Is it always better to tell?

kat180kat180 Posts: 6,280Registered Users
Had a random pondering today- is it always better to tell your partner (husband/boyfriend/lover whatever) if you have slept with someone else? Whether it was a one time thing or a full blown affair (or perhaps even an emotional affair).

I've heard some people advise to always tell even if it breaks up the relationship/marriage and others say- don't tell but never ever do it again.

So should you always tell? Before anyone brings it up, I have no SO in my life at all- its just a hypothetical question. :)

And on the other side- would you always want to know?
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    I would always want to know...and I think that it's probably better to tell in most cases. BUT...if I was the perpetrator, I don't think I would tell.
  • iaraiara Posts: 1,199Registered Users
    I did not vote. I would always want to know and my policy is to break-up as soon as I know (has happened before).

    Some people tell because it is better for them and not the person they are telling. He or she wants to clear their conscience, but remain in the relationship. That to me is hurtful. In my case, the person told me because he wanted me to forgive him and go on as we were. I still broke-up. He was shocked by that.

    I would hope I would break-up with someone before it led to cheating. Obviously we are having problems. People do not accidentally cheat.
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  • burgundy_locksburgundy_locks Posts: 2,420Registered Users
    i think it depends. what are you expecting to gain from telling the truth? if you just want to tell the truth because it's driving you crazy and you just want to get off your chest, i dont think that's a good enough excuse. usually that situation follows with the lines 'well at least i told you'. YUCK!!! now, if you cheated, and you are sorry, and you are willing to accept the fact that your spouse might leave you, or you are willing to go to counseling to pull thru it, and you are trully sorry in your heart, you should tell. IMO, the first example i gave is pretty selfish. it's like, you are crushing your partners hopes with no remorse bc you are not willing to work on the issue. but if you are willing to accept the consequences in a selfless way (not that you are just trying to get out of a relationship), i think you should tell.

    i also have a policy. its not necessarily cheat and your gone. its more of a 'don't lie to me'. if your out with a female co-worker working on a project, dont tell me you're out with the boys. you might as well be cheating! honest is the best policy :).
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  • Fluffy4evaFluffy4eva Posts: 156Registered Users
    Ohhhhh tough one! :-s If I cheated, I would have a tough time deciding. Because I would almost certainly be sure I would never do it again therefore it would be a redundant risk to confess to my sins. and I wouldnt want to see my partner hurt and disappointed over something that was already history and never going to be repeated....


    I think if my significant other cheated on me I feel I would need to know. For him to keep it from me "for my own benefit" would either imply
    (a) he didnt take the mistake seriously and would probably do it again since he didnt get busted this time, or
    (b) was belittling my capacity to deal by thinking I couldnt handle the information. Its not his place to decide what I can and cant handle, therefore not his place to delegate what information Im fed at any given time....

    so, I think the flip side f the argument has won me over... I think ethically its better to tell...!

    But theres so many variables involved in these things, the ideal response would vary from relationship to relationship I think.
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  • WiregirlWiregirl Posts: 1,695Registered Users
  • hippychichippychic Posts: 4,673Registered Users
    i didnt vote. i think it depends...

    i was listening to someone on a talk show once. the husband cheated many years ago. he decided to confess to the wife. although it had been many years since it happened and he had been the 'perfect' husband since, she couldn't forgive him.
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    If you are going to end the relationship, I don't think it really matters. It probably wouldn't be helpful to the cheated-on mate. It might, depending on the circumstances. But any good that, theoretically, might come of telling, in the midst of a break up, might be lost.

    If your hope is continue the relationship AND resolve whatever issues are present (yours or his/hers) that contributed toward your decision to cheat, then it's probably a good idea to admit what you did and start some dialogue/counseling.

  • janeylizjaneyliz Posts: 777Registered Users
    Difficult one. I guess it depends on the individuals and the situation.

    Having been accused by my ex-husband of having affairs during our 16-year relationship when I most certainly hadn't was very painful. If I had had an affair I may well have told him just to hurt. Petty.

    Interesting that 5 days after I left him on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour, he 'officially' started a very deep and meaningful relationship - now would I have wanted to know that while we were still together he was playing around? Yes, I would have wanted to know so I could put Picolax in his dinner!
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  • brinabeebrinabee Posts: 105Registered Users
    I think honesty is the best because before you know it your making up lies to cover those lies, and chances are you will screw up the lies and your SO will find out eventually. I rather him hear it from the source, me, then someone else. And if he were to, I would hope to hell he would be honest because lieing is cheating as well and I would probably be more likely to divorce him if he lied about it or kept it from me then if he were honest in the first place.
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  • ninja dogninja dog Posts: 23,780Registered Users
    I don't know.

    I had a friend who cheated on her husband when they were first married. Apparently, she was also in counseling at the time, and realized the problem was about her, and her insecurities. I don't think she ever told her husband (his name was Sherman, btw!).
  • inheritedcurlsinheritedcurls Posts: 2,954Registered Users
    I voted yes. I would want to know and I don't think I could keep it from my husband if I cheated on him. I wouldn't want to tell him but the guilt would eat me up inside.
  • automaticflowersautomaticflowers Posts: 3,465Registered Users
    Yes, a cheater should tell. Because the cheater shouldn't get to decide the fate of the relationship after such a betrayal, potentially exposing their partner to disease, etc.

