When cheating on your husband, you are always walking a slippery slope.
Telling your husband that you cheated on him can be a frightening proposition. You are never sure how he might react to your betrayal.
You may not even be sure what to say or if you should even tell him the whole the truth.
You may fear that he will think the marriage has been a complete lie.
You may worry that he will never trust you again since you have been with another man.
I get questions on this subject everyday. For example…
Should I tell my husband I cheated on him? What do I next? Should I say something? Will he leave me if I tell him. Do I dare tell him that I slept with another man. What if I don’t and he discovers the affair?
Chris, Should I tell my husband I betrayed him? I was weak in the moment and things just evolved. It’s over now, but I feel terrible. I feel like I need to come clean. I don’t think he knows but it’s killing me inside to hide this from him. On one hand I feel so ashamed and regret what I did. We tell each other everything and now I am hiding this terrible dark secret.
Usually my first thought when I get these kinds of questions is to caution the individual not to rush into doing anything rash.
Running straight to the husband and dropping an infidelity loaded bomb on him is not always the best strategy.
By the way, a while back I wrote a post that was designed to help men spot if their wife was betraying them.
You should read this as it will help clue you in on what not to do to give yourself up if that is your ultimate plan.
Clearly, whether you should reveal your sexual liaison with another man is a very sticky situation.
I guess I could tell you to never to do it.
I could argue that telling your husband such a horrible truth is going to set back your marriage.
Better to just end the affair and keep your mouth shut, right?
I could also tell you that trying to fool your husband into thinking that you are not having an affair or hiding your affair is a futile endeavor.
What if your husband finally discovers that you cheated on him? Wouldn’t you have hell to pay?
What is one to do, then?
Well, let’s start off with a little history on cheating.
The Truth About Our Cheating Ways
The reality is that men and women do cheat on each other for lots of reasons.
Such behavior, though often destructive, is simply not going to go away because we have collectively learned our lesson.
Its not like we grow up and learn from our mistakes and pass on our great insights from one generation to the next.
The frequency of infidelity has remained about the same for decades. That would suggest to me that sociology and biology plays an important role in choices we make.
Unfortunately, human behavior as it applies to sexual expression and truth telling doesn’t work that way.
As often as we think we know something is wrong and as often as we swear we will never fall under the spell of being unfaithful, it happens.
And it happens more frequently than couples realize.
How Often Does Infidelity Happen?
Some experts think that affairs occur in about 30 to 45% of marriages.
I am reluctant to be precise with the numbers because surveys do not always capture how often infidelity really occurs.
It is more common for people under 30.
It does happen a bit more frequently with men versus women.
Is Cheating on Your Spouse a Rationale Decision?
Cheating on your husband (or a husband cheating on his wife) is seldom a rationale decision.
It is not like you wake up one morning and decide you are going to become a cheater.
So why would your wife or husband succumb to infidelity?
That is a big question and calls for a separate post. Look around my website and you will find several articles on this topic.
Today we are going to focus on the aftermath period (after the affair).
Specifically, I want to walk you through some of the ways you might want to think about this question.
Let’s explore whether you should come completely clean with your husband.
Should You Tell Your Husband That You Cheated on Him?
Over the years, I have gotten a lot of questions around this topic.
There are different permutations of this question of cheating.
So let’s say you cheated on your husband and never told him. What do you do?
That’s one angle.
Let’s open up Pandora’s Box and explore some of the possible questions you might have.
You might ask….
When should I tell my husband that I cheated?
Should I tell my husband I cheated before we got married?
What if you were unfaithful many times with different men?
Should you tell him you were adulterous all those times? Will that be too much for him to handle?
Should you tell him you cheated just once?
And if you end up spilling the beans, what do you do next?
How do you keep him from walking out of your life?
As a side note, I wrote a post about this specific outcome. You should give it a read.
Do you feel obliged to tell your husband about your affair for religious reasons?
They do say confession can cleanse the soul and lift us from our guilt.
But will telling the man you are married to that you cheated on him actually make things better?
Perhaps you might feel better for a short period of time.
Getting rid of that heavy load of guilt can be empowering.
But how likely is it that your husband will be crushed by the news of your infidelity?
Will your confession cause the marriage to spiral downward?
Should You Be Blamed for Being Unfaithful?
Your decision to commit adultery with another man may have occurred for a number of reasons.
I won’t judge you on whether your reasoning was stupid or foolish or justified in any way.
It is not my place to give you a lesson in morality and tell you that what you did was horrible.
