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Old 04-07-2003, 10:06 AM
Surreal is offline
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Is It 'Wrong' Not To Tell Someone You Were Unfaithful?

Do you think it is wrong to keep a single previous indiscretion hidden from your S.O.? Why or why not??

If someone ever cheated on me, I personally would rather *not* know about it. If she were to tell me about it, the only thing that it would accomplish would be to make me angry and more suspicious. Nothing good would come from the disclosure.

If, however, I weren't told, it wouldn't cause any problems whatsoever. As they say, ignorance it bliss.

Therefore, I say that the right the to do, per the 'golden rule', is not to tell your partner if you have cheated on them in the past. Do you agree?

Old 04-07-2003, 10:30 AM
lee is offline
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Depends. What about possible medical implications? Confessions are too often done for the relief of those confessing.
Old 04-07-2003, 10:35 AM
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The answer depends on one thing: would the cheated-upon spouse be happier/better off knowing? If the answer is yes, the cheater has an obligation to tell, even if he/she would rather not.
On the other hand, if the answer is no, the cheater should clam up, even if he/she is dying to confess.

If there's any danger of a sexually transmitted disease, for instance, it's essential that the cheater come clean and take whatever consequences (divorce, a big fight) come.

Otherwise, if the cuckolded spouse is happy in the marriage, it's probably best not to tell him or her about an affair, especially if it happened long ago. If you had an affair several years ago, but are wracked with guilt about it, you'd be very selfish and cruel to confess now. YOU might feel better, but your spouse would be hurt for no good reason.

Decide what's best for your spouse, and do THAT, even if it's not what you want to do.
Old 04-07-2003, 10:50 AM
Tir Tinuviel is offline
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I don't think it's something you can apply a 'golden rule' to.
Old 04-07-2003, 10:55 AM
unclviny is offline
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You would even CONSIDER killing your SO over your cheating?, you must have a lousy relationship, I feel sorry for you.

Straight DOH-per
Old 04-07-2003, 10:59 AM
Surreal is offline
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This is just a hypothetical question, people.
Old 04-07-2003, 11:03 AM
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I agree - in general, I think you're better off not telling (provided that it will never happen again, that disease is not an issue, etc). If you are dying to get it off your chest, and you tell your SO, you've made yourself better off at the expense of him/her. You may feel better, but s/he feels a whole lot worse. That's pretty much always a bad thing to do, IMHO. You're the one that made the indiscretion, you should be the one to deal with it.
Old 04-07-2003, 12:17 PM
Urban Ranger is offline
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Originally posted by astorian
The answer depends on one thing: would the cheated-upon spouse be happier/better off knowing? If the answer is yes, the cheater has an obligation to tell, even if he/she would rather not.
That assumes the other person will never find out. I won't bet on it.

To me, it is doubly wrong. Not only you have cheated, but you attempted duplicity. It is just a time bomb waiting to blow up in your face.
Old 04-07-2003, 03:28 PM
Surreal is offline
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It seems like a bit of a stretch to say it is 'doubly wrong'. If had to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 what it's like when your S.O. admits that they cheated on you, maybe it would be an 8 or a 9. If you found out she cheated on you and tried to hide it from you, that would be worse, but not a lot worse. Maybe a 9 or a 10.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that cheating and covering up is in fact a double whammy, compared with cheating and confessing. If you assume that the probability you will be caught is 50%, it comes out dead even- 1 whammy it you confess, or a 50/50 probability of 2 whammies or 0 whammies. Either way, it's equally traumatic for your partner (1 whammy expected).

