The Lowdown on Cheating
Flings vs. Long-Term Affairs
A one-night stand or a fling is significantly different from a long-term affair, says Kirshenbaum. "Many flings are essentially experimental. Someone finds something missing in their relationship and checks out what it's like to be with someone else. It turns out to be not-so-great, and they end it. Surprisingly, if no one finds out, often no harm is done. A long-time affair is a sign of a deeper rift -- it's more likely to be found out, and it's more likely to cause more damage to the relationship when it is found out."
To Confess or Not to Confess? Which brings us to another point: Should you confess? In general, it's best to be honest, but our experts agree that there are circumstances when a spouse can spare his or her partner that information. "If a spouse has been suspicious and confronts him, he should confess," says Glass. "But if the spouse has no idea, and the betrayer takes responsibility for working it out on his own, he sometimes doesn't have to cause that kind of chaos," says Glass.
But once a confession is made, Glass says, absolute full disclosure is essential, and the cheater should own up to all affairs that have occurred during the relationship.