Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Truth About Infidelity (part 3) - To Tell or Not To Tell?

Would you tell your partner that you had an affair?

In a recent study on infidelity:
-Women are more likely to admit
-Women are more likely to end a relationship after they are unfaithful
-Women are more likely to begin a relationship with the person they had an affair with
-Men on average have more affairs than women

Some say honesty is the best policy while others think confessions are only good for the guilty.  Do people admit affairs to repair their relationships and gain forgiveness from their partners or do they admit affairs to clear their own conscience?

The reasons why people admit affair are varied and depend on many different motives:
     Regret - ashamed of behavior and confess out of 
                   obligation to partner
     Absolution - to forgive themselves some need                                      forgiveness from their partner
     Discontent - due to misery, confession is given 
                   hoping that relationship will end 
     Fear - admission due to anxiety that the truth will
                   eventually surface 

Yet, there are reasons why people choose to keep an affair secret:
     Worry- admission may end the relationship so some 
     Indifference - not caring whether relationship lasts or
               not, but silence keeps the peace
     Fear - information about affair may cause partner to
               seek revenge and have an affair themselves
     Status Quo- keep quiet because conflict resulting from 
               admission is undesirable
     History - it is not worth it to admit a one-time mistake 
               that will not happen again

In the end, is it better to tell the truth?  

Would you rather your partner tell you about an affair or keep it a secret?

Source: Brand, R. J., Markey, C. M., Mills, A. & Hodges, S. D. (2007) Sex differences in self-reported infidelity and it correlates. Sex Roles, 57, 101-109.

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