As some of you may know, we've done posts in the past featuring married people who have caught their spouse cheating on them. From those, we've received an overwhelming amount of responses from people who have been the "other" person in a relationship and wanted to share their perspectives.
So, we recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who have been the "other" person in a relationship to share their side of the story, and they opened up about why they did it and what happened — so here are some of their responses:
1. "I’d been divorced for 10 years and was not interested in dating until my kids were up and out, but I really missed sex. A friend from a co-ed team started flirting with me and being suggestive. In the beginning, it was just a lot of sexting. He’s truly a good guy, and he’s in a very happy 20+ year marriage. I know his wife, and she’s great. He just has a much higher sex drive than she does. So he was missing the one thing I wanted — we filled a need the other had. He’d never cheated before, and the first time we had sex, he felt so guilty. He really wished he could ask his wife for permission. For two years, we’ve been on-again, off-again. The chemistry and comfort level with each other is insane. It’s by far the best sex of each of our lives, but his guilt and shame have been so hard on him.
"After the last time we had sex, he said he felt like an addict and asked for my help to stop. That changed things for me. I’m not in love with him, but I love him, so I’m helping him (even though I still want to have sex with him!) by not flirting or initiating.
"We are wonderful friends and see each other all the time. We care about each other a lot and promised each other that the friendship would always come first and we’d never lose it, so I’m glad that’s been the case.
"Given the opportunity, I’m not sure I could resist him, so I make sure that we only see each other in public or group settings. I feel like our story isn’t over, but I’m not sure how it will play out in the end. I just hope it doesn’t hurt him or his family."
—Anonymous, North Carolina
2. "It was Valentine's Day Eve, and I was hitting on this really cute guy at my favorite bar. He was shy but seemed really into it, and I asked him to come back to my place. On our way to my apartment, he told me he had a girlfriend living a few hours away, that they were in a rough patch, and that she had cheated on him. We ended up having really good sex and simultaneous orgasms. He lied to me about his name the next morning. I found out later, laughed at him, brought him home one more time, and that was it. I really enjoyed my time with him, although I could never be in a relationship with someone as dishonest. No regrets, though.
3. "I matched with a really cute guy named Dillon. We met for a beer and clicked right away! He lived in Colorado but worked for a large company opening a location near me, so he was in St. Louis for one year to make sure everything ran smoothly. A couple of weeks later, we were grabbing drinks, and I caught a glimpse of his ID. His name was NOT Dillon (not even his middle name). I asked him why his ID said ‘Stephen,’ and his face turned white. He scrambled to piece together some story about how ‘Dillon’ was his nickname from college. Things felt too weird, so I distanced myself until we lost touch. A year later, Instagram recommended that I add a friend from my contacts. It was his number but with a woman's name and face. I clicked on her profile, and sure enough, it was his wife. They had been together for many years and had children together. I felt disgusting knowing that I was actively dating and sleeping with him while they were together.
4. "I was teaching abroad. He was an ex-pat working in that country. I was dining alone when he invited me to join him and his friends. It was immediate, undeniable chemistry. I figured it was going to be one hot, heavy fling. He was upfront about being married even though I didn’t ask. It didn’t matter. We were magnetic. We messaged each other all day and went deeper sexually than I ever thought possible. Each summer, I had him to myself as his family went home. A year in, he told me he loved me. Mutual, obviously. Keeping our secret was exciting, and so were we. It was magic for four years. But in 2020, it became impossible to make excuses for him to get out alone. Our summer together couldn’t happen. I was lonely and lost. Between work and slowly losing the man I believe is my soulmate, I had a depressive break and moved home. We still talked every day. Then his wife found out. He told me if I loved him, I wouldn’t contact him again. I was stunned but did as he asked.
5. "My therapist introduced me to the idea that one person — such as a significant other — cannot necessarily fulfill all needs. They might not be able to be our best friend, cook, lover, drinking buddy, lots of different things, that we need to be fully happy and satisfied. Since then, I’ve been open to the idea that whilst I’m happy with my husband, he may not fulfill my needs sexually, and I perhaps need greater compatibility from someone else. Two months ago, I started a relationship with a friend, who is also in a long-term relationship, with the goal being that we would meet fairly to have sex. We are insanely attracted to one another, and the chemistry and sex are wild. He allows me to explore a Dom/sub sexual dynamic that I’ve always wanted to pursue but have never been brave enough to experience with anyone else — even my husband.
6. "First off, I want to start off by saying that I am not responsible for anyone’s relationship. I know that’s not a popular opinion, but if someone is in a relationship, it is not my job to make sure they stay faithful — it is 100% on them. That being said, I don’t seek out individuals in relationships; however, I am currently involved with a man who has a serious, live-in girlfriend. We had been on and off for two years. We took a year-long break then started talking again. Little did I know, he had gotten with a girl. When I learned that, I was a little upset. But I was infatuated with this man, so I continued our relationship. I am so drawn to him, and we’ve had a six-year friendship now where we have 'dated' consistently for the last three years — and completely guilt-free at that.
"We talk every day, and I see him a couple of times a week. We don’t sneak around or anything, and, despite what someone might think, it’s really not a physical relationship. Of course, we’ve had sex, but mostly it’s emotional.
"He’s become my best friend, and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. I know we probably will never end up together, and I’m okay with that. I’m personally content with what we have. I love him, he loves me, and we maintain a healthy relationship all things considered.
