How to admit cheating on a loved one

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As we all know, many folks look at cheating as a rather reprehensible thing to do. Regardless, the circumstances can have unrecoverable consequences, and, in the end, everyone gets hurts.

If you or a loved one found yourself in a situation like that, there are certain things you need to think about before and after the cheating starts.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

At What Point Is It Cheating?

Below, you find some of the consequences you need to contemplate before you act.

Recently, someone I know met a great guy on DoULike, and this prompted the conversation regarding cheating.

Their relationship got hot and heavy fast but there was one thing that caused her to feel uneasy. She found out he is still communicating with his ex!

Nevertheless, we disagreed on a lot to do with the topic, but the question regarding cheating always sparks an interesting conversation about the consequences.

In the case of my friend, should she confront him about her concerns or just let it go and see what happens?

Obviously, we all desire to love and acceptance, especially when looking for a serious relationship or even marriage but at what cost?

How to admit cheating on a loved one

The Consequences Of Cheating

There are a lot of reasons people cheat on their partners. Some of them might even seem justified or at least justifiable in some cases. But cheating on your partner always has consequences.

So, let’s talk about some of them. It’s always a good idea to reflect on the consequences before acting out on our needs and emotions.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

1 – Living With The Guilt

Living with the guilt of cheating is much like giving yourself a mental beating every day.

Guilt can manifest in many ways including physical illness and much mental duress.

More so, guilt is a huge burden to bear. Before you cheat, it’s always a good idea to think about the pain and suffering you’ll bear with the burden of the guilt.

At times, it’s not so easy to move on after cheating. Even if you forgive yourself, the guild can still eat you up inside.

Of course, this all depends on the situation and the circumstances around the relationship.

Yes, we should learn from our mistakes and definitely move forward, but it all comes with a cost.

Make sure you learn positive and healthy ways to deal with your guilt and think about the cost of cheating before you do it!

How to admit cheating on a loved one

2 – Do You Have A Plan For Moving Forward?

Cheating is quite often not a planned, premeditated thing. Sometimes is just a spontaneous one-time thing.

Often, cheating can be a way to act out against your partner and a way to punish them.

Subsequently, what will you do after that? Are you going to tell your partner about it and break up with that person? Or do you intend to keep it a secret? What’s your endgame?

If you plan on cheating on your partner, you should think about all of the possible repercussions.

More importantly, remember that some of your decisions may affect you for your whole life.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

3 – Think About Both Of Your Futures

Maybe, you fell out of love? That’s still not a good reason not to consider the other party in your relationship.

Now, it’s time to start thinking about both of your futures. Unless of course, you decide to hide it and act like nothing is wrong.

If so, you should think about what prompted you to cheat in the first place. Will you try and fix the relationship?

Maybe, it’s worth saving and if so, relationship counseling seems like a good way to go for you both.

Remember, cheating affects everything in your day-to-day lives so make sure you are ready to repair the damages.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

4 – Yes, You Deserve Happiness

Ideally, you want to be happy in any relationship, right? If cheating made you happy then it sounds like you are ready to end it for sure.

If cheating will create more problems for you than you can deal with maybe it is time for another solution to your problems in your relationship.

Sadly, you might realize this relationship is not worth fighting for and the leading cause of your unhappiness.

If so, it might be time to move forward and give yourself time to heal.

Above all, at the end of the day, it’s time for you to focus on your happiness and mental health.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

5. If You Have Kids – You Need To Think About Them Too

If you have little ones, sadly, cheating will impact them the most.

And, if your kids will eventually find out about the affair there will be some pretty serious stuff to deal with.

Moreover, they can blame you for not being faithful and distrust you for a really long time or might learn that cheating is acceptable.

And If you think you want to be with someone else it’s better to end your current relationship first.

As expected, the kids will have a huge transition and it’s a good idea to schedule counseling for them as well.

Ideally, children are very resilient and as long as you are honest with them, they can and often do adjust in a positive and healthy way.

However, about 20% of people admit to cheating on their partners. That’s not a high number as we would think.

It’s always a good idea to think about the consequences of cheating beforehand. Doing this will save you and your partner lots of grief!

Subsequently, there are a lot of consequences of cheating and you should really think about better alternatives to end a bad relationship.

