Telling Your Spouse About Your Affair

Bayo Ajibola

You cheated on your spouse and the thought of coming clean fills you with so much dread and you just don’t want to dwell on it. Unfortunately everything done in secret always comes to light. Your spouse will find out and from the most unexpected of sources. Many times it will be at the most inopportune time for you if you keep it a secret. The best thing to do is to gather courage and come clean.

Telling the truth is never easy when you are bound to disappoint someone who loves you. You may try and convince yourself to wait for the perfect time but when is a good time to tell someone you betrayed their trust and smiled lovingly at them the whole time as you declared your undying love for them? It will hurt badly and cause a rift in your union until your spouse works through their emotions. Whatever outcome after that will depend on how you handle yourself during that time and how convinced your spouse is. It however begins with you taking the first step and coming clean.

Find a private place

This is a sensitive conversation and requires utmost privacy. Having it in public won’t keep it from escalating, as many people assume. You also don’t want strangers listening to your dirty laundry. If you choose to do it at home pick a time when the children aren’t home. Children shouldn’t hear this conversation.

Pick a time when there aren’t distractions like an impending interview or meeting. Let it be when you both have clear minds and aren’t too tired from the day’s stresses or have heightened emotions.

Tell it all

You may want to keep some details to yourself especially when you see the hurt on your partner’s face but stay on course and resist that urge. It is important that your spouse hears all of it from you. Imagine if you told only half the story and the rest comes out when you’re working towards repairing the relationship. That would break their trust all over again and may be irreparable this time round as they imagine what other things you may have kept from them.

Be sure to let your spouse know that you are about to tell them something important but painful before you start. Apologize and assure them that you truly are sorry. You want your marriage to be strong again? Don’t be afraid to admit that to your spouse even though the timing seems odd.

Don’t defend your actions or make demands

There is a high likelihood that your spouse will come at you with questions, some of which may be hurtful. Suck it in and don’t defend yourself when the tough questions come. So there’s no room for “I cheated because you’re never home” or “She made me feel like a king”. Take in those punches as they come (the verbal punches, not physical punches) and keep apologizing. It’ll hurt right now and you might want the earth to swallow you but it’ll be worth it in the end. If it does get physical do not engage. The last thing you need is a fist-fight with someone you’re trying to patch things up with. Give them space to calm down and revisit the discussion later.

You also need to remember that at this point you can’t ask your partner to forgive you and start afresh and expect them to do so immediately. There is no way you can ask for anything at this point actually and expect it to be granted. Just keep your cool even if they ask you to leave without responding to anything you said.

Give your spouse space and time to process what you just said and heal. You may need to be a little more accountable over the next few months so your spouse can trust you again. Money, whereabouts, phone, social media and email all count here. It may feel restrictive at first but it goes a long way so don’t get dissuaded by anyone who tries to convince you that it’s too much.

It will take time to get anywhere close to where your marriage used to be but with commitment and communication you will get there.

Bayo Ajibola

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