Nobody wants to admit when they cheat. Sometimes people try to justify it; other times, they know it was a big mistake but feel too terrified to tell their partner since they don’t want things to end. If you’re in this position, here are a few questions to ask yourself.
Is the relationship near the end?
Sometimes, people cheat since they’ve been checked out of their relationship for a long time. It just seems like the easier option. In our hearts we’re basically single. If this is the case, you don’t need to tell your partner but you do need to break up with them ASAP. As in, right this very second. It’s only fair to them.
Did you sleep with someone else?
Even if it was protected sex, you need to tell your partner. When you have sex with someone, you’re exposing yourself to sexually transmitted infections. Hopefully, the other person was clean. If not, it’s unfair of you to both lie to your partner, and risk their health based on your own mistake.
Will you feel guilty if you don’t?
When you feel guilty about something, you know you shouldn’t have done it. It’s one thing to have a coworker come onto you because of a miscommunication and another to know you purposely lead them on in hopes that something physical would happen. If it’s the latter, you should tell your partner. Otherwise, it’ll haunt you for the rest of the relationship.
Was it emotional cheating?
Emotional cheating is real, sure, but it needs to be extreme to count. What I mean is that talking to another guy and being friendly isn’t emotionally cheating. Going out for beers with your guy coworkers on Fridays isn’t cheating. Preferring another guy’s companionship over your boyfriend is, even if nothing physical happens. If you don’t think you crossed a line just yet but feel like you might, then you don’t have to talk about it as long as you exit the tempting situation. If you’re sending text messages to some other dude saying you miss him, then you do.
Was it when you were on a break?
If you have an on-and-off relationship, you’re free to sleep with whoever you want when you’re not committed. That’s what being “off” is. It might feel like cheating but technically it isn’t. Before hooking up with someone else, you’ll want to make sure the two of you are on the same page about the rules. We’ve all seen the episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel get it wrong.
Are they dangerous?
This is a serious question. If your partner has threatened you before, or hurts you, or calls you names, then things may escalate even further if they learn that you cheated. You need to be separated from them as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to get help from family members—they want you to be happy and healthy and will help you get in touch with all the resources you need.
Do you respect them?
Hopefully, the answer is yes, especially if you’ve been together for some time. You want to be honest and truthful with the people you respect even if you don’t like the outcome of their decision. If they’ve cheated on you a bunch and you’re doing it as payback or in order to feel wanted, why are you still even with this person?
Were things actually made official?
In the very beginning of a relationship, there’s a bit of a grey area. They might assume you’re exclusive when you aren’t. Sitting down to define the relationship is important for this very reason. If you hooked up with someone else before talking about whether or not you’re an official couple, then it’s nothing you need to disclose — it’s just part of your pre-relationship history.
Are you hiding things?
If you’re deleting text messages every night, what are you even doing? Make things easier for yourself. Come clean or break up. You’re obviously not happy in your arrangement and need to move on even if you live together or depend on their paycheck. Hiding it while using them doesn’t paint you in the best light.
Do you actually want things to work out with your partner?
Maybe you were at a party, felt insecure, had a drink or two in you, and made a bad call. You felt guilty the second after it all ended. If you want things with your boyfriend to remain good, you’ll tell them immediately. Don’t let them hear about it from anyone else, and be honest when you tell them it’ll never happen again. If you’ve been together for a long time, you should also consider either individual or relationship counseling to prove to them that you’re working on yourself.
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