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How to admit cheating on a loved one

How to admit cheating on a loved one

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How to admit cheating on a loved one

You want to cheat. Come on, admit it. You’ve been seriously thinking about what it would be like to have sex with someone else other than your husband or wife.

Maybe someone attractive flirted and showed signs of interest in you. Or maybe you’re feeling neglected because your partner isn’t giving you enough love, sex, or attention.

Also, all your friends are doing it, so why can’t you?

Yes, you love your partner and you don’t want to hurt anyone. But could you get away with it? Could you live with yourself after cheating?

I understand the struggle. I had a chance to cheat myself, and things didn’t go exactly the way I imagined. When I was an undergraduate student, my girlfriend said she wouldn’t be available because she had to write her thesis.

“Go off and play with some of the other girls,” she told me.

I said, “You don’t mind if I sleep with someone else?”

She assured me that she just wanted to make sure I was happy while she worked. So, I had sex with one of her friends. Once. She wasn’t angry and claimed she wasn’t hurt. But then she proceeded to sleep with every single one of my friends, one after the other. It was devastating!

So, before you go down the road to infidelity, here are five reasons to consider why you will regret cheating (even if you really, really want to):

1. Cheating will change your life forever.

Whether it’s for the better or irretrievably for the worse, if you don’t want your life changed, don’t cheat. But if you do, maybe you can take action to change it without causing someone (aka your partner) a world of hurt.

2. You probably won’t get away with it.

Oh, you’re good at keeping a secret, containing your feelings, and zipping your mouth shut. Sure, it’s possible to have an affair and never get caught.

One patient of mine has led a double life for 30 years. She doesn’t want anyone to find out or end her marriage. I think she will get away with it, but most people do not. Why? Because .

Subscribe to our newsletter.

3. Sex changes us in noticeable ways.

What’s the point of having sex if it didn’t? Doing the deed affects us in powerful ways. You can put your clothes back on, tidy yourself up, and try to look normal. But you feel different inside. You might feel elated, enraptured, or enthralled. Or you might feel guilty, ashamed, or regretful — or both at once. How you feel on the inside shows on the outside. What then?

4. Usually, the discovery of an affair causes more pain and damage than the act is worth.

Sometimes, that damage is irreparable. The hurt feels like a javelin through the heart and it destroys trust. It is one of the most traumatic experiences a human can face.

Look, the temptation to cheat is normal. But you should really think through whether it’s worth the drama and pain you’ll cause through that act of betrayal and consider why you will regret cheating.

If you’re unhappy or unsatisfied in your current relationship, there are other choices available other than cheating.

Here are things to focus on instead:

  • Understand how cheating happens. Sexual infidelity often begins with seemingly innocent interactions, like meeting over coffee and then progresses from there. Lunch. Drinks. Dinner. Attending an event together, a conference perhaps. Before you know it, you’re both on your own in a hotel room.
  • Bring your thoughts, feelings, and fantasies to your partner. This is a testing moment, but it helps prevent acting on the deed itself. Tell your partner honestly about your temptations and what is eliciting them. They may feel terrible, but they are more likely to forgive you if your disclosures aim to apply the brakes.
  • Identify any issue that generates susceptibility to cheating. Are you feeling resentful? Are you unhappy with how your partner is treating you? A number of reasons are possible. Even if you cannot resolve the issue, couples feel better for frank and open discussions about their negative feelings.

If you cheat and discover you have destroyed your relationship, don’t be surprised. Be prepared for payback.

I wasn’t, but I learned the hard way.

And if you’re really that unhappy in your relationship, get out first, then you’re free to do what you like and with whoever you like.

If the fantasies are compelling, or someone you’re attracted to makes you feel tempted, remember this: Cheating changes you, and it shows.

Coming home aglow is like wearing a red neon sign that says: Guilty!

Better to bring your inner life to your partner honestly than risk your outer life being turned upside down.

Dr. Jan Resnick is a psychotherapist, couples counselor and family therapist based in Perth, Western Australia and author of the book, How Two Love: Making Your Relationship Work. For more information, visit his website.

Dec 03, 2015 06:57pm GMT+0800

How long could you keep holding on to a relationship knowing that your spouse or partner has already fallen out of love with you? That burning passion that once kept you both yearning for each other’s arms had died—your partner’s at least—and you don’t know how to get it back.

