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Relationship built on lies - reveal or keep going?

(58 Posts)
Notafixer Wed 02-Apr-14 21:25:19

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.

Notafixer Wed 02-Apr-14 23:00:34

We broke up because I wasn't sure I wanted to be in a relationship and I wasn't sure he was someone I'd want a future with. A lot of this stemmed from me being very recently out a very painful breakup. I do feel that if I'd met him now then there wouldn't have been the mess.

Taratamara I think you may be on to something. I get very jealous in relationships and in an odd way, if I'm really honest, I felt a little insulated from that during those six months. I knew that I was definitely the loose canon.

Bestsonever that seems very unfair to ask you outright and then tell you you shouldn't have told!

Maybe you're all right and he's not "the one" but I want to give it a shot, and a shot, so my question is really about what gives it the best shot?

NotNewButNameChanged Wed 02-Apr-14 23:01:47

Best shot? Be honest.

Springheeled Wed 02-Apr-14 23:02:06

Honesty gives it the best shot. Otherwise what sort of relationship is it?

Notafixer Wed 02-Apr-14 23:04:05

I think I want to give us a few more months of just being happy before I consider raising it. At the moment it's too soon for me to demonstrate that I can be better.

Springheeled Wed 02-Apr-14 23:09:39

How will you be happy though? I mean, happiness to me is being totally unencumbered by doubt and guilt.

Notafixer Wed 02-Apr-14 23:14:15

Happiness as in we just enjoy the honeymoon period, commit to each other and respect each other from here on in.

Springheeled Wed 02-Apr-14 23:17:58

Sounds like you want all the control and to give your partner none because he's in the dark here. Your gamble. The truth will out one way or another.

PlantsAndFlowers Wed 02-Apr-14 23:34:42

Nah. The longer you leave it the harder it will be. Honest. The lie will magnify, not recede, especially with the world and his dog knowing.

Twinklestein Thu 03-Apr-14 09:11:33

OP, you're living in Lala land. You can probably get away with a few more months 'of just being happy' without it coming to light, but what's the point? It's completely fake. It's purely a selfish form of happiness because it's based on tricking your partner into something that he may not have chosen if he knew the truth.

Your partner has the right to make his own choice. The longer this goes on, the more culpable you become, the more horrified he's going to be. You have to accept that by very poor judgement you may have nuked this relationship. Take responsibility for that and learn that this is not how to do relationships, it's immature and unrealistic.

KiKiKiKi Thu 03-Apr-14 13:00:12

You say you really like your boyfriend, yet you're not giving him to choice on whether to be with you whilst knowing all the facts.

If I were him, I'd ditch you immediately, especially if your other break ups have centred on you not being ready.

It sounds like now you're ready, but I think you've ballsed this one up OP.

CoteDAzur Thu 03-Apr-14 13:10:26

Can you plausibly spin it as "I slept with a guy for a few times while we were not together (during the 'off' part of the on/off relationship) but now I know you are the one" etc?

NotNewButNameChanged Thu 03-Apr-14 13:45:14

See, I never understand anyone who thinks people should keep quiet about cheating or affairs. Yes, of course the person cheated on will probably be devastated or hurt. But every decent person deserves to be in a relationship with someone that respects them and treats them well. Cheating on them shows a lack of respect. Lying about it ditto. They have right to know their partner's morals.

OneMoreChap Thu 03-Apr-14 14:53:16

I think I want to give us a few more months of just being happy before I consider raising it.

Either keep shtum and never say anything, or tell him now.
Want him to "fall in love" so you can really mess with his head some months down the track?

Sounds like you want to make yourself feel better.
You won't.
You certainly won't make him feel better.

MamaMumra Thu 03-Apr-14 15:28:52

If other people know then it will come out.

OneMoreChap Thu 03-Apr-14 15:36:52

If OP thinks it will come out, she should tell him now.

Offred Thu 03-Apr-14 15:50:26

You're being exceptionally dishonest and emotionally immature I think.

You've not got a relationship with your bf because you are only prepared to do that taking and no giving. You even sound like you are blaming him for talking about exclusivity too soon - too right it was too soon because your were seeing someone else!

