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Relationship built on lies - reveal or keep going?(58 Posts)
To cut to the chase, I cheated on my partner on and off for the first six months of our relationship. It started accidentally. I meet my boyfriend, I happened to meet someone else at nearly the same time, I agreed to go out for a drink with both and it snowballed... I kept pushing the other guy back and my boyfriend became my boyfriend, but the other guy never entirely left the scene and we slept together a few times.
My boyfriend and I broke up a couple of times over this period so it's not like he ever thought our relationship was all rainbows. On some levels I think he knows about the other bloke but he's never asked me out right. I don't really have an excuse for it, except it just kind of happened, the other guy was very persistent and I was bit of a mess. I met them both about six months out of a six year relationship and I'd decided that I absolutely wasn't looking for a relationship at that point. The problem is of course that now I've realised how wonderful my boyfriend is, or rather I'm in a better place to appreciate that.
It is now definitely, 100% over with the other guy and I'm looking forward to pursuing the relationship with my BF without complications. The problem is I'm not sure if I should come clean or take this as a fresh start and just be a better person. Friends know but I'm pretty sure they'd be discreet. I'm just very aware that accidents happen - I remember a thread here a few months ago where a woman overheard a chance remark about her fiancee's early infidelity at their engagement party and called the wedding off. If we are going to build a future part of me would rather do so knowing there aren't any surprises that could derail it. But the selfish part of me would rather just keep quiet. I know it's not fair to give him the wrong impression of who I am, but as I say above, our relationship has been rocky so it feels less dishonest than it could do IYSWIM.
Just don't. You don't owe anyone fidelity or monogamy at the start of a non-committed relationship. You don't owe anyone the whole gory truth about your relationship history. It's unimportant to your current relationship and why would the details of sex with someone else endear you to your BF?
You either tell him, and run the risk that he'll break up with you, or keep quiet and hope that he doesn't find out. Neither option is great and only you will know how important honesty is to him in a relationship.
How long have you been together and how long has the other man been gone for?
What would you want him to do if the situation were reversed?
The other man has been gone about six weeks and it's about eight months now for me and my boyfriend.
Honesty is important for me. My problem with not telling is I think it prevents me from discussing things. But I'm not sure he'd want full disclosure.
Ria I was thinking that and I really don't know. I think I'd be shocked if the situation was reversed because it's in character for me but not for him. The fact that he could have acted how he has been and cheating would almost make it worse than just cheating IYSWIM. I think if I knew it would ruin everything and I'd have to end it, so I'd rather not know. I'd know that something had been wrong and now something was right, and that would probably be enough for me.
Have you ever had an explicit 'exclusivity' chat with BF? If so, was it within last 6 weeks?
You've been seeing another guy for 6 months out of an 8 month relationship with your BF and honesty is important to you??? Sorry, maybe I've misread the thread wrong. If I haven't you should definitely fess up, if honesty is so important.
Yes we've had an explicit exclusivity chat, fairly early on in the relationship. Earlier than I wanted in fact but I didn't feel able to say a relationship wasn't what I was looking for. That's why I accept this counts as cheating.
Hmm. What if he asked you outright if you've cheated?
Neither option is great. No one can really advise you.
I find it interesting though that you volunteered the use of "lies" and "cheating". I think this is somewhat Freudian and suggests that you clearly believe that your behaviour in your dealings with your boyfriend was wrong/dishonest. In this context, anyone saying things like "you didn't owe him anything" and "if you haven't had the exclusive chat then its OK" are probably talking rubbish. They ignore the fact that you have clearly been big enough to label your own behaviour as dishonest. That's a good place from which to move forward, whatever you choose to do.
If he asked outright I would come clean. I think he is unlikely to do that though.
Ola I'd agree with that. While it was happening I was very amoral about it but now I'm completely clear with myself (at least) that it was wrong and avoidable, for all I say that it "just happened".
OP, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't so you can only do whatever feels right for you and what you can live with. Noone else's opinion matters.
So this is very definitely cheating, because it was after the 'exclusive' talk and you have friends that know about it.
Not just one friend, but several friends? Only takes one to slip, or say something they shouldn't after a glass of wine....
Personally, I couldn't take that risk. I think with more than one person knowing, it is much more likely to come out. If you tell him, yes, he MAY split up with you. If you don't and it comes out later, he will almost DEFINITELY split up with you.
If the other boyfriend was indeed a boyfriend, who could have seen you together? Would he evermention you?
If there is a chance that your BF will discover the other boyfriend, then it is probably better to risk it and tell him - that way at least you have control of the timing and the circumstances.
So it's definite disclosure for uncertain dumping, or uncertain disclosure for definite dumping? I'm not sure how to weigh those two up.
My friends would be careful, but it's others who pose the risk. I don't want to think of having to steer him away from certain people forever. But then actually most people are good at keeping their mouths shout and don't ask about personal lives, exes etc.
If you see this current man as a long term thing (and really given that you've been seeing someone else in that initial 'honeymoon' phase?) then I'd tell him now, as it's just going to fester and would be much worse if it came out in say, 5 years.
How would you feel if it was the reverse? And however did you get away with the double partner thing for six months? Did you have to tell lies or just omit things?
Springheeled, I've answered above on the reversed scenario.
It was surprisingly easy (which hasn't been great for my own trust issues). No lies, just omissions. In a new relationship you don't know much about the person or necessarily how they spend their time so certain friends won't raise the suspicions that a new "friend" in an established relationship would.
I got asked once and was honest - not quite the same situation though as I hadn't gone between the two back and forth. However, response was that I should not have said anything and perhaps the need to say something was more about making myself feel better about being honest, at the expense of upsetting the other person needlessly.
Only you can decide if divulging is as much about making you feel better as it's likely that you will upset him. What you will be hoping for is that he will move on from it and you can wipe the slate clean and live in an honorable bliss henceforth. What you will likely get at best is that he may be able to get over the hurt in time but things may not quite be as perfect as you hoped for.
I'd say tell him if you feel that it's likely to happen again, and really contemplate weather you feel as strongly about him as you think you do. After all, you did what you did for 6 months, now why did it take you so long to decide he was great? Could it just be that the other didn't mach up to him but he's not the one for you either?
Want to say more about your own 'trust issues'? maybe this situation makes you feel more powerful/in control? In my view that's often why people cheat. Also, why didn't you just say no to exclusivity at the time it was raised
How would you feel if this relationship ended?
You have been together for 8 months and for 6 months of this you were unfaithful.
You weren't ready for this relationship and the fact you cheated means this isn't the man for you.
I am not judging you because lots of young people do this before they find one that's right.
However, when you find one that's right you wouldn't even think of cheating as you'd be loved up with Mr Right.
If it was a few weeks then you could probably wing it, but you've been cheating for 75% of the relationship. That kind of truth will always out, so you might as well put yourself out of your misery now.
If it was only 6 weeks ago that you finished with the other guy then you should say something. It's not like you're raking up ancient history.
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