It’s a sad and ugly truth that no person in this world would want to go through, but unfortunately, you are in that miserable situation. And slowly, you feel the love of your life slipping away.

Have you gone complacent? Is there someone else in your beloved’s life? What have you done to deserve the emotional neglect? These questions torture your restless mind. Some are brave enough to ask, and some are just strong enough to let go and walk away. And, yes, there are those who choose to stay, hold on, and keep mum about it. People might call them a martyr, a weakling, or downright stupid. But, can you blame them for loving and hoping that someday, the person they cherish more than their lives will rekindle that love?

A wife wrote this letter to her husband to let him know how she felt over the years of infidelity and the emotional neglect she tolerated when they were together.

It’s a heartbreaking letter filled with despair, sacrifice, hope, and love; emotions that people like her understand, and those like her husband ought to know.

To the person who cheated on me

How to admit cheating on a loved one

You’ve been lying to me for the longest time. You’ve been lying to me almost every day. You think I cannot tell? It’s been 18 years since we started dating and you’re a terrible liar. When you lie, I can see it in your face, I can hear it in your voice. I know for the longest time that you’ve been cheating on me, but I let it slip.

Come to think of it, it has been a very long time since you last noticed me. When you wake up, breakfast is ready, you eat and then you leave. When you get home, dinner is well prepared, you eat and do some paperwork and then you sleep. I’ve wanted to ask you what’s wrong and communicate, but you barely notice my existence. I wanted to know where I went wrong or where I came short so I can make arrangements to meet them for you. But you were barely home. Not even on the weekends. Until such time, I found out you’ve been sleeping around with someone for the longest time.

I fell apart upon finding out. I can’t understand; I want to understand. I did what I could to be the best other half anyone could have, right? But I held myself back from confronting you and we went about our regular routine and this has gone on for another year and more.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

Until such time, about a year ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. When I told you, you finally cared. You finally noticed my existence. I felt important to you once again. I was happy. I once again, is visible in your map. And I thought to myself, “I think everything is falling into place.” Until such time, I found out that, you were still in contact with that someone and occasionally rendezvoused with them. And once again, it’s back to square one but still, I refused to confront you.

I was already happy at the fact that you were noticing my existence. That you once again, give comments about the food I cook for breakfast before you leave for work, the food I cook for your lunch, and the food I cook when you came home. But I never stopped thinking. Thinking that when you’re away, you’re with that person; that whenever your phone gets SMS notification, it’s them. I cried far too many times, away from your eyes. I didn’t want you to see me when I’m weak.

I cried because I know all I have is your pity. Pity because I was sick. Honestly, I feel like a beggar; a beggar who deserves nothing but spare change; a beggar who deserves only the leftovers given by those who are more fortunate; a worthless trash of society who deserves nothing but to be shunned. I want to run away, but a homeless beggar like me has nowhere to go; no place to come home to.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

But don’t worry, honey. I don’t have much time left anyway. Soon you’ll be free to be with them. You won’t have to go around my back anymore. Because by then, I will just be a bitter memory to you; a nightmare you might have always so avoided. To you my love; I’m sorry. I’m sorry if I wasn’t enough. I’m sorry if I was not able to fulfil your needs. I’m sorry if I was too much of a coward to speak up. I love you, believe me, I love you so much and even if you did so much that made me cry, I will still love you.

I hope one day, you’d be able to read this and realize it’s me. I hope one day you find out that this is the voice I have always suppressed in the last few years of our life together. Honey, you know that I love you so much that’s why you’re free. Find that person who will make you happy and make you feel content. But I have one request to ask you: Please do not make that person cry. Do not let them shed even a single tear of sadness and if you did, only tears of joy. Thank you for all the years, sweetheart I love you.

The toughest part of letting go is realizing that the other person already did.

February 2, 2015

How to admit cheating on a loved one

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How to apologize for cheating on a loved one can be a bit tricky, but for the sake of your relationship you need to apologize. Cheating in a relationship can be triggered by many factors. The start of your apologies should start by identifying the factors and if possible eliminating the causes of your cheating. After you have identified the causes and coming up with ways of dealing with the causes, you will easily know the best way through which you will be able to apologize and concentrate in making your relationship better. Your partner may be letting you down in some ways hence making you decide to cheat. In such a case you need to identify the ways through which he is letting you down and look for ways that you can cope with them. If possible inform him of your dissatisfaction so that he will look for ways of rectifying. Here are some ways on how to apologize for cheating on a loved one:

2.Be ready for hard questions
There are cases where you may be caught cheating by your partner. In such a case, you will be required to apologize and admit that you were really cheating. Sometimes you may luck words, but you should avoid a mistake of keeping quiet. Keeping quiet is very dangerous because it will force your partner to keep quiet too. This will create a communication breakdown between you, which will make it very hard for you to access a chance where you will be able to apologize.

