138: Telling a New Partner About Your History with Infidelity

Apr 25, 2023

You get to decide what you share about yourself with other people. If you have stories of life experiences, whether those stories have a place in the present is up to you. You aren’t wedded to your past, so if you’re considering telling a new partner about your history with infidelity, listen to this episode first to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Even if you decide to tell your new partner about your past infidelity, you don’t have to subscribe to the idea that you’re a bad person, apologize for it, excuse yourself, or attempt to redeem yourself. Some people are going to react from the belief that cheating is objectively bad, so Dr. Marie Murphy is showing you how to work with that aspect of social reality too.

Tune in this week to decide what you want to do if you’re feeling any pressure to disclose your history of infidelity to a new partner. Dr. Marie Murphy is discussing the work you need to do with yourself before you start disclosing your past infidelity to someone you’re dating, and how to see the end of a past relationship as something other than an indication that you’re horribly flawed as a human.

If you’re ready to take this topic deeper in a confidential and compassionate environment, you can schedule an introductory coaching session with Dr. Marie Murphy by clicking here!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How people often think, because they’ve done certain things in the past, they have to disclose it to a new partner.

  • Why it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to share your past infidelity with a new partner.

  • How some people believe cheating is objectively wrong and makes you a bad person, but you don’t have to buy into that idea.

  • The work you have to do with yourself before you start disclosing certain aspects of your past with people you’re dating.

  • How to take charge of what the end of a relationship means to you and about you.

  • Ways to gain perspective of your past infidelity and how to decide on what you want to do moving forward.

  • How to approach a conversation about your history with infidelity, if that’s what you decide to do.

Listen to the Full Episode:


Featured on the Show:

about what they’re going to do.  No shame, no blame, no judgments.  If you want help working through any aspect of your infidelity situation, let’s work together.  You can schedule an introductory coaching session with me through my website, mariemurphyphd.com.  I offer confidential, compassionate coaching via Zoom, which means we can work together no matter where you’re located.  I can’t wait to meet you.

Today we’re going to talk about how you can talk to a new partner, or a new prospective partner, about your history of infidelity.

Now, before I go any further, let me make something really clear.  You get to decide what you share about yourself with other people.  You get to decide which stories of your life experiences are stories you want to tell, and which experiences you do not want to tell the stories of.  You get to decide which of your life experiences you relegate to the compost bin of history, and maybe even forget about entirely, and which experiences deserve to have a place in the present.  You aren’t wedded to your past in any particular way, and you aren’t obligated to talk about any particular aspects of your past.  How could you be?  Your life is your own, and nobody else gets to decide what you share about it.  

I say all of this because I know that some people think about this stuff differently.  I know that some people think that we actually DO owe it to other people to talk about particular aspects of our life experiences, or to confess particular things we’ve done or experienced in the past.  Some people think that if you’ve done certain things or had certain experiences, you HAVE to disclose that stuff to a new partner, or someone who could become a new partner.  It’s kind of like the laws that dictate what you have to disclose about certain chemicals or substances that may be present in a building.  If there’s lead in the paint, you have to disclose that.  At least in some places.  If there’s asbestos present in a building, you have to inform people.  

But this doesn’t have to be the way you think about yourself and your history with infidelity.  You don’t have to think that you’re obligated to talk about your experiences with infidelity, and you certainly don’t have to behave as if you are.  You don’t have to do anything!  So instead of thinking about what you might HAVE to share about your experiences with infidelity, it may be more useful to ask yourself what you WANT to share about yourself with others.  Because many people DO want to share stories of their life experiences with people they care about.  And more specifically for today’s purposes, if you’re dating, or if you’re getting into a new relationship, or if you’re getting to know people who you think might turn into romantic partners, you might want to hear about their romantic histories, and you might want to share some elements of your own romantic history with them.  And if your romantic history includes a lot of infidelity, or an infidelity situation that you consider pretty significant, you might want to share that with new people you meet, for any number of reasons.  And you may be wondering how to talk about those experiences.

As you consider how you might talk about your history of infidelity with new people, new potential partners, here's a little paradox for you to be aware of.