My experience in these matters is that the circumstances leading up to one’s decision to be unfaithful are rarely simple or easily understood.
Who is to say that what you did was evil. I honestly don’t think we can fully understand the whole picture that came before and during an affair.
Human behavior doesn’t necessarily work that way.
I am not saying cheating on a husband is good thing. It rarely is.
I am just one who thinks that not much is achieved when we play the blame game.
It is better to look causes and fix them, then focus on the future.
Many very good and decent women have given in to their needs or impulses, ending up in the arms of another man.
Does Cheating Mean the Marriage is Over?
While my experience in advising women tells me that having sexual relations outside of a marriage usually leads to personal conflict and problems, along with total or near destruction of the marriage; it is not always so.
Marriages riddled with affairs are not always destroyed.
People can learn from the pain they cause others and to themselves and marriages can be saved.
If you want your marriage to survive this, you will have to fight for it.
You will have to play your cards right.
Your relationship need not come to an end.
It can actually grow and prosper.
Does It Matter Why I Cheated?
Our focus today is to examine whether or not you should confess to your husband or boyfriend.
What do you have to gain or lose if you tell your husband that you have been with another man?
That is what we want to look at more closely.
There are lots of ways the actual cheating could have unfolded.
It doesn’t matter whether you mistakenly thought you were in love with some other guy and later learned you made a mistake.
It’s not a question of whether you should tell your husband or boyfriend you cheated when you were drunk.
Or that you made love with his best friend.
Or you couldn’t help yourself and cheated on him because an old boyfriend came to town.
We won’t be focusing on whether it was your decision to break your vows and commit adultery just as a way to get back at him.
Or that you actually fell in love with another guy, but you also still love your husband and don’t want the marriage to end.
Or you just slipped into an affair that you didn’t intend to get involved in.
Or you were just curious what it would be like to cheat on your man so you thought you would give it a try.
It’s not a question of you straying because you felt sexually unfulfilled at home and needed the intimacy of being with someone you believed cared about you.
As you can see, there many things that can ultimately lead you into the arms of another man.
I am not excusing it.
Nor am not saying it is a horrible thing you did.
It is just part of the reality of our species. It happens every day in marriages and relationships.
What matters now is given what has happened and taking into consideration why it happened, what should you do?
If you want to keep your marriage alive, should you tell your husband?
The Argument For Why You Should Tell Your Husband You Have Been Cheating on Him
There is a school of thought that says that a cheater will almost always be discovered and if you live with the lie of adultery, you will end up tormenting yourself and cause irreparable harm to your marriage.
The notion is that if you fess up to your husband and explain what happened, in time he will forgive you.
For many women, if they have cheated on their husband, a certain amount of guilt tends to play on their conscience.
It is the type of thing that even if you are not conscious of, is very likely playing on your subconscious, affecting you emotionally and physically in ways you don’t realize.
So why not unburden yourself with this hanging on your mind?
You may have a number of different rationalizations running through your mind about why you got involved in an affair in the first place.
You may be spending far too many hours shuffling through all these reasons trying to make sense of it.
And if you know that you love your husband and want your marriage to be true, without the burden of lies, this school of thought is that you should tell your husband the whole truth, holding nothing back.
After all, the truth sets you free, right?
So what is wrong with this line of thinking?
At first glance it seems like a reasonable proposition.
Why not unburden yourself of the lie that is at the center of your marriage?
Why not remove the guilt that is burdening you deep in your heart?
And if your worst fears are suggestive of future events, then it may just be a matter of time before you husband finds out that you cheated on him.
So why not control the situation and get ahead of it?
You sure don’t want your husband learning from someone else that you are unfaithful, right?
It’s true, in some of these cases, a husband may already suspect that you are having an affair.
You may have been sloppy.
Someone may have seen you with your lover.
Perhaps you checked into a motel to have sex with this other guy and left a financial trail that your husband catches wind of.
Maybe you let something slip in conversation and suddenly you are left scrambling trying to explain what you meant.
Who knows, it is even possible that the guy you are having an affair with has a wife or girlfriend.
Let’s say this other woman figures out what is going on, then in turn contacts your husband causing damage to your marriage.
Now your are in deep trouble, you reason.
As you think about it more you realize there are hundreds of things that can go wrong, eventually leading to your deception being discovered.
But it is also very possible that none of those things happen and by telling your husband you cheated on him opens up the floodgates of marriage chaos.
The Argument for Not Telling Your Husband You Betrayed Him
So if you are having an affair or had an affair and ended it, what is the possibility of your spouse finding out about it?
