By Melissa Caballero

You’ve done the unthinkable.  You’ve cheated.  But whether it was a one-night stand or an ongoing affair, something has to be done.  You must find the courage to confront yourself, your life and your relationship.  The aftermath of cheating is not an easy obstacle to maneuver through, but you are not alone.  Reaching deep within can reveal many of the answers to those heart-wrenching questions that are most likely burdening your conscious.  Whether you’re a celebrity couple overcoming the adversity of the paparazzi exposing your cheating-capades or an everyday couple trying to find your way, here are a few tips on how to handle your embittered situation:

1. To tell or not to tell.  If your affair was truly a one time lapse in judgment, it may be most beneficial to keep this information to yourself.   Although you might think it will take a huge weight off your shoulders to confess, you will only be hurting your partner and destroying any trust that exists between you.  If you choose to keep it quiet, remember not to blab to your friends or post eluding comments on Facebook, increasing the risk of your partner finding out.  You must only do this if you truly believe you will never cheat again.

However, if after you’ve cheated you feel there is no way to exist in your relationship without revealing your wrong doing or if in fact you want to end things and move on, disclosing the information may be the right choice for you.  Without disclosure, it may not be possible for you and partner to move on in a truly honest relationship.

2. Work it out or end it.  Was this really just a one-night stand or are you finding yourself chronically hooking-up?  Infidelity often happens because something is missing in the relationship.  After you’ve cheated, you may realize you the made the biggest mistake of your life.  If this is the case, you need to communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling, and what’s lacking in your relationship.  Doing so, will make it easier to fix these things as a couple.  This doesn’t necessary mean you have to confess, but simply use your infidelity as a learning curve.

However, the lesson may very well be that you are no longer committed and you need to move on.  Your actions may have been a subconscious act to sabotage your current relationship

Related: 5 Reasons Why Power Men Like Arnold Schwarzenegger Cheat

 3. Accept the consequences.  Whether you fess up or not, every action has a reaction.  Being unfaithful is a detrimental behavior and will impact your life drastically.  If you do expose these actions to your partner, you have to be prepared for the worst.  You cannot expect your partner to brush off this information or even forgive you.  If you mutually decide to overcome this hurdle together, you must give your partner space and time to heal.  You must also give constant reassurance that you have learned from your mistake and are willing to move on honestly and faithfully.  If you and your partner are committed to each other post cheating, the healing process may bring you even closer together.

Related: NY Ink’s Ami James Chats about New Season and Inking Your Partner’s Name

 4. Find forgiveness within yourself.  Mistakes happen.  Rather than beating yourself up, step back and forgive yourself.  Doing this allows you to free yourself mentally.  While you are still responsible for your actions, this release of emotion can allow you to work on yourself, your relationship- whether it is the current one or a new one- and help you to change your bad habits and find personal growth from within.

How did you and your partner handle a cheating situation?  Share your comments below.