How to Tell Your S.O. You Cheated

Cheating is bad—there's no getting around that.

It's hurtful, selfish and incredibly damaging to be unfaithful to your partner if you've agreed to be in an exclusive romantic relationship.

But life is messy. We all make our fair share of mistakes, and sometimes our flawed nature might result in a moment of infidelity. It happens. The best thing you can do is own up to your actions and attempt to move past it.

But how can you break the difficult news to a partner you really care about? Keep scrolling for our best tips on how to tell your S.O. you cheated.

Figure Out Why It Happened

Cheating usually doesn't come out of nowhere. Human beings are generally sympathetic and don'want to hurt people they care about, so it's likely that there was something in your relationship or within yourself that spurred your cheating. Before you tell your partner about your unfaithfulness, take some time to be introspective and attempt to determine the cause of your cheating. Do you have some commitment issues you need to work through? Were you angry at your partner? Do you simply not care about your S.O. as much anymore? Whatever the case may be, you have to go into the conversation with your significant other with some kind of idea about the cause of your cheating so you can address those issues and how they might affect the future of your relationship.

Friends: Rachel and Ross pointing at each other

(Friends via NBC)


Decide What You Want

After you've determined why you cheated, you have to think about how your cheating is going to affect your relationship. More specifically, where do you want things to go from here? Do you want to stay together or do you think it's better for both of you if you go your separate ways? Are you asking for forgiveness and a second chance or are you planning a breakup? Your conclusion at this stage is crucial, as it will guide your entire conversation with your partner, so determine what you want and plan your speech around that.


Plan a Moment

Confessing to your partner that you cheated is not something to be taken lightly. No matter how you look at it, it's not going to be an easy conversation, so you should not just word vomit it out. Plan a moment to tell your S.O. where you're in a safe, comfortable and private place with plenty of time to truly dig into the topic. You don't want to have this conversation in public and you definitely don't want it to be cut short because that means you'll have to face the issues again in the future. Planning a moment to tell your S.O. ensures that you can hash everything out and then be done with it, which is crucial to the success of your conversation.


Be Honest

If you've cheated on your partner and you need to tell them, you can't attempt to soften the blow by only revealing half the story or sugar coating what really happened. The truth always has a way of coming out, and any dishonesty in your confession will only add to the betrayal your partner is already feeling. You have to tell the whole truth about your unfaithfulness, even the parts you know will be especially hurtful. Not only does your partner deserve to know all the information in order to decide what they want moving forward, but the only hope you have for a healthy relationship in the future hinges on getting everything out in the open and eliminating any secrets between the two of you.

Gossip Girl: Chuck and Blair

(Gossip Girl via The CW)


Answer All Their Questions

When you reveal that you cheated, your partner is bound to have questions. As much as you might want to brush your infidelity under the rug and move on, you owe it to them to give them the answers they want. It's not up to you to decide if they're torturing themselves or dwelling on on unnecessary information. You were the one who messed up and your partner needs to be able to cope with their emotions in their own way, free of your opinions. Answering your S.O.'s questions will give them the info they need to properly process and confront their feelings. It's part of their search for closure, and you owe it to them to help them understand why and how this happened.



It should go without saying, but your confession should always include an apology. Even if you believe your unfaithfulness was spurred by unfair treatment from your partner, there's really no excuse to break the bond of trust in your relationship. Whether you're planning to stay with your S.O. or you're only telling them so you can break up with them, you should always apologize for messing up and hurting them. It will help you clear your conscience and it'll show your partner that you still care about their feelings in general, even if this isn't the right relationship for either of you.


Don't Pass the Blame

Under no circumstances should you pass the blame for your cheating onto your partner. First of all, you're the only person who can control your actions, so blaming your partner for your mistake isn't very logical. Second, it's only going to devolve the conversation into an angry discussion where both of you are pointing fingers at each other, which isn't helpful for anyone. Even if you truly believe your partner is to blame in some way, avoid saying that. Focus on "I" statements and on the relationship as a whole, not on what your partner specifically could have done differently.

Jughead yelling at Betty on The CW's Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)


Give Them Space

When people mess up, it's natural to want immediate forgiveness. None of us enjoy feeling guilty or upset with ourselves, so it only makes sense that you want your partner to immediately absolve your mistake and move forward. But you just can't expect that. Cheating is seriously hurtful, so you have to give your partner space and time to think things through and come to terms with what happened. They might forgive you within hours or they may never forgive you—anything is a possibility when someone's feelings are hurt. However, what you can't do is pester them into saying everything's okay. It will only lead to bitterness and frustration from both of you. Confess what you have to say, and then give your S.O. space to deal with it on their own.


Forgive Yourself

Cheating is unquestionably wrong and can make you feel truly terrible, but at some point, you just have to forgive yourself and move on. One mistake doesn't define who you are. Cheating doesn't make you a bad person in general and it doesn't mean you're incapable of having a happy relationship—it simply means you made a mistake. You can learn from that experience and channel it into becoming a better version of yourself, but continuing to beat yourself up will only have a negative effect. In order to improve your relationships in the future, you simply have to forgive yourself and move forward. Otherwise, you're going to continue to sabotage your relationships because you haven't dealt with your own negative feelings about yourself.


Worried your partner is being unfaithful to you? Click HERE for six subtle signs your S.O. might be cheating on you.