Gentlemen, picture the following scene, if you will.
An alarm goes off at 8 am. You open your left eye (your right one refuses to cooperate). Your body feels like a herd of rhinos stampeded over it and your head is spinning in space: seemingly independent of your body. You are desperately trying to understand where you are, as you don’t recognize your surroundings. It takes a good five minutes to realize you’re not home – you’re away on a business trip. Last night you attended a party your company threw for a bunch of clients and most of the evening is a blur…. except…. you seem to remember flirting with the pretty blonde party planner. OH NO! You didn’t’ just stop there… Did you…????
As in any good horror flick, you feel a steady stream of cold sweat starting to pour down your face. You feel almost frozen yet force yourself to look to your left and OMG! There she is. In your bed. Actually, you realize, you are in her bed!
So while the blonde continues to blissfully drool on the pillow in her residual drunken stupor, you slither out from under the blankets. You go into full stealth as you collect your clothes from the floor and beat a swift retreat to race down the hallway to collect your suitcase and catch your flight back home.
Back home is your loving girlfriend. You’ve been happily living together for the past year. She is the love of your life with whom you plan a future: a couple of kids, a house in the suburbs a dog and even a cat (her choice). You can’t imagine life without her. Yet here you are, ruining your future over a stupid drunken mistake that you regret with every cell in your body.
YOU CHEATED. Now what?
You have to tell her, right? After all, we all grew up in the Judeo-Christian tradition that teaches ‘The Truth and nothing but The Truth’; ‘The Truth shall set you free‘; ‘Honesty is the best policy.’ So you have to tell her, right?
Get your stones ready for throwing, gentlemen.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING! That’s right, I said it. SAY NOTHING!
However, before the first stone goes flying, let me explain.
Outside of our teachings, there are many beliefs, from The Buddhist to The Hindu and The Muslim who believe that the end justifies the means. The Buddhist, specifically ask: “What is your INTENT for telling the truth?”
So what is your intent? Was the cheating truly a mistake? Is it something that you inanely did in drunken inertia that you regret so much that you will be your worse punishment? Do you know, in your heart of hearts that you would never allow yourself to do it again and wish you can take back every minute of it if you could? Do you REALLY love your girlfriend and even the thought of being with someone else (in a sober state of mind) repulses you?
If that is the case, what is your INTENT for telling the truth? Is it to unburden yourself?
Yes, honesty is the best policy in any relationship. But think about the consequences in this case. You are willing to ruin your relationship and seriously damage the emotional state of the woman you love. For what? So that you can feel better about your own character? So that you don’t have to worry about letting it spill one day, years from now? So that you can make yourself believe you’re a morally righteous man?
If you really believe that it’s a one-time mistake that you will regret for the rest of your life, it is your burden to bear. Don’t put it on her shoulders. Deal with it in your own way: seek therapy, become an ideal partner, start a charity fund – whatever it is that you need to do – be a man and do it. But do it by yourself. You can be your worst judge and jury. You deserve it. Does she?
Let’s be clear, however. There is no room for cheating in any relationship. So if it happens again, you need to examine your relationship and whether you should be a part of it. Even worse, if it’s a matter of an affair – then, ABSOLUTELY, come clean and be a man enough to break it off. After all, your girlfriend didn’t sign up for a polygamous or a polyamorous relationship, did she? Plus, if you have the need to seek emotional and physical releases elsewhere, you don’t have that strong of a relationship anyway, so be bold enough to let it go.
Totally different in the case of a one-time-mistake. If, indeed, you think it was nothing but that. In this case, it may take more courage on your part to say NOTHING. Can you do that?