Should I Tell Him/Her That I Cheated? (+ How To Go About It)

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You’ve cheated on your partner….

And, whatever the circumstances behind the cheating were, you don’t want it to spell the end of your relationship.

As human beings, we like to take the easy route whenever we can get away with it.

So, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been asking yourself whether or not you really have to tell him or her that you’ve cheated.

You might have come here hoping for a different answer.

But unfortunately, I’m not going to let you off the hook on this one.

The reality is that you do have to tell them.

If you’re serious about this relationship having a future, there’s no way around honesty.

Keep reading to discover why being honest with your partner is so important, and how you can go about having what will inevitably be a very tricky conversation with them.

Why You Need To Come Clean

A relationship is nothing if it’s not based on truth.

If you and your partner had promised to be faithful to one another and you’ve betrayed that, then they deserve to know about it.

If you’re doubting whether you really need to tell them, take a moment to think about how you’d feel if things were turned on their head.

Do you genuinely think that ignorance is bliss?

If the one you love cheated on you, would you really not want to know about it?

Do you think that’s the basis of a healthy relationship?  

Telling them will shake the foundations of your relationship, but if you don’t tell them, you have no foundations at all, whether it was just a one time thing, or you were seeing someone else for months.

Just remember that these things have a way of coming to the surface eventually, no matter how hard you try to hide them.

Show your partner and your relationship some respect by being totally honest with them.

That way, with a lot of hard work and commitment, there’s potential for a future between you, despite your cheating.

If you keep quiet now, then things are bound to go wrong, sooner or later.

How To Tell Your Partner You Cheated

So, we’ve established that you need to come clean with your partner.

But now you’ll be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to go about having this conversation.

It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect. After all, this hopefully isn’t something you have much experience with.

The way you approach it could make all the difference.

If you’re serious about making this relationship work despite having cheated, then you need to handle things extremely delicately and respectfully. 

Here are some tips for having this tricky conversation.

1. Do it sooner rather than later.

When it comes to this kind of conversation, there’s no time like the present.

You might think you’re being kind to your partner by waiting till after Christmas, their birthday, your anniversary, or whatever it might be.

But you’re not.

You’ll always be able to find an excuse to put off telling them, because you don’t know how the conversation is going to go.

But the longer you leave it, the easier it will be to keep putting it off, again and again.

And, when they eventually find out you’ve been keeping this a secret for a long time, they won’t only be hurt by the cheating itself, but by the knowledge you’ve been lying to them ever since.

2. But make sure you’ve had time to collect your thoughts.

On the other hand, that’s not to say you need to confess immediately after it’s happened.

Give yourself a little time to cool off and reflect on the situation, as you’ll need clarity to be able to discuss this with your partner.

3. Ask yourself why it happened.

Your partner is going to ask you why you cheated, so you need to have an answer.

Take some time to yourself. Maybe go on a long walk or do something else to help you clear your head and allow you to really think about this.

Being clear about why it happened will help you move forwards with certainty that it won’t happen again.  

4. Be sure about whether you want to save the relationship.

You also need to take some time to reflect on whether you’re 100% committed to this relationship.

If your partner decides to give you another chance, you’ll still have a lot of hard work ahead of you to rebuild their trust in you.

You need to be willing to accept that.

5. Know it’s not going to be easy.

This isn’t going to be an easy discussion, so you need to prepare yourself for that.

There will probably be tears. There might well be raised voices.

Knowing you’ve made the person you love feel so bad won’t be a pleasant experience.

Mentally prepare for the worst reaction possible, so it doesn’t take you by surprise if they react that way.

6. Pick the right moment.

Now you’ve mentally prepared yourself, it’s time to actually have the talk.

One of the most important things is picking your moment carefully.

As with all big relationship chats, neither of you should be tired, stressed, distracted, or hungry.

Making sure you’re both in a good frame of mind will always help.

This is definitely not a conversation to have after you’ve been intimate with your partner.

Pick a time when neither of you have any plans later. This conversation is probably going to last for a long time and neither of you will be in the right mental space to do anything else with your day. 

7. Be honest, without going into too much detail.

Of course, after so much deception between you, honesty is absolutely vital. You need to be honest with them about what happened.

If they ask you a direct question such as how long it’s being going on for, then answer them simply.

But if they ask for details that make you uncomfortable or you know would hurt them even more, let them know you don’t think that it would be helpful to them for you to discuss that particular topic, and you’d rather focus on discussing your relationship.

8. Take full responsibility.

It might be that your cheating was, in part, motivated by issues with your relationship, or something your partner did.

But the last thing you should do is try to shift the blame onto them. 

No matter what they’ve done or not done, your cheating was definitely not the right way to handle it, so you need to take full responsibility for your actions.

9. Apologize unreservedly.

Make it clear to your partner just how sorry you are for how you’ve acted, and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to fix your relationship.

Focus your apology on the fact that you’ve hurt them.

10. Give them time.

You can’t expect your partner to process all this on the spot.

It’s normal for them to need some time out to think things through and decide how they want to take things forward.

Give them as much time as they need, whilst letting them know that you’re there for them if and when they want to talk.

11. Be prepared to put the work in going forwards.

Telling your partner that you’ve cheated on them is hard, but the really hard part comes afterwards.

They might decide that there’s no coming back from this, and you will have to respect that decision.

But if they decide to trust you again and try to make the relationship work, be aware that you’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of you.

Rebuilding trust is no walk in the park and doesn’t happen overnight.

But with commitment, sensitivity, and respect for both your partner and yourself, the two of you could still have a bright, loving future together.

Still not sure how to tell them you cheated AND save the relationship? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.