"He’s admitted that his real relationship is fine, and he’s not unhappy or anything, so it’s not even like he’s in a toxic relationship. We’re just drawn to each other and have gotten extremely close over the last six years. I don’t think either one of us wants to let that go. I’m sure this eventually will go south and won’t be enough for me anymore, but for now, I’m just enjoying what we have."
7. "I was with this man prior to becoming the other woman. We broke up, and months later, started up again. Everything was going well. He flew me out to where he was working — which was when I found out he was in another relationship. He was living with this woman. I ended up staying out of pure stupidity. It didn’t help that he was a master manipulator. You could imagine all the ways he was spinning this story. I felt bad, but at the same time, I didn’t. The woman he was in a relationship with had also been with him prior. She knew what he was like — a cheater — so I rationalized it that way.
"I’m shitty for it, but oh well. In the end, I contracted type-2 herpes, so you could say I got what was coming to me."
8. "After graduating college and backpacking Europe, I moved back in with my parents. I was looking for jobs and stupidly lonely. I found him on OKC. He'd messaged first. It was clear he was married and looking for something extra. I didn't respond seriously, but he was charming. I could see he was also lonely despite being ‘happily married.’ We texted and exchanged pictures daily through Snapchat. I told him my darkest, deepest secrets, and he'd be there when he could respond. He was a constant source of validation and attention for me for five years. He told me about his relationship and wife regularly. He deeply loved her and would never leave her but needed more. In the beginning, I told him that I'd only be physical with him if he didn’t have children or his wife wasn’t pregnant — which didn’t last long. From 2015-19, we only had sex five times. It’s been almost two years since he cut me off, and I’ve periodically checked his social media.
9. "I knew this man because he was in the same, albeit rather extended, friend circle as me. When we connected at a friend's wedding, he told me he was divorced. A few months later, after a couple of dates, I slept with him. In the morning, there was a knock at the door, but he very sweetly kissed my brow and told me to go back to sleep while he went downstairs to see who it was. I found out who it was a week or so later — when my phone rang. She ultimately asked to use my name on the divorce papers. I was so ashamed that I gave her all of my details.
10. "We were both married and miserable. It was exciting and gave me a new lease on life. I initially had no intentions of leaving my husband. My lover had tried to leave his wife several times. Because she tried to keep the kids from him, he'd always go back. Having an affair made me feel sexy and wanted, which I badly needed. I had begged my then-husband to get counseling, but he refused. After two years of sleeping in separate rooms, I met my guy. Having an affair is also stressful. My children did not get the same amount of attention from me while I was having the affair as they did before. For that, I will never forgive myself. At first, saw it as a fling, but he fell in love. Of course, I felt guilty, and so did he. I didn’t feel guilty about his wife because she was a total bitch — from what I saw not what he said. I did feel guilty about my spouse because he wasn’t a bad guy, we were just miserable for many reasons, and he wasn’t willing to work on our marriage.
"An affair is all-consuming. It’s all you think about, it’s an addiction. Everyone knew, even our spouses. We weren’t very good at hiding it. I never made excuses. I knew it was wrong. My need was stronger than that knowledge. So was his.
"We saw each other every day for two years. After a year, we started talking about leaving our spouses. We’ve been married 16 years, now. The rough part came after we left our spouses. My side wasn’t too bad because my ex wasn’t a crazy nut case; his was. She had also cheated but acted like she was a victim. She did everything possible to be sure her kids hate us. We were careful not to speak badly of her or even defend ourselves because we knew we had chosen to leave. It’s taken a long time, but eventually, they saw I wasn’t the devil and that we have a good marriage.
"Would I do it again? No. I’d leave before I got involved in another relationship. Mainly because of the kids. They ended up being in the middle and missed out on a lot of time with their dad. It’s hard for me to be sympathetic to their mom because she used her kids to hurt their dad while she was behaving very badly herself. But I definitely regret the hurt the kids had to deal with and the tug of war.
"My kids were not treated very well either because my now husband felt guilty and wasn’t a very good stepdad for the first six or seven years. It’s taken me a long time to forgive myself. I have apologized to the kids and even to his ex for the hurt we caused. She’s remarried but is still bitter. My ex and my now-husband now work together and have a very cordial relationship. All the kids are grown now and doing well. I have been very honest about the affair and my regrets with them all. While I am very happily married, I’ll always wish we had done things the right way."
11. "I’m the bad guy. I hooked up with a friend that I had a crush on for a really long — like 15 years long — time. They were in a really unhappy marriage. I had gotten out of a long, bad relationship not long before this happened, so I really was not looking for a relationship. We got together to have drinks and commiserate. There is a lot more to the story, but I don’t want to make it seem like I’m trying to justify what happened. Suffice it to say, sometimes people just pick the wrong person. I’m aware that it’s a crappy thing to do and a crappy way to end up with someone that I know is my soulmate, but people don't always do things 'the right way,' and I think more people need to admit that.
12. "I was recovering from a horrible and unexpected breakup, and I rebounded with a friend after drinks one night. I knew he had a girlfriend but justified it by telling myself that no one in our friend group likes her, including my friend who was with her.
"We continued hooking up for years until he moved her into his house and things got more serious between them. That was two years ago, and he still asks to hook up."