| || || | It was only one night. You made a mistake and cheated. You’re still a good guy, but you did a really dumb thing. You feel guilty as hell and every moral fiber left in your soul is urging you to tell her, to own up to your mistake and to beg for her forgiveness in the hopes that she’ll give you a second chance.
Wise up. If you fess up, the relationship is as good as done. Sure, she could forgive you, but things will never be the same. While everything from conventional wisdom to the 10 Commandments to our own Andrew Moore (who happens to be giving you the Top 10: Reasons To Tell Her You’ve Cheated) wants you to be honest and admit your indiscretions, you have to stay strong and keep this information quiet.
It may seem like the sleazy thing to do, but it’s really only with her best interests at heart that we present to you the top 10 reasons not to tell her you’ve cheated.
No.1 - Because relationships can't go backward
You confessed and immediately regretted your decision. It’s too late. There are no “do overs” in love. Once Pandora’s Box is open there is no closing it and putting all the dirty secrets back inside. The relationship has changed forever. It will never be the same and will never go back to the way it was before you blabbed. She will never trust you again. Even if there is a “forgive,” there will never be a “forget.” She will always have doubt about you in the back of her mind.
No.2 - Because she doesn't want to know
Women think they don’t want men to keep secrets. They always list honesty as one of the most important qualities in a mate, but do they really want it all? Women have no idea what they are in store for if a guy starts being completely honest. If a guy does spill his guts and confesses to his deepest, darkest and doziest secrets, then what happens? A woman changes the way she feels about the guy. The same goes for cheating. She might think she wants to know if you’ve cheated, but she is much better off going through life being blissfully unaware. If she knows the details, she will let them run through her head over and over again until it drives the both of you crazy.
No.3 - Because it's selfish
Telling her will only benefit you and your feelings. So, you cheat on her to satisfy your own animal pleasures and then you tell her because the guilt is tearing apart your civilized soul? Is there any other way you can look out for only yourself? Why don’t you leave her the condom wrappers so you can show her how important safe sex is -- even with strangers? It isn’t always about you. For the first time in a long time, think about her instead of just your needs and feelings.
No.4 - Because you care about her
There is a reason you are dating her in the first place. You have a terrible way of showing it, but you really do care about her. If you didn’t care, then the one-night stand would have been much more. You do love her and if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be feeling this guilty. Cheating was bad enough, so the last thing you want to do is hurt her again. Telling her will crush her. Make it up to her by being a better boyfriend than before you cheated and actually show her how much she means to you.
No.5 - Because she will leave
It’s probably the most obvious outcome. She takes the news and gets out of Dodge. She will have no choice but to grab her things and never come back. She will go and take everything with her, including all of your mutual friends, all of the possessions you accumulated as a couple, the normal life you’ve grown to love, and she might even be so cold as to take your dog. Living with guilt might be better than living without her in your life.
No.6 - Because she'll get revenge
It might not be enough for her to just break things off; she may want to settle the score. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” can be translated into modern English as: “Watch out when you cross a woman.” She knows everything about you and most of the embarrassing things you do behind closed doors. She has personal contact with your friends, family, coworkers, and every other person in your life. There is nothing to stop her from spreading rumors and lies. Do you have any idea how easy it is to start a blog? This doesn’t just mean ruining your life now, but also any possible relationship you attempt to have in the future.
No.7 - Because she already beat you to it
Johnnie Taylor once asked the musical question: “Who’s making love to your old lady while you were out making love?” It’s a funny thought, but a damn good possibility. What makes you think that you're the only one in the relationship who cheated? Suppose she's been running around town more than a Kenyan marathon winner? Since you're letting all the skeletons out of your closet, she may feel the urge to purge all of her indiscretions. Do you really want to know that she may have not only cheated on you, but also that she possibly did it with someone you know? The bright side is that you will at least find out the real story behind that coworker she has lunch with every day.
No.8 - Because it gives her a card
If you tell her, she will hold in her hand what is known as the “trump card,” which beats every other card in the deck. She will be able to finish every argument by reminding you that you cheated. You will never win another hand again. Remember that one time you left the toilet seat up and she brings it up every time you argue or don’t want to go see another chick flick that involves a dead person with a broken heart? Cheating is the toilet seat multiplied by a gazillion. You will never hear the end of it -- not even during the opening credits.
No.9 - Because the other woman didn't mean anything
It was a fling. Maybe it was a few too many drinks and a sticky situation or maybe it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you would regret forever if you didn’t give it a shot. Whatever the circumstance, it’s never going to happen again. It could have been the greatest night of your lives, but it doesn’t matter because you both knew there was no chance of a repeat performance. Why admit to your woman that you made one mistake? If you had to admit to every mistake you’ve ever made you’d be apologizing for months.
No.10 - Because she'll never find out
Would you ever pull off the perfect crime and then call the cops to say: “Hey, guess what I did?” The deed is done and there are no trails leading back to the other woman. You cut all ties and made sure there is no way it can get back to your girlfriend. Not only does she not know about the cheating, she doesn’t have any reason to even let the thought cross her mind. She is clueless to the whole situation and the only way she will find out is if you open your big mouth. Remember the expression: “What you don’t know won’t hurt you?” Well, she doesn’t know, so it can’t hurt her. If she did know, however, she would hurt you.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA