Cheating Part 2: I was Tiger





Also check out: Part 1: Cheating  AND Part 3: Inner Child

Search our archives for many other posts on the topic of cheating. Or ask us a question of your own.

Go to the “Ask the Guys” page to leave us a note.



Written by “Mr. Nice Guy” the newest member of THE GUYS.

5 years ago I was Tiger.Relationship, job, personal life completely in shambles.Unfathomable amounts of pain and horrendous feelings of betrayal for my wife, family and friends.Fast forward to today and the picture is that of a faithful spouse and dedicated father with career on the fast track.Relationship with my wife is more close and real than ever before.

Is “Love” Addiction Real?

From my experience, absolutely.As a serial cheater, I knew I was doing the wrong thing, tried to stop several times, but ended up going back to my “high” as a way of coping.The rush addicts get from their drug is chemically pretty much the same whether that drug is alcohol, drugs, sex or food.And it’s not uncommon to get one under control and then have another one rage out of control.Lots of books on this.Patrick Carnes has written oodles on the topic.I know that since I’ve treated my susceptibility as an addiction, it’s been under control ever since.If you treat something like it’s an addiction and then it stops, I think the question of whether it’s an addiction or not becomes secondary.

Can Guys Change or Once a Cheater Always a Cheater?

Guys can absolutely change … both externally and internally.Been to your 25th high school reunion yet?If so you know the former is true.The internal changes are tougher.For me it was lots of therapy and TLC from spouse, friends and family.Guys’ (and gals’) brains get wired at a pretty young age and if the tendency to cheat gets wired in, it takes *a lot* of work to change that wiring, but it can be done.And it’s an ongoing process.

How Did My Wife Forgive Me?

I’m not sure how she did, frankly, so what I write below should not be interpreted as me speaking for her – just “best guesses” on my part.I do know that I am eternally grateful to her for taking me back and giving me a second chance.If the shoe were on the other foot, I hope I would show the same strength, character, courage and understanding and forgive her like she did me.We still have heated arguments over it (mostly me listening) and I definitely am still earning her trust back. Forgiveness for stuff like this is not a moment in time, but a long process which requires lots of discussion, reflection, listening etc. I think one key to her forgiving me was seeing how I was taking therapy and recovery program work very seriously.She also knew that I had a very strong track record of self-improvement and knew that I was determined to live a life of integrity and leave the underworld behind.When things first hit, the support of her family and an extremely talented therapist/counselor were absolutely critical in stopping the bleeding and establishing the desire to heal.My wife also knew the addiction/mental illness spectrum up close as several of our friends and family members have battled it for a long time.Her forgiveness has been transformational for both of us.I often wonder what our (and our kids) lives would be like if she hadn’t forgiven me.Her ability to forgive literally saved my life — I am forever grateful to her and love her more than ever.

Have You Had Experiences With This?

Have you ever taken someone back after a Tiger Woods like level of betrayal?Or have you (or some woman you know) been a female version of Tiger and been forgiven?My guess would be that cases like mine where forgiveness is granted are probably the exception not the rule.

25 Comments on Cheating Part 2: I was Tiger

  1. Okay, so I read both posts, part 1 & 2 before I commented ( I commented on Take us home too)

    These posts though, I must admit are difficult for me to read.

    Nothing is black and white (Post 1) suppose there is some one you’ve been in love with your ENTIRE life and you can’t stand the thought of ever being without them or wishing with your whole heart THEY were the one you were wrapped in forever with? BUT, you are married to some one else. Is it still that wrong? Are you still a ‘whore’?

    I do not believe for one fucking second that bullshit line ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater’ What if there was only one? And never EVER another?

    Every circumstance is different, anyway you look at it, it blows ass.

    I believe that it is easier for a woman to forgive a man for cheating, than for a man to forgive a woman. Men it’s a pride thing and you want to kill the bastard that had the balls to touch YOUR wife. Women are hurt and want to understand what they weren’t doing well enough to make you happy.

    Okay, you officially depressed me and I’m mad at you. *Crazy Brunette sticks her tongue out at the GUYS*

  2. This was beautifully written from a loving heart and so refreshing to hear. Forgiveness is not always easy, but if the love is strong it can happen. It takes time to build trust and even more time to rebuild it. This couple is going to make it.

    There was a story years ago told by George Burn’s wife Gracie. She said that one day he came home with a beautiful set of sliver for her dining room table. She knew that he had cheated on her. Neither spoke of it, but she never got anymore silver. He loved her forever.

