But I did."

"I am in therapy now, and haven't been in a relationship for at least two years. I won't be until I feel I can choose a good partner and be a good partner."

-- Future_Letterhead710

Finding What They Needed

"Because it made me feel like someone actually wanted me and I could be myself without worrying about criticism."

"I still love my wife but she has control and anger issues that I didn't realize when we got married. Being one of those always right kind of people she can be hard to talk to and isn't receptive to the idea of counseling. That doesn't excuse my own actions but there it is."

-- Goodstapo

Fleeing

"I tried breaking up with an abusive ex but he essentially said "no" but I was at college after this first attempt. Made out w a lot of people never full sent anything, even tho I considered myself single my ex was still trying to make something of it."

"He used to beat me and constantly mentally abuse me and gaslight me, so I honestly had no remorse for what I did. If he found out now even years and an apology for his past actions later, I'd still be afraid he'd come to hurt me."

-- AnnaMak

A Messy Process

"I don't need to go into the whole story because I'm lazy, so TL;DR my girlfriend cheated on me because she was a dumb 19 year old, so I went and drove 2 hours to sleep with an ex that my girlfriend specifically hated for some reason out of spite, because I was an even stupider 19 year old."

"We worked through our issues and are going on 9 years of marriage this year with our 2nd kid on the way."

-- PartTimePOG

Hot Take

"Thought I was gay. Had to be sure before I broke things off with my wife. Turns out I wasn't."

"Never told her, never will. I regret nothing."

-- jandr08

Let's be clear: none of this condones cheating. Rather, we hope an understanding of these warning signs leads to far less of it.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

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