To help you figure out if you should spill your guts or just let it go, we tapped an expert to guide you every step of the way.
So you colored outside the lines of your relationship. Ruh roh. While this doesn't have to mean the end of your bond, you do have to decide whether or not to dish your infidelity dirt to your partner - and that's no easy task.
To help you figure out if you should spill your guts or just let it go, we tapped an expert to guide you every step of the way. Here's what to do:
It depends. "If it was a one-time fling, or was years ago, and there's no risk that you'll continue it, there's a strong argument for keeping quiet," says psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity. If, however, it's a repeating pattern, "there's an ongoing problem with the relationship that has to be dealt with."
Make your revelation at home, not in a restaurant or other public place, so your partner can fully express his emotions, says Haltzman.
"Be direct but sensitive - no matter how you phrase it, it's going to hurt."
Your partner is likely to demand a lot of painful details, and Haltzman's general policy is "do ask, do tell. Let him decide what he wants to hear. You need to rebuild trust, which is based on honesty."
One absolute necessity is to end all contact with the other person. Then make your life an open book, says Haltzman.
You might even want to offer your passwords for e-mail and social media as proof of your sincerity.
Fully accounting for your time away is reassuring too ("I'll be having drinks with Sarah, then home").
Saltz also suggests seeing a therapist together.
"Tell him you know it's your fault, and you want to make things stronger between you."