  3. I absolutely believe that guys or gals can change too … when they set their mind to it. I am also glad that your wife was able to forgive you.

  4. It does my heart good to know that some men realize a second chance for what it is a blessing.

    I don’t want to sound bitter (but honesty is brutal sometimes). I was in your wife’s position, and I have a child from that relationship. I so loved him, and did everything I could to work on our relationship. Ashley was speaking the gospel.

    I kept doing the “why aren’t I good enough.” I was 24, engaged, and we were living together. I’m sure you know the scenario – He’d cheat, I’d find out (sometimes in the most embarrassing of ways), I’d say we are through, he’d cry and beg me not to dump him, I’d take him back, after a few weeks or months of good behavior the cycle started over again.

    You have no idea what this did to my self image and sense of worth. I used to tell myself I was too fat, black, and ugly for anyone else to want. I used to think I couldn’t do any better than him. Finally, I hit a wall. Enough was enough.

    Now I’m 43, have two grown children any parent would be proud of, and am secure in myself as a mother, person, and woman. I’ve long rediscovered my sensual self, and am pursuing my dream (to be a full time writer). I look back at that time in my life as a back door blessing. I was forced to face myself, and found I’m a damn good catch.

    (You know GUYS these posts are starting to feel like therapy, I’m dreading the bill)

  5. Great post. My view is that the big factor in this story is that of “willingness and ability to change.” You did it, you battled your demons that had you addicted and you won. Lucky for you your wife realized you could do it, and lucky (maybe not just luck) for her that that you did. Honestly? You sound like an exception. I think that the vast majority of people facing serious inner wounds don’t find a path to recovery. Either they never make it into the therapists office, meditation pillow, or even self help isle for lack of exposure, or they reject the notion of change with the mantra “I am what I am” or other short sells and cop outs. As I’m sure you realize, change, real change, requires hard work. The mechanisms that cause us to be broken are diabolical to undo. We must challenge all the beliefs that have cornered us into sickness, and there are usually deep emotional reasons we created those beliefs in the first place. I think all you can do is be grateful that you are one of the ones that made it and that you didn’t lose your wife on the way there. I’m also moved deeply by the wonderful responses and comments. I think your story touches all us wounded souls out here.

  6. I just realized that “Hi, Tiger!” has taken on a new, and not so carefree meaning. I’ll stick to “Hi, Handsome” from now on.
    Having a cheater in your life is the pits. You’re always looking over your shoulder and wondering what you did wrong to cause this. Usually, nothing. The guy just does that habitually. So it’s great that you were able to change, and that your wife was able to forgive. Keep up the good work, no pun intended.

  7. From “One of The Guys”

    I think I would have a very hard time forgiving my wife if she ever cheated on me. And maybe that’s my ego talking as Ashley mentioned earlier.

    Guys care less about the emotional betrayal and much more about the physical one. Well, I guess I can only speak for me. The thought of someone else with my wife just gets my blood boiling thinking about it.

    But, having said that, I admire your wife for her ability to forgive, and I applaud you for your ability to make a change. And for your thoughtful and well written post. Thanks!

  8. @Ashley, thanks for comments and agree that cheating sucks big time. I was cheated on by my very first girlfriend (who I wasn’t even that crazy about) and it destroyed me. And then same thing happened with my next girlfriend. So I’ve definitely been on the other side.

    @askcherlock, thanks for the George Burns anecdote. My wife and I are definitely going to make it. We’ve been through a lot together and even though this was *huge* there have been other huge things too that have strengthened our bond. We have a good marriage and (not but) we realize that struggle/arguments/conflict are necessary ingredients. We just try not to self-generate too much of it. Day-to-day life provides enough itself on its own.

  9. @Naughtie Scribe, sounds like you made the right decision leaving your child’s father. I think there are tragic life events which can make us stronger, and in retrospect, like you said, we’re better off that they happened ultimately. I know that the underworld that I’ve left behind is an extremely dangerous one and I’m glad I made it out relatively unscathed. There are some who are not so lucky. I’m aware of a couple of suicides of wounded souls who were unable to escape the underworld. I definitely regret though, that I wasn’t able to stop earlier than I did. Caused a lot of unnecessary pain and anguish.

