Should I confess my Affair ? Three reasons to keep quiet and five reasons to confess to cheating:
If you can’t decide whether to confess to an affair or not, you’ll be able to relate to this question to my website:
What if there hasn’t been a discovery… although an affair has occurred. Should one always be honest and tell one’s partner? I told my husband ILYB two years ago. He was very upset initially but has never really made any effort to really understand what went wrong. I was reading some threads there and was struck by the men who immediately sought self help books. I think that my husband believes that its all my fault and he doesn’t have any responsibility in any of this. Help? Should I confess my affair?
So let’s look at the pros and cons;
Reasons to keep quiet…
- It avoids a huge amount of pain. Your husband and wife will be incredibly upset and he or she will want to go every detail of your betrayal. It will not be pretty and you’ll spend the next months (and possibly years) going back over everything again and again. Lots of people who have been found out (or confessed) will probably envy your situation and would give a lot to be able to turn back the clock and avoid the pain and heartache.
- You have no idea what would happen next. It could be that your husband or wife will get over the initial anger, be forgiving and agree to work on your marriage or he or she could be revengeful, try and turn the children against you and go straight for divorce. Even though you might think you know your partner, it is impossible to predict how she or he will react because you’ve not been in this situation before (and if you have, you don’t know how much unresolved pain there is from the past).
- You could still address the underlying problems in your marriage. Few people cheat without being unhappy and having genuine issues with their partner. You could end the affair, tell your partner about these issues and go and get help to resolve them.
Reasons to confess…
- You will be found out. Affairs leave a trail of evidence, texts, credit card bills etc. It only needs for you to slip up once and your partner will find out. Alternatively, your lover’s partner will discover the truth and tell all or you could be seen out with your lover by someone who knows you. Worse still, it could be your son or daughter who will discover the truth and be left with a terrible dilemma. Even if you decide to end the affair, your lover might not agree and send lots of texts, maybe for months to come. He or she might become desperate and less cautious and even though ‘nothing is happening’ the evidence of past infidelity will come to light. (I’ve had clients where the affair came to light ten years later and the original hurt is compounded by the unfaithful partner keeping the secret for so long.) If you confess, you can chose the moment and how you tell. Although your partner will still be hurt, you have started to be honest and that will begin the long road to rebuilding trust.
- Couple therapy does not work with a secret in the room. Once you can talk about something, you can begin to address it. If the affair is a secret, floating round the room it sucks all the air of the session and couple counselling just goes round and round in circles without going anywhere. I sometimes wonder why I am making so little progress and time after time, an affair is discovered (or lots of texting) by one partner and they bring the truth to the next session. In some ways, it is better late than never but it completely destroys the trust of the discoverer because their partner has been lying in my room (where they expect honesty). The unfaithful partner has also been lying to me too and our relationship takes time to repair too.
- Your partner knows at some level. It could be they know everything and have been following all your messaging behind your back. At the other end of the scale, he or she knows that something is wrong and keeps trying to work out the problem but is missing an important piece of the jigsaw. So if your partner asks: are you having an affair. I would always advise telling the truth. otherwise, you have another black mark against your name when the truth finally comes out.
- You can’t do an honest appraisal of the situation without confessing. In order to justify being unfaithful to yourself and still sleep at night, you need to tell yourself that you’re extremely hard done by and your partner is an ogre or at least guilty of a long list of crimes. And it is amazing, when you start looking, how much you can come up with. But how fair is the picture you’re painting? In the bubble of an affair, you can’t take a honest look at your marriage or your affair partner.
- Confession can be the trigger for a better relationship with your partner. The couples who arrive in my therapy room the most upset are those where there’s been infidelity. The couples who leave the process the happiest are these couples. Infidelity makes couples dig deeper and learn more. Regular clients know where the bodies are buried but don’t go there (because they don’t want to upset each other) but in the aftermath of an affair everything is on the agenda. You can’t have your old marriage back but you can have a new and better one with your partner.
