Cheating on the person you're in a relationship with is obviously a bad thing to do. Unless you're in an open relationship or attend swingers parties, in which case go wild. But that doesn't really count as cheating because your partner knows what you're up to, which got us thinking – telling your boyfriend or girlfriend you've cheated straight after doing it is basically the same as swinging or being in an open relationship, right? Kind of? Everyone knows about it, it's just a matter of whether it's before or after the fact that they become aware.
That conundrum was too much for us to handle, so we went and asked some strangers on the streets of London a question instead: Does admitting you've cheated make it OK?
Georgina, receptionist: It depends. If you were to admit it straight away, that makes you come across like you have a good conscious – like you're an honest person. Whereas, if you keep it hidden and delay it, you don't seem so nice. So it doesn't make it OK, but it's better than not saying anything.
Does it make a difference if it’s an affair rather than a one night stand?
Oh yeah – an affair is a lot worse. It’s unforgiveable. It’s an ongoing thing behind someone’s back. And it’s obviously deceitful.
Do you have any personal experiences of cheaters? Are you a cheater?
No, not personally. I have friends that it’s happened to, though. There was one recently who was meant to be getting engaged, but he had an argument with his girlfriend, went out and cheated on her.
Wow, that escalated quickly.
Daniel, divorce lawyer: No, I think it’s still the same thing. It's just as bad.
Is a one night stand worth admitting, or is that still just as bad?
If my girlfriend had a one night stand and kept it secret, I’d still split up with her. A longer relationship means it’s a bigger breach of trust; the end result is just the same.
Charlotte, recruitment consultant: No, not really. I don’t think so. You've still done it; admitting you've done it doesn't make it vanish.
Have you cheated before?
I may have misbehaved on occasion.
Did you tell?
No, but I did split up with the person afterwards. Because if I’m cheating, then the relationship's obviously not great, is it?
I suppose it's not. Did he ever find out?
I don’t think so, no.
He will now.
Alex, musician: No way, mate. Not a chance.
Even if it’s a drunken one night stand?
It’s forgivable, but telling doesn’t make a difference. It's like saying if you murder someone and admit to it, does it make that OK? No, you've still done it and there's always a victim.
I get what you mean, but that's quite a jump. Is this going on your own experiences or just your opinion?
Nah, just my opinion. I'm not a cheater.
Good for you.
Emma, marketing manager: Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but I think it's probably better off for both people involved to admit everything. The cheater is going to have to live with the guilt, otherwise, and I think it's unfair on the other person not to be told.
Have you had any cheating experiences?
Yeah, I’ve been cheated on.
Sorry to hear. Did they tell you?
No, I found out. I wish he'd told me, though. Instead, this girl just popped up on his phone and I was like, "Who's that?" It wasn't a very nice way to find out.
Do you think a drunken one night stand is forgivable?
I think it’s more forgivable, but never completely forgivable. If it’s an ongoing process, then it’s completely unacceptable.