    @Pat, I’m actually a huge fan of Tiger’s, now more so than ever. I think he’ll be the butt of jokes for quite a while, and deservedly so perhaps, but I predict he’ll be back on top someday. He’s a canonical case of the “split personality” that comes with sex addiction. There is the Tiger everyone knew and loved and the secret Tiger who was not being true to himself, desperately seeking in the shadows to patch an unfillable void in his soul.

  10. I have a lot of respect for your wife. It would take a lot of strength and understanding to take back a cheater. I also respect you for taking the steps to try to fix your mistake. I like what you said about how forgiveness is not one moment in time, but a process. I absolutely agree.

    I’ve never experienced cheating on as strong a level of commitment as a marriage. I have been cheated on though, and I took him back. It was a huge mistake on my part, because in no way did this guy want to change. The experience turned me into one of those women that snoops through emails and text messages, and becomes paranoid that if he doesn’t answer his phone he must be cheating on me. It was a dark period in my life. I learned something from the experience though. Even though I stayed with him, I never fully forgave him, so in my mind he was always guilty. It turns out he really was guilty, and cheated on me two months later, but the bottom line was that I was also in the wrong, and the relationship was doomed. He didn’t respect me, and I didn’t trust him.

    I wish you luck in your marriage, and I hope that closeness you share never waivers.

  11. Wow. Your wife is a lot stronger than I could ever be. I don’t think I would be able to forgive or ever really trust someone that cheated on me.

  12. Ok I have tried 3 or 4 times to write my thoughts here but I am finding it very difficult and painful but this post is so honest and heartfelt and i do want to weigh in on this topic. And its sooooo thought provoking!

    The main point I want to make is forgiveness is possible but it is a work in progress. There is no set timeframe for forgiveness as it is a process, not a feeling and it takes commitment from both people.

    Mr. Nice Guy, good luck. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your experience. A brave thing to do and I appreciate it.

    Peace be your journey

  13. Definitely a strong and passionate subject especially for those who were at one time a victim on either end of the cheat stick.

    I have always been a supporter of anyone that is trying to better themselves and the same rings for anyone with any type of addiction.

    In this case…your wife should be writing down her thoughts and when she feels ready….sharing them with you. You mention that you do not know how she forgave you…this is actually pretty important. To take this hurdle for granted is something you might want to change. Forgive me for dictating…but as I read your story that point stood out the most.

    In any trust breach…in order to mend it…both partners must be willing to commit to a move forward. You either forgive it or you forget it. There are only tow answers to mending broken trust issues.

    I cannot imagine it has been easy for either of you as you both have your own issues to deal with…the bottom line is that you are working together and that itself is the glue that will hold your relationship together.

    Good Luck on your recovery~

  14. I jsut wrote a post on cheating today—Ashley Madison’s latest study was my inspiration. Anyway, thanks for sharing…it’s brave to admit to this on a blog—many people are in denial of their thoughts and actions. I think this is a topic that should be discussed more openly, because many people are going through the pain (cheaters, spouses, and “the other man/woman” all suffer). Hearing about other people’s experiences help the process of healing.

    Thanks again for the post.

  15. Interesting article i used to suffer with a similar trait due to the nature of my job being a demolition contractor,Up one minute and down another + the big stakes involved funny how these things are not generally classed as an addiction ,,,i can assure you they are

  16. Cheating ruins families. I can say that firsthand because I know how it tore my family apart. As a child you never fully understand all the grown up conversations but looking back I watched my mother beaten down emotionally and spiritually by my still cheating father. It was crushing as an adult to see someone so strong in all other aspects of life be so weak when it came to her relationship but I understood that it was all part of the psychological effects of cheating. She internalized his cheating and never felt she was good enough. It would have been nice for my dad to pony up and realize that his family was more important than his addiction.

    Congrats on making it work with your wife. I know that it’s an uphill battle but totally worth it!

    Oh and small side note I agree with Ashley, I believe a woman is more likely to forgive a man for cheating than the other way around.

  17. @Faith……I agree with your last statement for sure. Women, it seems, are stronger that way. 🙂
    (From “One of The Guys”) I’m sure you’ll also be getting a reply from “Mr. Nice Guy” too. Stand by.

  18. @Faith, yes, cheating can absolutely ruin families. It nearly ruined mine and there are still scars from what I did. I feel very grateful that the damage done is not worse than it is. Easily could have been. I feel fortunate that the couples therapist we saw pointed me/us in the right direction. He is an amazing guy.

