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How to get out of this affair?


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We are only advising her to tell the truth as it's better coming from her, than from a disgruntled Brad who may run all over town telling anyone that will listen that she's a cheater. Brad dosn't even know he's the other guy! Plus she's told g/friends who can sink ships with loose lips.


Poor old Doug, he's sure gonna hear about it, maybe not now, but he will hear about it.

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This neither an ideal nor a lofty moral principle. This is just common courtesy to fellow people, I mean presumably she loves both men right? Then act accordingly. To lie and cheat is selfish and goes against her claim of caring for these guys. I do believe that ignorance is bliss however everyone involved in this situation are adults. They are entitled to the truth if not by principles then at the very least, by the fact that she cares for them.


I mean we would all agree there are certain rules that come with being in a relationship right?

-no abuse of any kind

-no infidelity

-no lying


Unless otherwise agreed upon by both parties. I mean just think about it, if the OP was in the same situation what would she wish for?

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This was in reference to the hypotheticals. No, not disclosing in this case isn't robbing anyone. What did you take from them? Robbing implies taking something. Nothing was taken. The goal of this situation is for her to make a decision, move forward, and make peace with herself.


I disagree that this is the goal here. That may be what the OP wants, but she doesn't deserve it and if she keeps either of these men because she chooses to perpetuate her lie then what she has is an illusion anyway - he would only be with her because of the lie. Completely selfish. It's up to these men to forgive her or not, but they need to be presented with the facts to make that choice.


I realize we all make mistakes but me personally, I don't want to date anyone who's been a cheater ever - period. Nobody has to like that, but it's my personal decision about how I want to conduct myself and my life. I choose not spend my valuable time with someone who has made that mistake, regardless of what their excuse is. I don't think there's ever a good excuse and it says something about you that is important to me and a dealbreaker. These men may feel the same way and deserve an opportunity to know who it is that they are dating.

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I'll add my two cents since there seems to be a tide of "don't tell the one you're with because it will just **** things up." and I'd like to counteract that if I can.


First and most obviously, break up with Brad, tell him the truth and come clean. You must tell him the truth of the matter too, because it's the only way you can make sure you won't be tempted to lie to him again. He's probably not going to appreciate being lied to, and will probably be (rightfully) angry. But who knows? He might be emotionally mature and temper his anger with respect for you coming clean when you didn't "have" to. I wouldn't count on it though. When hurt, most people become incredibly short sighted and refuse to see anything but the fact they're hurt.


As for keeping it under wraps from Doug, I can understand the logic. It really doesn't do any apparent good to come clean. I mean, you're really only hurting yourself and adding pain to someone else who thought things were just fine and dandy, right? (I'm assuming that Doug thought things were fine and dandy, anyway.) And not only that, everyone (yes, EVERYONE!) does horrible things to other people and just ends up burying them, so why should this be different?


The difference between cheating, and the multitude of other ways we clever humans have fashioned for hurting each other profoundly in relationships is small, but significant. Most of the other terrible ways to hurt someone in a relationship are "honest." I.E. leaving someone to focus on a career, or leaving someone because they're going through a funk and too afraid to seek counseling so they just break it off, etc. I use the quotes around honest because in EVERY horrible relationship transgression, there is an element of dishonesty. Pretending everything is fine and soldiering on is dishonesty, but society places undue value on this, hence why people find it an admirable trait. What can I say? It's messed up all around, but I digress.


Cheating has an element of lasting dishonesty that's built right into it. Trust me, I know. And pretending it did not happen for the sake of another, and "living with the guilt" to avoid hurting someone sounds respectable, doesn't it? (see above about society's misplaced ideals about soldiering on instead of being open and communicative.)


But here's the thing. OP, You obviously have a conscience or you wouldn't be posting on here. As someone who cheated before, I unfortunately speak from experience when I say that this will eat you up inside if you try to keep it under wraps (I didn't last long.) You will crack and it will show. You might space out, or just be in a depressed funk. You'll probably find yourself growing emotionally detached from Doug, and if he has even a bit of connection to you, he'll notice. You'll tell him nothing is wrong, and he'll get worried, because the poor guy will probably convince himself that he must be doing something wrong, but his awesome significant other is trying to take all the hurt on herself.


So you'll be driving a wedge, the rift will widen. You might be unable to stand yourself anymore and tearfully break up with him, telling him "it's not you, it's me" or some such. He'll wonder why the person he cared about abandoned him like that and might wonder why he's so screwed up that he drove you away. OR, you might break down and tell him at some point in the future, thinking that time has passed and you've done so much good that it will be a wash. It won't, and he'll be even more devastated.


These are just conjecture, of course, but the gist is this: Eventually you will break, or he will. The only possible exception to this is if you were a sociopath (and if so, not the stabby-slashy kind, I hope) and were able to see everything as an advantage/disadvantage without regard for morality. Then you might be able to pull it off, but... given your original post, I doubt that


So yes, tell him the truth, all of it. Not just to uphold some lofty principle, but because it's the only way you can move forward and be a better human being. I wish I could tell you that telling the truth will set you free, unburden you, toss of the miserable yoke of lies... but it doesn't. Truth-telling almost never benefits the person who tells it and yet it's often seen that way. And sadly, if you do tell the truth, they won't see it as a sacrifice, though it's one of the most painful ones you'll probably ever make. But it is the only way you can "start fresh" and actually become a better person, instead of just pretending, or worse, repeating your mistakes (which unfortunately a lot of cheaters do.)



If you read this you've probably gathered that I don't agree that the OP should keep it under wraps But I do agree that it's horrible that people are begrudging the OP for posting about it and being honest about her conflicted feelings. This is an advice forum, people. And if the only people who posted on here seeking advice were nice, straightforward people who had never hurt others but only been hurt themselves, then the total forum population would probably be like... 100? Meaning most of us posting here wouldn't be posting.


Now it's not my intention to imply that almost everyone has made some horrendous mistake in their past, or hurt someone in a way that's every bit as terrible as cheating. And I'm certainly not trying to imply that the people who are knocking the OP down a peg or two are able to do so by throwing up false distinctions between their own mistakes and hers. No, I don't mean to imply that at all. I'M STATING IT EXPLICITLY. In boldface caps, even.

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