I’ve never been a faithful partner. Not once.
I cheated on my first boyfriend when I was 17. When I was married, I had an affair with my yoga instructor, a fisherman, a Sufi poet, my florist, a hairdresser, and a tango teacher.
I loved the thrill of being naughty and never getting caught. I craved excitement. I’d go at it in broad daylight at cheap motels, in cars, even in a Pilates studio. I’d shop for lingerie, used explicitly for these cheating trysts, and then toss it in the trash.
I thrived on the newness of a ripped body pressed up against mine. I was absolutely addicted.
Eventually, I left my marriage and found myself in a new relationship. After a few months, we stopped having sex, cold turkey. For eight months, he didn’t lay a finger on me. I tried to be a loyal, supportive partner but my old ways (and sexual needs) crept back in.
Before I knew it, I was doing the no pants dance with this incredibly hot musician from a popular rock band. He was married and bored; I was sex-starved. We met up once a month and let it all out. I carried on like that for a while, then called it quits with my boyfriend.
Here’s the thing: I never became emotionally attached to any of the men I ran around with; I just needed the rush.
I’d always be dressed and out the door before they tried any of that cuddling or pillow talk nonsense. Many of them would comment that I was “like the man in the arrangement.” I got off on that. I felt empowered, fierce, and invincible.
Somewhere along the way, I found that what I truly craved were those exact feelings. I had all of this energy and no other person could help me spend it fast enough.
One day I just woke up — literally. It turned out I had it within me all along to boost myself up and feel like a badass. Cheating was the wrong outlet and I needed to cut it out. I was wasting time, disrespecting myself and my partners.
I found myself a cute apartment, took a new job, and started spending quality time alone.
I stopped dating and didn’t have random sex anymore. I got busy taking care of myself. My urge to constantly get naked simmered down.
I adored living alone. I took up snowshoeing; I loved the feeling of trekking out into the new fallen snow in my winter gear. I went on day trips and would disappear, not telling a soul where I was. These moments filled the void I used to fill with sex.
I found hidden beaches, hiked gorgeous trails, and learned to make fresh jam and bread. I’d prepare elaborate meals just for me, treat myself to high end cheese and wine.
In lieu of orgasms with strangers, I’d recreate meals from Cooks Illustrated, listen to Chet Baker albums, and take myself to the movies. For the first time in my life, I was having a healthy relationship with myself.
Eventually, I met and fell in love with someone who I’m fiercely loyal to. He’s a dedicated, strong, and present partner. Because I feel more complete as an individual, and he’s living a life he loves, we balance each other out.
I’m no longer interested in cheating because I learned how to stop distracting myself with meaningless sex.