Men are far more likely to cheat than women, but it’s estimated that nearly 40% of women will cheat on their boyfriend or husband at some point in their life.
Sound familiar? If you cheated, you may be freaking out and have no idea what to do. Take a deep breath to calm down, then keep reading to find out the next steps to take.
I cheated on my boyfriend. Should I tell him?
This is one of the most common questions people ask when they’ve cheated.
«Cheating on my boyfriend shouldn’t be the end of the relationship,» you may be saying. «If I tell him, he has to be able to get over it, right?»
The answer to that will depend entirely on your boyfriend.
Some men may be able to look past infidelity, especially if they have cheated on you in the past. Others may say that there is never any excuse for cheating and will end the relationship right there.
Men tend to run the emotional gamut, so you can’t know what he’ll do until you tell him.
But the question is: SHOULD you tell him?
Most of the time, we tell our spouse or partner of our mistakes in order to alleviate our guilt. Telling that secret won’t make your boyfriend feel any better, but it will make you feel better for being honest. That can be a bit selfish, and it’s likely that it will lead to the end of the relationship.
On the other hand, studies have proven that keeping secrets can be bad for your mental health. According to one study, «Keeping secrets from a romantic partner led to decreases in well-being, based on the number of times people were thinking about the secret rather than the number of times they actively had to hide it.»
Another study found that keeping secrets can mess with your sense of authenticity. Simply put, you feel less like you’re acting authentically, so you feel worse about yourself.
Keeping secrets can be unhealthy, but it’s up to you to decide if sharing that secret of your cheating is the right thing. You need to be willing to risk the end of your relationship for the sake of getting that secret off your chest. It may be better to carry it to the grave if it will only ruin an otherwise happy relationship.
I cheated on my boyfriend. Why?
Why do women cheat on their boyfriends and husbands? Women cheat for very different reasons than men:
- Emotional loneliness or a lack of emotional intimacy
- Dissatisfaction with your current life, relationship, or situation
- Insecurities and lack of self-confidence
- Uncertainty about the way you feel about your partner
- The thrill of the temptation
- A desire to end the relationship—cheating serves as an «excuse» to end it
- A desire for sexual release and orgasm (which may not happen in the current relationship)
- Revenge for his cheating on you
Understanding the reasons for cheating doesn’t make the action okay, but at least it will help you to better understand the «why» behind the action.
I cheated on my boyfriend but I love him. What can I do to fix it?
Right now, you’re at a crossroads in your relationship. You have two paths to choose from:
- Tell him the truth
- Keep the secret
As we’ve seen above, telling the truth is often done out of a somewhat selfish desire to be rid of the guilt you feel for your actions. In some cases, it’s better NOT to tell the truth.
This may sound counterintuitive, but living with the remorse over your actions can actually help to improve your relationship. After all, you regret what you did and you can make a conscious decision to improve whatever circumstances led you to cheat.
One study found that women who had affairs for the sake of their marriages actually had happier lives after their infidelity. That shouldn’t condone the actions, but it does prove that you can move on and improve your circumstances post-infidelity even if you don’t tell your boyfriend.
On the other hand, you may end up regretting not telling him the truth down the line. Think about how hurt he’d be after 50 years of marriage to find out that you cheated on him and never told him. Whether or not there’s any chance of your secret coming out, it may be better to tell him now and suffer through the fallout now rather than waiting for that bomb to go off down the line.
In the end, the decision comes down to what kind of man your boyfriend is. All men are going to feel hurt by your cheating, but some men are able to look past it. With time, your relationship could grow even stronger as a result of your honesty.
However, there’s a very real chance your relationship with this man will end. He may have a firm «no cheaters!» policy like so many men do (even though they cheat, which is a huge double standard), and he may choose to break up rather than stay with you after you cheated on him.
This may feel like an «end of the world» scenario, especially if you believe you’ve found the man you can settle down with. But think about that: if he really was Mr. Right, why would you have cheated on him? Maybe he’s not as perfect for you as you tell yourself he is. Perhaps, you’ll be better off once you break up and move on.
Whatever the case, you have a very important decision to make. Sometimes, it will be better to keep the secret for the sake of your relationship, while other times you’ll need to be honest in order to keep the relationship moving forward.
It’s up to you to do what you believe is right. You’ve made one mistake in cheating on your boyfriend, so it’s critical that you make the right choice, whatever you believe it is.