Real Cheating and Affair Stories

Woman embracing man on bench while man holds hands with another woman
An affair doesn't have to mean the end of your marriage. coloroftime/E+/Getty Images

In the years since becoming the Guide to Newlyweds, I have learned more about infidelity than I ever thought I would. Frankly, most of it makes me sick to my stomach. I've learned of many real stories of cheating - not what you see in the movies but real people being unfaithful - and the consequences of an affair are so grave that I'm not sure how someone can actually go through with it. Cheating on your spouse can end your marriage. If it doesn't end it, it can damage it so badly that it will never be the same.

The stories below are true, but I've left out names and identifying characteristics to protect people. I'm not sharing these stories to air dirty laundry but rather to give you an idea of how embarrassing and devastating cheating can be. If it helps anyone think twice about being unfaithful, then it was worth it. Here goes:

A father and young daughter (about 7 years old) surprise mom at the dance studio where she works. They find her in the altogether with another man. The daughter is confused and traumatized by what she saw. She confides in her classmate, who is the same age, hoping she will get answers. Instead, the classmate just tells the story to her own parents, who now know what's happening in this other couple's marriage. The mother lives with the shame and guilt of cheating on her husband but also cheating on her children - and getting caught by both.

A woman brings another woman into her marriage. Eventually, she prefers the couple's girlfriend to her husband. They divorce and she and the woman continue their relationship while living in the house she had built with her husband. The couple tries to be cordial, but the husband feels awkward. He feels as though he was second best when they had been committed to one another for life at their marriage ceremony. Even though he wants to create a good relationship with his ex for the sake of his kids, his ego has taken a shot and he is not sure how to get over it. He misses his wife, and he feels like a failure.

A couple is all set to walk down the aisle. They have an apartment together, have set a date for their wedding, and even met with a priest. The bride seems to get cold feet a few weeks before the wedding. People think she's just a runaway bride. But it turns out she was having an affair for a long while and was in love with someone else throughout the wedding planning. She moves out of the place with her fiancee and moves right into a new place with her boyfriend.

Two lovebirds start dating in their youth. The years go by and they seem to be heading toward marriage. They take each other - and the relationship - for granted. Next thing you know, the guy is standing outside some other guy's apartment at 2 in the morning to confirm his suspicions of his long-time girlfriend having an affair. Guess what? She walks out around 4 a.m. He was right and young love is good and dead.

A guy gets some bad news, goes to a bar, gets drunk, gets oral sex from a woman he barely knows - and claims to have forgotten when he gets home to his girlfriend, the one he begged to return to him.

Wife receives an anonymous letter suggesting her husband of one year, with whom she has recently lost a baby, was cheating on her with one of her best friends for years. The husband and friend both deny it. But the damage is done. The wife is left wondering - for always - if it's true and why they were mentioned in this letter in the first place. She stays with her husband because she believes in marriage and has no solid proof that he was unfaithful. She doesn't even know who wrote the letter. But she can never look at her husband the same way. Her relationship with her girlfriend is over. They haven't even spoken since the denial.

A woman runs off to Miami with her boyfriend and leaves her teenage children and husband of nearly 20 years with barely an explanation. Even her own father can't forgive her.

Wife finds receipts for jewelry that she never received, and she recognizes signs of trails of affairs her husband has had over the years. Their own sex life ended years earlier. Still, she puts up with his cheating heart - even when he flirts with other young girls right in front of her - until the day she passes away. Now that she's gone, her husband wishes he had been faithful and treated her differently. He misses her. It's a classic case of not knowing what you have until it's gone.

Husband, who has been married for more than 25 years, takes off with the young foreign woman who has been a housekeeper for him and his wife for the last few months. Even though his wife is angry with him for the affair and for leaving her, she still wants him back. She even asks his cousin to try and convince him to return to her. She still loves him.