Why I Cheat on My Boyfriend

I was going to title this post “please read: it’s excellent,” but figured I would actually get more readers with the title that I’ve chosen, which is the title of the piece that I transcribed below.

Tufts has something called “The Public Journal” which is a collection of really honest and anonymous writings from students at the college. I picked it up absentmindedly one day and found some things to like. I also found the short piece that I will reproduce here in its entirety because it is so honest and moving. I don’t want to ruin its power with a lot of over-analysis, but I will say this, it says a lot about human beings, about loneliness, and I think, if we’re honest, a lot about our own habits.

Here is the piece, I think its less than 400 words.

My boyfriend is great. He’s smart (3.8 GPA in the Department of Engineering), attractive (a lacrosse player), funny, and so, so nice. I love hanging out with him. We go on adventures and make the most of our little town. And he treats me well. He tells me that I’m beautiful and he looks into my eyes when we have sex. I know that I am lucky to have him.

The guy I cheat on him with could care less about me if it’s not after 2 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday. I don’t think he knows my last name (I know his, it’s long and very German). We don’t do anything together besides share sex and cigarettes. He doesn’t fuck better than my boyfriend and he’s not even better looking.

I always thought that I would be loyal, even throughout the long-distance relationship thing. I’ve never had any sympathy for cheaters. It degrades trust.

But I responded to that text (probably a mass), “wanna hang out,” stone-cold sober, sitting in my pajamas on a rare Friday night in.

There was no rush of adrenaline to my muscles as I tip-toed out of my room, and I didn’t feel any other kind of rush when he answered the door to his house.

Then we fuck. And it feels good. Not great, but it’s nice to be doing it again.

He sometimes asks questions after we do it: were you satisfied, how did you lose your virginity, want to do anal. Tonight he asks why I decided to hang out with him. We don’t keep secrets he knows about my boyfriend.

I just say, “I don’t know, my boyfriend was busy.” Both of these things are true, but I don’t know what the connection between them is.

We fall asleep together. This is the first time since freshman year, when we started this relationship of ours, that we’ve spent more than forty-five consecutive minutes together. He puts his arm around me while we sleep and when I turn over, he reaches out to replace his hold on me again. I appreciate this small gesture.

I wake up first, to the sun streaming in. I pass an hour, connecting dots of color in his “Starry Night” poster hanging on the wall. I feel nothing. Not even guilty. This is the exact same feeling I get waking up next to my boyfriend.

This girl is not psychotic. At least, I think, judging by her prose, she is an introspective and mature individual who has failed at something, and who has let herself down. We all do it. We could hate on her, but I think it would be far more mature to acknowledge the commonality of her situation.

The guy too, I don’t think, is a bad human being, but his actions, small and seemingly insignificant, have huge consequences, and you can feel the weight of their assault on decency and dignity, perhaps of anyone who reads this…

We all do damage to others so effortlessly, so naturally. That is the lesson for me, and the flip-side is that you can believe the hype. You CAN, if you choose, treat your every action as having massive, rippling significance. You can, if you are so inclined, know that your smallest action of kindness, politeness, and sacrifice are helping define the human race as more powerful and more noble.


4 Responses to “Why I Cheat on My Boyfriend”

  1. 1 Rael
    January 12, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    She doesn’t care about her boyfriend, at all. She’s just a self centered person who only care for herself and no one else. That’s why she does it, because only her needs and desires matter. I hope her boyfriend has since found out and dumped her, because she will never care for him, he’s just a trophy.
    I’ve seen this before.

    • 2 questionbeggar
      January 13, 2013 at 2:01 am

      thanks for your perspective on this. I agree with you, but I thought this essay was so remarkable because the woman is obviously introspective and apparently sensitive to the bizarre way she’s responding to things. So, I don’t know if she’s just a cold hearted person, or if she’s experiencing the ways in which we all can be torn from apparently obviously good things.

      • 3 Art
        June 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        You’re absolutely right, but her introspection comes from her own disappointment of whom she imagined herself to be and as Rael said not because she cares about the consequences of her actions and whose feelings would be hurt and the impact on others. Unfortunately I think these days is more of the normal behaviour and probably quite a few people would wonder what the fuss is about. Kind of makes you lose hope in humanity.

  2. April 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    She is not psychotic at all. Everyone else is. Sex is a necessary thing. If humans were not such terribly insecure beings, we would choose a mate to reproduce with and fuck a lot of other people too and tell each other all about it with out mate for life as it would only add to the “spice” of life…variety.
    It’s not her that is insane, it’s the trying to live by traditions set up by a bunch of crazy cave-dwellers 5,000 years ago. A sect that became the predominant meme on the planet despite its many dogmatic inconsistencies.

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