How to Confess to Cheating: Should You? The Must-Knows & Steps to Do It

You’ve made a mistake—a big one—and it’s weighing heavily on your conscious. You want to confess to your partner that you cheated on them. But should you?

how to confess to cheating - should you

You’re here for one reason—you’ve cheated on your partner. The guilt of your actions is weighing on you, and you just want to make it right. But confessing to cheating might not be the answer you’re looking for. You’d think that if you’re honest, it might minimize the damage, right?

The truth is, you won’t. However you confess, it’s going to devastate your partner. Some couples overcome cheating, but others don’t. So would confessing to cheating help your relationship, or would it only mark the start of the end?

Let’s explore these muddy waters. [Read: What is considered cheating? The painful types and ways to set boundaries]

Should you confess to cheating?

Let’s face it—your partner’s not going to be pleased to hear of your affair. In fact, they may be rather pissed when they hear about it.

There’s no avoiding the fact that they’re going to be heartbroken. Their loving partner, who’s been cuddling them and doing naughty things to them in the bedroom, has been doing the same to someone else. That’s gross and definitely worth the heartbreak.

So if you confess to your partner that you’ve been cheating, they’re going to feel angered and disgusted by it.

Sometimes, with all the emotional turmoil it causes, it’s not worth confessing. But if you’re totally against slight mistruths, you have to learn how to confess to cheating the right way. [Read: 36 healing secrets to get over being cheated on quickly and not fall apart]

Understanding the circumstances

You may just want to go ahead and reveal it all to your partner. You may want to kneel down and go on a confession spree and profusely beg for their forgiveness.

In some ways, that’s the right thing to do. Really, how can you act like nothing is wrong if all you think about every time your partner holds you in their arms is the fact that you betrayed their trust?

But here’s the thing: would it be better to shut your mouth and ignore the nagging guilt or would it be better to ‘fess up and live guilt free? Weigh these pros and cons carefully. [Read: Dreams about cheating – why you don’t have to panic]

How would your partner react?

Are you willing to risk your marriage or your relationship over a little fling? Of course, you cheated and had an affair behind your partner’s back.

But do you intend to do it again? If you sincerely feel bad about your horny shagathons, you should give your confession a serious thought.

Ask yourself the following questions: Is your love deep enough to survive an affair? Is your partner understanding enough to accept your lack of sexual control and forgive you? Would your partner ever try to get back at you by having an affair themselves? Or worse, would your partner want to end the relationship?

Learning to forgive someone isn’t a weakness. In fact, it’s really difficult to accept that we all make mistakes *even though some mistakes are pretty damaging*, so most people aren’t good with forgiveness.

Confess if you must, but keep in mind that your relationship might never be what it once was. [Read: 18 secrets to be happy in a marriage that make or break your romance]

How will the confrontation affect your family and friends?

When you’re married, you come with a package—your family, its extended versions, and friends of the family. Your spouse may be a loudmouth or a relative may understand what’s going on at the next family reunion.

If the word does go out, will you *and your spouse* be shunned or become hot gossip? Would all of them be as understanding? Sometimes, locking away the guilt is way easier. It’s a sick thing to do, especially when your partner truly thinks you’re a saintly lover, but you’ll have to deal with it.

Can you *and your partner* put the episode behind you?

At times, it is indeed better to just confess and put it all behind you. It’ll make you feel better after a while and help you breathe easier. And if you ever call your own partner by your ex-lover’s name accidentally, it can be forgotten after a few months.

In most cases, we’ve seen that a confession can actually bring partners closer in a relationship. But that happens only if both partners are willing to see it as a bad memory.

So how certain are you that your partner has a secret box in their head where they can stash all your filthy dirt away? [Read: Cheating spouse – 18 signs you must watch for if you don’t want to be hurt]

Can you live with the guilt?

Guilt sucks the life out of anyone. And if you’re truly in love with your own partner, you’re going to be terribly guilty about the whole bang-bang in another bed.

