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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Is it sometimes better to keep hurtful information from your partner?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10000 points ) June 13th, 2010 from iPhone

It seems like so many people cheat on their partners these days. And many of those people tell their s/o and later, their relationship ends because of it. I’ve cheated in the past and I did tell my s/o. It hurt him. Bad. Thinking back, I now wonder why I decided to tell him. I knew it would break his heart. I also knew that if he decided to stay with me, he’d be a very paranoid, jealous, and suspicious boyfriend for a long time afterwards. So do we spill the beans because it gets it off our chest? The guilt eats us up? What harm would it do to not tell our s/o’s when we made a mistake (like cheating)? Of course we should always be honest be with our partners, but wouldn’t it be a little more thoughtful of us if we kept some things to ourselves? Just think of all the relationships that might possibly be saved if we didn’t all shout it from the rooftops when we make huge mistakes. Maybe it’d be better if we suffered on the inside instead of forcing our s/o’s to live through that pain also?

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22 Answers

Drcpb's avatar

I feel that this question can’t be answered as a whole, cultural, definitive response. I personally feel like a significant other should be told, but that does NOT always mean that they will leave you. At the same time, it doesn’t always mean that they will stay with (or leave) you.

For most people, cheating just seems to be the norm. I feel like it eventually might be accepted as a social norm, and it will just be a commonplace occurrence. It’s almost that way anyway.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well one should think about the hurt and pain it’d cause to talk about the cheating post factum before one commits the cheating. When that train has left, you must tell him because it’s dishonest not to and he has a right to know who he’s spending his life with.

LuckyGuy's avatar

“Getting it off your chest” only helps you. Carry the burden yourself and consider it the price you have to pay for your act.

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s the coward’s motto; it’s just a bit too convenient to say I won’t tell my SO because it would hurt him/her too much. It saves the cheater the possibility of being rejected and it assumes that the cheater knows what’s best for their SO and the relationship. What’s best for a person is up to them to decide and a relationship is decided by two people, not one, and especially not the one who betrayed the trust.

I always began my relationships by saying that I ALWAYS want to know the truth and I NEVER want my SO to keep important things from me. Pain I can get over. What I cannot get over is the idea that my SO decided what was best for me.

marinelife's avatar

But you now are living a relationship lie. Also, your partner has the right to know whether he is living with a cheater and to decide if that is for him or not.

dpworkin's avatar

I can’t imagine hiding anything from my fiancee. There is nothing she doesn’t know, and that’s one of the factors that makes our relationship so close and safe.

partyparty's avatar

Why cheat in the first place? If you hadn’t cheated then you wouldn’t be in this predicament.
I really don’t understand why people are in relationships when all they want to do is cheat? Is it because your SO is financially stable? Is it because to cheat on your loved one is fun?
Why not be with your SO because you care for them, and you want the best for them?
How would you feel if your SO did the same to you?
Cheating is not acceptable by either party!!!

perspicacious's avatar

I haven’t been in your position, but I would never be anything but honest in a relationship, and would want the same thing from the person I love.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t think it should be up to the cheater if the relationship should continue or not. Their partner deserves to know the truth so that they can be the one to decide if that is the type of relationship they want to stay in. If the cheater wants to have a relationship where they can be with other people, they need to be open and honest about that at the beginning and let their partner decide if that is the relationship they want as well.

partyparty's avatar

@perspicacious Totally agree with your answer :-)

MissAnthrope's avatar

I personally feel like I would want to know, because armed with knowledge, I can leave the cheater. In addition, there are other important considerations I’d like to be informed of, such as the possible introduction of STDs in the relationship.

Not telling is cowardly and morally wrong in that you rob your partner of making an important decision. You also are getting away with something that you probably shouldn’t, nor do you truly deserve to get away with it. However, keeping it to yourself can be punishment enough, if you suffer the burden of the truth. I mean, you have to live with what you’ve done either way, and I know that I would be torn up inside if I couldn’t confess and take the consequences.

I would never cheat, though.

nikipedia's avatar

You are obligated to tell your SO when you cheat so your SO can make an informed decision about whether or not to break up with you.

SamIAm's avatar

if you don’t say anything, and you’re feeling guilty, it’s going to eat you alive… forever.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If it’s cheating after the fact then yes, people should tell so their partners can protect themselves. If it’s confessing that during a rough patch in the relationship you had thought about cheating but then didn’t then I’d keep that under your hat.

envidula61's avatar

If you don’t tell, you will have a secret forever, which will get in the way of complete intimacy with your partner….maybe. Perhaps you can have complete intimacy in all ways except for the one secret, and maybe, depending on who you are, it will be an honest intimacy.

