Ask Pheonix

Phoenix B. Rishon

Dear Phoenix, I cheated on my boyfriend, and now I do not know what to do. I do not want to break up with him, but I am scared to tell him. What should I do?

Dear  struggling partner,

 Everyone knows relationships are difficult to maintain and often result in heartache. This can be found in nearly all movies, books or social networking sites. The topic of cheating is difficult to discuss because so many people have been in your, or your boyfriend’s, shoes. Neither of you want the relationship to end, but you made a poor decision that may facilitate a breakup, if and when he finds out. Everybody has a different method to deal with it, and conflicting advice from several people can cause extreme confusion.

You should be under the impression that he will inevitably find out, whether from you or someone else. Unless you are in a long-distance relationship, your partner probably talks to many of the same people as you, which increases the likelihood that he will find out. It is much better if you tell him instead of letting him find out from someone else. If you plan to stay with him for the rest of your life, do not mislead him into believing that you are a completely faithful spouse. Honesty and communication are essential components of any genuine relationship. I have heard stories of relationships that heal even after a partner is unfaithful because both communicated honestly instead of keeping it a secret.  So it is possible to heal, but it takes those key components along with time and effort to rebuild trust.

If you are in a long-distance relationship, however, infidelity has the same magnitude, but the cause of the act may be more easily understood. A lot of sexual, emotional and mental frustration can result from the strain of separation. The one you love is in a different zip code and all the two of you want to do is exchange physical touch. If your head is currently stuck in the gutter, call for help, because I am not just talking about sexual intercourse.

While intercourse is important and meaningful in some relationships, never underestimate the power of a simple hug. Everyone needs meaningful physical contact like a hug or a kiss. Therefore, infidelity may be more understandable to the betrayed partner, but is no excuse or justification for the act.

A final note is to never repeat the infidelity. If you feel guilt from doing it once, how do you think you will feel if you repeat this act? In addition to seeking your partner’s forgiveness, you need to forgive yourself as well. Many people who make the same mistake will mentally beat themselves up over it until their mental state resembles that of Eeyore. If you cannot forgive yourself, it can damage more than just your relationship.

I hope this helps. This is a difficult situation, but remember that if this relationship fails, pick yourself up, learn from it and continue on with your life. It may cause heartache and struggle, but life will go on.

Toodles for now,

Phoenix Rishon

Questions can be submitted by email to [email protected].

‘Ask Phoenix’ does not substitute for a professional psychologist or psychiatrist. If you need psychological support: Contact the UMKC Counseling Center at 816-235-1635. If you are in crisis or thinking about suicide you deserve immediate support. Contact the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are in immediate danger or in crisis, please call 911.