3. Be understanding
In a situation where you have been caught cheating there will be a lot for deep emotions. Your lover may feel bitter. You should know how to handle him and let him cool down. It can turn out to be suicidal in case you will fail to contain the situation. Be understanding and let him express his bitterness while you assure him that you really feel for the mistake that you did. If possible try to explain to him what led to your cheating and explain to him that you have discovered you really wronged him.

4. Cut off communication with the person you were cheating with
For you to be able to cheat, you must have introduced a third party to your relationship. In order to win trust of your lover, you need to assure him that you have nothing between you and the person whom you were cheating with. For you to fully assure your lover, you need to call the person in front of him and tell him how you regret about the mistake that you did together, and now you are ready to avoid him as much as possible for the good of your relationship.

Source: Information Nigeria

How to admit cheating on a loved one

You want to cheat. Come on, admit it. You’ve been seriously thinking about what it would be like to have sex with someone else other than your husband or wife.

Maybe someone attractive flirted and showed signs of interest in you. Or maybe you’re feeling neglected because your partner isn’t giving you enough love, sex, or attention.

Also, all your friends are doing it, so why can’t you?

Yes, you love your partner and you don’t want to hurt anyone. But could you get away with it? Could you live with yourself after cheating?

I understand the struggle. I had a chance to cheat myself, and things didn’t go exactly the way I imagined. When I was an undergraduate student, my girlfriend said she wouldn’t be available because she had to write her thesis.

“Go off and play with some of the other girls,” she told me.

I said, “You don’t mind if I sleep with someone else?”

She assured me that she just wanted to make sure I was happy while she worked. So, I had sex with one of her friends. Once. She wasn’t angry and claimed she wasn’t hurt. But then she proceeded to sleep with every single one of my friends, one after the other. It was devastating!

So, before you go down the road to infidelity, here are five reasons to consider why you will regret cheating (even if you really, really want to):

1. Cheating will change your life forever.

Whether it’s for the better or irretrievably for the worse, if you don’t want your life changed, don’t cheat. But if you do, maybe you can take action to change it without causing someone (aka your partner) a world of hurt.

2. You probably won’t get away with it.

Oh, you’re good at keeping a secret, containing your feelings, and zipping your mouth shut. Sure, it’s possible to have an affair and never get caught.

One patient of mine has led a double life for 30 years. She doesn’t want anyone to find out or end her marriage. I think she will get away with it, but most people do not. Why? Because .

Subscribe to our newsletter.

3. Sex changes us in noticeable ways.

What’s the point of having sex if it didn’t? Doing the deed affects us in powerful ways. You can put your clothes back on, tidy yourself up, and try to look normal. But you feel different inside. You might feel elated, enraptured, or enthralled. Or you might feel guilty, ashamed, or regretful — or both at once. How you feel on the inside shows on the outside. What then?

4. Usually, the discovery of an affair causes more pain and damage than the act is worth.

Sometimes, that damage is irreparable. The hurt feels like a javelin through the heart and it destroys trust. It is one of the most traumatic experiences a human can face.

Look, the temptation to cheat is normal. But you should really think through whether it’s worth the drama and pain you’ll cause through that act of betrayal and consider why you will regret cheating.

If you’re unhappy or unsatisfied in your current relationship, there are other choices available other than cheating.

Here are things to focus on instead:

  • Understand how cheating happens. Sexual infidelity often begins with seemingly innocent interactions, like meeting over coffee and then progresses from there. Lunch. Drinks. Dinner. Attending an event together, a conference perhaps. Before you know it, you’re both on your own in a hotel room.
  • Bring your thoughts, feelings, and fantasies to your partner. This is a testing moment, but it helps prevent acting on the deed itself. Tell your partner honestly about your temptations and what is eliciting them. They may feel terrible, but they are more likely to forgive you if your disclosures aim to apply the brakes.
  • Identify any issue that generates susceptibility to cheating. Are you feeling resentful? Are you unhappy with how your partner is treating you? A number of reasons are possible. Even if you cannot resolve the issue, couples feel better for frank and open discussions about their negative feelings.

If you cheat and discover you have destroyed your relationship, don’t be surprised. Be prepared for payback.

I wasn’t, but I learned the hard way.

And if you’re really that unhappy in your relationship, get out first, then you’re free to do what you like and with whoever you like.

If the fantasies are compelling, or someone you’re attracted to makes you feel tempted, remember this: Cheating changes you, and it shows.

Coming home aglow is like wearing a red neon sign that says: Guilty!

Better to bring your inner life to your partner honestly than risk your outer life being turned upside down.

Dr. Jan Resnick is a psychotherapist, couples counselor and family therapist based in Perth, Western Australia and author of the book, How Two Love: Making Your Relationship Work. For more information, visit his website.

How to admit cheating on a loved one

If you or your partner cheats, it can feel as if your relationship will never recover. And rightfully so. Cheating is a massive betrayal of trust, and it can be difficult to rebuild a sense of security once you’ve gone behind each other’s backs. But even still, there are ways to move past cheating if you choose to give it another go.

It might be tricky, but it can help to keep in mind that “cheating does not mean a relationship is doomed,” Dr. Jessica L. Dubron, licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. “Many couples successfully move past cheating and, while it takes work and time, it can even be a turning point that leads to a better and more honest relationship.”

For example, during the recovery process you might find ways to improve your communication, or spend more time together. That’s not to say, of course, that cheating needs to happen in order make these changes. “You can certainly do the work without going through infidelity,” Dr. Adi Jaffe, PhD, a mental health expert and relationship counselor, tells Bustle.

This is, however, a way of spinning the situation into a learning experience. Having a positive mindset can be helpful while moving on, as can several of the tips listed below. If you follow them, experts say you may be able to move forward as a couple, and move past cheating.

Come Clean

In order to move forward in your relationship, the person who cheated (whether it was you or your partner) will need to come clean and be honest about what happened, without making any attempt to downplay the situation. As Dubron says, “Rebuilding trust is imperative to moving forward, and that can’t happen if there is any more deception.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to start sharing every detail. “It is rarely productive and can be destructive,” Dubron says. “The details aren’t important. What’s important is understanding why it happened, what it means, and how to move forward.”

Decide Whether You Can Move Forward

Once you know what happened, that’s when you’ll decide to either stay in the relationship and work on moving forward, or leave. And remember, it’s a decision you’ll both have to agree on in order for it to work.

“Both parties have to decide whether or not they honestly want to move forward,” Dr. Miro Gudelsky, sex therapist, couples counselor, and intimacy expert, tells Bustle. Do you want to work on moving past the betrayal? Is the relationship worth another shot? “Sometimes the answer is no and that is fine but [you] must be honest about it,” Mayo says.

If you both agree to stick together, the chances of moving past the incident and creating a stronger relationship will be much higher, since you’ll both be on the same page.

Mourn The Loss Of Your Old Relationship

“It is important that both parties mourn the loss of whatever their relationship used to be in order to move forward into the next phase of their life together,” Gudelsky says.

After all, as sad as it is, you won’t be able to go back to the way things were before the cheating. And trying to do that so will only lead to more pain and hurt feelings.

Instead, accept that you’re entering into a new phase, and begin looking for ways to rebuild as a couple.

Help Each Other Understand

“Understanding why the betrayal happened is important,” Margo Regan, relationship and sex therapist, tells Bustle. And that includes opening up about how you’re feeling, and trying to get to the bottom of why it all occurred in the first place.

“What was going on in the relationship before it happened? If you were unhappy in the relationship, did you communicate why this was so? One of the reasons affairs can happen is because you are looking for external validation from someone else,” Regan says.

So be honest, then figure out ways to keep similar issues from happening in the future. Do you need to work on the way you communicate? Spend more time together? Make each other a priority? Figuring that out can be the difference between staying together and going your separate ways.

Go To Therapy

“Seeking therapy is beneficial for couples overall,” Dr. Saniyyah Mayo, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. “However, when infidelity has transpired it is better to have someone there to help guide the discussions for understanding and healing.”

