So, you’ve cheated on your partner and are now struggling with the aftermath.
You have guilt and lots of other emotions swirling around inside you. In fact, there are two different parts of you telling you to do vastly different things.
On the one hand, you feel that you should tell your partner what happened and be honest. The other half says that you shouldn’t tell at all. In fact, you may have already convinced yourself that you will keep this hidden from your partner at all costs.
What you decide to do now will have great ramifications for your relationship in the future.
What should you do?
Does Your Partner Deserve the Truth?
One question to ask yourself is whether or not your partner deserves to know the truth.
Note the keyword: deserves.
This is different from whether or not your partner should or should not know the truth. In fact, the word “deserves” itself refers to worthiness.
In any healthy relationship, your partner is deserving of knowing everything about you. Your partner ought to be the one person in your life that you can say anything to.
But, if you have cheated on your partner, you can safely assume assume that your relationship is not healthy. So you need to take a good look at why you cheated and determine if its time for you to leave.
If you want to continue the relationship and do your part to make it healthy, is not your partner worthy enough to know what happened? Don’t they deserve to know the truth?
What Are the Consequences of Not Disclosing What Happened?
You also need to weigh the consequences of what will happen if you do or do not disclose the affair.
On the one hand, if you don’t say anything, your relationship stays as it has been. In fact, you may even feel that you have gotten away with the affair. So the short-term consequence could be favorable to you. This is especially true if you are seeking to avoid conflict with your partner.
However, on the other hand, over the long-term, the impact of the affair will become much greater. This is not so much because of the act itself but the secret that you’re keeping from your partner.
Indeed, withholding the truth now becomes a second betrayal that is just as painful, if not more so, as the original infidelity.
Can You Really Keep that Secret?
Another consideration is whether or not you can actually keep that secret and what the ramifications will be for yourself.
Some thoughts to consider:
- Can you live with that guilt and shame for potentially the rest of your life?
- Will you need to tell additional lies to cover up your betrayal?
- Is there a chance that you will cope with these emotions with drugs or alcohol?
- Won’t your partner, or your children feel that something is wrong?
Remember that holding back on telling a secret such as betrayal not only impacts your partner. The burden of deceit is a heavy one to carry.
Making the Difficult Yet Right Decision
If you value your partner and believe that healthy and solid relationships first and foremost require trust, then you need to tell them about your affair. This will not be an easy conversation, but it is a necessary one.
Not disclosing the truth only hurts the both of you. It is unfair for your partner to be in the dark about a behavior that does affect your relationship. And not telling the truth can negatively affect you as well.
When you make the right decision to tell the truth, most likely you will be worried about what your partner will think or say. Brace yourself for that reality and avoid becoming defensive.
This is a complicated issue and often difficult to resolve alone. At a time like this, friends and family may not be the best alternative for support and guidance. A professional therapist is trained to help you mange this situation in a confidential environment, regardless of the direction you choose to take for yourself.
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