“What I learned about cheating, after I cheated.”

Video by Mamamia Women's Network.

You can move past infidelity and you deserve to put it behind you. There will always be judgment and hate from others. You can’t stop it but you don’t have to focus on it or feel responsible for it.

I only know how to write from personal experience. I am divorced with children. I was married 15 years and together with my ex for 17 years. It was a rocky road from the start. We cancelled 2 wedding dates, had a 2-year-old and I was pregnant with a second child before we finally made it down the district court aisle. I had made a lot of bad and impulsive decisions in my life.

With that said, I can also say this: I tried my hardest to be a good wife. I loved my children and I tried to love my ex-husband. I keep a household together, kept a job, and tried to be happy and create happiness in my ex. I was not perfect nor was he.

Why do people cheat
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I have written about infidelity before. I recently read a new article written by another brave soul admitting her own infidelity. I was a little floored by the positive responses she received versus the negative responses I received in the past. This writer "owned her affair", she "made no excuses" for her behaviour. I have written before that any effort to explain a past affair is only ever seen as "making excuses." But, in reality, it is an effort to explain the feelings, the circumstances, the poor self-image, that lead to such a terrible choice.

How do you move on from infidelity you've committed?

The topic of this article was almost certainly for the spouse who did not cheat - not from the one who did cheat. However with such a high divorce rate in this country cheating spouses are cheating with someone - they can't be all cheating with single people. So, my guess is that there are a lot more people who have cheated, emotionally or sexually, then he/she cares to fess up to.

So, like I have written in past articles, I write this one with the assumption that there are many people who are simply not being very honest with themselves. When I separated from my husband I looked for other online resources to help me cope with where I was in my life and I found absolutely none. This lead to writing my first article for divorcedmoms.com and this is why I continue to write for them.

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If you cheated on your spouse and you find yourself reading this article I can tell you 4 things I have learned.

1. One terrible decision does not define you nor should it define you. There are a ton of people out there who will gladly call you a whore, a homewrecker, a slut, and deem you totally evil. They are approaching you with their own hurt and sense of betrayal. You can't fix them nor should you tolerate their rudeness. You did not have sex with their spouse nor are you responsible for their unhappiness. You do not represent the face of infidelity.

2. The repercussions are long lasting especially for children. I made a terrible decision in a  time of my life when I was extremely depressed and felt very helpless and hopeless. Looking back I wish I had made a different decision. I can't change the past but I do realise how much this has affected my children and I actively reach out to them all the time trying to heal their hurt.

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3. You can stop apologising for yourself. You made a mistake. You know you made a mistake. You strive never to make the same mistake. That is all you can do. That is really all anyone can do.

4. You can have love again and you deserve love again. I hate the phrase "once a cheater always a cheater". I guess I could say of my ex-husband, "once a loser who checked out of his family and did nothing for years - always a loser," but I don't. I was so far from anyone's image of a cheater that when people did find out they did not believe it. It is not something I ever thought I would do. That is why they are called "mistakes". We all make them. I am in a relationship now where there is mutual love and mutual effort and mutual affection. I feel valued and I put a lot of effort into making sure he knows how much I adore him and admire him. I am older and wiser now. I realize now how quickly a relationship can run off into the gutter if you don't put effort into it.

why do people cheat
Source: iStock.

You can move past infidelity and you deserve to put it behind you. There will always be judgment and hate from others. You can't stop it but you don't have to focus on it or feel responsible for it. I don't think I will ever get accolades from anyone nor am I looking for them when I write these articles. However, they are written honestly and are straight from my heart and from my personal experiences. If someone reads this and feel more hopeful than that is a good thing. One bad decision does not have to doom your life even if there are some people out there who will wish that upon you.

This post originally appeared on Divorced Moms and was republished here with full permission. 

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