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Cheat and Not Tell?

Earlier this week I came across a Time article dedicated to infidelity. Author Andrea Sachs interviewed Mira Kirshenbaum, a couples counselor expert, who has discerned 17 reasons that people have extramarital affairs but almost always advises them not to tell — yes, not to tell! She rationalizes her opinion by saying:

. . . how does it make a person less guilty to inflict terrible pain on someone? Which is exactly what the confession does. It puts the other person in a permanent state of hurt and grief and loss of trust and an inability to feel safe, and it doesn't alleviate your guilt. Your relationship is dealt a potentially devastating blow.

Sure, telling your loved one that you strayed is devastating, but in my opinion, lying to your significant other is just as hurtful. Kirshenbaum believes there are only two exceptions to her rule: when he/she didn't practice safe sex or if it's imminent that the other person will find out. Now I've always been one for honestly, so while I understand what she's trying to say, I have to disagree with her advice to lie. What about you? Do you think her opinion has more validity than telling the truth?


misspriss579 misspriss579 9 years
I would have to agree with the article. What if u slept with a mutual friend of u and ur partner, and he ended up telling EVERYONE, and ur partner found out from his best friend. Not only that, u actually shared an intimate secrect that u and ur parter know and the so called mutual friend told that to everyone too..and ur partner is deeply hurt. But dispite what everyone says u deny it and deny it...and apologize for sharing that secret and know deep in ur heart u never intended to hurt that person at all and would never dream of hurting them ever again
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
Thank you citizenkane and kikidawn...I have thought about this topic a LOT, lol. :)
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
What???? I personally think that that is terrible advice!!! Cheating is bad enough, but then lying about it on top of it is just like a double punch to the ovaries. Or heart, I guess. That is horrible, I think you should own up to it and be a (wo) have to deal with it because you did it!!
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
I actually agree with this counselor. Infidelity in itself is punishment enough for having done something to endanger your relationship. Instead of relieving your guilt you should think twice about pushing the punishment over to your partner.
Marci Marci 9 years
There is no room in a relationship for lies. Not even one. Most lies get found out eventually. If it's been kept a secret for a long time when it gets discovered, that's only worse because the person lied to feels like a complete fool. Marriage and cheating don't mix, ever. Marriage, cheating and lying about it ? Forget it.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
If you don't tell, you're still a liar and a coward.
glitterz7 glitterz7 9 years
I think it depends. I made a mistake which did not lead to more than kissing with a good friend back when in a LDR and I probably would never have told if I did not think he was going to propose, and I wanted him to know before actually asking me to marry him. Well turns out he gave me another chance and I was able to build his trust again and we DID get married. Had I not told, our relationship probably would have crashed and burned because the guilt litterally was eating me alive. And I had a hard time acting normal around him anymore because of it.
brilliance13 brilliance13 9 years
Beep* your story is so sad and unfortunate but I think anyone who has ever been cheated on can relate. I feel if you cheat--whether it be flirting or a physical act, you owe it to your significant other or spouse to be honest about it and tell them. How can anyone live with the guilt? It makes me question the integrity and fortitude of someone who cannot be honest with someone they love and claim to care about. I side with getting all the facts--no matter how it hurts, at least you know, and can make a more or less informed decision about whether to cut your losses and move on or move forward and try to rebuild that trust. sometime we have to work past our own humanity and let it go.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I think all people should have the right to make a informed decision to stay in their relationship at any point. If you chose to reconsider your relationship right now you should know all factors. If I were considering dating a guy and he had cheated in the past then that would factor into my decision. You should most definitely have that information when you are in a relationship. Also, only telling b/c you might have an STD? If you cheat you will always have the chance of having an STD. Condoms are not 100% fail proof! Murinea said it best!
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
If a guy cheated on me, he better fess up, because I have the right to dump his sorry ass!
Well it happened to me. Last year I found out that my hubby was seeing some girl who lived out of town. I didn't know her, and have never met her. I was totally devestated. He didnt confess to me. I found out by accident. I found out last year in April. Our 28 yr anniv was coming in June. I could not believe it. But it was true. When I confronted him, ( It took me three times asking him) before he finally admitted that he had been seeing someone for, well he said 2 months. But in actuality looking at his cell ph records it started in Jan. so it ws four month. He did stay with this person for a weekend in Feb and one weekend in March. He told me he was going on a harley run with his friends. Well I belived him I have always trusted him with my life. There were no clues, nothing at all. He would not tell me anything about it, I found out most of it from the other girl. Which really hurt me that I had to get my answers from the "other woman" which by the way was 17 years younger than him He was hitting 59, she was 42. I still have a very hard time with it. Some of the things she told me I know were not true, how ever most of it I did belive her. I chose to keep my marriage, but sometimes I feel like, he has wasted my time with him. He says he loves me, but sometimes I don't feel it. But I tell you this is what I think about the question. No lies! If you know that this has happend to you, yes get the confession. No secrets. No secrets in a marriage. I told me husband if he wanted to stay with our marriage, no secrets! If he is having a problem with me, or if either of us feel that our marraige is lacking anything at all, we both have agreed to talk about it. So far so good, its been over a year. I still think about him sharing his body and his kisses with someone else. It makes me so sad and hurt. It will never go away. but the feeling will lessen with time. I guess what hurt the most is the fact that if he felt that he was loosing that special something with me, then he should have talked to me about it, or divorce me. Cheating is absolutley the worst thing a spouse could do.