If you are asking ‘should I confess my affair’ I hope this post helps. I would be fascinated to read your experiences – please feel to post below.
I am one of those who confessed and since then I am trying hard to recover my inner peace everyday and the guilt is excruciating. When my affair escalated, I decided I wouldn´t confess just to avoid him the pain, but when I dated my husband the first time after out “temporary” separation I confessed everything. Since then, he never saw me with the same eyes. My affair started as something emotional at work. My relationship had suffered for many years from the typical communication and compatibility problems many couples experience. I confessed pretty early that I was having feelings for someone else and that I didn´t know what to do. My husband´s reaction was to ask me if I wanted to live with this other person instead, which at that point was not even an option in my mind. I loved my husband but I wasn´t able to focus on our relationship since this issue was taking so much place and worrying my mind. I told him I would do my best for our relationship. His reaction was neutral, he seemed worried but never adressed our relationship issues. Time passed and the affair was growing, the other man wouldn´t stop texting me, trying to meet me at work and so on. Sometimes I completly stoped communicating with him since I felt very guilty and despite I was feeling already in love with him I didn´t want to hurt my husband. But the days without contact felt like a hell, I had even more difficult to concentrate at anything. I talked to my partner once more and explained that my feelings for this person were strong and that I felt I couldn´t control them. I also told him that I saw our relationship declining and that I didn´t have the strength to take initiative so I asked him to do something. My thought was that we needed to work for our relationship, but he said he didn´t belive work and love are at all related… I promissed him I would try stop seeing him but he told me he wouldn´t stop me and I should not stop doing what makes me happy. At that point I felt either he didn´t care about our relationship anymore or he loved me so much that he wanted me to be happy even without him. I decided to move out from our apartment since this was too heavy on me and I needed time on my own. But once I moved out the affair escalated and we ended up going for a trip together, which I confessed too… This broke my husband’s heart and trust forever. We separated and the affair ended too. I asked for a second chance in counseling but my husband didn´t agree to a recoincilation program since he is so hurt he doesn´t want to try anymore. I feel desperate and confused. Sometimes I believe this was the only possible outcome since our marriage was in serious trouble anyway. But I always believed our issues were something we could work on everyday and grow together in the relationship. He never agreed to that. Anyway I feel remorse and guilt everyday and it feels that everything has been my fault. It is painful to live.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Interesting post. I often get people whose partner saying ‘why didn’t you tell me you were tempted?’ but you tried and you weren’t heard. I think you should be proud that you tried. When you feel down, think about what you’ve learnt from this experience and what you can take forward into the future.
My heart is heavy as I write this-but every life catastrophe so far has taught me that there is a tiny slither of life affirming wonder attached to any disaster…somewhere-please help me to find it.
My husband and I have been married for 10 years this year.
We married for love and I don’t regret it-I hope we can still be in love again. I can really relate to the comment above.
We have faced some unique challenges that I don’t see much reflected in the writings here and I wonder if you could help shed some light on how to move forward in the aftermath of what now feels like a midlife crisis at 30. I am now 32
I was born in a capital city and moved to the countryside when I married my husband at 24. I suffered with varying levels of depression on and off over the years and at that time I had-had enough of life and really wanted to just leave and get out of the city.
Looking back I was really naive and had no idea of the ways in which I could be handicapping my career or isolating myself-but I was so unhappy after ending a bad relationship abroad that I just wanted a fresh start somewhere new and completely obscure. Not sure if this was the best move-but it provided me the space to deal with a lot of my issues through counselling.
This had its upside and I feel I have learnt a lot from being here and raising our only child (7yrs old here)-however over the last couple of years the remoteness and boredom of the rustic life really began to get to me down, and regrettably I acted without first having read a number of your books first.
Our issue was further complicated by the fact that my daughter was sexually assaulted by my motherinlaws-new husband which ‘blew me up as a mother’ she was just 4. We (I) did the right thing and contacted the authorities, police etc-however this was a harrowing experience for us and we no longer have contact with this side of the family. My own family do not live nearby and it felt hard to leave our child with anyone for a long time-which limited our childcare options over the last few years.
I have a few friends in the area but no-one close enough to share the daily anguish this caused over the past few years. My husband did an amazing job of putting his daughter first and I am proud of his courage as his mother no longer talks to him and has taken her partners side.
It feels like a disgusting shadow over our marriage for me-as ironically my sister was sexually abused as a child and I remembering thinking before the conception of my daughter that my husband (and his family were right) as something like that could never happen with them. They seemed the picture perfect version of middle-class success-when compared to my chaotic and emotionally charged working class upbringing. I still feel guilt and shame that I couldn’t protect my child from this never having happened in the first place-but I (we) concentrated all our energy on making her feel secure, stable and loved during and after the initial disclosure.
This really tainted my marriage for me-even though we did everything by the book and managed to somehow go on living despite the trauma. My husband works for a family company -which threw up unexpected complications about us being able to move away and closer to my family for a fresh start.
At the time I felt like I was the only one who had any emotions about these issues and it was like there was an elephant in the room for me for 2 years or so as my husbands family don’t express much-his sister never really acknowledged it at all. My husband is really wonderful with dealing with the practical issues like keeping house and tidying but just SHUT DOWN and carried on business as usual when it came to anything outside this routine. When I turned 30 I snapped-I went away on holiday with my best friend who shares a birthday and ended up flirting and kissing one or two strangers when drunk. It was a slippery slope from there and I lost it-at one point I must have just felt like the rules didn’t apply anymore. It sounds terrible but I just began to question the point of anything-life didn’t seem, ‘fair’ terrible things still happened to innocent children/ families/ people. I started to question the point of fidelity-marital monogamy deeply and would have open discussions with my husband about this. We tried counselling unsuccessfully for 6 weeks around the same time…
I was feeling restless and asked for my husbands consent to see other people- and began a close relationship with a man for a few months-which at the time felt justified but did nothing for our marriage obviously. Later he said he thought I would do what I wanted anyway and that’s why he consented, which greatly annoyed me because it did not give me a chance to hear his true feelings at the time. I broke it off when I realised my husband was hurting. I became angry that he did not know himself well enough to ask me to stop, which made me feel justified somehow in my behaviour.
I arranged a separation of a few months and took my child for a holiday /school trip abroad. I was staying with a close friend and we occasionally went on a drink fuelled flings. She is also married with kids and living with her husband although their relationship has also experienced infidelity I regret some of our actions-At the time I believed I deserved to be this joyfully scandalous person but on reflection I see how much I was hurting and how little these actions served to help the situation.
Meanwhile my husband was suffering and lost a lot of weight. I am sad I felt my actions needed to be this drastic to get him to notice that I was not happy as things were. He has since said how much he felt let down that I wanted to be with other men-and I wish he could have found his words much earlier.
After risking everything just for something to ‘change’ I am back home-at least my mindset has changed . We are trying to work things out-but I feel in my desperation I not only compromised my marriage but my oldest friendships too. I worry things wont change and my life will just pass by here but my husband feels tethered to his families company.
I am trying to learn how to go forward but the lack of clarity and the feeling that I have screwed things up so badly makes it hard to wake up in the mornings at times. I still live in the same small village with the same bunch of people I ran away from-even though our house has been for sale for a year. I feel desperate to start again without the past following me around like a constant bad smell. I feel I have hurt people, I hurt myself and I regret this daily.
Where do I start to fix things?
any suggested reading please
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you for your brave post and for taking the time to understand yourself. Thank your for the honour of asking my advice on how to get out of this mess. Congratulations on supporting your daughter with the abuse so thoroughly but I wonder who supported and comforted you? It sounds like nobody and worse still it brought up all the abuse from your childhood (albeit it to your sister). It sounds like none of this has been processed properly and that in some way your ‘scandalous’ behaviour is in some way connected to the abuse. A good book for thinking about the impact of the past on today is ‘The drama of being a child’ by Alice Miller. To think about fixing yourself, have a look at my book ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’. So what is the life affirming slither of hope in all this? You have learnt to look before you leap. You have learnt that something that an easy solution makes you feel good in the moment – like flattery of strangers – makes everything worse rather than better. You are committed to changing. Sounds more than a slither to me!
Hi Andrew, I wanted if I can to ask specifically about point 2 under reasons to confess.
If a couple has agreed to relationship counselling to work on their marriage, you believe at this time any undisclosed affair should be revealed?
Can counselling be successful without this happening?
And if it must be revealed at this time what is the best approach for this, should it be done at the session?
Appreciate your advice on this.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you for a great question. Secrets eat away at marriages and it is almost inevitable – particularly in our social media / connected world – that they will be eventually found out. I’ve worked with a couple where an affair from ten years previously was revealed and came close to ending their happy marriage (fortunately a lot of counselling managed to turn things round). What’s more, most partners know there is something up and they either bury it away (because they want to believe their beloved would never do that) and end up feeling really ‘stupid’ or there has been repeated denials and they feel really angry. Even worse, if you’ve gone through couple counselling without revealing the truth because you’ll be seen to have lied and lied again – making any progress in counselling worthless. I doubt you would be given a second chance – after all that. However, coming clean about an affair does show that you truly regret your behaviour and wish to change – especially if you’ve already agreed to go into counselling. The prospects for recovery are immediately looking better. So should it be done in the session? I would suggest confessing before you start. There are logistical problems doing it during counselling. Your wife will have a million questions and fifty minute session will not be enough time. She will be angry, upset and in mid flow (possibly in tears or wanting to run to the toilet to throw up) and she will not want to navigate public transport or maybe even sit with you in a car. She might not be thrilled about having someone else witness her darkest moment. Neither of you will know if you’re coming or going and find it hard to focus on anything (for more than a few moments). That’s why counselling normally works best after the initial storm has passed – rather than in the eye of the hurricane. Be brave.
I’m not sure where my affair partner and I fit in. Both of us have been married well over 20 years. He still has school aged kids at home, mine are grown. We have been seeing each other for over 3 years. We absolutely love each other. We are both commited to not blowing up the others life. I want no part of having his kids lose all respect for him for cheating on his mom, etc..we don’t allow that discussion between us. Any ending of marriages has to be an independent decision. Realistically though we both admit that if we were available, there would be no way we would not try together but that is not our goal. I am not eaten with guilt. I still have a friendly relationship with my husband, same for him and his wife. Neither suspect anything. I WOULD feel guilty for the pain i caused but not for the affair. A lot of things have led to this, ending at my selfishness. I don’t see how confessing this would be helpful in any way. I would not be open to a reconciliation even if he was. My marriage will probably end sooner than later and I don’t want to hurt him more than necessary.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thank you for your comment, I’m interested that in protecting your lover’s children for losing respect for him. I wonder why you’re not equally concerned about what your children would think. Even if they have grown up, they will stay be hurt by the fall out and it will have an impact on your relationship with them. Having a look back through your post, there seems to be several contradictions: On one hand you don’t talk about ending your marriages but you’ve already thought how it might help (ie with his ‘independent decision’). However, he will talk it through with you and already you’ve told him you love him and would be with him (if you weren’t married). So I don’t know independent, you can be. You say being together is not your goal? So what is the goal of this relationship? Where is it going and what do you want from your life?
Of course it’s contradictory, can this life be anything But? My marriage was over well before I met my affair partner. Like most or I should say some that get into this, I was waiting out my kids. I also do know there would be fallout with my children, but adults can better understand the intricacies of human relationships better than a pre-teen. Mine have also had a front seat to their parents and will not be surprised if/when our marriage ends in divorce. I’m not in any way believing they would be happy about it, but they will not be surprised.