Now, I think that in most cases the probability of being caught is considerably less than 50%, unless the person you cheated with is someone the both of you know. I also think that being caught cheating and lying about it is much less than a double whammy, maybe only a 1.25 whammies. Therefore, by my analysis, in almost all cases your partner would be better off if you kept your indiscretions to yourself.
Old 04-07-2003, 03:40 PM
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My wife has a gun. If I had a secret, I'd take it to the grave with me.
Old 04-07-2003, 03:57 PM
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Surreal, I disagree with your assessment of the relative badness of cheating and telling vs. cheating and not telling. If you cheat on someone, but then confess, telling them you made a mistake, feel like pond scum and will never, ever do it again, there's a chance they may believe it was a one-time mistake and eventually trust you again. If they find out only because you slipped up or someone else tells them, and it was obvious you planned to keep it secret, then how can they know you haven't actually cheated ten times that they don't know about? Or plan to cheat again in the future? How can they believe anything you say if you've been lying all this time?

If it was truly a one-time mistake, and there is absolutely no chance they will ever find out, I think it may be more considerate to keep it to yourself. However, if they do find out, I think it's far more likely the relationship won't survive than if you had confessed.
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Old 04-07-2003, 04:02 PM
jellen92 is offline
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Well, if you cheated on your SO and contracted some disease and did not tell them, therefore putting their life at risk, that would be a problem. It depends on the conscious of the secret keeper. Most good people cannot live with that kind of guilt, and you spend much time and energy trying to repress it. Put it this way, karma has an efficient way of making up for things, IMHO.
Old 04-07-2003, 10:11 PM
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There is a golden rule. This is it: If you cheat, rush right out an have all the tests in the world. If you a free of STDs, never, ever tell.

Actually, I have never seen or heard of anyone who decided they could trust an SO who confessed to cheating. The cheated upon ALWAYS (in my experience) worries that it happened many more times than admitted. (Have seen relationships survive, both when the cheating was known about, and when it wasn't. And given the number of prostitutes working in most urban areas, we can assume there is some dangerous, yet completely unsuspected, cheating going on.)

Astorian, how can you presume to decide if your spouse would be happier/better off knowing? I think you can assume that your spouse wants you to be the kind of person who doesn't cheat, and, if you have slipped, you should work your ass off to be the kind of person your spouse wants you to be.

FWIW, cheat is not infrequently designed to hurt the spouse. If you can't tell, you have less cause for infidelity.
Old 04-08-2003, 12:04 AM
Simbelmyne is offline
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Yes, it is wrong

A relationship that continues afterwards without the truth coming out is a lie from that point on. You are either honest, or dishonest. Pick one.
Old 04-08-2003, 12:33 AM
Blalron is offline
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You can't change the past. The only moral thing if you love your significant other is to stop the cheating and keep past indiscretions to yourself if that's possible. Revealing it will only cause them unneeded emotional distress, and they will never be able to look at you the same way from then on. Is it worth it just to feel better about yourself by "confessing"?
Old 04-08-2003, 03:20 AM
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Is It 'Wrong' Not To Tell Someone You Were Unfaithful?

Old 04-08-2003, 06:12 AM
Essured is offline
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Well, you have information that you are keeping from your life partner. This information is important and may cause your SO to make different choices or act differently. This information is very pertinent and relevant to the relationship. IMO, if you don't confess, you have not only cheated on your spouse, but you are lying each day you don't tell. You are also denying your spouse the things you probably promised in your vows, and I think the spouse has a right to know that the marriage isn't (or hasn't been in the past) as he/she thinks it is.

I think deciding for your spouse that they'd be better off knowing, is not only arrogant and self-serving, but the marriage is under false pretenses from that moment forward.

If I found my spouse had cheated on me, I think (can't know until I'm in that position) that I might be willing to try and work past it. If my SO cheated on me, and lied, covering it up, and I found out anyway, there would be no hope for the relationship. Once-off cheating I think I could deal with, as long as we took the time and the counselling to do so. Lying to me each day, by not telling me about the cheating, I couldn't accept. One bad choice can be forgiven IMO, but continual and planned deception is another story.

IMHO only & YMMV, of course.
Old 04-08-2003, 07:26 AM
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just my idiot opinion

Cheating on your SO is a symptom that something is seriously wrong in your relationship. I think lying about means your relationship is in even worse shape.

