Tell now, be silent forever, or reconsider the format of the relationship. According to a poll, 40% of respondents are ready to put up with adultery in one way or another, while 45% categorically condemn this practice.
If you cheated on your partner, there is a chance to check which group he belongs to. Of course, if you decide to confess everything. Here are the cases in which it is worth doing this, and with what you need to first figure it out on your own.
Define the boundaries of infidelity
For some couples, one-off sex on the side will not be a problem as long as there is a basic emotional commitment to each other. And for some, even light flirting is considered unacceptable. In a word, a lot depends on what exactly you did, under what circumstances and how your partner will react to it.
Recently, the term “micro-changes” is gaining popularity on the web. This is the name for situations in which a person in a relationship flirts with someone on the Internet. To some, this word seems absurd, from the point of view of others, it describes a serious problem. Already, by the difference in interpretations, one can judge how the boundaries of infidelity vary.
In the fourth season of the series “Sherlock” John Watson, who recently became a father, met a girl on the transport and began to exchange messages with her. (The girl turned out to be the insane sister of Sherlock Holmes as a result, but that’s another story.) Perhaps the wise and understanding Mary Watson would not have caused a scandal, but John felt that he was doing something unacceptable. For him, this completely innocent correspondence is the very micro-betrayal, because he communicated with his new girlfriend secretly from his wife.
In an ideal world, you have already talked with your partner about what is considered cheating and what is not, and you know his opinion, your own position on the issue and the general verdict. If there was no such conversation, you need to decide first with your own opinion. If the ideas of two people on this issue are fundamentally different, it is worth considering whether they can even be together without causing each other suffering.
Understand why you changed and what you want
You made a mistake and do not plan to repeat
Much depends on what exactly your betrayal was and what prompted it. Perhaps you yourself assess your act as a tragic mistake. You didn’t like it, and you definitely don’t intend to do it again.
Maybe you didn’t need any sex on the side, but you needed recognition of your importance and attractiveness. If you have any complex extraneous motivations that are not directly related to sexuality, it is better to contact a psychotherapist who will help you figure out what requires you were trying to realize in this way.
We arrived at the call of our hearts and would like to continue
It is likely that you really value your regular partner and do not want to lose him, but at the same time you want to have sex with others. Or they can have romantic feelings for several people at the same time. Not everyone is ready to admit this to themselves, but ignoring desires will not make them disappear.
The modern concept of relationships suggests that the other person should share our interests, have a similar outlook on life, arouse intense sexual desire, support us emotionally, and, if necessary, be a good father or mother. However, few people meet all these requirements at the same time for a long time. Therefore, there is nothing strange about wanting something from different people.
If you realize that you really need a sexual or emotional connection with more than one person, this is an occasion to consider whether a monogamous relationship is right for you at all. Another thing is that your partner may have a completely different point of view on this issue.
Decide whether to tell or not
Don’t tell and live a lie
Often, cheating is not a sign of neglect, but, on the contrary, a kind of way to preserve a relationship. Otherwise, nothing would have to be hidden. Perhaps your choice is to keep the union the same, but carve out a personal space for yourself to realize your desires.
So you can keep your secrets to yourself, deciding that you now have your own autonomous life. However, this will inevitably lead to emotional separation from the partner. The value of such a relationship is questionable.
In addition, if cheating comes out, lying and covering up can hurt the other person much more than physical infidelity and will be regarded as betrayal.
Don’t tell, sparing other people’s feelings
The moral choice to keep everything secret is appropriate if you are determined not to change anymore and do not want to injure your partner.
They say honesty is the best policy. However, it often hides a desire to confess. You just want to make it easier for you and your tragic mistake to be forgiven. The first instinctive desire is to share with a loved one. However, how will he feel after that?
To ease the mind, it’s better to go to a psychologist or psychotherapist, rather than the person concerned, who will almost certainly get hurt. The main thing is that the motivation for silence is transparent: unwillingness to hurt a partner and willingness to bear the burden of what they have done on their own.
Tell and be prepared for the consequences
It makes sense to open up to a partner only when you fully understand the meaning and purpose of such an act, and also imagine the possible consequences. Chances are, for your couple, it will all end there.
When informing a partner about treason, you need not only to voice the fact, but also to clarify your position on this matter. There are three main options:
- You repent and say that this will not happen again. You don’t need to promise if you don’t believe it yourself, otherwise sooner or later you will return to where you started.
- Explain that you do not want to leave, but admit that you have feelings and needs that go beyond the pair union. Then you offer an open relationship or polyamory – of course, with agreed terms.
- You immediately jump to the conversation about breaking up, because you probably know that the two of you will not be in a non-monogamous relationship, and you cannot guarantee that you will never again enter into a relationship with someone else.
Whichever option you choose when talking about cheating, it is important to act not out of selfish motives, but out of a desire to rebuild the relationship on new, honest grounds or end it with dignity.