‘Should I Tell My Ex That I Cheated On Him Before?’
Hi Celes, should I tell my ex I cheated on him before, even though that wasn’t the reason why we split up? He wants me back but this question is hindering my decision making. – Sharon
Hi Sharon, I think whatever we do in life, it’s always good to be guided by a set of internal values. One of the timeless values that applies to everyone, and which will guide us to being a person of highest consciousness IMO, is the value of truth. (Speaking of which, truth is one of my 5 core values – I believe in being forthright and upfront, and always been truthful in all my dealings.)
Even though your ex may not know about your past infidelity, and even though it wasn’t the reason you split up, it doesn’t change the fact that there was once a breach of trust in the relationship. From your question, I’m assuming that it was agreed to be a monogamous relationship, where there would be exclusivity to each other.
The questions to ask yourself would be:
- Is keeping this incident from him in line with your highest self?
- Are you okay with keeping this from him for the rest of your life?
- If the situation was reversed, would you want to know the truth?
All 3 questions are linked with your commitment in living in line with the value of truth in life.
If your answer is no-no-yes, then you have your answer. The next step is to arrange for a heart-to-heart conversation, where you let him in on what happened in the past.
If the answer is no, then perhaps telling your ex what happened is not a vibrational match for your current consciousness level. You may wish to keep the incident to yourself and not let him in on what happened. However, you have to recognize that:
- This is a front you have to keep up for the rest of the life (or as long as you are with him), in order to maintain the state of the relationship. By virtue of that, you are already suppressing yourself from being your truest self when with him.
- Assuming you enter into a new relationship with him, the relationship will not start from a place of 100% truth and authenticity.
- You have made the decision to withhold something fundamental to the relationship from him. As his ex as well as his potential relationship partner, you have to ask yourself if you are being fair to him.
- He made the decision to be with you based of his mental image of you, which is incomplete as he’s not privy to the full truth. This links back to point #1, whereby it’s a front you have to keep up for the rest of your life (or as long as you are with him).
- There is now more than 1 breach of trust. The first breach was when the infidelity took place. The second breach is now, by choosing to keep the incident from him.
- It will become a part of your past which you cannot come clean to.
IMO, if you’re even having an internal debate on whether to tell him about the incident or not, my guess is that you do want to live in line with the highest truth. That in your heart of hearts, you want to be open about what you did in the past.
The real issue you are contemplating over probably isn’t whether to tell him the truth or not, but fear of one or all of the following: (a) how he will react after knowing the truth (b) whether it will change the way he sees you (c) whether he will still want to be with you after you let him in.
All these concerns, while valid, doesn’t change the fact that the need to be upfront about what happened. With everything we do, we have to be prepared to handle the consequences of the actions. It’s a matter of handling them as they come along.
On (a), when you first tell him the truth, the response may range from one of these – anger/bitterness, denial, nonchalance/aloofness, sadness/disappointment/grief, to acceptance. Whatever the reaction is, work through it with him. Be ready to answer whatever questions are posed. Be ready to accept a backlash if there is one.
If any point you feel his response is unwarranted, bear in mind that his reaction is a delayed response to a past event. While it’s something you’ve known for a while, it’s something he’s only discovering right now. Hence, be patient in handling his reaction. Put yourself in his shoes and understand him from his angle.
On (b), don’t make yourself responsible for how others perceive you. The only thing you can do is to be a person of highest conduct and live true to your highest values. How others see you is a choice they make, which is outside of your control. Don’t let that affect your decision making.
On (c), give him some time to process the news if needed. Let him evaluate the situation, on a new ground.
If he still wants to be with you, then that’s great news. You can now make your decision without restraint. You can also rest in the knowledge that whatever happens next, you can remain true to yourself. There’s no need to withhold anything from anyone.
If he changes his mind, that’s fine. Then it’s not meant to be anyway. If both of you are meant to be together, it would happen even in spite of the obstacles. The important thing is you now know where he stands. Respect his decision.
For what it’s worth, after this long assessment and break down of the situation, it may be that it doesn’t matter to him, because it’s something of the past. And that it’s a matter of letting him on the truth.
Whatever happens, live in line with your highest truth. You can never go wrong with that when you stay true to the universal virtues of truth, love and kindness.
Keep us posted on how it goes.
Be sure to read:
- Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program – Day 23: Acknowledge a Shame or Vulnerability
- 30BBM – Day 24: Right a Past Wrong
- 30BBM – Day 25: Forgive Yourself (Letting Go)
- Top 12 Signs It’s Time To Move On From a Relationship
Update Aug ’12: It’s been 10 months since this answer was posted. I recently received an email from Sharon who updated me on her situation, and got her permission to write about it. You can check the follow-up post here: When Life Gives a Happy Ending
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