On the down-low: how to keep an affair secret

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For any number of reasons, you may find yourself in a situation where you might say “my marriage is lacking something” and you turn toward an affair partner. The first instinct for cheaters then is how to keep their affair secret for as long as possible. 

Whether you felt like your sex life was lacking, you needed some stronger emotional bonding, you fell in love with someone else, or you simply had a one night stand, keeping that affair a secret can feel like the most important thing in your life. 

From keeping track of what you do with your cell phone and what shows up on your credit card statements, we’ve got advice to help you keep your affair a secret. Read on to learn more about what you can do. 

vector art of woman being caught cheating

Tips on how to keep an affair secret

The best advice for keeping an affair secret is to generally avoid meeting your fling on a regular basis in the same location, minimize contact over mobile devices and email, and avoid any suspicious credit card spending that could give it away. 

As sad as it is, the truth is that people cheat in a relationship, whether it’s on someone they are dating or a life-partner and spouse. Some people believe that monogamy generally isn’t a natural thing for people, and that it’s normal to enjoy multiple partners. 

It’s not just the married man trope who is cheating either, but women as well. Fortunately for you, the things to do to keep this affair secret and avoid a break up is the same either way. Just follow these general tips to minimize your risk: 

  • Set some ground rules with the person you are cheating with the first time you meet up and decide what is acceptable, when, and where
  • Never meet in the same location regularly, and space out how often you meet to random intervals
  • Use cash and avoid using your credit card or any sort of payment that can be traced when you go to hotels, bars, restaurants, or anything your spouse might find suspicious
  • Never meet in your home or your affair partner’s home, there’s just too much risk of being caught. It’s also incredibly rude
  • Don’t tell anyone about your affair, obviously, whether it’s your best friend or an in-law you trust
  • Stay off of your phone at odd hours, especially in bed. This is a prime time and place to be caught by your spouse or partner
  • Plan from the beginning to end your affair after a relatively short period of time. The longer it goes on the more likely you are to be caught

The golden rules on to make secret affairs work

Regardless of the type of affair you’re having, whether it’s something physical or emotional, you can’t keep it a secret for long if you don’t cover your tracks, are careless with leaving your phone on or emails open, or just simply blab about it. 

There are some general guidelines you should follow to keep it secret. Whether it is a short term fling or a long-term love affair between best friends or even a coworker, you’ll need to understand some basic, golden rules to keep your affair secret for as long as possible:

  • Never involve family members in your dalliances, even if you think your kids would really get on with your affair partner. They won’t, and they’ll never look at you the same way and will resent your for it
  • No matter your existing relationship, whether it’s with a betrayed spouse or girlfriend / boyfriend, you will want to maintain your usual routine with them. Anything out of the ordinary will stick out like a sore thumb
  • Delete or keep private any text messages or pictures from your affair partner. Realistically, you shouldn’t keep any sort of record of this around, as it will come back to bite you in the ass
  • Don’t engage with your affair partner in any way when your partner is anywhere near you. Seeing you on the phone messaging someone or hiding pictures at any time of day, whether it’s noon or when you two are in bed, is bound to get you caught
  • At some point you will either have to break it off with your affair partner or end things with your primary relationship. You can’t have an affair indefinitely last and keep it a secret forever.

You should be aware that your affair is something done to fill in something damaged between you and your primary partner, which means that it won’t fix your relationship issues and is more likely to push the two of you apart. 

It may be better to identify first why you are having an affair or would want to have one and address if that isn’t something you could fix between you and your partner. An open and honest conversation before cheating may save the two of you a world of hurt. 

vector art of woman catching her boyfriend flirting via text

When and how should you tell your partner about your secret affair?

You should tell your partner about cheating after the affair in person, but the sooner you get it off your chest the better. Of course, ending it as soon as possible is going to be best for everyone’s mental health, but that may not always feel easy for everyone. 

Don’t tell your partner about your cheating while it’s still going on, as this is just going to push everyone to a breaking point and isn’t a smart decision on your part. You need to make up your mind about what you want and who you want to be with before telling your partner. 

Of course, you should be having this conversation with them before you turn to cheating. 

Now, if you want to avoid having your blunder end up trending on social media, you should think about how to tell your partner. Never do it in a public setting, offline or online, as this is a personal, emotional, and hurtful thing to unpack and nobody wants to do that in public. 

Do it in person in the privacy of your own home, and consider doing it somewhere that the two of you can sit face-to-face. Make sure your other family members, like the kids, are out of the house when you do this, as odds are it will get messy. 

vectort art of two people with a baby in an unhappy relationship

Can an affair become a serious relationship?

Yes, an affair can transform into a serious relationship. There’s always the potential that when you cheat with a new partner other than your primary one, that it can develop into a more powerful, new relationship than the one you currently have. 

However, you should consider whether your new relationship is actually going to be better off than your current one, and if your new partner would trust you knowing that you cheated. Additionally, whatever problems caused you to cheat may still be present.

Being married and in love is a tricky situation to deal with, and for your own well-being you should be decisive and follow-through with whom you would like to be with. Of course, don’t rush this kind of decision either, think it over who you want to have a real relationship with.

For how long can a secret affair last?

This is entirely dependent on you and your affair partner, the nature of your affair, and what either of you actually want out of the relationship. For example, an affair can be a one night fling or could work out into a long-lasting relationship

If you don’t take the time to cover your tracks and hide your cheating, there’s always the possibility that you’re caught from one night to the next day. It also depends on whether your partner is suspicious, or just generally curious about what you are doing. 

There’s no hard answer other than to say that an affair can’t be kept a secret indefinitely. At some point either you will be caught by someone, feel guilty about your cheating, or things will simply end between you and one of the people you are with.

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FAQ about keeping a secret affair secret

Being in an affair that you want to keep secret can be a stressful, exhausting experience and for good reason. There’s a lot on the line here and you are undoubtedly torn between different prospects, relationships, and even futures. 

To help ease your mind a bit we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions. 

How do I keep my extramarital affair secret?

You need to be diligent about making sure no evidence exists of your affair, whether it is in the form of text messages, pictures, emails, credit card payments, routines that don’t involve your current partner, and more. 
You can’t keep your affair a secret forever, but you can keep it a secret for quite a while so long as you are able to hide any out of the ordinary feelings, actions, and activities from your partner. 

Is it possible to keep an affair secret?

Not indefinitely, for any number of reasons. You may slip up at some point or your spouse might just get suspicious enough to dig deeper. Your affair partner could also slip up and give it away to someone, or things just end between you and either person. 
You can keep your affair secret for a while, perhaps even years, but there’s no hard timeline you can expect. It depends on you and everyone involved. 

Can extramarital affairs last a lifetime?

Yes, it is certainly possible. At that point though, you should probably ask yourself if you are really doing the right thing leading a double-life for so long. At this point it seems like more trouble than it would be worth, no matter how delusional you are. 

How long do secret affairs last?

There is no set time for how long an affair of any kind can last, secret or not. This depends on how well you keep it secret and how well your affair partner can hide it, and for how long your partner can remain unaware of it.