I know what you’re thinking. If you’re a cheater you can’t also be a good person, right? Well to clarify, I’m a former cheater. ‘Reformed cheater’ as I affectionately like to refer to it. When I was cheating, I comforted myself by saying I was a good person doing shitty things. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t shitty in all aspects but cheating certainly took precedence, which in turn made me a mostly shitty person. Shades of gray people!
Once a Cheater Always a Cheater
If you cling to this adage, you need to shake the dust out of your panties. Believing this means you believe that people, all people are incapable of change. Yes, there are some cheaters that will never change, just like there are assholes that will never change and pushovers that will never change. There will be people who lie compulsively and people who drink too much. There are people that spend too much time in nightclubs and people who drink too much coffee.
Those people are just as equally capable, as well as incapable, of change.
In order to change, most people need a reason. In order to change something about their lives that’s become a regular habit (detrimental or not), most people need a really good reason. And maybe a kick in the ass or a Karmic slap to the face.
People change all the time and usually have a good reason for it. Maybe you eat terribly and your doctor tells you that you’re going to suffer from heart disease, or even die, if you don’t turn things around now. Maybe it’s become clear you’ll lose everything if you don’t quit drinking. Or maybe you stop sunbathing because you’re afraid of wrinkles.
Just like everyone else, someone who cheats, can change.
5 Ways Cheating Made Me a Better Person
1. I Hide Nothing
Lying, cheating and hiding a completely separate life is exhausting. Jumping on your phone every time it buzzes, explaining where you were and who you were with (in a way that sounds reasonable), deleting, password protecting–it’s all a lot of work. When I made the decision to stop cheating, the decision to be honest and open had to come with it, too. I no longer have a password on my phone and will leave it in another room entirely at points. My Facebook and email are left open on my laptop and I only delete things because I don’t need/want them, rather than to hide them. I also am forthcoming about where I am and who I’m with. Since I’m not doing anything wrong, there’s no need to lie.
It’s incredibly freeing to be an open book. And while my past was a bit difficult for him to swallow at first, he’s now understanding of my past and trusts me completely.
2. I’m More Direct
Rather than looking outside my relationship to be fulfilled in certain areas, I now ask for what I need within it. Sure, I used to ask for what I wanted, (while also guilt tripping and threatening). When I didn’t get it I’d throw a fit and most likely look to another man to fill those gaps. If those needs were met, it didn’t last long and the temporary fill ended up leaving me feeling empty.
I’ve learned to be honest about my needs and wants as well as to be realistic about receiving them. I’m patient with my boyfriend and know that he can’t change overnight, so rather than demand instant gratification; I acknowledge his progress. The reward of getting what I need from him is infinitely more satisfying than a temporary high from a random man.
3. I Refuse to Settle
In my past relationship I was very comfortable and I knew he’d always be there. So I settled for mediocrity with him instead of taking the risk to be on my own and potentially finding a love that would blow my mind.
Cheating is a selfish act. Instead of setting him free to find someone else, I held on to him so I could feel secure. Settling made me feel bitter, like it was somehow his fault that I didn’t have the balls to be on my own. Even the men I cheated with I settled for. I could never truly give myself to someone that was willing to come second to another man, or willing to interfere with a relationship, whether it was proclaimed to be unhappy or not.
After going through all that, I decided to refuse to settle. Rather than fall into a relationship with someone that would provide comfort and security, I cut things off as early as the first date–even if it went well. I listened to myself and what my heart wanted and vowed not to settle. It paid off because yes, while I was alone at points, I wasn’t wasting my time (or theirs).
4. I’m a Model Girlfriend
When I was cheating I was the worst girlfriend ever. He was so low on the priority list, it was a miracle he was even on it at all. I didn’t care about what he wanted if it didn’t align with what I did. I blew him off, was inconsistent with doing nice ‘girlfriendy’ things, laughed in his face when he tried to set boundaries and completely disregarded his feelings.
Since then I’ve reevaluated my priorities. While it’s important to put myself first (not selfishly), he runs a pretty close second. I listen, take his feelings into consideration and modify my behavior when necessary. I haven’t so much as glanced outside of the relationship, instead I foster what we have. I stand by him through his lows and celebrate his highs.
And I don’t do anything I know is wrong. No lying, no sneaking, no cheating and if I do or say something I shouldn’t–I own it and apologize as soon as I realize it.
5. I’ve Found Happiness Within
When I was younger, whether I was cheating or not, I searched for happiness outside of myself. Attention from men is where I found the majority of my value and self-worth. Because of how temporary that happiness is, I was constantly searching for that fill. I was insatiable and miserable.
It took being destroyed by a man (thank you Karma) to rebuild the foundation of who I was as a person and where my joy would come from. I decided I wanted to be in control of that and no one would ever have the power to completely swing me in one direction or the other ever again. I take care of myself, I’m good to myself, I forgive myself and I pursue happiness that will have lasting value rather than a temporary fix.
I’m a genuinely happy person and while attention from men is flattering, it doesn’t rule me like it used to. Now I just graciously accept the compliment before moving on.
I knew that if I wanted to truly be happy I would need to change. So, I changed for me, no one else.
Are you reformed from cheating? Do you think a cheater is capable of becoming a good person?
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