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Cheryl Lavin: Why women cheat

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BY CHERYL LAVIN

For the Sun-Times

Why do women cheat? It is sex? Romance? Boredom? Revenge? Here are some of your thoughts . . .

RITA: “I’m a 46-year-old single mother, separated two years after a 15-year marriage. I was never unfaithful while my husband and I were together, but after a year alone, I became promiscuous. One affair led to another affair and now I’ve cheated on the new boyfriend with another man and my husband. I’ve lied to everyone, worst of all to myself.

“In truth, I had some very good times during that year, and in the same situations, I’d still have a very difficult time resisting temptation. But was it worth it?  Absolutely not. I feel like pond scum, and I could probably find plenty of people to agree that that’s exactly what I am. I’ve hurt them and feel very guilty, as well I should.

“I lived most of my life before this last year as a typical, middle-class mom involved in my kids’ school, sports and activities. But I made a lot of big mistakes and lost sight of what’s important. Now I need to get my priorities straight, and if that means going back to living like a nun (only without the peace and quiet), then so be it.”

MAISIE: “I cheated because I had something like an emotional tapeworm. You know how people with tapeworms can eat and eat and never be nourished because everything goes to feed the worm? My tapeworm was not knowing what I had a right to expect from a relationship.

“I always felt like I’d gotten into good things by accident and would be found out as a party crasher and shown the door. So I figured whatever there was to grab, I’d grab, and if there was some unpleasant side effect — like an abusive or neglectful partner — so be it.

“I wanted better, but I didn’t believe I deserved better. So whatever I consumed fed the worm instead of me. I’m getting help, but I still have a way to go.”

JILLIAN: “From my teens to my early twenties, I was insecure and hungry for attention, yet I kept choosing emotionally unavailable guys. As a result, I often felt neglected, and so I cheated. I was reliving my dysfunctional relationship with my father.

“My dad was emotionally unavailable, volatile, aggressive, dismissive, and an alcoholic. He made me feel defective and inferior. This was all I knew of relationships with men, so I sought to re-create it, albeit subconsciously. What a colossal waste of time.

“The repeated failed efforts to find love sent me into a downward cycle of attention-seeking. I turned to whoever showed any interest in me, whether or not he was good for me. The affairs left me demoralized; no better off than when I started. I hit a point where I knew I needed therapy. I figured out why I was cheating and after a time, I felt better about myself, and started making better choices. I didn’t feel the urge or need to cheat anymore. It was a huge relief.

“The hurt I caused was never worth the few fleeting moments of gratification I got from the infidelities, and the guilt I felt was unparalleled.”

Why do you cheat? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com.

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