You’ll have a much better chance of moving on with a mediator in the middle, since they’ll be able to help you see things differently. “Many times couples have conversations but may not be able to see past their own hurt and frustration to engage in a healthy conversation to find solutions,” Mayo says. “Having a therapist present will challenge them to be open to heal.”

Let Go Of The Past

While you’ll never be able to fully forget about what happened, you can decide to let go of the past, and choose not to rehash what happened, or make it the central focus on your relationship.

As Mayo says, “If the couple keeps revisiting the negative details of the infidelity they will never move forward. It is OK to discuss what happened and what made the person decide to cheat, but do not fester on it and keep bringing it up.”

Instead, focus on what you can do today to rebuild trust, and put that into practice in your relationship.

Make Actual Changes

It’s all well and good to talk about making changes, and all the ways you’ll rebuild trust in your relationship. But you need to actually do these things in order for it to work.

“The cheater has to work diligently to show their partner they have changed,” Mayo says. “They cannot just say they have changed but it must be reflected through their actions.” And this can mean sticking to a new set of boundaries within your relationship, so that you both feel secure.

It can also help to do a little personal reflection, even if you weren’t the one who cheated. While you certainly shouldn’t blame yourself, it can help to make a few changes yourself in order to keep the relationship strong. Again, focusing on having better communication can be a big help.

Moving past cheating can be tricky, but it’s certainly possible to do so. By following these tips, you and your partner just might be able to make it work.

They may never trust you again

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There are countless reasons that people cheat in a relationship – but what are you supposed to do when the affair is over and you still want to be with your partner?

According to one divisive article, you should always keep the secret of your infidelity to yourself – as telling your partner can only cause harm.

“You’re the one sitting with the guilt, and if [the affair] is over and done, you absolutely don’t want to then put that on your partner,” Megan Fleming, PhD, a marriage counsellor and sex therapist in New York City told Refinery29.

Read more

Rather than sharing the hurt, Dr Fleming suggests focusing on yourself and identifying the reason behind the affair.

“Obviously on some level your relationship was feeling challenged,” she explained.

While it does make sense to protect a partner from unnecessary pain, especially if the affair is completely over, it also means keeping a major secret, and readers were left divided.

According to best-selling author and New York City relationship expert Susan Winter, who spoke with The Independent, there are times to keep the secret – and times to come clean.

“The truth is that relieving one’s guilt comes at the direct expense of their mate,” Winter told us. “While honesty is indeed the hallmark of true intimacy, there are times when unburdening yourself results in cruel and unnecessary information that then burdens your mate.”

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According to Winter, deciding whether to tell your partner may ultimately come down to the type of infidelity it was.

If it was a “one-off,” possibly fuelled by alcohol, Winter suggests refraining from telling your partner – as it will only hurt them.

“If so, think twice before revealing an interlude you can barely remember the next day,” she advised. “This confession can only create harm, not good. Commit to moderation and learn your limits of indulgence.”

Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

1 /5 Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

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Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

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Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

48285.bin

Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

48284.bin

Darling, it’s over: Has technology made it impossible to have an affair?

48283.bin

But it may be a different case if you were having an affair.

When the infidelity was actually a decision made on numerous occasions, it becomes a “more potent confession,” according to Winter.

“This was a choice made repeatedly that diverted your love and sexual expression away from your partner,” she explained – and it indicates “a problem exists within the relationship, or within yourself.”

In this situation, Winter recommends entering therapy before confessing to the affair – as it can first teach you the correct ways to “express your personal needs within the relationship, and address the issues that are out of balance.”

A therapist can also advise on the language to use when admitting infidelity to spare your partner unnecessary pain – and help come up with a “game plan for moving forward” if you and your partner are willing to do so.

However, if a partner suspects cheating and asks directly, it is important to tell the truth, according to psychologist and dating and relationship expert Madeleine Mason Roantree, who told us: “It’s not easy to find out that one’s partner has been cheating, but if a person suspects foul play, there’s little point denying it.”

“Covering up and lying about infidelity makes things worse, especially for the one being cheated on,” she continued – so spare your partner additional pain by being as honest as possible.

Just remember – if you do admit to cheating, your partner may find it hard to trust you again.

This article was originally published in Novermber 2018.