Part of that answer depends on whether you are still involved in a romantic, sexual affair or if you have ended it (or your lover ended it).
The odds of being “found out” decrease once you have ended the affair.
That doesn’t mean that your prior affair will never be discovered.
It can be.
But if you are not actively engaged in sneaking around and meeting up with your lover, there are fewer instances that can rise to the level of being discovered.
My best estimate on how often infidelity occurs in marriage is based on research I have performed as well as my experience in consulting to men and women.
It is a tricky question to answer because the data we have is unclear.
Some believe that their affair was never discovered, but they could be wrong.
Sometimes your spouse can discover your affair or strongly suspect that you are cheating, but never say a thing.
It is also possible for one to believe that they were discovered and end up spilling the beans because they were out maneuvered.
What sometimes happens is your husband (or wife) comes to suspect that you might be having an affair and starts inquiring about your behavior in ways that convinces you that you have been discovered.
Where in reality, while your husband may have suspected something, he was really never certain.
Maybe he is the kind of husband that is jealous about all sorts of things. He may even be obsessed about you having an affair.
He might have been testing and probing to see what you might say or how you may behave when questioned about whether you had another lover.
Given all of this, I would estimate about 30% to 35% of sexual affairs are actually discovered. Those numbers are less for emotional affairs that are discovered.
By the way, an emotional affair is when you profess your love for another and spend time with that person doing all the things that a loving couple would do, except for the sex part.
Perhaps you don’t even kiss or hold each other intimately, but the relationship you have with this other person is unmistakably close and intimate in almost every other way.
So if it is true that far less than 50% if affairs are discovered, why risk the potential damage of revealing that you are cheating?
Why not end the affair and admit to yourself that you made a terrible decision?
Wouldn’t that be the more pragmatic thing to do?
It just might be the better way to handle the sex outside the marriage situation.
Often women fear that their husbands’ “must know something” about their affair.
They may be riddled with doubts and uncertainty about whether they should just cave and tell their husband everything.
But more often than not, your husband doesn’t know what is going on behind the scenes.
More often than not your husband is busy in life and hasn’t noticed the things you worry about, even obsess over.
Maybe he has a slight suspicion, but it may not rise to the level of meaningful concern.
You should be aware that your guilt may lead you to over think your situation.
Unless your husband has specifically asked you or frequently inquires about your whereabouts or has cast you some really suspicious glances or stares, he likely doesn’t know.
Is It Easy To Spot A Cheating Wife
Some people think it is easy to spot a liar.
And if you are having an affair with another man, you are in a way lying to your husband everyday.
So given that, you might think he has to be on to you. But people lie to each other every day, many times. It turns out, we humans are pretty good at lying and spinning a tall tale when it serves our interests.
So if your husband has not confronted you or accused you of infidelity (being unfaithful), then you may want to assume that he doesn’t know.
So let’s say you have ended the affair.
The argument goes that if you were to tell your husband that you have been unfaithful, you probably will blow up your marriage.
Just because you ended the affair doesn’t make him feel that much better. He might not even believe you really ended it.
At best, you will likely cause great short-term chaos in your relationship. At worst, you may lose your marriage.
While you may feel relieved that you have gotten weight of guilt off your chest and have come clean, telling your husband that you cheated could very well blow up your relationship.
The downside could be enormous if you end up destroying the trust that once existed.
Why risk losing your marriage if it is important to you?
That is the argument of not shooting yourself in the foot.
So which decision is best for you?
As I said at the outset of this article, marriages are very complicated in many ways and how your husband may react may be very different from the norm.
Is there really a predictable way a husband will react to news that their beloved wife cheated on them?
I don’t think so.
At minimum, unless he strongly suspected you cheated, he will be shocked by the news of your infidelity.
Even if a small part of him suspected you might be cheating, men and women alike will often delude themselves into believing all is well.
So I can’t really be certain what is best for you given the individuality of each person’s situation.
But when considering the lesser of the two evils principle, which choice could blow up to be the worse relationship result?
1.Choosing not to tell your husband that you slept with another man and hoping he never discovers your transgressions.
2. Or would it be better to just tell your husband that you were not faithful and hope for the best?
Option 1 gives you a decent chance that he doesn’t discover your affair and allows you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and work on improving your marriage.
It is less than fully honest, but truth does not always lead to great results.
Option 2 guarantees your husband will learn that you were unfaithful and probably puts you in a worse position (i.e. odds wise) to repair the broken marriage.
While the second approach is more admirable, honest and upfront, sometimes pragmatism (i.e. Option 1) wins out in such matters.