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Geni 1
It's the kindest thing to do for your spouse, I think. In a situation like that, unburdening yourself ages later is for your OWN benefit, to ease your guilty conscience. What benefit does it give the spouse?
Posted by Geni on October 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 2
Keeping it to yourself then becomes "I got away with it" which then becomes "maybe one more time"...
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Beetlecat 3
@2 maybe that's all you take from this story; because you have a pea brain... ;D
Posted by Beetlecat on October 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM · Report this
4
If it happened once, it is likely to happen again. If he was going to confess at all, he really should have confessed before the wedding. Marina had the right to know what she was really getting into.
Posted by beentheredonethatgotthetshirt on October 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
OOF POOF 5
As a straightforward, blunt personality type, I'm a big fan of full disclosure. Guess that's why I'm single XD
Posted by OOF POOF on October 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
6
If you're the sort of person who insists on "full disclosure", then hopefully you'll end up with the sort of person who actually wants to receive full disclosure as well. Some people will be genuinely happier not knowing, so long as it will have no future consequences and won't happen again.

Having seen a case where a friend told his wife about his dalliance after the fact, I agree with Dan 100%. They turned out OK eventually, but nothing whatsoever was gained by anyone from his confession.
Posted by Morosoph on October 17, 2012 at 3:17 PM · Report this
ferret 7
From the little I get from this relationship, the infidelity was a minor part of the break up. It sounds like more of an excuse for the wife to kick her husband to the curb and get an upgrade that she has been looking at.

It is isn't the infidelity, as much confessing it can give the other spouse gives them a stick to browbeat the other spouse with. It could be for any fault or bad action of one's spouse..
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo on October 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM · Report this
8
Full disclosure could lead to this:

http://www.bbcamerica.com/the-inbetweene…
Posted by melville on October 17, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
9
The worst thing is that he'll be forking over 18 years of child support for a kid that he never will have a relationship with. What an idiot.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on October 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 10
Dr. Laura would also agree.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on October 17, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 11
Why does the affair have to be "deeply regretted" in order to be justifiably buried? Isn't the whole point is to spare your partner unnecessary pain and keep your partnership/family intact?

Posted by Tim Horton on October 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM · Report this
12
Ms Phoebe - You are correct, Madam.

Mainly, though, I just regret that anyone who would advise a woman whose gay best friend's family is calling her his fiancee to go along (by omission) with their libel at his funeral is getting any sort of positive mention from any right-thinking person.
Posted by vennominon on October 17, 2012 at 6:14 PM · Report this
13
The thinking of the guilty cheater seems to be that they aren't feeling guilty for cheating on their spouse. No, they're feeling guilty for... for... for not being truthful about it! That's the ticket. The first is something you live with for the rest of your life; the second something you correct by finding the "bravery" to be honest. If they confess the infidelity, dumping this unwanted eternal visual on their mate, then they don't have to carry the guilt around any more. It will be spread over to their mate, and all they have to do is wait for forgiveness. (Plus opportunity for self-pity.)

Basically it seems cruel. Selfish.
Posted by IPJ on October 17, 2012 at 6:31 PM · Report this
14
@12: I thought that was a case where all the options were bad, through no fault of the LW. Prudie suggested the one which would generate the least amount of drama.
Posted by IPJ on October 17, 2012 at 6:33 PM · Report this
mtnlion 15
Maybe I'm nuts but I'd rather have the truth. I can handle it. Also, I do think a "once-off" is extraordinarily rare. People get away with it, nothing bad happened, and the guilt doesn't last forever, so what exactly keeps them from cheating again? If you 'fess up, at least you can try to work through it and discuss the aspects of your relationship that lead to the cheating.

In the "cheat but don't tell" situation, your relationship remains the same, which is presumably what lead to the cheating in the first place (unless you're just not into monogamy, in which case, fucking speak up).
Posted by mtnlion on October 17, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 16
To those "got away with it so s/he'll do it again" folks- those aren't the people Prudie and Dan are talking to. Hard to believe, but some mature adults actually do feel they did a stupid, stupid and regrettable thing, and learned a lesson from it. When faced with the break up of a life together, loss of home, kids, and respect over a stupid one-nighter, I think many would take a lesson from it and should take their lesson and confession to their grave.
Unless of course they're not getting their needs met, in which case the relationship was doomed anyway without some serious reset. Those people *should* confess, to easier blow the whole doomed mess out of the water and move on with life, but only if they want the thing to end.
Posted by OutInBumF on October 17, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this
17
@15/16, how about we split the difference? If you do it once and feel super confident it will never happen again, then keep it under your hat. But time #2 (with the same person or someone else) is an indication that there's something seriously amiss with the current situation...

Posted by EricaP on October 17, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
mtnlion 18
I know you probably meant it sarcastically, but that whole "learned a lesson from it" thing actually is hard for me to believe.

People repeat mistakes, big and small, over and over again, no matter what they learned the first time. I'm not saying people can't change, but I think that if anyone was honest about it, you'd get a hundred times more repeat cheaters than one-timers.