jessie jessie 9 years
i have to stick with honesty. because sometimes not saying anything can make it worse i think. until you've been in a situation, you can't say what exactly you would do. for dh and i we chose to forgive, and now the previous situation no longer exists. and because of our honesty, our relationship is more honest, which makes it 10xs better. you live and learn by your mistakes.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I agree with you DearSugar, lying is never an acceptable option. also what if your partner catches some disease from the person they cheated with and brings it home to you? (I haven't read all of the responses so I don't know if anyone has mentioned this already).
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I don't think I would ever cheat but I definitely don't know what I would do if I did. I couldn't tell my husband if I did because he'd never get over it. He still can't get over little things like when I yell at him for not taking out the trash or things on that caliber. Then again, it's the only way I'd be able to deal with it. I'd want him to decide if he wanted to be with me after I cheated, it's not up to me anymore.
Clarby Clarby 9 years
Whoah! Itsme any infidelity is meaningful unless you and your spouse have said kissing someone is not something to be frowned upon. I would tell my gf to hit the road if she made out with another guy or girl for that matter. Whether we were together 6 weeks or 6 years. If it's a "stupid one night" thing the relationship you were in must not be that serious.
itsme3683 itsme3683 9 years
First off, Andrea Sachs? As in, The Devil Wears Prada? That was her name, right? I get where she's coming from. Like if it's a stupid one-night thing that is meaningless, there's no sense ruining a relationship over it if you know it will never happen again. I mean if it's a recurring affair or there was emotional attachment involved, I think you should tell because that's something that can actually affect a relationship. If I had one too many cocktails at a party and made out with someone whose name I didn't know one night, I probably wouldn't tell, just because as long as I didn't feel an emotional connection there then it really doesn't need to concern him.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
Very well said, murinea!
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
I agree with looseseal, if you lie and don't tell you S.O. you cheated, you are forcing them to live the way you want to and they can't even help it!
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
Telling the person you cheated is not about how you are making them feel. Its about respecting the other person enough to give them the right to make an INFORMED decision about you with all the facts. You do not get to make that decision for them and by lying that is really what you are doing.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
So if you cheat in a marriage, and you dont have kids. you should divorce?
mnp mnp 9 years
I don't completely agree with the article. Yes, humans are entitled to make mistakes but not to the same person. You cheated, break up/divorce and move on. However, I think the only exception to this is those who are married and with kids. They need to work things out and they need to fix the problems because that is what marriage is all about - working it out.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
I don't think everyone have to believe in monogamy, but no one has the right to force polygamy on someone else who is monogamous - this to me is what cheating means and what makes it so heinous. (Obviously, if everyone you sleep with is consenting to the whole multiple partners thing, it's not called cheating.) I'm of the mind that the truth always comes out somehow. That's the very nature of lies - they're like soap bubbles, some last longer than others but eventually they all burst. Choosing not to tell someone DOES NOT MEAN they'll NEVER find out. It just means when they inevitably find out, it wouldn't be from you. So the big question when you're trying to decide whether to hold something back is NOT "Do I or do I not want my SO to find out?" The REAL question is "Do I want my SO to find out from me or from some other source?" I don't know the answer, that would vary according to your situation. I just have a problem with the way the article seems to (stupidly) suggest that it's possible to hide something forever. What in the hell is "if it's imminent that the other person will find out"? As if you always can tell exactly when one of those lie bubbles is about to burst. Pul-leeease. It's ALWAYS imminent. Somebody else who have seen something can suddenly decide to tell without letting you know. The truth can come out in a number of other ways with no signs and no warnings.
aeschere aeschere 9 years
i agree with the article. however - if you are asked by your SO if you have, you better damn well be honest. omitting and lying to a person's face are two very different things.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
Wow. I am amazed at how many people agree with this article. Ummmm....if you cheat, then you probably shouldn't be in a committed realtionship in the first place. Obviously, your own wants and needs are coming before the other person's. Don't get me wrong, I have cheated on boyfriends in the past, and all of those relationships ended for one reason or another. Looking back, I know that I cheated because I was not truly committed. Of course you should tell the other person. Lying and with-holding information are the same thing IMO.
ilikeatea ilikeatea 9 years
I agree with the article. If you cheat...its a slip time deal. That's it..not an on going affair. I would not say anything. It just makes you feel better about relieve your guilt but makes the other person feel horrible. If it happened once and never will or hasn't happened again...I'd leave it. Ongoing infediatlies or affairs...I am undecided on.
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