Zoe asks: “I love my boyfriend but things have been a bit of a struggle for us over the past year or so. He’s heavily immersed in his work and he’s had some problems with his child’s mother which seems to have caused him to withdraw somewhat. I try to talk with him and also get us to be positive and move forward but he keeps telling me to leave ‘it’ alone and that he’s dealing with things in his own way.
This is difficult for me to admit……..but I’ve been sleeping with a colleague for the past six weeks.
There is no real justification for what I have been doing. All I know is I have been feeling lonely, uncared for, and ignored by my boyfriend as he uses everything around him as a problem to justify not pulling his weight in the relationship. OK………..I guess I just made a justification!
I don’t know…..I know what I have done is wrong and I realise that what I have with this guy at work is nothing more than a fling. He has a girlfriend too…. He has no intentions of leaving her and I’m not sure that I’d want him to. He’d probably do to me what he’s doing to her.
I’m thinking about telling my boyfriend the truth. The guilt is starting to weigh heavily and maybe it’s time everything was out in the open. I do want my relationship with him to work and I don’t know if I should keep quiet or tell him. I don’t even think he’s suspicious! I’ve been home later and later, the calls, showering as soon as I get back – nada! What would you do?”
Zoe, the first thing I always ask when people want to get on the confessional is to examine their reasons for wanting to unload their secrets:
Are you telling him because you want to be truthful so that you can live your relationship from an honest place and feel he deserves to know the truth?
Or are you telling him for yourself?
The great majority of the time, most people admit to their cheating because they can’t cope with the secret, not because of the other person.
I do believe in honesty in relationships and right now, you’re a long way from that with the cheating, so of course I think that it is best to be truthful about these things.
However, when you tell him, it’s better that you tell him so that you can benefit your relationship with the truth as opposed to just telling him so that you can feel the relief of unloading the burden.
I’d avoid justifying it – I know that these things happen and I don’t doubt for second that you have problems in your relationship (there’s a whole load of emotional unavailability up in he-ere!) but….
Is getting your groove on with another guy really going to solve your problems?
I suspect that the act of creeping out with someone else was a bit like a cry for attention. Normally people who cheat do end up behaving differently, particularly if there are problems in their relationship.
You’d think he’d notice the fact that you might be working later, disinterested in sex, not challenging him anymore, not bothering to argue, or even smelling like another man. I’ve come across people who have left their phone around in the hope that their partner would look through it and discover the truth. Same for receipts, lipstick on the collar and all that jazz.
The point is that all of this has backfired because the man hasn’t noticed. Like a typical Mr Unavailable, his head’s too far up his bum being immersed in his problems, his world, his universe, that not only does it not seem to matter that your relationship seems to be nosediving, but he hasn’t noticed your odd behaviour.
But that’s aside from the point. You want to know if you should tell your boyfriend that you’ve been cheating – If you are certain that you want to pursue a relationship with this guy and that it’s not over, it’s time to fess up.
If the relationship is pretty much over, you can either keep quiet, or tell him to bring things to an almighty crashing end.
There is the other less honest alternative which is not to say anything if this affair is definitely over. But…this is risky at the best of times. The truth has a way of surfacing and if you are the deliverer of the truth, you get to control the tone of the message.
But…remember that the fact that you have been cheating is an indicator that there are big problems in your relationship.
You can stop cheating but you still need to deal with the issues.
Cheating is not the answer and if things are so bad that you’re tempted to seek your comforts elsewhere, it is better to sit down with your boyfriend and force him to have the uncomfortable conversation and spare your relationship any further problems. Right now, you have another one to add on to the load….