Is Cheating Yourself Worse Than Cheating On Someone Else?

By Maggie Jeanne Lancaster

I never thought I’d find myself there. “There” is not a place I ever really wanted to be. Naked, sweating under the body of someone else’s boyfriend.

Earlier, he told me he’d been “thinking about this for a long time.” His hands were on my butt, and we were making out in the stairwell of my apartment.

“It’s OK,” I remember slurring through a haze of cheap beer. “This has nothing to do with her.This is about you and me.” And even now, a month later, I still believe that to be true. It had nothing to do with his girlfriend, nothing to do with their relationship. I’d quickly developed feelings for someone who happened to have a girlfriend. It had nothing to do with her.

I’ve never been cheated on, and I have never cheated on someone. Since ending my last serious relationship over a year ago, I decided to start dating multiple people at once, but I have always been transparent about this. Most guys have been okay with it, but a few have told me that they didn’t want me dating other people. It never works out with those kinds of boys.

The guy knew this. Earlier that night he had even told me that he wished more girls thought like me. I thought he and I were on the same page. Does this make me a cheater? A mistress? How would I explain this situation to a future partner?

“One time I got pretty drunk and made out in my stairwell with a guy who I knew had a girlfriend. We went back into my apartment and took all of our clothes off, but we never had sex.”

We never had sex. So does it even classify as cheating?

What if you have sex with someone, but you don’t have any romantic feelings for them? Is just sex cheating? What if you only make out in a stairwell with someone and there is butt touching, but you have romantic feelings for them? Is that cheating?

He left that night before anything else happened. We had dinner together a week later to talk about what happened because he was feeling guilty about the situation, and I was confused. Did I like him? Did I want to do this again? Should I ask him to leave his girlfriend?

No. I didn’t want him to leave his girlfriend. If anything, I was fine with him staying with his girlfriend and continuing my friendship with him. I valued the friendship more than the possibility of a relationship, and, honestly, I wasn’t ready to give up dating other people.

He wasn’t sure whether to tell his girlfriend or not. I didn’t feel guilty at all. Did that make me a monster? If this happened to me, would I want the girl to feel bad for me? Should I have sympathy for this girl because I’ve seen her boyfriend naked?

“If it didn’t mean anything, and it’s not going to happen again, then I don’t think you should tell her, “ I said. “It will cause her unnecessary hurt and damage your relationship.”

Could I protect and love this girl more by helping her boyfriend keep a secret? I decided that it would be more painful for her to know. I’d never see or meet her, so how would the knowledge of my existence benefit her? It wouldn’t.

I texted him after another week and invited him to dinner for my birthday. He told me that he didn’t think it was a good idea for us to see each other for “a while” so he could get over what happened. He said I was a reminder of his poor choices. Ouch. I was upset and annoyed: upset at him for being dramatic and annoyed at myself for caring.

He had cheated on his girlfriend more with emotion than physical touch, and I had allowed him to do it with me. I’d let myself be affected by a boy, something I decided a long time ago to never do. Is that worse than the cheating? Is it worse to cheat yourself than to cheat someone else?

I still haven’t talked to him, and, eventually, when his conscience clears and he decides he can be around me again, I’m not going to cheat myself anymore.



IMG_2562About Maggie Jeanne

A firm believer in the Oxford comma, Maggie Jeanne (MJ) started writing at a young age. Ghostwriting for a series of unpublished American Girl Doll series spin-offs, MJ has since moved from a plastic yellow Playskool desk in her parent’s basement to Chicago where she studies Journalism at Columbia College. She spends her free time riding around the city on a 1972 Schwinn called Robby or owning the dance floor with her friends.

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