    It's only right to let the person who was cheated on decide whether or not to forgive and stay together. It makes me angry that some people feel they should be able to have their cake and eat it too. (And if they got away with it once, what's to stop them from doing it again?) Way to completely disrespect the person you claim to love.
  • riotkittyriotkitty Posts: 1,307Registered Users
    I cheated two times and I've done both. The first time I told my mom about it before I told my then SO. She advised me not to tell him, that that was "my cross to bear". I saw her point, but honestly decided I could not trust myself not to do it again. We had been having issues for sometime and I felt I was too young to bother to work them out. I felt I was over him. I told him and ended the relationship. There was a point where I kind of regretted it, that maybe we could have worked it out, but in the end I don't think it would have changed anything. It just wasn't working.

    The second time was with the rebound to that last relationship and it was a drama fest. Lot of ins and outs and bizarre details in this one, a period of total hedonism for me that I really needed. I never told him. If he found out, I could care less. He probably reveled in it for the drama.
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  • CurlyinColoradoCurlyinColorado Posts: 3,093Registered Users
    No, if I cheated then the relationship is over, I wouldn't add insult to injury.
  • CurlyHairedFarmerCurlyHairedFarmer Posts: 3,073Registered Users
    If I cheated, I would tell because it isn't up to me to decide if my SO wants to be with me. He has every right to know things that could possibly sway his decision in the long run.

    I would want to know, because usually the person cheated on finds out one way or another. It would hurt more finding out from someone else.
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  • AmandacurlsAmandacurls Posts: 6,252Registered Users
    Honesty is the best policy and I would rather know than know that someone kept it from me. I also would not be able to live with the guilt of not telling, so I'd tell.
  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    ooh good question!

    i think if i had no clue that he ever cheated and was living happily in false bliss, then i would probably be better off not knowing. but if it was a rocky relationship and/or i had suspicions, i would want him to confess.
  • irociroc Posts: 7,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    No - I do not think it's better to tell. In most situations that I can think of.

    If it was a mistake, and you regret it, and you are still in your relationship and plan on not doing it again, telling is just going to tear the other person apart.

    If it was something that you did due to your relationship falling apart, just end it. Why tell that you cheated and add insult to injury?

    If you're doing it to ease your own guilt, well then you're being twice as selfish. You were selfish in having the affair, and you're being selfish once again having to relieve YOUR guilt. At that point, it isn't about what's better for YOU. You already screwed up, now learn to live with your mistake. Find a way to find forgiveness within yourself. Don't try to get rid of your pain by giving it to someone else. It will hurt them more anyway.

    If the person is in front of you accusing you of cheating, saying they KNOW you did it - well ya, just own up to it. If you've been caught, don't continue to lie.

    If I know nothing about it, and I'm unaware that my husband cheated on me, it's not ongoing, and he is continuing to be a good husband and father - no, I do not want to know. Let me continue to be ignorant and happy.
  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,175Registered Users
    No, if I cheated then the relationship is over, I wouldn't add insult to injury.

    Yes, and I've done this.
  • sarah42sarah42 Posts: 4,034Registered Users
    I voted no. I think it might be possible for a relationship to recover from an affair, but (for me) that could only happen if it was a short and unmeaningful affair, i.e. the cheater wasn't in love with the person they cheated with, and they realized it was wrong. In that case, I don't think it would be helpful to tell the partner. If it were a long-term emotional affair, the relationship would have to end, and it would just be hurtful to reveal the affair.

    I think sometimes people have affairs and act careless because they want to get caught and have an excuse to end their relationship.

    I've never cheated or been cheated on, to my knowledge.
  • StarrwithoutniteStarrwithoutnite Posts: 1,732Registered Users
    I have always said that if I found out that he was cheating then I would be gone, and I still stand by that today. If he came to me tonight saying he has slept with someone else I would be crushed. But I would be packing my **** and leaving within 5 minutes. I have never really been swayed to cheat but I dont think I could live with myself if I didnt tell him.

    I think it should be full disclosure. Tell.
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  • LotsawavesLotsawaves Posts: 8,660Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    If you are in a relationship and feel the need to cheat then either you shouldn't be in that relationship or both of you need counseling.
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  • automaticflowersautomaticflowers Posts: 3,465Registered Users
    iroc wrote: »
    If it was a mistake, and you regret it, and you are still in your relationship and plan on not doing it again, telling is just going to tear the other person apart.

    I think that's selfish, though, not altruistic at all. The person who cheated still wants to stay in the relationship -- OK. Tell the partner and let them decide. For the cheater, it's not about not wanting to hurt their partner (since they already deceived them and are now lying by omission), it's about them wanting to keep their relationship going.
  • irociroc Posts: 7,890Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    iroc wrote: »
    If it was a mistake, and you regret it, and you are still in your relationship and plan on not doing it again, telling is just going to tear the other person apart.

    I think that's selfish, though, not altruistic at all. The person who cheated still wants to stay in the relationship -- OK. Tell the partner and let them decide. For the cheater, it's not about not wanting to hurt their partner (since they already deceived them and are now lying by omission), it's about them wanting to keep their relationship going.

    That's a logical thought as well.

    I can only give my opinion based on my situation. My husband and I have discussed this type of scenario and both came up with a no tell solution.

    In my case, the other person in the relationship HAS decided. We decided when we were being rational, and unemotional, and not yet hurt. I certainly don't want to be made the fool, so do not let there be a relationship that 'everyone else but me' knows about. If it gets to that point, the other person has to be told. But if this indescretion was only known by the two alduterors (?) involved, I would prefer to be kept in the dark.
  • automaticflowersautomaticflowers Posts: 3,465Registered Users
    I can understand why some people would rather not know. It's definitely good to talk about the "What ifs" too, even if it never becomes an issue. I made sure my SO knew I'd want to be told if he cheated.

    And I probably have some personal hangups about this topic, considering my parents' marriage ended after my dad cheated. I think my mom did the right thing for her, but everyone's different, especially when kids are involved.