Right before I ended my last relationship, I cheated on my boyfriend. It didn't feel like cheating, though. Emotionally, I had checked out of that relationship a long time ago. And although I know cheating is technically wrong, I can honestly say I don't regret it.
My boyfriend and I had our fair share of ups and downs, to say the least. We were both struggling with insecurities we projected onto one another, which is definitely not healthy and led to some pretty heated repetitive arguments. But when I tried to break things off with him before leaving for college, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I've never been good with change, and I just wasn't ready to end a relationship I had spent so much time in.
I do feel bad about not being honest, but I'm glad this happened. It was an experience that taught me important lessons about being in a relationship and being on my own.
When he talked about visiting me at school, I felt a pit in my stomach and dreaded making those plans. I knew why. I should have broken it off then and there, but I chickened out . . . again. Not only was I still emotionally attached but I didn't want to hurt him either.
When I started school, I very quickly met this great guy. He was kind, smart, funny, attractive, and we just had this natural connection. Being with him was easy. There were no ridiculous screaming matches or petty jealousy. We just enjoyed getting to know each other — something I hadn't experienced in a long time.
You already know how this story ends. I didn't tell this new boy I was still in a relationship, and I cheated with him. I'll admit, calling my boyfriend the next day was a bit awkward. I didn't tell him I cheated on him — I just told him the distance wasn't working for me. He didn't say much; I think he knew it was coming, and we've only spoken once since then.
At the end of the day, although I do feel bad about not being honest, I'm glad this happened. It was an experience that taught me important lessons about being in a relationship and being on my own.
It made me realize I had been putting up with a toxic relationship for too long. I was putting a boy's happiness before my own and depending on a relationship to console insecurities I should have been learning to overcome myself.
Cheating on my boyfriend helped me find my independence. Relationships are messy, and it's OK when they don't work out. After this, I was truly excited to be single for a while. I learned that you don't need to cling to past loves just because you don't know anything else. It's OK to venture out on your own, and you should always prioritize your own happiness and well-being.
I'm not a completely different person than I was in that relationship, but I'm more comfortable with the parts of me that my partner made me feel bad about. And I've realized that I don't need to get into another relationship until I meet someone who accepts and loves those parts of me, too.