If you don’t tell, you may save your partner from needless pain and mistrust. You may protect yourself from their anger. Do these things come at a cost? Well,like I said, complete, whole intimacy is one cost. That’s pretty big.

If you do tell, you might get it off your chest, yes, but you hurt your partner horrendously. And for what? So their life can be ruined? For the sake of honesty and full disclosure?

The problem is that both choices can be either selfish or angry in one way or another. I think the answer depends on your situation, and only the person involved can make it because they are the only one with all the information. Anything anyone else says may parrot various platitudes and truisms, but I’m afraid that anyone in this situation is on their own with this one.

dutchbrossis's avatar

I agree with everyone who says it is not fair to the partner for the cheater to be able to decide what is best for the partner. If my fiance cheated on me I would want to know so I could decide if I wanted to stay in the relationship or not. We are both 100% honest with each other and to me it is the only way to be

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@all Wait…I think there’s a misunderstanding. I didn’t cheat. This was a general question. I’ve been with my fiancĂ© or years and we’re doing great. The guy I cheated on was a long time ago and I was referring back to that because I remember the pain it put him through when I told him. Sorry about the confusion. This was more or less just to start a discussion and get some different opinions on the subject.

dutchbrossis's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Thanks. My answer still remains as a general answer though. In the question you said of course it is better to be honest, but if you cheat and don’t tell then that is dishonest. I think it is better to always be honest and tell, even thought it will hurt the other person. At least they can get past the pain and make an honest decision themselves if they want to stay in a relationship with someone they know is capable of cheating.

YARNLADY's avatar

Cheating is the first mistake and lying is the second. There can be NO meaningful relationship that is built on this foundation.

beccalynnx's avatar

If i were to ever cheat on my SO, I’d feel almost as terrible for not telling him than I would for actually committing the act.
I’ve been cheated on multiple times before (by the same partner – eventually we broke up). the first couple times He told me, and it upset me, but I forgave him/got over it. He continued to cheat without telling me, and that is what got me really peeved.

I believe in 100% honestly. i want to be as transparent as possible with my partner.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

I know this sounds harsh but..
If you care enough about his feelings not to tell him, you generally won’t cheat.

harkyyy's avatar

Once you have committed such a crime against humanity (and please do not try to excuse this as anything less, as that is exactly what it is, unless this has already been mutually agreed upon beforehand then it is the grossest violation of trust) then suffering is the only inevitable outcome.

If you stay in the relationship, your SO will suffer as if the relationship ever meant anything in the first place, and he is not placated by superficialties, he will easily be able to tell something is wrong and will eventually get it out of you. If he is really so shallow as to not notice then perhaps it is better for you to suffer instead, no need to ruin two lives instead of one, but if you are despicable enough to allow yourself to fall into this situation in the first place then something tells me you don’t truly care what they feel no matter what you tell yourself.

If you leave without telling him, then they will grieve over your loss and potentially never move on from that place. They may live out their lives wondering what went wrong. And if you tell them, the anguish may eventually consume them and drive them to acts of madness.

I do not know what other people are like. I can only speak for myself. There are some very sensitive people in this world. They may consider themselves strong, but with the one person they feel they can trust above all else, they will lower all barriers, all pretense and all resistance. There could have been no lies and no secrets between us. She knew everything about me, and I most things about her. Even things her ex-spouse of over a decade never knew. Nothing could withstand such intimacy. I sometimes wonder if most people have ever known what real love feels like in the first place. Although I sometimes question how my own could have been so seemingly fragile and immature.

She never even did it with me. It was in her past. I knew it wouldn’t happen again. But the fact that she was capable was enough. I couldn’t put it out of my mind. I couldn’t lie to myself or to her, and I couldn’t live with the implications. I couldn’t choose how to feel, and I couldn’t tell myself I was okay with it despite the fact that the time I spent with her was the happiest I have ever known.

I will never understand you people. It’s almost as if you don’t feel or think at all. And if you do, then I damn well hope you have to suffer for that mistake for every moment of your lives. I hope it haunts you as you sleep and you know no peace. Because that’s pretty much how I feel. The worst part of it is, you probably feel a hell of a lot better about it than I do. The burden of empathy and a conscience seems too steep right now. I have seen this shit play out so many countless times in the same damn ways over all the years I have lived and I’m just tired of it now.

I thought I was better than this, but in the end, maybe I wasn’t. I will never understand how people can be so deceitful and so hurtful, and act out in such rash and self-serving ways; especially towards the one person they are supposed to cherish above all else in the world. I am only just learning how to live with the lasting effects of this pain, and I as I feel right now, I would quite happily wipe the lot of you from the face of the Earth for the sake of future generations, if it wasn’t for the fact that despite all the years’ worth of accumulated rage and disillusionment, I still care too much about people in general to do so.

I’m just through with it.

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