Should You Tell Your Boyfriend You Cheated

Women's Dating

Should You Tell Your Boyfriend You Cheated?

Nick Slade

Written by: Nick Slade

Nick Slade

Nick spent 20 years in the dating scene before marriage. He has always been the guy friends would come to for advice on relationships, and he developed a knack for giving helpful insights. After college, Nick was a disc jockey for a few years, when the love generation was still alive, so Nick has a lot of relevant experience to draw from when it comes to every aspect of dating, falling in love and screwing things up. He holds Bachelor's degree in humanities and a slew of master’s credits in journalism. Nick is a news junkie and tries to keep up on the latest non-fiction when he has time. He has published two books on how to win at dating and relationships.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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We all want to believe that honesty is the best policy — and, in a perfect world, it is. But it can also be argued that the truth has destroyed more great relationships than lies ever have. This is not to say that withholding the truth about your cheating ways is ever the good or moral thing to do, but there is a case to be made that it might be the best thing for the relationship.

In any case, it could be helpful to explore that train of thought.

Let’s start off by saying that we would never condone cheating, and we are not talking about ongoing cheating as a way of life. People never tell on themselves while they are still cheating anyway.

We’re talking about women who’ve made a mistake, feel terrible about it and have no intention of ever doing it again. Do you have to confess? Or can you make a decision to carry the guilt for the sake of your man and the relationship?

What is the upside for him?

There is an upside for you if you confess. You get to lift the burden and get the guilt off your chest.

But, what positive thing does he get out of it? By telling him you’ve cheated, you are, in effect, hitting him in the stomach with a shovel. Is this a caring and loving thing to do to the man you love?

You will be putting him into deep emotional pain. He may even forgive you and blame himself, but he will still suffer.

Now, think about how men handle suffering. They don’t hug Mom and cry on her shoulder. They don’t talk on the phone with their sister or have a friend braid their hair to ease their pain. They don’t eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, take a bubble bath or buy a new pair of shoes.

No. They drive cars real fast and recklessly, they get drunk, they put their fist through a wall, they get in fights, they get high on drugs, they have sex with sleazy women, and they stay out all night or even for days at a time.

He might end up losing his job or ruining his life. But he can’t just have a good cry with the guys. You are his only support system, and you just blew up his world.


“You are the only one who can decide

the best way to handle the situation.”

How will it help the relationship?

Nothing will be the same between you for a long, long time — if ever. When a man cheats on a woman, she tends to be more concerned about the possible feelings he might have for another lover.

A man, on the other hand, is more concerned that another man has defiled something that was special just for him. It is not uncommon for a man with an unfaithful woman to avoid her private areas, which he feels have somehow been ruined.

When do you think he will be thinking about what that other man did with you? It will be when he’s about to make love to you — every time. And it may take a lot of the desire and zest out of his lovemaking.

If you tell him you cheated, you may ruin sex for him for a long time. Sex with you, anyway. Even years later he will still remember what you did. He will never forget, and it will never make the relationship better.

There may be exceptions to these doomsday scenarios but probably not with long-term relationships. If you are still a fairly new item and he feels he has not totally “earned” your full commitment yet, it may not be so serious.

Telling him you had sex with another man wouldn’t really be so much like telling him you “cheated,” and it could even make him work harder to earn your full and dedicated affection.

However, once you have become the basis of his reality, everything changes. Think about how you would feel if he told you the same thing, and then you may be able to better decide if it’s a good idea to tell him or not.

We can always rationalize our own mistakes better than we can the mistakes of another perpetrated against us. If you can find a way to forgive yourself without dropping the bomb on your boyfriend, the world will certainly be a more peaceful place.

Devastating his life when you’ve already seen the folly of your ways and turned your life around might seem pointless. Ending a good relationship or throwing it into turmoil might not be the best or only possible way of handling your own infidelity.

Not telling him you cheated might be an easier way out, but it is not necessarily a selfish way to go. You’re also saving him, friends and families a lot of pain and grief. Life and love are imperfect quantities. He’s not perfect either, and you are the only one who can decide the best way to handle the situation.

You’re not living a lie if you truly love him and intend to be faithful. You don’t owe him the truth if the truth is a punch in the gut. But you do owe him your love and loyalty from this day forward.

If you choose not to tell, then you have to forgive yourself, love him more and never look back.

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