Should You Fess Up to an Affair?

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It's hard to know exactly how many relationships have experienced infidelity, but 30 to 60 percent of marriages seem to fall victim to cheating. And that seems like a conservative estimate, considering the fact that close to half of marriages end in divorce. The reasons for cheating vary and may include lack of passion, communication or sex in the marriage, sex addiction, or just a cheap thrill. Whatever the reason, you may wonder if it's always a good idea to confess to infidelity. And while honesty usually is the best policy, there may be a few exceptions. Telling your spouse that you were unfaithful can have life-altering effects, including divorce, so it's a highly personal decision as to whether or not you should say anything. Naturally, if you've been caught in the act, there's nothing to say but "I'm sorry." And many times, the signs of cheating are obvious - long hours at work, online or distancing yourself physically and emotionally from your spouse. But if your spouse doesn't know, then there are a few questions to ask yourself before confessing. Do you plan on doing it again or was it a fairly harmless fling? If the latter, then you may be better off keeping it to yourself. If you've developed feelings for the other person or want to continue the affair, then it may be best for everyone if you break it off with your spouse. Consider your spouse's reaction if you were to tell him or her about the affair. Would your spouse react with vengeance? Be so devastated that he or she wouldn't recover? End your marriage? You should expect that even if your spouse has the capacity to forgive, he or she may not forget. Can you live with the possibility that your infidelity might be flung in your face well after the fact? And one more thing to ponder is your feelings of guilt. If all you can do is feel ashamed of what you did and not give yourself over to the one you love, then perhaps you should tell, particularly if it's hurting your relationship anyway. But if you have the conviction not to stray again, then it's possible to carry on loving your partner - ignorant or not.