    @Dorothy, be assured that I do not take my wife’s forgiveness for granted. She and I have been through hell and back, not just with this issue, but with multiple others. She is an incredibly strong person and her ability to stick with me through this is something that is tangibly present every day of my life and I feel incredibly blessed to have her as my wife. I won’t do into details, but will reassert that I literally owe her my life. Others have not been so lucky.

    @stugod, if you haven’t considered going to therapy and/or joining a 12-step program, I strongly encourage you to. I regret not getting into program earlier than I did. I still remember the day, a couple of years before all hell broke loose, where I had identified my behavior as an addiction and actually saw a website for sex addiction program. I was too afraid to go. If I had, I could have saved a whole lot of hurt. Regret that I didn’t. Also, if you go to therapy, make sure you select one that specializes in this stuff. My first therapist, again before all hell broke loose, didn’t (not sure how she didn’t) see the pattern and direct me to recovery. Even if you think you have it under control now, you should be wary of relapses. Get some help. Same advice would apply to ladies as well. Plenty of females in recovery for this stuff too.

    @Kelly, being in denial is part and parcel of the symptoms here. Most people doing this are decent/intelligent/wonderful people, but have some intense brain partionining going on where this secret stuff is like a seperate personality in the clinical sense. When the wall seperating the two selves collapses, the trauma to the psyche is not small as the integration process begins. You have to rebuild from scratch to some extent.

  19. Wow. I know it had to be hard to write this post. Putting yourself out there knowing that some people may bash you. I respect you for the fact that you admit you were wrong and that you tried to fix the problem. In all honesty I’m not sure what I would have done. I have never been in that situation so its hard to say. I have been cheated on but never found out till after the fact we broke up. I do believe though “for better or worse”. If I had been your wife I would have tried to work through it. But I’m not sure I would be strong enough.

    I love Marine with all my heart and even though he tries to be perfect I know that he’s not. No one is. If we were in your situation I would try to forgive but I’m not sure I could ever forget. Trust be something hard to have again.

    Your wife deserves a medal! I know how hard it must have been for both of you. Thanks for sharing!

  20. My wife had been cheating on me for 2 months after joining the adult friend finder website (wow is that a crazy playground). We have been together for 10 years and have 4 children. I have taken more shit than I ever thought I could take. It is very hard to forgive and I’ll probably never forget. I love her and my children with all my heart and hope she got all of this out of her system. Any advice on coping and moving forward? I can’t help but snooping and questioning her about everything and will I ever know if she’s truly done with all of this?

  21. Joe,
    Sorry to hear .. this must be tough for you.
    First and foremost there needs to be some demonstrated remorse, regret, and commitment to stop on her end. Have you been to couples counseling? Sounds like your wife might be a sex addict. One thing that would provide you with some assurance might be if she joined a 12-step recovery program with a sponsor to keep her in line. Would also help if she went to therapy. On your side, you might consider trying to find a COSA meeting. Do you have friends and family to talk about this with? How will you know if she is done? I think seeing commitment on her part in the form of visible therapy, recovery, etc.
    Joe, have you talked with her about why she was doing all of this? Has she vowed that she is done with it?

  22. She said that she doesn’t need therapy because they’re only going to tell her what she already knows. (She says she was seeking affection and was receiving it in the form of sex) Any man is going to tell someone that they’re beautiful or what they want to hear knowing that sex is the reward. I feel that everything I do is being compared to her fantasy life. She has vowed to me that she’s through with her life of a lie but I need to see a whole lot more proof. What do you think I should ask of her in order to prove her love and commitment to me and the family!! Thanks for all the advice.

  23. @Joe……I relayed your note to Mr. Nice Guy. Hopefully he’ll respond to you soon. Thanks. We had a little drama here on our site with our last post, “Cougar Vs. MILF” We had to pull it. So things have gotten a bit backed up.

  24. Most guys wanna be like Tiger Woods 😉

  25. @Hip Hop……Sure in some ways. I think most guys want to be rich and really good at golf. I don’t think most guys want to cheat though, they just want to have fun. If you want to do that, then don’t get married! It’s pretty simple.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Part 1: Three Guys on Cheating | The Guy's Perspective
  2. Cheating Part 3: Inner Child | The Guy's Perspective
  3. He Cheated; Should I Break Up? | The Guy's Perspective

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Maximum comment length is 1500 characters.