No one ever really imagines that they'll be in a relationship where one or both partners ends up cheating. It's not romantic, and it's not fun. But, in reality, people cheat sometimes, and whether or not you've been cheated on or you've done the cheating, there's no denying the fact that it's a difficult situation. So, if you were unfaithful to your significant other and want to figure out how to tell your partner you cheated, you've come to the right place. I reached out to three experts to understand how to best go about this conversation.
Of course, so much of this depends on your relationship. If you've been dating your partner for a week, it might feel different than if you've been together for a year. It will also depend on the boundaries you've set in your relationship. Are you monogamous? In an open relationship? Whatever the case, "if you think being honest is important to your character and values, and you're also willing to risk losing the relationship," then telling your partner is important, Anita A. Chlipala, dating and relationships expert and licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily. It's a hard and scary conversation, but it's important to be honest, Chlipala says.
However, it might be best to think in advance before opening up to your partner about your infidelity. "Before telling your partner that you cheated, realize why you did it, as you will be asked," life coach Nina Rubin tells Elite Daily. "Was it due to bickering or fighting? Were you looking for adventure and excitement? Did you want to break up but didn’t know how? Is it something you’ve done in other relationships and is habitual?" Reflect on why you made the decisions that you did, because your significant other deserves the truth, even if it hurts to talk about.
Additionally, try to remember that as hard as it is for you to talk about, it's likely even more difficult for your partner to hear. "One consideration is to bear in mind that hearing this information may be traumatizing for the partner," Grant H. Brenner, MD, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and co-author of Irrelationship tells Elite Daily. "This may be especially true if they have a personal history of being cheated on in the past. If nothing else, pick a time and place to discuss it which is neutral. For example, although it may be tempting, don't take them to the place where you proposed because you think it will remind them of your love, because it may end up tainting a happy memory, and perceived as being insensitive and out of touch."
Be mindful of timing, but also of what exactly you say. "Avoid using trigger words, but be prepared to be straightforward," Brenner says. "Be prepared to deal with whatever response there is without becoming defensive." Additionally, "Reinforce that you know it will take time to rebuild trust and you will do whatever it takes to do so," and "that you will figure out why you did what you did so that it doesn't happen again," Chlipala adds.
Dealing with infidelity isn't fun for anyone in the relationship, but your partner deserves to know the truth. If you cheated, that doesn't mean that the relationship has to end, but your partner deserves to know the truth. So be prepared, be kind, and be truthful — it's what you both deserve.