There’s a part from The All-American Rejects video “Dirty Little Secret” that grabs my attention every time. In it, various people hold up placards with their secrets/truths written down. One person in particular holds up their secret with a card saying, “People think I’ve stopped lying…but I’ve gotten better at it.” In a pretty memorable visual clip, that’s the moment that has always stayed with me. I see lying as a habit that only gets better with age, so much so that some don’t even realize when they do it, as well as the potential and residual damage it could cause them or another person. That’s why lying in relationships is never a good idea – even lies by omission.
I was catching up with a friend of mine and swapping dating tales. My friend used to be a Casanova, and that’s being polite. He is now married, kid on the way, and everything seems perfect. We somehow got to talking about infidelity, and what that meant for both of us. So I asked if he had ever cheated, and he admitted he had — on the woman who is now his wife. As they’re having a baby, I figured that this was something they worked through and I wanted to gain some more insight on how they were able to. It was then that he followed up with “Oh, we never had to work through that,” he said. She doesn’t know”
“What do you mean she doesn’t know?” I replied. I was so disappointed and needed to know more.
“I just never told her about it,” he stated.
“How long did it go on for?” I asked.
“Maybe about a year – off and on.”
I asked him what had changed, if anything, and if he was presently cheating on his wife. He said he wasn’t. I asked why he never confessed what he did to his wife, and what he said left me gobsmacked: “I never told her because I stopped. I stopped cheating so I don’t have to talk about it and it hasn’t happened since. Why ruin us by telling her?”
I am no relationship expert, but the saying that “The truth shall set you free” couldn’t be more appropriate, and it works for both parties. I get it, if a crisis has been handled, you think, why rock the boat? Except, when it comes to the idea of infidelity, I firmly believe that you need to be honest. Not telling his wife is entrapment in the worst revolving lie possible. The man you married, though reformed, is not who you think he is. And just because he purged himself of his shortcomings doesn’t make the omission of the truth a good thing.
To me, she deserves to know because his infidelity is just as much about him as it is about her. Now, I’m not saying that she may have been the cause of his straying, but there is something to be said for being able to effectively communicate with the person you’re with and be vulnerable enough to expose the worst part of yourselves. Isn’t this why we all do this love thing?
I believe in honesty and transparency. She has the right to know, whether it’s something that happened ages ago or is happening presently. She deserves the decency of being able to make a well-informed decision on whether or not the man she is with is who she believes him to be — and to decide for herself if she can move forward from past betrayal.
What would you guys do? Be honest and take your chances – or just let sleeping dogs lie?
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