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Ask the Love Lady: You cheated

Should you come clean?


There’s this guy at my school who I have been crushing on for a long time but I have a boyfriend who is away at college so I’ve always kept my distance. Last weekend at a party we ended up getting together and it was nice but he’s definitely not worth giving up my boyfriend. I realize now how lucky I am to have my guy but I feel so guilty about what I did. I want to tell him the truth to clear the air but I’m afraid I’ll lose him if I do. Should I come clean or is it OK to keep this from him if I know it will never happen again?

Cheating is such ugly business! It never ends well because no matter how it plays out somebody carries the burden of what happened. With that in mind my advice to you on this one may come as a shocker but please bear with me and listen to the reasoning behind it. First and foremost let me tell you that under no circumstances should you just come out and tell your boyfriend what happened. No good can come from your confession. Your boyfriend will (rightfully) feel hurt and betrayed, you will feel like a terrible person, and even if it doesn’t break the two of you up things in your relationship will never be the same. Trust will have been damaged, egos will have been bruised and resentment will have taken root… a very bad mix of circumstances. The only positive in your confession may be that you feel less guilty about having cheated but at what cost? Your guilt may be alleviated but it will come at the expense of your boyfriend’s feelings. Frankly, if anybody should be carrying the burden of your cheating it should be you not your guy. So for now keep your mouth shut, deal with the guilt that you earned and make a silent vow to your boyfriend to never cheat on him again.

Now that being said there may come a time when it is in the best interest of your relationship to clear the air and make your infidelity known. At this moment your guilty conscience is probably pleading, “Please do tell when that time may come,” but as I’ve already told you any confession must not be about you feeling less guilt. Be aware that if such a time ever does come it will likely be when it is least welcome and totally unexpected but I mention it now so that you will know what to do if it happens. The only time you should come clean about having cheated is if your boyfriend asks you about it. This could happen for a variety of reasons; your boyfriend may have heard about your tryst through the rumor mill, it may be a hypothetical question he wants answered, or it could be that he cheated and wants to know if you have as well so HE will feel less guilty. Whatever prompts the question you absolutely must be truthful in your answer. You have betrayed trust and the only way to start the healing process is for you to immediately begin telling the truth. Tell him the truth but keep the details to yourself. If he presses you for information tell him only the bare bones version of what happened. Tell him it was one time, it never happened again and never will, and you have felt terrible about it but kept it to yourself because you didn’t want to hurt him. If he asks whom the other guy is, tell him. If he asks for all the sordid details of the event, kindly refuse to tell him. He doesn’t ever need a detailed mental movie of you cheating and no matter how he presses do not tell all. All he needs to know is that it made you miss and appreciate what you had with him and that you hope he can find it in his heart to forgive you.

So to recap; you cheated, you feel guilty, you never want to do it again, and you’re not going to tell your boyfriend about it unless he asks you. Although your guilt may be urging you to clear the air keep reminding yourself that it is not about YOU feeling better. You cheated, you created the dilemma, and it is only fair that you have to carry the burden of your actions. Coming clean may make you feel better but in reality it is a very selfish thing to do. You are putting your need to feel less guilt over your boyfriend’s feelings and this is just wrong. You behaved selfishly enough by cheating in the first place, now it’s time to be selfless and keep it to yourself. Only come clean when confronted and if your boyfriend then accuses you of a cover up show him this article and blame me. By confessing your infidelity now when your boyfriend has no suspicions and you don’t want to pursue anything with the other guy you just inflict pain on somebody you say you care for. Not cool. Swallow your guilt and consider it fair punishment for what you have done.

What if you cheat again?

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