You Cheated on Him. Now What?

Should you confess? Keep it a secret? Find out how to deal when you stray.

Photo: Beth Studenberg
You may really dig your beau, but admit it, occasionally, when a yummy man crosses your path, you wonder what it might be like to get him in the sack. And these days, more and more chicks are caving in to the cheating impulse. "With the rising number of women in the workforce and on the Net, the opportunities to stray are increasing," says psychologist Marcella Bakur Weiner, PhD, author of Cheaters.

But whether it's a kiss or full-on intercourse, oftentimes the subsequent guilt is hard to shake. Fret not, girl. We'll help you handle the aftermath of your infidelity.

Don't Blab
Your mother may have told you that honesty is the best policy, but in this case, many experts advise keeping your mouth shut. "If it really was just one indiscretion, don't tell him," says Weiner. "Although it might make you feel better, it will only hurt him and ruin the trust between you." Even if the guilt is killing you, let it be your burden to bear. And don't tell other people either or you increase the possibility of his finding out.

Examine Your Motives
When a woman cheats, even just once, there's usually a problem in her relationship. "Women often stray if their sex lives are stagnant or they're feeling neglected," says Ruth Houston, author of Is He Cheating on You? "The other man fulfills something that her current guy isn't giving her."

If the love is worth salvaging, you have to fix the problem or the issues will fester. "Ask yourself why you did it," advises Weiner. "Then let your boyfriend know what you need from him." But still, do not confess.

Of course, the relationship could already be dead in the water. "You may just be too lazy or scared to address the issues," Houston points out. "So you sleep with someone else, trying to sabotage it, even if only subconsciously." Or you just want to see what else is out there before doing anything drastic. But do yourself (and your boyfriend) a favor: Cut the cord.

What if He Finds Out?
Even if you've covered your tracks, your man could discover your indiscretion. Assuming you still want to be with him, your best bet is to say how sorry you are, swear it'll never happen again, and beg for his forgiveness.

Now is not the time to get into the reasons why you did it. "Wait a couple weeks before airing your grievances," says Weiner. "He needs time to process the betrayal without being confronted with the mistakes he's made."

Finally, being cheated on can do a number on a person's self-esteem, so you have to stroke the poor boy's ego. Regardless, he will be pissed and might need space. If so, leave him alone until, fingers crossed, he forgives you.

Born to betray: Some chicks could be hard-wired to cheat. A study done on female twins at St. Thomas's Hospital in London suggests that one in five women may carry a genetic "cheating" trait.

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