And let's be clear. You keep it a secret to save yourself from the consequences of your actions, not to spare your SO anything. IMO, the truth usually comes out in the end. And lies, even old lies, will probably make the SO feel like a chump, as well as being hurt. Insult to injury, so to speak.
Old 04-08-2003, 10:36 AM
irishgirl is offline
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always wrong?

always right?

sometimes (eg a one off, at the start of a relationship that made you realise how much you love your SO) there is no point telling.

i don't really believe you'll ever be back to being equals if you tell, the power balance is always disrupted.
Old 04-08-2003, 10:46 AM
Alexxandra is offline
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My husband and I separated a year ago. I like to think that he was faithful, as I was, during our marriage. Since we're tying to still be friendly with each other, I'd really rather not know if he had screwed around on me. The marriage is over anyway, so there would be no point in getting more hurt than I already am.
Old 04-08-2003, 10:50 AM
DrLizardo is offline
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My personal belief (and this comes from the dozen-odd folks I've known with infidelities to their (dis)credit -- some caught, some not, some admitted, some not) is once a cheat, always a cheat. I've never known someone who cheated "just the once" and never again. So I think the OP posits an unrealistic scenario.

Having said that, I think it boils down to condoms.


Yes, condoms.

If you're in a relationship where you are using condoms we can infer two things: 1) The likelihood (though not certainty) is that the relationship has not yet reached a certain level of commitment, trust, exclusivity, and length of time, and 2) the issue of disease becomes less relevant.

In this scenario, I can agree that possibly not telling is a valid response, depending on your assessment of the "lesser evil." But only if it truly was/is a one-time-only thing (and I don't believe you, by the way).

If you're in a relationship where you don't use condoms, we can infer two things (maybe three): 1) The likelihood is that the relationship has reached a certain level of commitment, exclusivity, etc., and 2) the issue of disease is VERY relevant -- you're either risking your partner's health by still having sex, or compounding your lies trying to justify condoms/abstention for long enough to test accurately.

Optionally: 3) You are not using condoms, even though the relationship is not a strong/committed one. In this case, you're stupid and there's little hope for you. Tell them and let's hope they have the sense to boot your sorry butt outta their lives.

In this case (1 & 2) you should tell. You owe it to a committed partner and you cannot risk their health.
Old 04-08-2003, 02:02 PM
preacherswife is offline
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I am one of those silly people who considers ommision to be as heinous as the cheating itself. I also think that if you have a solid marriage, you will not stray, and if you do stray then there is obviously something wrong with your marriage and why do you care if they find out?
If I owned a gun and my husband cheated I would shoot him
If I owned a gun and my husband cheated and did not tell me and then I found out, I would shoot him multiple times and watch him die slowly.

Actually I am not that drastic, but I would be 500 times more hurt by him ommitting information rather than coming clean to begin with.
Old 04-08-2003, 02:05 PM
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The fact that I could never not tell (coupled with the fact that there is not a line out the door of prospects) keeps me in line.

The STD angle has been covered. Other than that there is no earthly readon to unburden yourself unless of course your particular relationship isn't challenging enough.

Furthermore, if you are not my partner but a friend or acquaintance who is cheating and has been for seven years, in the name of all that is great and sacred do not tell me !!!! (especially if you and your SO (either one!) are likely to show up together at places I'll be).
Old 04-08-2003, 02:26 PM
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When hiding your salami or plucking your peach with the the person who isn't the farmer of your dell, I say it's only right that you do admit your dirty deed(s).

Someone has suggested that the confessor admits to his/her actions only to assuage the burden of his/her guilt. "It don't matter to me" who benefits the most from an admission; until the truth is known, a crucial lie awaits to be discovered.

I'd rather know that my SO has cheated on me and end up with an unsalvageable relationship, than to spend years together, happy, and find out about the affair long after. YMMV, of course.
Old 04-08-2003, 03:59 PM
flight is offline
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Hmmm, I have an idea. How about... don't cheat? If you need to cheat then end the relationship. If you were stupid... once... than a strong relationship can get over it, but if you did it a lot the relationship is pretty well doomed anyway so just end it. If it was a one time mistake you damn well better come clean, because the relationship that may have survived is dead in the water if they find out from another source.