The article was about confessing the affair, avoiding the hurt of everyone would be why I never would. I do feel the consequences would be worse for him, mainly because of the emotional intelligence of his children.
Having this affair has absolutely allowed both of us to stay in our marriages, I realize there is a huge argument to be had about why that is not a good idea, I don’t believe we are naive about potential consequences. They would be great and devastating to all parties involved. Like I freelyadmitted, that is the selfish part. Confessing would add an unnecessary element of pain.
What do I want for my life? I want my cake and to eat it too.. Can there even be a different but equally honest answer? As far as goals for this relationship, i am trying to have none. I fail at that at times, I love him and it’s impossible to not have the fantasy of the two of us together. We don’t talk about it because it’s not a reality that doesn’t come with pain. That’s another contradiction because because we risk causing pain by just being. I’m not trying to defend what we are doing as noble and right. We know it’s not. But intentionally inflicting pain on our respective loved ones by co fessing..is that right?
The only morally acceptable answer would be for us to end what we have or end our marriages. Neither of us are willing to do that yet.
Just to add..if I were to become single would I be happy with stolen moments? Probably for a while but eventually I know I would want more. I don’t know what would happen with the relationship when or if that happens. I’m not sure if I can picture a happy ending. It’s impossible to predict.
Thank you for replying.
I am in the middle of a year and a half affair. I recently decided I needed to end the affair and really give my marriage one real shot before divorce. I am scared out of my mind that I am making the biggest mistake of my life. I moved out of our house 3 months ago and I started seeing my lover 6-7 times a week. I have never been happier or healthier in my life. I know for a fact this woman is who I am supposed to be with for the long term. She treats me like a king in every way. It is truly what I love. There is one problem though I can’t see to file for divorce. The blind love of my wife is overwhelming. She still wants to work it out after abandoning her for months. I really want to give her the respect and really try but my heart isn’t in it at all. She is much younger and still has a lot of growing up to do. I don’t know what to do because I am afraid I won’t be able to live with the guilt after I file. I am crushed and I can’t believe I am in the situation. Oh on top of everything else my lover told me once I go back we will never see each other again. This is crushing me on so many levels because I can’t seem to let my lover go no matter what I try.
Is it possible to get a divorce and not feel like hell? Over time I will start to heal and be ok? Honestly I am more worried about losing my lover and soulmate which couldn’t be good.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Do you have children together? You need to factor in what they will think and what impact leaving will have on your relationship with them. If you leave their mother – who loves you deeply and will hurt deeply – it might take them a long time to forgive (and some never do). In those circumstances, it will be hard for the divorce to not feel like hell. If you don’t have children, it will be easier. However, what you’re missing from your thinking is that your wife will find out that you knew this woman before whatever ‘official’ date you give for your meeting. She will draw her own conclusions and being lied to will make it worse for her, for you and everybody else. If you come back for a half hearted attempt at saving the relationship, she will feel even more betrayed. Speak to friends and men in the office who are divorced and get their advice. I have counselled men who thought divorce would be OK because other men seemed to cope but actually they had kept all their despair to themselves. So look before your leap!
We don’t have kids actually. My wife got an abortion a few years ago which hurt me extremely bad because I wasn’t on board. After that I started to really check out. We spent the day together and my insides were hurting so bad. She really does love me and she doesn’t want to give up but I know it isn’t right. All I can do is think about my lover and how I would rather be spending time with her. It is so easy and everything flows. I’m really worried I already screwed it up with her though for telling her I needed to give it one last chance. You are definitely right about the date and finding out later thru her own conclusions but what am I supposed to do? I guess I could tell her everything and really mess up all three of our lives. My thinking is if I set her free now she might actually forgive me when she meets her next man down the road and realize what we have isn’t right. Thanks for your response.
