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?


Depends. What about possible medical implications? Confessions are too often done for the relief of those confessing.

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.

I don’t think it’s something you can apply a ‘golden rule’ to.

You would even CONSIDER killing your SO over your cheating?, you must have a lousy relationship, I feel sorry for you.


This is just a hypothetical question, people.

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.

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.

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.

My wife has a gun. If I had a secret, I’d take it to the grave with me.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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”?


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.

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.

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.

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.