Why I Cheated On The Love Of My Life

My psychotherapist once said: "Behind every betrayal is an unfulfilled need."

sad couple DimaBerlin/ Shutterstock

"Wow," he said, looking out of his car window and staring deep into my hazel eyes.

"You truly are the woman of my dreams."

I smiled and closed the car door.

Ten minutes later I broke up with him.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I had no choice after cheating on him.

Here are the 4 most important lessons I’ve learned about cheating and love after my 5-year relationship:

1. Cheating doesn’t just happen

My psychotherapist once said: "Behind every betrayal is an unfulfilled need."


The truth is, I didn’t cheat on my ex because he couldn’t fulfill my needs. I cheated on him because I couldn’t fulfill my needs.

At the time, I had zero self-worth and couldn’t understand why anyone would ever love me. Then, I fell in love with this toxic guy with whom I cheated on my ex.

I remember getting such a "kick" when I finally had sex with him. Not because the act itself was amazing, but because I thought I had finally gotten the approval that I was worthy of love.

As Dr. Robert Weiss puts it: "For some, cheating on one’s partner is a way to explore repressed parts of their self."


Cheating reflected the part of me that was so hungry for approval.

Yet, what I truly needed was to give this approval to myself. Nobody else could have ever given it to me.

Whilst I wish this realization hadn’t happened through cheating and hurting another person, it was a blessing. The person I betrayed the most was myself thinking I could boost my self-worth by sleeping with another person.

RELATED: If You Cheat On Someone, You Want To End It With That Person

2. Sex is an escape

I don’t agree with the popular opinion that many of us cheat because we’re "just too horny and can’t hold ourselves back."

I think it’s less about our biological drive and more about our psychological background.


As relationship expert Esther Perel beautifully puts it: "Sex is not something you do, it’s a place you go."

As I mentioned in this article, many people describe sex, specifically orgasm, as a natural high — a moment where they completely lose themselves and their ego dissolves.

If sex can take us to a place where we suddenly forget all of our problems, it shouldn’t be surprising that many of us use it as an escape mechanism from our painful reality.

The Toronto Addiction Counseling states: "People in healthy relationships have sex because they enjoy it. If you’re using it to mask negative feelings or emotions, however, this is a sign you’re using sex as a coping mechanism."


And that can even cause sex addiction. Once pleasure becomes an escape from pain, it’s not healthy anymore.

That’s what I did. Cheating helped me forget that at that time, my parents had been in divorce and I had lost all feelings for my 5-year boyfriend.

My whole life felt like it was falling apart. Sex helped to numb my feelings, even for a short period.

RELATED: 60 Relatable Quotes For People Who Know Exactly How It Feels To Be Cheated On

3. He wasn’t the love of my life

Let’s be real, he wasn’t the love of my life. Because if he was, I wouldn’t have cheated.

The Baltimore Therapy Center states: "Infidelity does not mean that the love is gone or never existed. The reality is that you can love someone and still cheat on them…It is normal human functioning to be attracted to other humans, and to want to connect to others emotionally and sexually."


I agree only partly.

Sure, we have to differentiate between love and lust, but if someone truly is "the love of your life," that true connection and commitment will be stronger than any sudden sexual attraction to another person (if living monogamously).

As a love coach, many of my clients caught in toxic dynamics call their partners "soulmates" whilst deeply unsatisfied in the relationship.

That’s what dating expert Kornelija Slunksi confirms: "You say you love each other like you never loved anyone before, but at the same time there are lots of lies, jealousy and cheating."

That was my exact reality. It wasn’t love, it was the biggest trauma bond of my life. And I had been truly unhappy in the relationship for years.


The only reason it felt so safe and like I had known my ex for ages was because it’s what I had known all my childhood from my father.

I stand by what I said before: If someone truly is the love of your life, you don’t cheat on them.

RELATED: Why I Cheated On Every Partner I Had

4. You still deserve happiness in your life, even if you cheated

I’ll never forget what my friend’s partner said when he found out I cheated: "I always thought Anja was such a nice girl. Now that I know she cheated, she’s not anymore."

Fun fact: He also cheated on her years later.

I think there’s a pandemic of calling cheaters "bad people" and I want this to stop.


Those who cheat are usually in a lot of personal pain and have experienced (childhood) trauma and a lack of secure love. 

That is by no means an excuse to hurt your partner. But it’s a reason to show compassion and beware that we only hurt others if we’ve been hurt ourselves. Just like any abuser, murderer, and so on.

When you cheat, you have to own your mistakes and work s*** out to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s not fair to project your pain onto any partner.

But we all deserve to get support for the mistakes we did and not be shamed, just as the person who was cheated on should get any professional help they need.

Since I was shamed by so many around me, I kept judging myself and living the lie that I don’t deserve love. That led to many more abusive relationships to follow.


I’m not proud of what I did, but I own my mistake and I’m glad it happened. If I didn’t cheat, I might’ve stayed longer in an unhappy relationship and would’ve never learned about my low self-esteem.

Everyone makes mistakes and we all deserve to learn from them and live a happy life.

And again, let’s not forget: Cheating is not about your partner not meeting your needs, it's about you not meeting your needs.

RELATED: 33 Unanswered Questions I Have For The Guy Who Cheated On Me

Anja Vojta is a certified relationship coach and breakup expert. Reach her on her website.