I have both cheated and been cheated on.
I don’t regret cheating and I never will. I was in an impossibly bad relationship with an obsessive, needy guy who would never have left me alone if I had tried to break up with him in a normal way.
Toward the end, he would call me 20 times in one night while I was out with friends and freak out if I didn’t answer.
All through our relationship, he maintained daily contact with multiple female "best friends," one of whom was his ex, even after I told him I wasn’t comfortable with this.
He got mad at me for not being able to talk to him because I needed to study (we were long-distance while I was away at school and had agreed from the start that school came first. I got A’s. He failed three classes in the first year).
He got mad at me for not coming home often enough (I didn’t have the money to just plunk down for a plane ticket whenever he wanted me to).
His father made fun of me all the time for my strange eating habits (I had an eating disorder), and he never defended me. Toward the end of the relationship, when we started getting in a lot of fights, he used his knowledge of my ED against me because he knew that was the only way he could really upset me.
When we were in the same town and hung out at night, if I said that I was tired and ready to go home and go to bed, he would physically restrain me from leaving his house/car if he wasn’t ready for me to leave yet.
The few times that I tried to break up with him, he cried and begged me to change my mind. I was afraid that he would continue to call me all the time and beg me to take him back, or that he would do physical harm to himself or to me if I ended it. He truly acted as if the end of our relationship would be the end of the world. He truly believed we were going to get married even though he knew I didn’t want to. It really reached a point where we were emotionally abusive to each other, but he didn’t want it to end, and I didn’t know *how* to end it. Who gets into a situation like that at 19, seriously? I think, in the end, the only way I knew of to end his attachment to me was to do something that would make him not want me anymore, so I did.
After we finally did break up, and he was aware of my cheating, he told me he had cheated on me, too, almost a year earlier. I remember the girl and I remember suspecting them and him denying it. I wish I would have found out then, so I could have just broken up with him much sooner and never cheated as I did. But I don’t regret it. I am so much better off now than I ever was with him, and I never would have gotten into that relationship if I’d known what it would turn into.
I did not cheat with the intention of hurting him, even though I knew I would. I cheated because I was genuinely happy with the other guy, in a way I’d never been with the previous guy. And the guy I cheated with? He’s my FI. We’ve been together three years.