True the trust will take a long time to rebuild, but at least they know you own up to what you have done and that you would not have admitted it if you planned on continuing. If you get caught then the SO will always think you could be at it again and just more successful at covering your tracks. Cheating really pisses me off. There ARE those who cheat and admit it just to hurt their SO, but they are so messed up I think we can leave them out of this discussion.

The only time it MAY be OK to lie about it is when it happened very long ago and you are just now having a moral dilemma. No need to drag that out of the past, but you should never have gotten there in the first place. Bad!
Old 04-08-2003, 04:28 PM
Beadalin is offline
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spooje nailed my response.

Let's see... you'd screw around on your SO and THEN worry about "sparing them pain"? If you cared that much for your SO's pain, you wouldn't cheat in the first place.

Tell your SO what you did, and let them make the decision to try to work things out, or not. To make that decision for them in the name of "not hurting them," (conveniently sparing you any consequences) is condescending and a second betrayal of trust.
Old 04-09-2003, 12:03 PM
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I think it's just a judgement call, based on the relationship and what the situation is. Sometimes, as in the hypotheitical case, it would be better not to tell, for ingorance is bliss. But for some relationships, it would be better to tell.

Speaking as someone who has slipped in a very loving relationship with our best friend, you've got to make the decision. whether to know and be suspicious, or to be ignorant that the cheating ever happened.

To anyone in this situation...use your best judgement on it...and I hope it doesn't happen to anyone
Old 04-09-2003, 04:11 PM
unclviny is offline
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you must be a kid if this is how you really think

Originally posted by j.c.
There is a golden rule. This is it: If you cheat, rush right out an have all the tests in the world. If you a free of STDs, never, ever tell.
Please allow me to suggest some research on your part, HIV can (and does) lie dormant for a LONG time, during this time it is virtually undetectable so the person that you cheated on IS at risk (for now I am ignoring the fact that you have shattered your SO's ability to (possibly) EVER trust again).

It baffles me that relationships (and the lives of the people that you claim to love) are taken this lightly.

Straight DOH-per
Old 04-20-2003, 11:16 PM
ManDuh003 is offline
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Say it isn't so.

I really think that you should tell the person, and I am speaking from experiance of the person 'cheated' on. My boyfriend Kevo4us and my best friend were the people and they told me. It upset me some but when they first told me I burst out laughing, don't ask me why. I was fine with it for about the first night then it got to bothering me but I'm fine with it now. If I would have found out from someone else, well lets put it this way, all Hell would have broken loose on the two of then. She is still my best friend and he is still my boyfriend but I know if I would have found out from someone else I would be putting up a best friend wanted sign!
Old 04-21-2003, 12:51 AM
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If my husband was a serial cheater, yes I would want to know.Then I'd kick his sorry ass out.But if he only slipped up and cheated once in our 18 year marriage, I'd never ever want to know.I would be so hurt I don't think I could ever forgive him on a subconsious level.While I would try to work things out between us, the hurt would run so deep that our relationship would never be on the same footing again.
Old 04-21-2003, 01:59 AM
Vorae is offline
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If you're gonna tell, tell your SO about it soon after it happens.

Otherwise -- and only as long as you know it won't happen again (but then, WTF do you know? Prior to cheating, you probably "knew" it wasn't going to happen at all in the first place) -- take it to your grave and spend the rest of your days being SuperSpouse, slave to your SO's whims and desires.

The thing that bothers me with the "But you'll only hurt them further!" response is that it seems to be based on flawed logic, i.e., all things with the final end of keeping the peace. Maintaining the relationship. When after cheating -- and I could be alone on this -- none of that's your call. Or, it shouldn't be. It should be the wronged SO's.

So my $0.02: Tell, and quickly. It's not your only option, but to me, it's certainly the fairest.