Even if some people think that infidelity is bad, and that being involved in any kind of infidelity situation makes you potentially bad, or counts as a red flag, or as a mark against you, that doesn’t mean that they’re right in any way.  You do not have to agree with what other people think about infidelity, or about you and your history with infidelity.  

AND, you may also want to take the fact that some people get kinda freaked out about infidelity seriously.  This may be a paradox, but it is not a contradiction.  You do not have to buy into the idea that cheaters are bad, or anyone involved in any kind of cheating is bad.  But you can take the fact that some people think this as a given, and decide how you want to work with that aspect of social reality.  In other words, you can take the fact that some people may get kinda freaked out about cheating seriously, without getting too concerned about that.  And I will explain what I mean by that throughout this episode.

Now, before you even think about what you might say to a nice new person you’ve met about your history with infidelity, your first order of business is to manage what YOU think about your history of infidelity.  You cannot skip this step.  Yes, it is important to think about what you want to tell people about your experiences, but you want to take charge of what you think about yourself and your experiences first.

Sometimes, when people emerge from a major relationship that involved infidelity, they have a LOT of thoughts about what their participation in that relationship means about them.  And of course, this can be true after ANY major relationship ends, whether there was any infidelity involved or not.  If you’re just getting divorced, you probably have a lot of thoughts about your soon-to-be ex, and yourself, and what happened between the two of you, and what went wrong, and what could have been different, and all that good stuff.  And that’s FINE.  But that’s not necessarily material you want to bring to a first date.  You probably want to get your thoughts in order about your divorce, and digest your own feelings to some extent, before you start talking about your divorce with people you’re dating.  

And if you’re just emerging from a major relationship in which infidelity was a factor, in a sense it’s the same thing, just with another layer of details.  Here’s an example of what this can look like.  Sometimes, people have been involved with someone who is technically committed to someone else.  They’re the “other person,” in other words.  And sometimes that other person thinks the person they’re involved with is going to leave their committed relationship to be with them, and then that doesn’t happen.  And the other person, or ex-other person, may have been waiting for their person to leave their committed relationship for months or years or maybe even more than a decade.  But then things don’t work out the way they’d hoped.  Maybe the “other person” decides they don’t want to wait anymore, or maybe the person they’re involved with says they aren’t actually going to leave their committed relationship.  And the person who was in the role of “other person” may walk away from the relationship thinking that their person didn’t choose them.  And they make that mean that there’s something wrong with them.  Or they make it mean that they weren’t good enough, or weren’t worth it, or were otherwise lacking.  And thinking that way about yourself usually feels TERRIBLE.

On top of that, sometimes the person in this position will give themselves a really hard time for having been party to someone else’s cheating for as long as they were.  That can feel pretty bad too!  And as if all of that weren’t enough, sometimes the other person ends up asking themselves what’s wrong with them for not having seen how things would turn out, or for not having known that their person wasn’t going to leave their committed relationship.  And of course, some people who are in this kind of a situation think other not so nice things about themselves, too.  But the three kinds of thoughts I just mentioned are sort of the greatest hits.  My person didn’t choose me, so that must mean I’m not good enough.  I participated in my person’s cheating for all this time, and I don’t feel great about myself for having done that.  And oh my god, how did I not see this coming?  How did I not know that things would turn out this way?  I must be so stupid, or blind, or naïve, I should have known that things would have turned out differently, and I shouldn’t have wasted so much time waiting.

Here's the thing, people.  If you’re thinking this way on the heels of things not working out with someone you were hoping things would work out with, that’s understandable.  That said, it probably will not do you any favors to keep thinking this way for very long.  At some point, you want to consciously take charge of what the end of your relationship means to you and means about you.  And this may be something that you need help with, and if you do, there’s nothing wrong with that.  That’s what all of the wonderful relationship coaches of this world are here for – to help you consciously take charge of the meaning you give to a relationship ending.  And of course, I am one such source of help if you want to work though the end of a relationship in which you were the “other person.”

The most general reason why it’s so valuable to consciously decide what you want to make the relationship that has ended mean is so that you can feel better about yourself sooner rather than later, so that you be more of the human you want to be in the world!  That’s important and worthwhile in so many ways!  But more specifically for today’s purposes, the more specific point is that you probably do not want to head into your next relationship thinking that there’s something wrong with you, or you weren’t good enough, and that you did something really bad for a long time, and that you should have been able to see the whole thing coming anyway.  

So the question is, how can you reframe your experience in your own thinking in a way that allows you to see the experience as something other than an awful indication that you’re horribly flawed?  I’m not suggesting that you need to look back on your experience and say, “Yup, that was totally great, I can’t wait to do something like that all over again, where do I sign up?”  And I’m not suggesting that you can or should try to make cookies out of shit.  I’m not suggesting you want to pretend that what happened was fine with you if it wasn’t.    

Rather, I am suggesting that in addition to recognizing whatever you didn’t like about your experience, you can also view whatever happened as part of the richness – and strangeness – of the human experience, and you can focus on what you learned from what happened, or what was great about what happened, and you can focus on letting the experiences you had inform your vision for the future.

So let’s say you were involved with a married person for seven years.  You were the other person for seven years.  And for most of that time, the married person you were involved with told you that they were going to leave their spouse so they could be with you.  But that didn’t happen.  Maybe they made it clear that they were never going to leave their spouse, and they did it in a way that you really didn’t like.  And maybe you feel like shit about how the whole thing went down.

Here's the thing.  No matter what happened, you get to decide what you think about it.  You get to determine your narrative of the events.  You could tell yourself that you were an idiot for waiting around for so long, and you shouldn’t have been so stupid, and the fact that you were willing to put yourself in the pathetic position that you did is obviously evidence that you have commitment issues and attachment issues and availability issues and mommy issues and daddy issues and will never be able to have normal relationship ever in your life.  I know I’m getting into a little bit of hyperbole here, but it’s really easy to go there!  We can easily take ourselves into that territory.

But we don’t have to go there, and if we do go there, we don’t have to stay there.  There are other stories you could tell yourself about your relationship with the married person that could be equally if not more true.  For instance, it might be true that you got to spend time, over the course of seven years, with an amazing human, who you shared an incredible connection with.  It might also be true that you made the best decisions about the relationship that you could at the points in time when you made those decisions.  It may also be true that you wouldn’t want to do some of the things you did over again.  You may have a clear sense of what you want and don’t want in a future relationship.  And it might be true that you’re glad to have that clarity.  

The two narratives I just shared with you could apply to the same factual scenario.  Both of those versions of the story could be true, in a sense.  There are always lots of different ways we can describe any situation, or any turn of events, and our power lies in telling ourselves a story that HELPS us move forward in the way we want to move forward, and live the way we want to live.  And if what you want is to feel good about yourself and be open to new relationships, something along the lines of the second story might serve you better than something along the lines of the first way of telling the story.

To echo something I said earlier, if you are fresh off of a breakup, you don’t want to try and change your narrative too quickly!  Your first order of business is emotional first-aid, so to speak.  But once the dust settles, you really want to take charge of the narrative you’ve created about your experiences with infidelity, and make sure your narrative is helping you create the life that you want to be living now.

Here’s another example.  Sometimes people cheat on the person they’ve committed to being monogamous with, and they’re dishonest with them, and they form a significant relationship with their affair partner, but they aren’t all that honest with them, either.  Meaning, the spouse or the primary partner doesn’t know about the affair partner, and the affair partner also doesn’t know about the spouse.  And the person who’s doing the cheating may not feel great about what they’re doing, and they may really want to stop, but they just don’t know what to do about the situation they’ve created, and so they keep going with it for a while because they just don’t know what else to do.  And then, something happens.  Some weird thing happens and all of a sudden their double life is exposed, and both their spouse and their affair partner find out about what they’ve been up to, and both parties say, “Screw you, I’m out of here.”

Getting busted for cheating by one person you care about is an experience that some people find rather unsettling.  Getting busted for cheating by TWO people you care about, at the very same time, is an experience that some people find excruciatingly painful.  There may be sadness associated with the loss of two uniquely important relationships.  There may be shame associated with having been dramatically exposed as a cheater.  There may also be guilt about having treated people they care about in a way they don’t feel great about.  There may be remorse for not having had the capacity to do things differently.  And there may be a sense of deep bewilderment that can come from thinking, “How did I get here?  How did I allow myself to fuck things up this badly?”