Also, yeah, the one-nighter was stupid wasn't it? And does one's significant other not deserve to know the truth about the stupid one-time mistake-making person they've devoted their life to? After all, I think that instead of advocating that the cheater lie, we should advocate for the partner of the cheater to be more understanding (because these things do happen) and less "this has destroyed our whole world" about it. Then people could actually be honest, and the discussion that arises from it could actually be productive.
Posted by mtnlion on October 17, 2012 at 9:53 PM · Report this
19
/And does one's significant other not deserve to know the truth about the stupid one-time mistake-making person they've devoted their life to?/

In other words, the person they've devoted their life to?

If you've never made a mistake, if you've never inadvertently hurt a partner and/or done something fucking stupid, I take my hat off to you, sir or madam. Love is hard, life is long, shit gets weird. I've cheated, confessed, and been forgiven, and I am pretty damn dedicated to never making that mistake again, but honestly, had I not told, I don't see that being any different.
Posted by foxforcefive on October 18, 2012 at 1:27 AM · Report this
Megaera 20
Agreeing wholeheartedly with mtnlion @15 and 18. Having been on the receiving end of a painful disclosure, I'd rather know the people I'm in relationships with and have the opportunity to work through any issues. If I was ever on the other side of things, I'd assume my partners wanted the same. Also, I'd be worried to death that it would all come to light eventually and cause even more grief than an honest confession in the first place. I put absolutely no reliance on what is hidden staying hidden, even if I was silent on the topic myself.
Posted by Megaera on October 18, 2012 at 2:47 AM · Report this
21
I wished people could be sincere about such things in all cases, i.e. I wish people would understand such situations as they are, instead of taking offense at them so strongly as Mr Anastas' wife. (And maybe Mr Anastas himself -- how would he feel if the roles were reversed and his wife confessed to a quick one-night stand right after marrying him?)

But indeed the cultural attitude is against these things, and it seems the best course of action, if the situation is indeed as Dan (and Prudie) describe it, is the lie of omission. Even for the wife (or husband, if the roles were reversed).

It is a pity, but pragmatics is about what works, not about what is or isn't a pity.
Posted by ankylosaur on October 18, 2012 at 3:04 AM · Report this
sissoucat 22
@13 You're sooo right.

@mtnlion : let me tell you the tale of this cheater.

One day his wife comes home from work and he's crying. She's never seen him like that. She feels vaguely repulsed, but still asks him what's wrong ? He takes his time to answer, he doesn't want to tell, she has to pray him and cuddle him, but finally he blurts out, mere seconds before she gives up : "I'm in love with Y ! She's in love with me too ! I brought her home on the nth of this month and we almost fucked on the marital bed but we didn't ! It's horrible !"

So she's not too happy to heart that, right, but he's so distressed that it would be a rightful cruelty to be upset at him right now (and being upset at him means going for another week of having him like a fly constantly asking "What did I do wrong ? You've no right to treat me like this !"), so she lets it pass, with even few words of wisdom to him, although she's pretty taken down by the issue, even more because they've just bought a house for the birth of their 3rd kid, and he's increasingly been a pain in the ass lately but he's the father of her 3 kids so what can she do but stand him and stand by him ?

A bit later it's time for grocery shopping. For some stupid reason he tells her he'll go with one kid in his car and she has to go with the two others in hers. Driving in the rain, she ends up crying her head off and losing her way. So she's late at the grocery store. He's annoyed. When they go home he lashes at her : what the fuck is she being sad for ? Is that an act to punish him ? Didn't he fess up to his adulterous thinking, and in time too, before having done anything with Y ? And if his confession did hurt her, why did she pry his secret out of him, like that, by being all so nice earlier while he was crying ? It's all her fault !

And all that guy was asking for was just a little comprehension from his wife, who was so stuck up in her cultural expectations of cheating not having to be a part of her marriage...
More...
Posted by sissoucat on October 18, 2012 at 4:11 AM · Report this
23
Only in North America! In most parts of the world, and even in America in the 18th century (read up on Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), affairs - one-night stands or longer, are/were commonplace and not (necessarily) the end of the world or even of a marriage. Confessing to one, unless there is an unplanned consequence, is mostly for the opportunity for self-drama by the confessor. How could I do this to you? -shouts the confessor, expecting absolution. Better to let sleeping dogs lie, and live with the understanding that you are a fallible, temptable human being, not a saint on a pedestal. As for the possibility of some unplanned, dreadful, consequence - unlikely if you practice safe sex - you can also go for an unnecessary car ride and be involved in a horrible accident, or go for a hike and be killed by a rock falling on you (happened to someone I knew). Life is full of risks.
Posted by Smilingcat on October 18, 2012 at 6:35 AM · Report this
24
@4: "If it happened once, it is likely to happen again. If he was going to confess at all, he really should have confessed before the wedding. Marina had the right to know what she was really getting into."

Correct.

@7: "From the little I get from this relationship, the infidelity was a minor part of the break up. It sounds like more of an excuse for the wife to kick her husband to the curb and get an upgrade that she has been looking at."