[DuhSpeak]And yeah, I'd wanna know.[/DuhSpeak]
Old 04-21-2003, 02:59 AM
soulmurk is offline
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Re: Yes, it is wrong

Originally posted by Simbelmyne
A relationship that continues afterwards without the truth coming out is a lie from that point on. You are either honest, or dishonest. Pick one.
I couldn't agree more.

While it's argued that a confession is to appease a guilty conscience, it's the only thing to do. As if having an affair were not disrespectful enough, not sharing is even moreso. It's disrespectful to the relationship and to your SO.

I personally would want to know, but I'm known as a bit of a relationship masochist.

I believe that it is better to know than to suspect.

Of course, that's in an ideal world and not taking into account so many possible variables like kids and mutual investments, etc. In the real world, I think it best to reverse the situation and answer the question in your own mind, as honestly as possible, and treat your SO as you'd want to be treated.
Old 04-21-2003, 09:47 AM
grettle is offline
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What if it wouldn't bother you if you found out that you SO cheated on you, but you know it would bother them if they found out you cheated? It's really hard to apply the Golden Rule to that situation.

Assuming you ware safe and careful and did not contract any diseases during the cheating, and you still love your SO very much, I say don't tell. It's not worth the pain and agony on both sides. Your relationship hasn't been changed drastically by one act, only your conscience has been altered. It's up to you to live with that.

Also, I don't think that the factor of "unhealthy" or "problematic" is a neccessary pre-condition to unfaithfulness. In some cases, I'm sure problems are aparent that may have somehow contributed to the act of infidelity, but not in most, and certainly not in all cases.
Old 04-21-2003, 10:03 AM
mhendo is online now
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Re: Say it isn't so.

Originally posted by ManDuh003
I am speaking from experiance of the person 'cheated' on. My boyfriend Kevo4us and my best friend were the people and they told me...She is still my best friend and he is still my boyfriend but I know if I would have found out from someone else I would be putting up a best friend wanted sign!
Wow, you're either a really good person or a doormat. As i don't know you, i'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the former. But there's no way that i could be so understanding in similar circumstances. I would have ditched both the lover and the friend.
Old 04-21-2003, 12:42 PM
Avarie537 is offline
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[slight hijack, yet still on-topic]

My parents split up in 1993 after 20 years of marriage. They had a very rough time for most of those 20 years. LAST SUMMER, my dad had the BALLS to tell my mom that he cheated on her while she was pregnant with me. My mom said that she'd had suspicions and "knew" as only a woman could know that he was cheating at the time. His exact words were, "I'm sorry that I LIED TO YOU about the level of my relationship with Susan." Not sorry that he screwed around, but just that he didn't tell her about it for 22 years!!!

[/slight hijack]

So in this case, all his confession did was piss off his ex-wife, make him feel better, and lower my already-pretty-shabby opinion of the man as a husband, father, and human being in general.

[Not to mention the fact that HE INTRODUCED ME TO Susan when I was 17 - and explicitly told me (at that time) that he had met her when mom was pregnant and that they had been very attracted to one another but had never "consummated the relationship," in his words. G*DD@MNED F*CKIN' SON OF A B1TCH!!]
Old 04-21-2003, 12:44 PM
msmith537 is offline
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Posts: 28,157
I can't stress this enough:


Learn phrases like:
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"I was at Bills house all day".
"That's not mine."
"That IS mine."
"That must belong to my sister."
"That's not me on the videotape."
"Hi! I'm <your name>'s identical twin brother, 'Jeff'! Didn't he tell you I was coming over with my girlfriend today?"

See here's the deal. Maybe you got bored or drunk. Maybe you just got lonely on a business trip. You fucked up. Whatever. If you never plan to see the girl again, why compound one mistake with another?

Forget the "total honesty" bullshit. In order to relieve your guilty conscience, you are willing to throw away an otherwise good relationship?

If there's a problem with the relationship talk about the problem with your SO. If you want to get the cheating off your chest, go talk to a doctor, lawyer, priest or someone else where client privlidge is in effect.

If, after all that, you still feel a need to confess your sins..well that's what deathbeds are for.


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