Here, too, if you suddenly find yourself in this kind of a situation, the point is NOT to instantly come up with a way of thinking about your situation that you feel awesome about.  Rather, the point is to start to think about yourself and your actions in a way that is USEFUL to you as you move forward in your life.  First, let the dust settle and do some emotional first aid.  And then start to think intentionally about what happened and what you want to make it all mean for you.

Here are several general questions you may want to ask yourself if your infidelity situation has recently ended, and you’re at the point where you’re ready to intentionally reframe your experience in a way that allows you to move forward:

What did I learn from this whole experience about what being a human is all about?  What did I learn from this experience that I really needed to learn, for the sake of my evolution and growth as a human?  What did I learn from this experience that I might not have been able to learn any other way?  I think that last question is such an important one.  Infidelity situations can be SUCH great teachers if we let them be.  So especially if you’ve been criticizing yourself for your participation in your infidelity situation, see if you can really go deep on the question of what you learned from that experience that you might not have been able to learn any other way.  

Another powerful question you can ask yourself is, If the universe is kind, what part of this is good?  This is an especially good question to consider if you think your situation was this awful thing that happened to you and should NOT have happened to you.  Here’s the deal.  You are totally allowed to not like what happened.  That’s fair enough.  You’re allowed to not like other people’s behavior, and you’re allowed to not like your own behavior.  But if we look closely, we can usually see that we get benefits from even our so-called worst experiences.  If we live in a benevolent universe that really only wants the best for us, even if what’s best for us isn’t what we WANT all of the time, what part of your experience was good for you?

Now, more specifically, what have you learned about what you want in your love life/sex life/romantic life as a result of your infidelity situation?  I’m willing to bet that your situation helped you see that there are some things you really want in that area of your life, and helped you see that there are some things you don’t want to participate in ever again.  Get clear on what those things are.

Okay.  These are the kinds of questions I want you to consider YOURSELF before you even start to think about what you want to tell a new partner or a prospective partner about your infidelity history.  If you are having a hard time thinking about your infidelity experiences in a way that you feel okay about, let’s talk.  You may be able to do this quite well on your own, but you might want some help doing this, and that is exactly what I’m here for.  

Assuming you feel reasonably good about the way you are thinking about your infidelity history, it’s time to start thinking about how you might communicate about it with others.

What you say about your history with infidelity, when you say it, and how you say it will of course depend on your goals and preferences.  For instance, if your goal is to meet new people and have a lot of fun with them without getting committed to anyone or anything, that’s very different from having a goal of meeting someone who you want to get into a serious relationship with.  If you’re interested in meeting people and having a good time and you have no intentions of starting up an ongoing relationship with anyone, you may not need to talk about your history with infidelity.  And by “need to”, I mean that you may not have any good reason to bring it up.

On the other hand, if you’re meeting new people with the intention of getting to know them better, with the hope that you might form a lasting connection with someone, you might WANT to let them in on some of the details of your experiences with infidelity.  You may want to be able to talk about your life experiences and your romantic history with a new person you’ve met, in a reasonably open and honest way.  You may want to tell the truth, or some parts of the truth about your experiences with infidelity simply because they are part of what you’ve experienced in life, and you want anyone you might become seriously involved with to know about significant experiences in your life.  You also might want to tell a new partner about your experiences with infidelity because it might be pretty hard to be fully honest with them about OTHER details about your life if you aren’t.

For instance, if you just got divorced because your spouse found out you were cheating on them, that might be a detail that becomes hard to avoid disclosing at some point.  Or if you were in a relationship with someone who was committed to someone else for seven years, or for any chunk of time that you consider substantial, you might want to speak honestly about your romantic life during that time frame.

And you might want to be upfront about this stuff as soon as the subjects come up, so that you don’t later have to go back and say, “You know, I omitted some important details when I told you about how my last relationship ended.”  Or even, “I actually didn’t tell you the truth about a few things, but I want to go ahead and tell you the truth now.”  

