Relationships are complicated and difficult things. You think you’re in love, that you’ll never do anything to hurt your partner. It’s all going well and then for some reason, you make a mistake. You cheat on your partner. It’s a one off and you have no intention of repeating it. What do you do? Do you tell them at the risk of ending the relationship and hurting your partner forever? Do you hide it, and learn how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling?
Cheating has the power to ruin a person’s confidence and their perception of love. It’s the ultimate betrayal. Whether it was love, just sex, or something you can’t even label, it will still destroy a small part of them to some degree forever.
Yes, cheating is that bad.
So, while we certainly don’t advocate cheating and just not telling your partner about it, should you stay quiet and vow to learn from the situation, or should you come clean? Know that both options come with their pros and cons. Of course, the best avenue would be to just not cheat in the first place. [Confession: Revenge sex and everything I learned after having sex with another person]
This is a tough question. Do you think it is better to know that your partner cheated on you and be able to deal with it how you want to? Or, do you think it’s better to just not know? Of course, assuming that it was a mistake, a one-off that they regret terribly?
It’s a personal choice to a large degree. Some people may want to know, others may think they do but once they find out, they wish they didn’t know. Nobody can judge you for how you feel about this subject. It’s also possible that you may think you know what you want, but when it happens to you, you wish for something totally different.
What you also have to ponder is when the boot is on the other foot and you’re the one who has cheated, is it possible to learn how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling? Or, will it always eat away at you? [Read: Is ignore bliss? The pros and cons on cheating and confessing]
Whichever side of the situation you’re on, know that by being aware of cheating, there are major consequences. It will cause pain, major trust issues, and perhaps the total breakdown of your relationship. But, not telling them, or not knowing, could mean that you’re never able to fully connect because you sense something isn’t being shared.
Most people would find the guilt of cheating hard to deal with. In some ways, it might even change how you behave. You might become defensive or overly critical of your partner and what they do, because you’re deflecting the guilt away from yourself.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself this question – can you learn how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling completely or will the guilt always be there? That’s a question only you can answer for yourself. Everyone is different. Some people can put it to one side and vow to learn from it. Others allow the guilt to eat away at them.
The other thing you need to be sure of is that it was a one-off mistake that will never be repeated. If you, hand on heart, can’t 100% say that you’ll never cheat again, your partner deserves better. In that case, you need to be honest and tell them. Or, you need to figure out what you want and what is making you look towards someone else or something else. [Read: 9 powerful yet practical steps to rebuild trust after you’ve cheated]
However, if you’re sure that you made a grave mistake and that you have no intention of it ever happening again, is there any sense in causing your partner pain?
Let us tell you, the pain of finding out that your partner cheated on you, whether it was recently or far in the past, is debilitating on so many levels. Do you want to expose your partner to that?
We can appreciate that this view is probably a little controversial and there are going to be people reading this, shaking their heads and saying “why should you help someone learn how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling?” We totally get it, and we agree too. But sometimes it’s not worth causing someone pain that they don’t need to feel. [Read: Why your ego plays the biggest part in overcoming an affair in a relationship]
Ask yourself this – if it happened to you, would you want to know? If it wasn’t going to happen again, your partner was 100% truly sorry and hated themselves for their actions, would you want to go through the pain and heartache? Or, would you rather carry on without the knowledge?
You might not be sure right now, but the pain and constant self-doubt that knowing your partner cheated can cause can be debilitating.
The bottom line is that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. And yes, sometimes those mistakes are hurtful to other people. In that case, it’s about learning how to forgive yourself for cheating full stop. It’s not all about learning how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling. The not telling part isn’t for your benefit, it’s for your partner’s. This isn’t about you getting away with it, because trust us, the guilt you feel won’t allow you to do that. [Read: Women who cheat – 10 surprising reasons they’re unfaithful]
With a lot of soul searching, and it’s going to be painful. To be fair, we’re sorry, but you deserve the pain in this case, and if helps you to grow, we’re all for it.
Unpick the event in your mind and ask yourself why you did it, whether you’re ever likely to repeat it, and genuinely ask yourself whether you’re happy in your relationship – and we mean truly happy. Was it a one-off slip-up? Were you drunk? [Read: So your partner drunk kissed someone? Here’s what you’ve got to do]
In order to learn how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling, you first need to make peace with the mistake you’ve made. You need to accept that you did indeed make a huge mistake, one which could have potentially lost you your relationship.
You also need to think about whether or not your partner is likely to find out from someone else. If there is any chance they are, you need to be the one to tell them first. Do not allow them to find out this news from a person who thinks they’re doing a good thing, but is actually causing even more pain in the long-run. It’s undignified for your partner and it’s going to make them feel worse.
However, if you’re sure that you made a mistake that won’t be repeated and you’re sure they’re not going to find out from someone else, it’s time to move on. [Read: How to get over someone cheating on you and to repair the damage]
Let it go, breathe through it. Accept that you made a mistake and that you feel bad about it. Understand that you’re human and although you wish you could go back in time and change it, you can’t. Learning how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling really comes down to learning your lesson. It means understanding how you came this close to losing your partner. It was a close call, and if it happens again, you won’t be so lucky. [Read: How to fix a broken relationship and help it last]
When you’ve given yourself enough of a hard time and you’ve accepted the guilt and shame, commit to a happier future with your partner. Let it go. It’s really that simple.
If you’re not going to tell, you just need to let it the hell go. And you need to make sure that you never fall foul of the same thing again. If you do, you cannot be forgiven – once is a mistake, twice is a choice. [Read: Is he cheating? 21 unintentional behaviors he just can’t hide]
Some people find it useful to write down what they’re trying to let go of and then burn it. As you’re watching it burn, allow yourself to feel the guilt leaving your body. Try it, it’s very useful and very cathartic.
If you feel you want to protect your partner from the pain because you know 100% that it was a mistake that won’t be repeated, you have to acknowledge the mistake. Then, you need to allow it to leave your life. Focus on making everything from this point better than before.
[Read: How to confess to cheating on your partner – The step-by-step guide]
Learning how to forgive yourself for cheating and not telling means you need to feel the guilt and feel the shame before you can let it go. Sorry, but you deserve to give yourself a hard time.
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