Sunday, October 10, 2010

Q. My partner has asked me to marry him, but I feel so guilty. Three years ago I had an affair I never told him about. Is it unfair to keep this from him? Should I own up before we get married or pretend it never happened?

A. This is one of those situations with no straight forward answer - you could lose out whatever you decide to do. The thing is that secrets are unhealthy in relationships, and no matter how tempting it may be not to tell, be careful that the secret you keep doesn't create distance between you. If you decide to confess, be prepared for things to be difficult - your partner will feel angry, betrayed and disillusioned. You'll have to work hard to earn his trust again. Relationships can survive adultery and even grow stronger because of it. By deciding when to tell him, you're at least likely to feel more in control. Plan what you're going to say and make sure your apology is sincere. Try to explain why you cheated and why you'll never do it again. Ask him what he needs you to do to begin making things right. Then try to work together to heal your relationship. But remember - it may be something he can't forgive, no matter how long ago it happened.

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