Now let me reiterate something important here.  You don’t have to want to share the details of your experiences with infidelity, and you don’t have to want to share any other details of your life experiences, either.  People have different preferences when it comes to sharing things from their past, and hearing about their partner’s past.  Some people want others to know every single thing about them.  Some people would prefer to let the past stay where it is, completely.  And you get to choose what’s right for you in this regard.

So how do you talk about your experiences with infidelity with someone new if you do indeed want to do that?  What do you say, and when do you say it?  This is where it may be useful to keep the paradox I mentioned earlier in mind.  Infidelity is not an inherently bad thing.  But, some people think it is, and you can be sensitive to that without agreeing with them.

Here’s an analogy that I find really helpful.  A lot of people have sexually transmissible infections, or STIs.  And some of them are manageable, but not completely curable.  And this is just a fact of human existence!  Some people have STIs, and some of those STIs are not curable.  That’s a non-negotiable fact.  STIs just exist.  People who have them just exist.  Those are facts, and those facts are neutral until we give them meaning.  Now some people think that STIs are gross and scary, and they think that anyone who has or has had an STI is gross and scary.  But some people don’t think that.  Some people think that STIs are just a part of the biological world, and they’re a thing that humans have to deal with sometimes.  

If you are a person who has an incurable STI, you may want to put yourself in situations where you have to deal with other people’s thoughts about STIs and people who have them.  And by that I mean, you may want to date people.  You may want to have sexual relationships with people.  You may want your body to do things with other people’s bodies that could result in the transmission of your sexually transmissible infection.  And, you may want to be upfront with people about this possibility, and attempt to prevent the transmission of your STI to others.  

And these are all great things to want to do, in my opinion.  But here’s the thing.  If you’re going to do these things, you are bound to come up against other people’s opinions about STIs, and you don’t know in advance what those opinions are going to be.  They might be neutral or positive.  And they might be quite negative.

For the sake of this example, let’s say you have herpes.  And let’s say you’ve got it pretty well managed, but you do have flare ups a couple of times a year.  And let’s also say that you have actively managed your thinking about having herpes, and you feel great about having herpes.  Your thoughts about yourself are basically, I am awesome, and I happen to have herpes.  And I just deal with that as part of my life, and it’s totally okay.

If you’re thinking in this way, you’re probably not going to be so nervous about telling some hot person that you’re on a first date with that you have herpes that you just blurt it out before they’ve even ordered their drink.  You’re probably not going into situations with new people and saying, “Hi, I’m Pat, or hi, I’m Gene, or hi, I’m Jupiter, and by the way, I have herpes, and I just wanted to make sure we got that out of the way.  Feel free to bolt now!”

No.  If you’re confident that you’re awesome and the herpes thing is just a detail to be dealt with, you probably want to have a great time on your first date with the hot new person you’ve just met!  You probably just want to enjoy them and let them enjoy you!  And, you probably want to make sure you like them enough to bother with disclosing something that they might have a weird reaction to.  They might NOT have a weird reaction to you telling them that you have herpes, and that is very important to point out.  But they might, and you might not want to deal with that possibility unless you’re sure they’re worth the trouble.

Not that telling someone you have herpes has to be considered “trouble.”  But there are some things that we don’t want to share with just anyone.  Some things we only want to share with people we think are special enough to hear them.  

So if you’re confident that you’re awesome and that herpes is just one minor detail about you that something to deal with appropriately, but isn’t a big deal, here’s how you might tell someone you have herpes.  Maybe it’s your second date.  And you’re sure you like the person you’re on a date with, and you think they like you, too.  At some point during your amazing second-date conversation you might say something like, “Hey, I’m having an awesome time getting to know you.  And this might be kinda forward of me, but I’m hoping that we might kiss at some point.  And I’m even hoping that we might do more than kiss at some point.  And I just wanted to let you know that I have herpes, and that’s a thing we’ll have to navigate, but I’m totally on top of what I need to do to keep you safe.  I just wanted to let you know about this in a really proactive way for the sake of creating open communication, and I’d be happy to talk about this as much or as little as you’d like to right now.”