So it all boils down to this: can you really live with yourself and lie in your partner’s arms after doing all those dirty things with someone else?

If you can’t, confess.

If you want to give the guilty life a shot, then lock the secret away and don’t ever talk about it. You may feel uncomfortable for a long time, and you may even have sudden urges to confess. But think of the damage it could cause and hold it back in. [Read: In love with two people at the same time? 16 subtle signs to make a choice]

Promise yourself that you’re through with your cheating ways, and try to sleep in your own bed from now on. It’s a mistake that you can make up for.

Instead of rolling in another bed or wallowing in guilt, focus on your loyal partner and love them the way they love you.

And soon enough, life can go back to normal for you and your unknowing partner *just as long as you don’t try cheating again*. [Read: Lust vs love – 21 signs to know exactly what you feel for each other]

Times when you definitely have to confess to cheating

Despite all arguments to the contrary, there are some times when confessing to cheating is the necessary thing.

1. When your illicit lover blackmails you.

2. When you want to use the fact that you cheated as an excuse to break up. But just make sure you go into the explicit details while explaining yourself. [Read: 18 steps to break up with someone you love and the right thing you must say]

3. A friend of your partner sees you and your lover in a compromising position, be it a kiss or something more.

4. If a video or picture of you and your lover starts doing the rounds all over the Internet.

5. When you pass on an STI to your loyal partner.

6. When your partner walks in and finds you in bed with your lover. [Read: Should I cheat? Why it’s normal to feel tempted and how to make up your mind]

What if I never tell anyone?

In our opinion, most secrets tend to get out sooner or later. The world may not know about your cheating, but someone does and someone else will find out too.

Are you really willing to risk not saying anything and end up making a bigger mess if it came from somebody else?

If you want to know what reasons people use to get out of telling their partner that they cheated, here are the most common lies people tell themselves:

1. I’ll never do it again

Statistically, this is not true. Most cheaters end up repeating it but with less remorse every time it happens. [Read: Once a cheater, always a cheater?]

2. It meant nothing

The fact that you agreed to do it means everything. Whether there were emotions involved or it was “just sex,” the blow will be devastating to your partner if they ever found out.

3. We just made out

You can’t get out of cheating using semantics. Kissing is intimate. Sexting is intimate. Holding hands is intimate. Saying, “I like you” is intimate.

Being intimate with someone else is cheating in its purest form.

4. Nobody will ever find out

This can be true for some, but we hesitate to think about what kind of suffering they feel whenever the incident pops up in their mind. [Read: Serial cheater – 43 signs and traits, why they cheat so often and what to do next]

How to confess to cheating

If you’re going to confess to cheating, just know that there is no gentle or easy way to do it. However you decide to spill the details, it’s going to upset your partner and make them feel like the sky is falling down on them.

For a second, put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if it was them confessing to you? There is no right and wrong way to confess to cheating. There is simply a rather brutal confession that has the power to destroy the person you’re supposed to love.

Warming up to the confession

Your heart may beat so loudly that you can hardly hear yourself speak. Confessing about your mistake seems like pure insanity, but you are ready to take the chance and come clean, once and for all, and that’s brave.

Now this part of a relationship can take different courses, but it’s got nothing to do with the confession and everything to do with the two people involved.

So, the next time you brave a dry throat to reveal a deep scary secret, remember these five confession pointers. [Read: How to keep a relationship going when you feel it slipping away]

1. Choose your time carefully

Your past definitely has the power to drive your love to a dead end, but it is a little-known fact that even the time you choose to confess has the exact effect.

The best time to confess about your sneaky secret is never at the start of the relationship. [Read: How to talk about a past relationship and not piss your partner off]

The whole idea of “starting a relationship with no secrets and absolutely no lies” doesn’t make sense in reality. It’s unnecessary to pour out all your secrets to your partner in the early stages of your love. It would be very difficult for anyone to actually see past your early escapades and love you unconditionally.

