So, you finally gave into a temptation nagging at you for months or years. Perhaps it was the high school reunion and you just had to get it out of your system with your long-lost crush. Or maybe you’ve been in a full on affair with all the emotional and sexual entanglements.
Either way, you’re up all night tossing and turning and beating yourself up for your mistakes. What you’re sitting on is a pretty big secret — one that could completely change — or even end — your relationship. Maybe that’s exactly what you were hoping for …
The Case for Concealment
There are a lot of different reasons for cheating, and these reasons often break down by gender. Women find emotional cheating far more offensive that a one-nighter. Men find sexual cheating far more painful than falling for a coworker — as long as it stops before the sex. So the question is – do you want to hurt your partner or not? If the affair has ended — and it was discreet — why inflict unnecessary pain? Relationships are as complex as people. There are often unspoken agreements, and ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ might be one of them. If it happened in the past — let sleeping dogs lie. And then there’s the ‘doesn’t matter before’ school of thought. It doesn’t matter before you say, “I love you.” It doesn’t matter till there’s a ring. It doesn’t matter until you have kids … You can really pick anything and decide it doesn’t matter — but is that what being in a relationship is about?
The Case for Disclosure
A secret between lovers is like a candy that starts out sweet, but it’s bitter going down. Though your partner may be living in ignorance, you are now separated from the intimate connection. Perhaps you have been for a time, which is why you are in this dilemma in the first place. Do you want to continue in the duplicity or do you want to connect with your partner? The practical argument for disclosure is that they could discover it on their own. No one who had their loved one find out the truth from another source thought it would ever come out. Either the indiscretion will separate you from what you once had or it will bring you closer together. You may not be the only person in the relationship who has something to say. The universe has a way of bringing us people who are there to teach us exactly what we need to learn.
Sometimes you make the choice, and sometimes the choice makes you. With counseling and forgiveness, cheating does not necessarily mean the end of a relationship. If you decide to speak, you don’t need to go into details that may only hurt your partner more. The way you confess is going to be the first evidence for your case of staying together — or separating.