Now, obviously, you can adjust any part of this in any way you like.  If you’re on a first date and it’s going really well, you might want to speed things up a little bit.  And if getting naked with this nice person you’ve just met is the furthest thing from your mind on your second date, by all means, wait for a more appropriate time.

But by doing something like what I just suggested, or saying something along the lines of what I just suggested, you’re accomplishing a few things.  One, you are confidently telling someone that you like them.  And you’re making it clear that you can communicate directly and effectively about things that some people might find hard to talk about.  And you’re indicating that you have their interests and their safety in mind, and that you take responsibility for your health and for other people’s health.  And you’re setting the tone for talking openly.

These are all things that some people will find very attractive.  And perhaps more importantly, by doing these things, you may be engaging in this new relationship, or new potential relationship, in a way that you feel really good about.

What might this look like for telling someone you’ve just met that your last relationship involved what you consider to be some pretty significant elements of infidelity?  Well, you probably don’t need to announce to someone that the reason why you got divorced was because you had a years-long affair with your spouse’s best friend before you even meet them in person. 

Let’s say you met this new person though an app, or you were set up by a mutual friend, and you haven’t gone on a date yet, but you have plans to meet up.  You know you like what you’ve seen so far of this person, but that’s really all you know at this point.

You do not, in my opinion, need to regale them with all of the details of your last relationship before you even meet up for your first date.  Now, to some of you, that may sound ridiculously obvious.  Some of you are thinking, “Who in their right mind would do THAT?”  Well, here’s the thing.  For better or worse, sometimes people think they need to confess all of their supposed flaws as early as possible in a relationship, or before a potential relationship even has the chance to form.  And this may be done in the spirit of being honest and forthcoming, which can seem like a really well-intended thing to do.  This may also be done out of a fear of being rejected.  Sometimes, when we’re afraid someone might not like us, we try to give them all the possible reasons why they might not like us upfront, so if they’re going to reject us, we can get that experience over with as quickly as possible.  But ironically, this way of dealing with our fear of being rejected may lead to people rejecting us.  In general, people go on dates with people because they find them attractive or interesting or intriguing.  So do yourself a favor, and allow yourself to be those things, instead of leading with your disclaimers.

If you get to know someone, you will learn all about their glorious humanity soon enough, and they’ll learn all about yours.  And that’s beautiful.  But give you and the new person you’re meeting a chance to decide if you like each other before you do anything else.  

Then, if you DO decide that you like this new person you’ve met, and you decide that you hope they like you too, you get to make some decisions about what you want to tell them and when.  Let’s say you have an infidelity situation in your recent past that it’s pretty hard to avoid talking about without either lying about major details of your life, or avoiding talking about major details of your life.  Like for instance, let’s say that you were having an affair with your married boss, and your boss’s spouse found out about what was going on, and they contacted HR at your organization, and a rather dramatic chain of events ensued.  And let’s say you’re currently job hunting as a result of what happened.

In order for you to talk about what’s going on in your life right now, you might need to touch on the infidelity aspects of what happened if you’re going to avoid major omissions of the truth or outright lies.  If you’re getting to know someone, and they say, “Where do you work?” and you say, “I’m between jobs right now,” and they ask what happened, you might not want to be misleading.  But still, that doesn’t mean you have to announce ALL THE DETAILS right away.  On your first date or even your first few dates, you might be able to talk about all kinds of other things without getting so close to these topics that you don’t want to get into.  But if you like someone, and you want to get closer to them, it may behoove you to tell more of the truth sooner rather than later.  More doesn’t have to mean all!  But it might mean that you say to someone, “Hey, listen, I want to tell you a little bit more about why I’m in between jobs, and it’s a bit of a story, but I’m filling you in on these details because I want to be transparent with you and if we keep on getting to know each other, you might look back later and think that it was weird that I didn’t tell you this sooner.”  And then you can tell them about your experiences in a way that you feel good about.

It's entirely possible that for you, mentioning your experiences with infidelity to someone you’re dating is no big deal.  You may feel FINE about talking about your experiences.  