Also, don’t confess about your affair when the relationship is riding a tough wave. It’ll only make things a lot worse to handle. It could end up turning into the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

On the other hand, don’t pamper your lover all weekend and burst the happy bubble with a confession. It’ll only make the whole happy weekend seem like a corny cover-up to even out your confession.

Bring up the confession when both of you have at least a few hours of time together, and neither of you has any important assignments at work or elsewhere.

2. Prepare yourself

You know what to say, but you have got to work on how to say it right. You don’t want to mumble something and get the wrong message across. When you decide to speak up, you must decide how to make yourself clear without overly hurting your partner with all the details.

Also, prepare yourself to face the questions and answer them as honestly as you can without breaking your partner’s heart even more.

Choose your words well and rehearse in front of the mirror if you have to. Be subtle in your approach. You may get a stare of disgust or an open jaw of disbelief, or you may even have a few flavored words thrown in your direction.

But remember that at the end of this, you’ll feel a lot better for being truthful about your past. [Read: 25 secrets to catch a cheater red-handed in the act and with the right proof]

3. Choose the place

The time you asked your lover out, the time you said “I love you” for the first time—you always try to choose the most romantic places for the most romantic occasions. The same “find-the-right-place” model works wonders when you declare your guilt.

Firstly, do not pick a crowded place to have this sort of serious conversation.

There are bound to be raised eyebrows and some “I-don’t-want-to-hear-this” expressions and perhaps, even a few gasps of horror and a lot of visual begging and pleading from your end. [Read: How to have a difficult conversation without losing your nerve]

When you’re stuck in the middle of a crowded café, you will have a hundred bored and inquisitive heads craning to overhear your conversation.

But if you’ve been in a long-term relationship that’s withstood the test of time during a few earlier, smaller bags of guilt, then perhaps at home would be the best place to deal with the confession. There may be a few slammed doors, but you knew that already, didn’t you? [Read: The big things that ruin a relationship and how to watch out for them]

4. Leave it open

Confessing about your past is definitely an impressive act of courage, especially if your partner would never have found out about the affair. But it does come with a ball of knotty strings.

It brings the relationship to a wobbly bridge where you could either cross or fall down. But the worst part is that it is your partner who has to decide the fate.

You may be apologetic and repentant, and you may be willing to do anything to be forgiven, but you need to remember one straight fact.

You can only ask your partner to trust you and forgive your past, but on no account can you force them to stay. [Read: 29 truths to stop cheating and resist the temptation to be unfaithful]

The option to go on must be left open for your lover to choose. It would be better to say, “If you think you can forgive me and accept me, give me a call… I’ll wait for you,” rather than saying, “You can’t leave me! It was a stupid mistake! We love each other and are meant to be together, no matter what!”

Give your partner a chance to make up their own mind. [Read: Why do people lie in relationships?]

5. Time is a healer

It’s obvious that a sordid past is hard to overlook, and your lover will need some time to find it in themselves to accept or reject you. But in most cases, when you’re overenthusiastic to know your mate’s reply, things can actually turn negative.

So, plenty of time is what you should be ready to give before you get your answer. The wait will obviously be painful but an answer that comes out of clear thought and conscience is better.

It may take a lot more than a few minutes, hours, or maybe even days before you hear from your mate. [Read: Long-distance relationship – 46 LDR tips to make it work and not screw it up]

Even though you want to know the answer right away, a patient wait shows that you have some respect and care about what your partner wants to do rather than force them to accept you.

Confess or not, but never do it again

Whether you choose to confess or not, one thing is for certain—you should never do it again. Don’t put your partner through the whole ordeal twice, and even if they don’t know, don’t force that amount of disrespect upon them.

Learn from your mistake and allow your torment to teach you a very firm lesson about the perils of straying away from your partner.

[Read: Is flirting cheating in a relationship? 30 must-knows to decode your gray area]

It is never easy to reveal a relationship breaker. But now that you know how to confess to cheating, use these tips to clear the air and the guilt once and for all.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...