The Cheat

Dear Darcy:

I almost can’t believe I’m admitting this but I cheated on my girlfriend last night.  I’ll spare you the gory details but I woke up today (with her, not my g.f.) and I wanted to shoot myself.  I don’t know why I did it.  I wasn’t drunk, mad, we have a good sex life. I’m such an asshole.  Does this mean the relationship’s over?  I need to tell her, right?

ANSWER

I’ll never understand why people ever choose to spare me the gory details of a hook up, but that’s another issue altogether.

OK, you, my friend, are a mess.  Let me start with your last two questions and I’ll work my way up.

Yes, you should tell her.  Give her the opportunity to decide what she’d like to do with the information.  It means risking rejection, but it shows some character, and after last night, you need to illuminate as much of your character as you can.

People cheat for a reason, and often that reason goes unknown.  If you choose to bypass the whys, you are much more likely to repeat the mistake, and once you repeat it, you can't call it a mistake – it becomes a coping mechanism, albeit, a dysfunctional one.  So I suggest you figure out what you’re coping with so that you can find an alternative method to employ the next time you get the itch.

The relationship is not necessarily over.  If cheating were a universal deal-breaker, I suspect the divorce rate would be well over 80% instead of hovering at just over 50%.  People forgive, particularly women. Whether you’re worthy of that forgiveness remains to be seen.

Since you’re asking, I’ll tell you that I think you’re sabotaging the relationship and at some level you’d like nothing more than to be cut loose from the girlfriend.  Some people find it easier to fuck up and be drop-kicked than to be the drop-kicker.  If guilt is a frequent companion of yours, I probably guessed right on this one.  Well, you just may get your unconscious wish.  I’m just sorry that you’ll be leaving a casualty in your wake for some other woman or women to clean up.