If someone had told me five years ago that one day, I’d kiss someone twice my age, I would have believed it. If someone told me at 16 that one day I’d probably have a lesbian experience, I would have been hesitant, but I would have believed it. But I’ll tell you this: if someone had told me a couple years ago I’d be having an affair, I would have look at them with disgust and disapproval. I would have never, ever believed it.
“No,” I would say, “My parents’ marriage was broken by cheating. I know the pain and harm it causes; I would never.”
I used to tell my friends how much I hated cheaters. I would explain to them the hurt it put my family and I through. I would tell them how horrible it was to see my mom cry herself to sleep for days, months, years. I would tell them that I had no tolerance for cheaters. Mostly, I would tell them I would never, ever cheat.
But you see, sometimes you say things a little too soon. And sometimes you’ll do things you ‘crossed your heart and swore to die’ you’d never do.
I really meant it when I said I would never cheat. I did. And then I met him.
He didn’t tell me he had a girlfriend. It was a great strategy because once I found out we had already been talking and seeing each other every day for almost three weeks, something I would have never done if I’d known he had a girlfriend. By the time I found out, I was in over my head. He definitely knew this.
We both knew this.
The first time you cheat is filled with nervous energies and hesitant movements. It’s exhilarating and scary and new.
The second time is intoxicating. So is the third. It’s passionate and off-limits and for some reason, that makes it all that better.
The fourth time is when the guilt starts to kick in. It’s gone from excitement and passion to secret texts and sex in the backseat of a car in an empty high school parking lot.
The fifth time is the first time you say it’s the last time. It’s the first time you say this, so you believe it.
The sixth time is when you begin to understand just how little power you have over your own actions. It’s when you realize just how bad a situation you’ve gotten yourself into.
The seventh time is when you realize that there’s no point keeping track. You’re officially doing something you swore you’d never do. You’re cheating.
You’re a cheater; so is he.
And then it ends because you realize everyone involved in the situation deserves better. Especially her.
You realize that it’s not okay to be the other woman and blame his advances to reassure everyone of your innocence. No one is buying it, not even you.
I learned more than I could ever have imagined from having an affair.
I learned that most of the time nothing is black and white leaving all of life basically a grey zone. I learned that doing the wrong thing is sometimes the right thing and that often times the lines between the two are blurred. I learned that love can make people crazy and that mistakes are never really as bad as they seem because they all serve some sort of purpose, if for nothing other than a lesson.
Mainly I learned never to speak too soon and to never say never. Life is full is surprises and while most of life’s tricks are pulled on you, sometimes you surprise yourself by pulling them on yourself.