Also correct.
Posted by seeker6079 on October 18, 2012 at 6:40 AM · Report this
25
@9: :"The worst thing is that he'll be forking over 18 years of child support for a kid that he never will have a relationship with. What an idiot."

She could have left him after the news. That she left him for another man only when she had his child and could snatch that away speaks of a hideous cruelty that infidelity and idiocy do not even approach in depth of ill-conduct. I think it's pretty typical of our fucked-up culture that even here among pretty damned open-minded people we are far more interested in parsing his cheating than the fact that the wife has strolled out the door with his chance to be a real father to his child.
Posted by seeker6079 on October 18, 2012 at 6:49 AM · Report this
mtnlion 26
Dude, she's sad because he loves someone else. They're marriage is over because he admitted he was in love with someone else; who cares if they fucked? This is another thing that a partner deserves to know so they can decide where to go from here.

I don't really get what you mean.

Posted by mtnlion on October 18, 2012 at 6:50 AM · Report this
27
In general, I don't like the whole "take it to your grave" thing, mostly because I see it as excusing the infidelity as an "Oops my bad" mistake, which diminishes not only the betrayal but the relationship itself.

No one cheats by accidentally tripping and falling on top of someone else. They make a series of conscious decisions to get into and stay in a situation where they KNOW they feel like cheating, even if they won't admit it to themselves.

But if you're in a relationship with someone who cares about you, they deserve to know how little you care about them. And yes, cry about how "unnatural" monogamy is all you want, but cheating on someone means you don't care about the relationship or the person enough to exercise self control.

And as for the whole "But it's never going to happen again" bullshit, I'm betting most of those people would have told you "It would never happen" before it did.
Posted by Catface Meowmers on October 18, 2012 at 7:12 AM · Report this
28
SmilingCat@23

Life is indeed full of risks. And some guarantees. If you shut your spouse out of a chunk of your life, the part where you enjoy having nasty dirty sex with someone else, then you guarantee that your marriage will not be the safe space for deep mutual understanding which it otherwise might have been.
Posted by EricaP on October 18, 2012 at 8:09 AM · Report this
29
I'm with Dan- if you know you're not going to do it again and you think it can be kept secret forever, do that.

Those of you who don't think that a person is really going to stop at just one- sometimes someone gets drunk, forgets they have a significant other, sees a hot person, and has sex with that person, and the next day they realize the sex wasn't worth it and oh god what if their relationship is over etc. etc. A lot of times, people don't cheat because there's something wrong with the relationship, they cheat because they were being stupid. These people tend to realize how stupid they were and plan ways not to be that stupid again: for instance, not getting that drunk, or making a drunk rule, or not putting their drunk asses in a situation where their drunk minds would be tempted. Often those people really never do cheat again. And while you are for the full-disclosure because apparently you are more comfortable with that, I personally wouldn't want to know. If they're never going to do it again, what could telling me possibly do but make me feel needlessly insecure in the relationship? Oh, other than make them feel better because they've unloaded all their guilt onto me.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 18, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
mtnlion 30
New rule: if in a monogamous relationship, have an "if you cheat, please do/do not tell" clause. That removes the dilemma. If one cheats, they can know what their SO would want--to keep quiet and just never do it again, or to be upfront and be met with a degree of understanding and appreciation for honesty.

@29, also, how does one ever know that they're not going to do it again? They probably never thought they'd do it the first time. I think you're giving people way too much credit in their ability to realize/learn/act different for the rest of their lives.
Posted by mtnlion on October 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM · Report this
31
@30: Honestly, one knows because the circumstances before one cheats for the first time and after are very different. Before, you might blithely assume that because you're "not that kind of person" and you love your partner, you're not going to cheat on them. Maybe after, you realize you actually might be that kind of person and take action to not get into a situation like that again.

Honestly, this is a terrible comparison, but I didn't think I was the type of girl who would get drunk and get sexually assaulted until I was, and realized it could happen to anyone. Thereafter, I adjusted my behavior so that I wouldn't get myself into such a vulnerable position again. (Side note: I wish that I didn't HAVE to adjust my behavior, but in the world as it is, it wasn't safe not to.) Do I know that I'll NEVER be sexually assaulted again? No. Am I much less likely to be sexually assaulted again, now that I am much more careful about protecting myself? I'd like to think so. I'd also like to think a person who thought their love and "niceness" would protect them from temptation would be much more careful going forward not to do it again.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM · Report this
mtnlion 32
@31, I think it's easier to modify your behavior when you're doing it so you don't get sexually assaulted--where the consequences of rape can be so traumatic and horrible--than for a cheater to modify his behavior where the consequences of not telling his SO were... he/she felt guilty for a little while?

If the punishment for the behavior isn't harsh enough (two-week guilty conscience), and the reward of the behavior is quite great (hot dirty sex with a babe you never have to talk to again), a change in behavior will not occur. Simple psychology. After doing it a few times, the cheating is normalized and he/she hardly feels guilty at all anymore unless they get caught.

I'd rather know the truth and I will always tell the truth about my loyalty.
Posted by mtnlion on October 21, 2012 at 12:36 AM · Report this

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