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How to Tell Someone You Cheated On Them

by Siobhan Quinn

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

We can all agree that infidelity in a relationship is one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome—if you can even put in the effort to move past it. When your partner has betrayed you, it can leave you feeling devastated, worthless, and unable to trust. But what if the roles are flipped and you’re the one who cheated? Being the betrayer in the relationship is a completely different beast to tackle. As uncomfortable as it may be to come clean, your partner deserves your honesty just as you would want theirs if they had been unfaithful.


CHOOSE A PRIVATE, SECURE SETTING

You cannot possibly predict exactly how your partner will react to the news of your infidelity, so your best bet is to ensure your setting is comfortable, private, and out of the public eye. You certainly don’t want random bystanders eavesdropping on your personal, emotional conversation, nor do you want any friends, family, or roommates to become privy to the troubles of your relationship. By choosing a secure location where just the two of you are present, you can be completely transparent and forthcoming and your partner can react authentically. It’s also crucial to ensure the two of you allot enough time where your conversation can flow free of pressure and time constraint.

SPEAK OPENLY AND DIRECTLY

When talking about something as sensitive as cheating, you should use words that won’t, in any way, cause confusion. Don’t embellish your words, just tell them what you need to tell them,” says Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador at Romantific. Although sharing this uncomfortable news may make you inclined to beat around the bush and play down the severity of your infidelity, your partner deserves clear, concise, and direct honesty. If they are to begin making sense of your affair and ultimately heal from it, it’s essential that you are completely transparent about what happened and don’t try to excuse any of your actions.


DON’T DEFEND YOURSELF

This conversation is about your actions and your actions only. Playing the blame game, making excuses for your infidelity, dismissing the reality of the situation, and pushing the responsibility onto your partner are all surefire ways to make the conversation vindictive and unproductive. This discussion isn’t about what they could have done to prevent the cheating—it's about you taking ownership of it and acknowledging that it is 100 percent your responsibility. Whether your partner chooses to stay or leave is up to them, but by being honest and accepting complete fault, you are proving to them that you feel remorseful and want to mend the situation.


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BE PREPARED TO PUT IN WORK

Confessing to your partner doesn’t mean your conscience is clean and you are free from blame. Rather, it “marks the beginning of a long process of healing and working on your relationship,” says Nikolina Jeric, co-founder of 2Date4Love. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if they had done what you did? What would you do? How easy or difficult would it be for you to trust them again? Ultimately, they have the right to walk away from the relationship if they feel they cannot overcome this event and trust you again. But if you want your best shot at earning their forgiveness and moving past this together, you should be prepared to devote a lot of time and effort to repair the relationship. “You should be prepared to endure your partner’s scrutiny,” says Jeric.


Infidelity in a relationship is undoubtedly painful to overcome for both partners. But when you’re the one who has cheated, it cannot be about your suffering. If you have any wish to mend the relationship and rebuild trust, you should be focused on being completely open with your partner and doing whatever you can to heal their scars. At the end of the day, it’s up to them to decide if they can trust you again or if it’s time to walk away. No matter what they choose, they still deserve the open honesty and support of a partner who is devoted to helping them heal.