But sometimes we’re afraid that if we tell someone new that we’ve cheated, or were engaging in infidelity in some way or another, they’re going to run for the hills.  So mentioning that we have a history with infidelity can seem like a really daunting thing.

This is why it is so, so, so very important for you to organize your thinking about what your infidelity experiences mean to you before you try to figure out what you’re going to say about them to anyone else.  If you have not sorted through what your experiences meant to you, and have not begun to intentionally think about them in a way that you feel good about, there is a decent chance that you will say some weird shit about your infidelity experiences to other people.  And by “say some weird shit,” I mean you may treat conversations with dates like therapy sessions.  You may end up unloading a bunch of undigested stuff onto your new prospective partner that they don’t really want to hear about.  Or you may seek their validation or approval.  If you’re afraid that your history with infidelity makes you undesirable, or radioactive, you may consciously or unconsciously attempt to get your new love interest to prove you wrong.  And that’s probably not an agenda you want to bring to a new relationship, or a potential new relationship.  

Now, I do have a few specific recommendations for things you consider including when you tell your new person about your experiences with infidelity.  

Number one: share some details about your experiences, but keep it succinct.  If you and the new person get to know each other better, there may be a time and place to delve deeper into the whole thing with them.  But when you’re just getting to know someone, there probably isn’t much to be gained by oversharing.

Number two: be transparent about what your experiences with infidelity mean to you now, and about what you want in your life at this point.  If you’re currently unsure of what you want in terms of a future relationship, you can be clear about that.  If you know that you’re committed to doing things differently than you did in the past, you can say that, and specify what’s different for you now.  The point isn’t that you have to excuse yourself, or suggest that you did something bad but it’s okay because now you’re good.  You don’t have to apologize for anything or atone for anything.  You just might want to let your new person know where you are now in terms of your orientation to relationships.

Number three: offer your person the opportunity to ask you any questions if they want to – without believing that you are beholden to answering anything and everything they might ask you.  If you tell someone that you’re happy to answer questions, and then they start asking you questions you don’t want to answer, or they ask so many questions that you just want to be done, you get to decide when you’re done taking questions.  The point here is not that you owe anyone any answers.  Rather, the point is that you may want to set a precedent of communicating with your new person in a way that you feel great about – and that may include asking them what questions they have about whatever you share with them.  

Now, even if you communicate what you want to communicate to your new person in a way that you feel great about, there’s still a chance that they will not receive it well.  

You might meet someone amazing and getting to know them might be great and then you might tell them about your history with infidelity in a way that you feel SO good about, and then they might run for the hills.  

And that may STING!  For sure.  When we really like someone and they reject us for any reason, it can really sting.  But the opportunity here is to stay on top of what we make a rejection mean.  Even if someone treats us like we’re radioactive, we don’t have to make that mean that we actually are.  

And, of course, it is also totally possible that people will receive what you tell them in a totally classy way, and will not be at all bothered by your past experiences.  Cheating may be stigmatized, but it’s also really common, so it’s entirely possible that the lovely person you’ve just met has some experience with infidelity too.  And it’s entirely possible that they will be more than happy to accept your experiences as part of what’s made you the wonderful person that you are!  But even if you meet someone who’s already inclined to take that perspective, it’s never a bad idea to be ready to talk about your experiences in a way that you feel really good about.

All right everyone, that’s it for today.  If you would like my help figuring out how to talk about your experiences with infidelity with a new partner, let’s get to work!  You can schedule an introductory coaching session with me through my website, mariemurphyphd.com.  You can also learn about the current coaching packages I offer as well as my current pricing through the services page of my website.  It is one thing to hear me talk on the podcast, and it’s another thing entirely to have me as your coach, and to have me help you work through the specifics of your infidelity situation.  When you’re ready for change, and you want to make changes efficiently, investing in coaching can be the best investment you ever make.

Okay, thank you all so much for listening!  Have a great week.  Bye for now.


Enjoy the Show?

Ready to talk?

Schedule your introductory coaching session with Marie.

Schedule Your Introductory Session

Want the answers to your questions?

Sign up to get the free guide to the podcast, which shares the exact episodes you need to tune into to get started answering the questions you have about your infidelity situation.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.