Basic human decency should have seen you say to him that's what you were doing and how you felt when he raised that chat.

You blame the OM for pressuring you and you want to trick your bf into having stronger feelings before you expose yourself as a liar/before you can trust you'll be able to manipulate him into staying.

Astonishing levels of selfishness and deceit there.

I think you need to confess now and if he does want to split up I don't think you should date until you've sorted yourself out a bit, you just can't treat people like this.

LeapInTheDark Thu 03-Apr-14 16:16:07

I wanted to let you know that I am in a similar situation. Only some of the details are different which I think makes a huge difference although I recognise that some people here won't see that.

About 3 years ago I was young free and single and doing some online dating but getting a bit hacked off with it.

Just as I was about to give up I went on a date with a lovely guy - let's call him A. We arranged a second date but TBH I had been there many many times and wasn't overly hopeful. In between our first and second date I met a man in a bar (let's call him B) and there was instant chemistry.

So for about 6 weeks I saw them (and slept with them) both. I liked them both but didn't tell either of them about the other. I felt like I didn't owe either of them an explanation at the time, it was such early days. But quite quickly I realised that although I fancied the pants off B that A was a keeper and had potential for a long-term relationship.

So I finished it with B. He was really surprisingly upset and it took quite a few phone calls until he finally accepted it. But finish it I did and have gone on to have a lovely, happy relationship with A (3 years so far!)

Except I've never told him about B. I justify it in my mind that we hadn't had the exclusive talk or mentioned the L word and that I ended it quickly with B (6 weeks for me is a different matter than 6 months!). But I still feel guilty about it and sometimes consider confessing to A. But I never have because I know he would be very upset and it seems a bit pointless. There is no chance of A and B meeting as they live in different countries.

Where I think your situation differs OP is that you didn't end it when your BF became your BF and he believed you to be exclusive. Having said that, I don'tthink there's much point in telling your BF. Not sure what it would achieve tbh. Apart from assuaging your guilt.

Just wanted to know that I can understand your dilema

Springheeled Thu 03-Apr-14 22:44:50

Have you decided OP?

Notafixer Thu 03-Apr-14 23:15:47

Well, I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I've decided to keep quiet. For various reasons I think we are strong enough to survive it if it came out. (I haven't gone into the rocky patches, but he really doesn't think I'm an angel). However, it would hurt him hugely, create unease where unease isn't necessary and always sour something that doesn't need souring and I'm not sure the price for honesty for it's own sake is worth that. If I thought he'd instantly want to end it then I might feel it was morally different.

But if he ever gives any indication that he knows and is looking for confirmation I will come clean. As I said, I'm pretty sure he strongly suspects but has never probed.

Regarding the "it will come out", this isn't actually an uncommon scenario in my social circle (and it's not even the worst story!) and those have all remained hidden.

Twinklestein Thu 03-Apr-14 23:20:37

If he strongly suspects, he will probe eventually, and then it will be over. You will have wasted x amount of time and have to start again.

You cannot build a solid relationship on such dodgy ground. But, you'll have to find this out the hard way...

NotNewButNameChanged Thu 03-Apr-14 23:20:40

Why am I not surprised? Not sure why you asked. What a lovely social circle you must have, where people cheat and think so little of their partners.

Offred Thu 03-Apr-14 23:49:42

Yes, learning the hard way it is then for someone you claim to love too...

Offred Thu 03-Apr-14 23:50:49

Honesty for honesty's sake i.e. To be an honest person and a respectful partner is always better than lying for the sake of keeping a relationship btw.

Springheeled Fri 04-Apr-14 07:03:14

I feel for the partner here. When/if it's found out, it will be the lack of respect that will hurt way more than the cheating.
I couldn't do it. Each to their own!

MamaMumra Fri 04-Apr-14 17:29:32

Well as long as you realise that you're keeping this secret for your own benefit only and not because this is a great love or anything.
You don't respect this man and you don't seem to particularly care for him either. Sorry to sound harsh but don't you think he deserves better than you?
You have taken away his choice - you have decided for him and you have done this for selfish reasons.

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