When you are in a relationship, cheating is one of the worst things that can happen. First the rage sets in, then self-doubt, more rage, then the hurt. You find yourself questioning every little thing, and even eventually, you may begin to blame yourself. The reasons people cheat tend to be pretty broad, but take it from someone who has been on both sides of the cheating fence: it feels awful no matter what end of it you are on.
In graduate school while finishing my thesis, I found myself in a pretty lonely position. I loved the topic I was researching, but socially my life had become pretty isolated. It was all about getting edits to my adviser, research, and what my next professional steps would be, which didn't leave much time for dating.
It was also around this time I began to work pretty regularly at a bar near campus. The coffee was pretty decent, happy hour was all day, and I could work there and still feel like I was getting human contact. I worked in that same bar for months, until finally, one day, I felt a tap on my shoulder. An older man introduced himself, asked if I came there often. In the same conversation, he also casually mentioned he was a professor at the same university I attended.
I thought nothing of it at the time, but over the next month, I kept running into him. Eventually he offered to buy me a drink and asked me more about my research. Although we were in different fields, it was nice to have someone take an interest in my work besides my thesis adviser. These kinds of casual conversations went on for a few months, until he started to invite me out with his other graduate students.
It seemed like a fun opportunity and something I should take advantage of. But little did I know, this much older professor was angling for more than my research. The drinks with his graduate students eventually turned into late-night texting with him. I knew better than to flirt with a much older, married, tenured professor but thought it was flattering to have his attention.