‘Cheating on my partner was best thing I did’
I'D BEEN been with John for three years when I started to realise he wasn't "the one." Over time, our relationship had morphed into that of roommates. There was no desire or passion left.
Our common interests had been whittled down to TV shows and takeaway, and that was pretty much how exciting it got.
We argued about little things and it was apparent we were on different paths.
I couldn't imagine having kids with him and our future seemed pretty bleak.
I thought about leaving numerous times, but was scared to be on my own. I didn't have the guts to leave and figured the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
As another year went past, I became increasingly unhappy. I picked fights with him continuously.
I longed for him to turn around and stick up for himself.
I wanted him to say he'd had enough. Enough of the constant criticism. Enough of me nagging and enough of our relationship, full stop. He never did.
I think he was scared to be alone too, so we simply plodded on.
It was in the last six months of our five-year relationship that things changed. I took the bull by the horns - or, perhaps more appropriately, I channelled my inner coward as a way to get out. I did what I always swore I wouldn't do.
The first few times it happened, I was drunk. Alcohol was flowing and it was a case of right time, right place. At least that's what I told myself.
In the morning, everything was hazy and I convinced myself that a dirty dance, or text, or flirting wasn't really cheating.
That is, until it became more regular.
WAITING ON THE DOORSTEP WHEN I GOT HOME
Every weekend I partied without John. I'd become so distanced from our relationship that my morals had gone out the window.
So when those small flirty actions progressed into infatuations, I didn't even consider what I was doing as cheating anymore.
I woke up Sunday mornings next to him feeling completely guilt-free.
One night, a kiss developed into something more. A guy I'd seen out regularly approached me and brought me a drink.
One thing led to another and I didn't fight off his advances when he asked me outside.
The inevitable happened that night, and to make matters worse, we got caught.
A friend of a friend heard about our hook-up and, as they say, news travels fast.
John was waiting on the doorstep for me when I got home.
Seeing the look of devastation and hurt in his eyes was enough to break my heart.
I'd never meant to hurt him. I'd just felt trapped and was only thinking of myself.
It was the worst thing that could have happened but, ironically, it was also the best.
For the first time in our relationship, John was in charge.
He'd had enough of being a doormat and fighting for me to stay.
He finally led me to the door. The decision to leave was out of my hands.
In the following months, I went from strength to strength. I realised that I didn't need a man to support me.
I was strong enough on my own. I'd occasionally see John and experience a pang of regret - not for the loss of the relationship but for the way it had ended so badly.
I've carried that guilt for years and only recently made peace with myself.
I heard that he'd moved overseas with a long-term girlfriend and I wish him only happiness and luck.
He wasn't for me but may be perfect for her. Perhaps his happily ever after is only that plane ride away.
This article was published on whimn.com.auand is republished with permission.