Ingrid Bergman famously cheated on her husband Dr. Aron Petter Lindström with director Roberto Rossellini. She eventually became preggers with Rossellini's baby.

I have never not cheated on a significant other. It’s true, and the title of this post says it all. I tried to find a prettier way of saying it, but when it comes to cheating and such a level of deceit, you don’t get to replace such things with euphemisms. Instead you have to suck it up and admit that you were wrong. Every time you indulged in something outside of your relationship, now matter what the “excuse” you tried to use to “reason” you’re way out of it, there is none. You’ve cheated, you’re a cheater, and most people will tell you that “once a cheater, always a cheater.” A lesson my father taught me about men that I learned for the sake of my heart, but a lesson I didn’t learn for the sake of others.

I cheated on my high school boyfriend my freshman year in college. We had been together for just over a year when I met Dan at a party. At the time I had only had sex with one person, and there was something about Dan’s blue eyes that literally had me swimming as if I was starring in my own version of Debbie Gibson‘s “Lost in Your Eyes” video.

I was not drunk when I took Dan home that night to my dorm room; I just wanted to see what it was like to have sex with someone else. It was not only my first foray into what true guilt feels like, but that some people say some really freaky things in bed. I don’t know how many times he asked me to tell him he was “harder than any stone, you’ve ever touched.” That’s right; a stone. Not a rock, but a stone? I obliged while laughing under my breath.

It was a one time thing, so I never told my boyfriend. Even when we broke up not long afterward, I kept it to myself. He didn’t need to know what I had done, and he certainly didn’t need to know it was because I wanted to try something new — with a man who had a thing for stones and pebbles no less.

After him I dated people for a few months here and there. Although each one was supposed to be monogamous, our group of friends was so incestuous that people were always making out and hooking up. Some people feel that as long as there’s no sex (penetration or oral), it doesn’t count as cheating, while others feel differently. I’m not sure where I stand on that topic, but if we’re counting making out and fooling around in a closet at a party cheating, then yes, I cheated on them, too. Not to justify my childish antics, but they cheated as well, and when all was said and done we could laugh about it. Now we’re all friends on Facebook where we can laugh about “those days.”

I cheated on my college boyfriend, my first love, with someone who had had a crush on me for quite sometime. He was a friend who came over one night to console me after said boyfriend told me that he wasn’t sure how he felt about me or if we were going to last. Ah, a woman devastated over the potential loss of her fella at the ripe age of 22! It’s like taking candy from a baby without arms!

I pulled away time and time again when he tried to kiss me over the night, but before I knew it clothes were coming off and I figured sex was on its way. But then the phone rang and my love, my first love whom I’ll always love, screamed into the phone that he did love me but was just scared, in this very 1980’s romantic movie type of way, before hanging up because he wasn’t sure how to “deal.” I quickly put on my clothes, sent my guy friend home and felt a wave of guilt that I haven’t felt before or since. When I told that boyfriend what had happened with the friend, he droves to my apartment (he was in art school in Boston, while I was at school in New Hampshire) in the middle of the night to, and I quote, “kill him.” There was no killing to be had; just lots of glares whenever they saw each other as some means to prove who was alpha and who was not.

When I moved to New York City and was seeing a fella for just under a year, I cheated on him, too. But since it was with my first love, who had also moved to the city, I figured it didn’t count. He, the first love, did have precedence in my heart after all, and the only reason we weren’t together was because he was in a relationship, too. It was a bag of deceitful lies, that ended when I found out the guy I was seeing was sleeping with his ex, too, and within weeks everything came tumbling down. I’m just grateful we were all using condoms, or at least I was anyway. That was about five years ago.

Since then I have not had a serious boyfriend. I’ve had the last four years of my life filled up with trying to get my writing off the ground, my on-again/off-again roller coaster with the ever famous Swede, and too many times in which I’ve thrown my hands in the air and left the city to escape it all. I also know that I’m not ready to be in a serious relationship; my past behavior and my current behavior proves that.

A serious relationship, for me anyway, will not involve threesomes, an open door policy on whom can fuck whom as long as a condom is being used and it sure as hell won’t involve cheating. I will never cheat again, nor will I stand for someone who would cheat on me.

I realize that I’m no saint. I realize that some of the choices I make are definitely appalling to many, and I’m sure at the end of my life, although I’ll be able to say that I didn’t say “no” to much (as one reader once commented), I’m also quite sure I’ll also drop my face in my hand and ask myself: “Really, Chatel?”

I fear sometimes I take Fitzgerald‘s quote: “I want to live my life so that my nights are full of regrets,” a bit too seriously. And while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I know now, as an adult, that when it comes to the hearts of others, I have no right to be so reckless. Only an asshole would cheat, and I’d really like to evolve past my asshole phase.