Interesting point. I cheated on my boyfriend in college. We were high school sweet hearts. But, it was because he cheated on me a few times and I didn't want to end the relationship but wanted payback. So immature at the time. But the reason I have never cheated again is because of the immense guilt I felt after. I felt so guilty, I wished to never feel that way again.
This raises an interesting point that I've been pondering lately. I think a lot of people in the wider world *think* they understand cheating because it's relatively commonplace during the dating phase (if not in absolute terms then at least because people have comparatively more dating partners than marriage partners so it seems more frequent). As a result, people often think they have some insight into what marital infidelity is because they have seen, or have themselves, been unfaithful during dating. But I think this is a misnomer, and the two are dramatically different.
That's not to say cheating during dating is acceptable, it's absolutely not, but it's also sort of "baked into" the process. Dating is itself a process of meeting many different people and deciding what traits in a partner you like best, in that way infidelity during dating is a perverse variation on a theme (again, NOT acceptable, but also not completely out of left field).
Marital infidelity differs in that you have ostensibly "decided" who your best partner is and made the promises in front of friends, family, the government, etc. That is (for me) what makes the pain an order of magnitude harder to bear -- dating in infidelity is a variation on the core process, infidelity in marriage is a rejection and destruction of that process.
But, in my mind, that also means that a person who cheated during dating (for the record, I never did) shouldn't carry that burden so heavily. It wasn't a great look, but it wasn't the end of the world either, it was just a slightly messier breakup in my opinion.
Anyway, random thoughts on a Tuesday morning...