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How to admit cheating on a loved one

So, you cheated. Maybe he was really hot, maybe she was really understanding of your workload, or maybe you were just really, really bored. The potential reasons behind cheating are legion, and afterwards, many people are at a complete loss about how to move forward in their primary relationships. Do you try to keep it a secret? Spill it all with the promise that you’ll never do it again? Or should you completely end the relationship instead? Here, experts explain the various options at hand after you cheat. The good news? An affair isn’t necessarily the harbinger of relationship death. Still, that doesn’t mean figuring out your next step is easy.

Before taking any action, think back to why you cheated, Jane Greer, Ph.D., a New York–based relationship expert and author of How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust After Betrayal, tells SELF. There’s the obvious chance that you went outside the relationship because you weren’t getting what you needed sexually, she says. It could also come down to a chronic need to feel the excitement of something new, wanting to feel “alive” again, or merely that some people enjoy the risk of pursuing a so-called forbidden fruit.

“If the affair is the result of you feeling sexually or emotionally abandoned by your partner, then you may feel a degree of justification,” Gary Brown, Ph.D., a Los Angeles–based psychotherapist, tells SELF, although he notes that “even in very good relationships, you may feel that something is missing.”

Additionally, Brown says it’s not just the “why” of cheating, but the “why now” that matters. “The timing of the cheating may say a great deal about [your] emotional state,” he says. You may not be able to put your finger on why you wanted to roam when you did, but it’s well worth thinking about.

Although this view is controversial, it can be best to keep the whole thing to yourself. “Most people don’t tell their partner unless they get caught, and that’s a really personal decision,” says Greer. “You have to consider the nature of the cheating relationship you had.” She suggests deciding whether it will help you recommit to your partner and if you’re prepared to take on the burden of keeping the secret just so you don’t lose this person.

Recognize that if you’re acknowledging an otherwise undiscovered affair (especially one that’s ended), you’re creating emotional pain for your partner. Although it may temporarily relieve you of some of the stress associated with keeping a secret, the tradeoff of your partner experiencing possibly permanent emotional damage may not be worth it, says Brown.

One major caveat: if you put your partner’s health at risk by forgoing condoms or other similar contraceptives, it may be your duty to tell them. And remember that condoms don’t protect against all STIs, so using them with other people doesn’t guarantee that you’re truly keeping your partner safe. But not all cheating goes that far, so it depends on the situation.

Naughty photos, dirty sexts, love letters over email? All of that is hard evidence. If your partner confronts you about it, trying to deny the truth is straight-up hurtful. “If you’ve been caught in a number of lies, you should really not try to cover it up if it’s clear there’s something going on,” says Greer. Instead, own up to it, and be prepared to apologize repeatedly.

Yes, it’s going to hurt your partner—that can be especially true if you’ve developed an emotional affair with someone like a colleague or classmate—but lying so you can hold onto them denies their agency in the situation. Also, the clear conscience doesn’t hurt, although that shouldn’t be your biggest concern.

It may be even better if you can first discuss the situation in front of a neutral party like a therapist, says Brown, although that’s not always an option (unless you’re already regularly in therapy together). “This provides a measure of safety to help both people process the situation,” he says. Even if you confess in a spontaneous moment, scheduling an appointment with a couple’s therapist may help you both work out your feelings.

In either case, your partner may explode emotionally in the initial learning stages, and you’ll have to accept his or her emotions. The only thing that’s unacceptable? Violence of any kind, even in such an emotionally fraught situation.

The affair may signal that your relationship needs to end, whether you’d consciously like it to or not. Once an affair happens and has been disclosed, it forever changes the nature of your bond with your partner, says Brown. For example, it could cause your partner to be sexually withdrawn, says Greer, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Their trust has been violated,” she adds. And sometimes, that violation of trust is too great of a chasm for a relationship to successfully cross.

Alternatively, even if you don’t tell your partner, cheating can make you realize you’re unhappy in your primary relationship. In that case, you should end it, but there’s not necessarily a reason to divulge your affair if it’s otherwise unknown.

The majority of affairs end at some point, and the price is quite often the primary relationship. (Although that’s not always the case. Brangelina, anyone?) So, if you’ve got wandering eyes, tread lightly so you can avoid making a hurtful decision. Even though it’s possible for a relationship to rebound after cheating, “recovery to the point of completely letting go isn’t going to happen,” says Brown. Now that’s some food for relationship thought.