"How could you have done this to me, to us? Who are you and who did I marry?" With tears in his eyes, my ex-husband shouted and screamed these questions at me on the day he found out that I'd had an affair. All the while, I stood there shaking, in shock, not knowing what to say that would make what I had done right. I was a cheater.
Looking back, I realize that nothing in that moment would have given him the solace and comfort that he was looking for -- or that I was looking for. His care and love had been transformed into disdain and hate for the monster I had become to him.
The question that came up repeatedly after our marriage dissolved was "Why?" Why did I cheat on him? Why would I do such a thing to a man who was caring, funny and generous? It wasn't like he beat me up or anything like that.
If you are reading this and judging me, you are within your rights. No one judged me more harshly than I did, and even now, although it all turned out for the best, I wouldn't go down that road again -- even though I can completely understand why any women would.
According to the UK Adultery Survey 2012 by undercoverlovers.com, cheating women are more likely to stray as they are seeking emotional fulfillment, an improvement to their self-esteem and romance. When women cheat will depend on how fulfilled they feel in their marriages. But according to the survey, wives who cheat will do so five years into their marriages whereas men will do so seven years in.
After much soul-searching, I finally got to understand what drove me to cheat and why I had stepped into the shoes of cheating women:
1. My mindset. I was still living with the illusive notion that happiness was something that I could acquire from an external source; I bought into a fantasy. It's a fantasy that I see a lot of my clients buy into, which is that there is a fairy tale man that exists to bring happiness to them. This is just not true.
Back then, I bought into the notion that because I wasn't happy, someone else could dish happiness up on a silver platter. As my ex husband was not able to, someone else could surely, right? This of course wasn't true and to this day, it still isn't. In fact, the whole ordeal stressed me out and exposed me to more confusion and unhappiness.
Lesson learned: Being part of the cheating women club, I understand now that running away from myself was not the answer and that I am responsible for my own happiness and fulfillment. My happiness is, under no circumstances, anybody else’s responsibility -- least of all whoever I am in a relationship with.
2. The guilt factor. I honestly believed I was a bad person for thinking that I no longer fancied my ex husband, so as not to hurt him, I kept quiet. I couldn't find the words to tell him that I no longer found him sexually attractive. I was scared that he would finally find out that I was that "bad person" I judged myself to be. Instead of being able to confront him with my feelings and thoughts that "only bad people" have, I engaged in "bad person" behavior, hoping he wouldn't find out. I believed that I was not worthy of someone loving me as much as my ex husband did.
Lesson learned: What I now realize is that our beliefs about how we see ourselves can lead us to do some crazy things. Belief systems can be powerful catalysts for behavior, and sheds some light on why women cheat. By working on myself, I was able to finally overcome this pattern and now find myself in a loving relationship.
3. Lack of maturity and knowledge. Looking back, I realize now that I didn't have the maturity or the tools needed to live with the problems that my ex-husband and I had at the time. We would argue, get upset and as a result, our communication broke down and so did our intimacy. I didn't know how to manage the dynamic nor manage my thoughts about them either. Any time we argued, I honestly believed that he didn't love me. So, I acted out to get my own back.
Lesson learned: It's important to keep the communication channels open because once you sense that they aren't, intimacy can easily slide away. Before you know it, you are yearning for intimacy deeply. I have often heard that wives who cheat did so because of this communication break down. It's important to learn about relationships with courses or even coaching.
4. The passion died. At the time, I remember feeling that the passion had died in our relationship. I wanted to feel that my ex husband longed for me, that he wanted me and that he wanted to woo me. Our relationship fell into a day-to-day routine, lacking excitement and passion. I wanted to break free from this and thought that the best way was to do it through a selfish act.
Lesson learned: I now realize that passion outside of the relationship was only ever going to be short lived, which in this case it was. Working on what we had -- which was a lot -- would have probably been the best option.
All of these reasons may sound like excuses, and you know what? Cheating was a selfish act. I will be the first to admit it. I could have chosen not to do what I did, but if I put myself in the shoes of that young girl, at that time, I really felt that cheating was the solution.
If you are a woman who is contemplating cheating or a woman who has cheated, I ask you to contemplate what it is that is bringing on these feelings and what provoked you to act on them.
I have read a lot about cheating and many articles attribute infidelity to women not being happy in their relationships. However, you need to know that happiness comes from within. You cannot leave that up to anyone else. I don't regret what I did; as a result of the divorce, my ex gave me the biggest gift of all -- I finally got to find my happiness from within.
To stay connected to Marina and download your *FREE* chapters of Goodbye Mr Ex so that you get off the emotional rollercoaster ride and free yourself of the pain.
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