How this serial cheater stopped cheating

Happy young Asian couple sitting on a couch in the living room and playing video games with a game console
Are they the one? Or one of many? (Photo: Gettyimages) (AsiaVision via Getty Images)

Welcome to A Millennial's Dating Diary series, where we explore real-life interactions and the hurdles of dating in Southeast Asia. The series will feature the dating stories and misadventures of Arika – a 26-year-old, straight female marketing manager with a penchant for over drinking — and fellow millennials.

“I’ve always loved the attention other guys gave me. Even when I had a boyfriend,” says my friend *Eva, 30.

Eva was in a long-term relationship with *Andrew for about six years. “After a while, my relationship with *Andrew felt stagnant, and I was missing the excitement that came with seeing someone new. I’m sure he felt it too, we just never really spoke about it.”

At that time, an acquaintance expressed interest in her. “I didn’t really mean to lie but I never told *Ryan that I was in a relationship.”

When her relationship with Andrew hit a low point — with the couple arguing every single day — Eva sought solace in her budding romance with Ryan instead.

“He offered some sort of respite from the stress I had with Andrew because the relationship was still so new. We were like, on our best behaviours, trying to make each other happy,” she shared.

Eventually, the honeymoon period came to an end and Eva started feeling like Ryan was becoming a bit overbearing.

“It was also becoming really tiring having to maintain two lives, and distributing my time between two people.”

Andrew never found out about Eva’s illicit affair, so the couple continued their relationship.

“I think the fact that I was never caught made me so much bolder, and the next thing you know, I did it again,” she revealed.

Soon, Eva started dating her colleague *Caleb, who was also in a relationship.

“It was great! He had a girlfriend so I could be honest with him about my situation, and we both knew things would end eventually,” she explained.

“It worked out so nicely. I could have my cake, and eat it too. I felt guilty but I was also so happy, and I didn’t want to lose my security with Andrew.”

When her relationship with Andrew ended over other issues, Eva sought to stop cheating with her next partner.

A year after things ended with Andrew, Eva started dating *Darius.

Despite her determination not to cheat, Eva ended up getting in touch with Caleb when he too, ended his relationship.

“The sex was great, and it felt impossible to stop,” she said, almost embarrassed.

“When I realised what was happening, I immediately thought I had a problem. How could I continue being so unfaithful? I wasn’t exactly the happiest with Darius but what I had with Caleb was also fleeting.”

Eva continued her relationship with Caleb for nine more months before deciding to call it quits. At the same time, her relationship with Darius was falling apart. Still, Darius was never aware that Eva was cheating.

“Things between Caleb and I felt toxic. The dynamics of our relationship changed over time, and it felt like he was just using me for sex while he dated other women. I also knew I couldn’t keep doing this to Darius, even if he didn’t know.”

After ending things with both partners, Eva decided to stop dating altogether for a bit.

“I felt like I really needed to stop and centre myself. I needed to figure out why I was always cheating,” she shared. “At the same time, I was also wondering how it was that both my former boyfriends never knew I was cheating. Did they not at least suspect?”

Half a year after her relationship with Darius ended, Eva found love again. “When I fell in love with *Chris, I thought I was going to cheat again so I was avoiding my emotions.”

The couple have been dating for over a year now and Eva has not once thought of cheating. In fact, according to her, she’s the happiest she’s ever been. “Looking back at it, I think the reason I felt like cheating on both my exes was because I just wasn’t happy or fulfilled. Now that I’m in a perfectly well-adjusted relationship, I’m not looking for external validation from anyone else,” she revealed.

“I used to love to go to bars, and purposefully flirt with guys so they’d buy me a drink or even go to beach clubs because I knew I was definitely going to get hit on there. Now, I don’t even think about it.”

Unraveling all the reasons for infidelity can be tough work so Eva is glad she’s been able to do it. “It took a lot of self-reflection to figure out why I was cheating. Eventually, I realised that both my affairs had run their course, and I didn’t need them anymore.”

When asked if she’s ever worried Chris would cheat on her, Eva has this to say.

“If he does, then maybe I deserve it. I’ve cheated so many times, maybe one day karma will bite me back.”