Originally published on Unwritten by Jenna Beykirch.
All of high school I dated the same guy. Let’s call him Thomas. Our relationship was full of great times and laughs. He made everything seem like a fairy tale. It basically was a dream come true until guys stopped acknowledging me as a girl because I wasn’t available. I was just a blurred face in a sea of people and to be completely honest…It sucked.
At first I started to dress nicer and I did my hair and makeup entirely for school, but it wasn’t working, I was still the girl with a boyfriend. I am not saying I was pissed I didn’t get attention because I did, I got it from the guy who really mattered. I’m just saying I wish other people still saw me as a girl.
It wasn’t until college that I finally was recognized as my own person and not just Thomas’ girlfriend. A lot of people did know I had a boyfriend (just by the fact that I wore a necklace with his name on it and it was all over my social media sites), but I never just came out and said I had a boyfriend. I know that isn’t right, but at the time it seemed right.
College wasn’t easy for Thomas and me — it was filled with missed phone calls, arguments, and suspicion. Pretty soon, he would only text back once a day or not at all so I really didn’t know where we stood. I never planned to cheat on Thomas. I was still in love with him, I just wasn’t happy with him. I think part of the reason why I cheated on him is because I had only been single for very brief periods of time so I never got to experience a “wild” period where you don’t have to worry about the consequences. At the same time I knew I couldn’t let myself do it because society has led everyone to believe that people who cheat are horrible people and I knew I was not a horrible person. But the more I heard about people doing these crazy sexual things, the more my curiosity lingered.
I cheated on Thomas with someone whom I saw all the time at the frat house I went to freshman year. He was kind, smart, and hot. It was hard to not be into him; every girl was into him. I think that is what made it a little more exciting. He knew I had a boyfriend, but after a while, our sexual attraction seemed to be mutual. One day he asked me to come over and help him with the homework for our class. About an hour into us studying he told me I was really pretty and that it sucked that I wasn’t available.
After a few minutes I finally said that Thomas and I were on the rocks and I’m not sure how much more I could take. He responded with a smooth answer like he would never treat me how Thomas does… and just like that he leaned in a kissed me. It made me feel excited and needed. One thing led to another, and it all just happened so quickly. Right after, I got dressed, finished helping him with his homework like it never happened, and just left. It wasn’t emotional or loving; it was just casual. During the hookup I felt a whirlwind of emotions: disgusted with myself, angry, excited, needed, and then finally content with what was happening. It gave me a chance to experience a ton of emotions that I had been holding in for a long time. It finally made me realize that Thomas wasn’t the person I wanted anymore.
After it happened I started to feel really guilty. So I decided to tell Thomas because I couldn’t keep leading him on since I knew he wasn’t the person for me anymore. Once I did, I learned he had been cheating on me for months. It was heartbreaking and painful to hear, but I suddenly didn’t feel as horrible about myself. Obviously after that we broke up; I hated him for a while but then I realized he was a big part of my life that it didn’t make sense for me to hate him.
When we came home on break, I asked him to meet me so we could talk. I realized I stopped loving him as my boyfriend a long time ago, I just needed him to still be in my life somehow. We still are really good friends to this day. A lot of my friends think it is weird how close we are now, but we knew we liked each other as people so why not be friends?
I am not saying that me cheating on him is justified because he cheated on me. All I am saying is that I often think about it and question why I didn’t feel guilty about cheating on Thomas. My answer is the same every time: it was something I wanted to do for me. It doesn’t make me a slut, it doesn’t make me a bad person without morals. I didn’t grow up with a family that emotionally messed me up, and I am not cold hearted. After cheating, I learned I would much rather be casual than being tied down in an unhappy relationship. I also realized that cheating is not for me either; it’s something I could never do again. Cheating on him also opened up my eyes to see that there is better people in this world for me other than Thomas. I am at peace with my choice and when I step back and take a look at my life now, there is not one thing I would change.