I thought I’d share my story.,,
I am a guy married for 13 years but together with my wife for 28. Last year was a dreadful one for us; my father in law died after a protracted illness (I held his hand at the end – we were v close). However, my lovely mother in law has Alzheimer’s and had to be put in a care home and very short notice in the aftermath. All this had to be managed through many trips abroad to the country where they live. My wife and I had a very stressful time. She is very controlling and angry at the best of times but during this period things were very difficult indeed.
Also, during this time my mum fell suddenly ill and was in ICT unit for two weeks. I was by her bedside when they told me that she wasn’t going to make it. Fortunately she did. On top of this, our dog died in the autumn. I would also add that these events had been preceded by years of difficulty with our children. My step son is 32 and our daughter is 23, both have experienced emotional difficulties over the years.
In October I was attending a cultural event alone (my wife was away abroad) and met this most amazing woman who I completely fell for. It felt like a lightening strike. She was single, my age (52) and very attractive. I wasn’t looking to meet someone, I had two tickets but my wife at the last minute decided to go to abroad instead. What followed felt like a complete emotional meltdown. I confessed to this new woman that I was married, we didn’t start an affair but started communicating via text. We met a couple of times for coffee and I felt totally smitten by her.
6 weeks after meeting her, I moved out of the family home and took my wedding ring off. I told my wife that I was leaving and that we were now separated. Shortly after I started a relationship with this new woman, there was no time when I was seeing both women at the same time. I was quite particular that I didn’t want to be unfaithful. The following nine months have been a roller coaster of difficult emotions, threats of divorce, romantic getaways, depression, tears, financial difficulties, renting of crummy places for me.
Lately however, I’ve come to see that my new relationship has calmed down and that it poses all kinds of issues and problems around my new partners children who also have emotional problems! Further more my new partner is always going on about friends who have hooked up with wealthy guys. I do pretty well but after a divorce I will be considerably poorer! I find this talk unsettling. I love her but I’m starting to feel that I’m just exchanging one set of problems for another. I found myself starting to withdraw emotionally. Two weeks ago I told my new partner that I had doubts about our relationship, that I still have feelings for my wife and that I wanted to more back into the family home and attempt reconciliation. My wife does not know about my relationship which I have just ended and we are planning to go to couples counselling.
Is it best to tell my wife about this new relationship? She would be very upset. Also, have I had a nervous breakdown or something? I’m struggling to understand what has happened to me. I’ve had individual counselling through this process. I felt everything I was doing was justified at the time, but now I really wonder. Was I even encouraged by the counselor to go ahead with the new relationship because is “felt right”?
I’m struggling but would be really grateful to hear comments on my story.
P.S. My wife and I went to Relate and I can’t begin to describe how useless they were.
Andrew G. Marshall says
Thanks for sharing your story, I am happy to share some of my thoughts about what might be happening but obviously they are just thoughts as I haven’t met you. You have been through some sort of crisis – whether you want to call it a nervous breakdown or, what I suspect your wife would think, a mid-life crisis. it doesn’t matter. So what could be the cause? It’s normally that someone’s old life or how they have been leading it no longer makes sense. If I was to guess, it sounds like you pride yourself on being rational and either minimising or downplaying your emotions. You describe your children and your affair partner’s children as having ’emotional problems’ and your wife as ‘angry’ – so I guess that you think emotions are problems. Interestingly, you think your counsellor encouraged you to leave because of emotions – ‘it felt right’. I find this a lot with rational men when their life stops working they start going entirely by feelings (and throwing caution and rational thoughts out of the window). To make a wise decision, you need to both brain AND heart. I’d like you to look at my books ‘Wake Up and Change Your Life’ to understand more about the role of feelings in a balanced life (and look at the section on projection where you ignore things that you don’t like about yourself – see feelings again – and find them in other people and then get upset about it). Have a look at ‘It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s an opportunity’ too as this will help you understand your situation. Finally, should you tell your wife about the relationship? In a word: yes. Sure she will be angry, very angry because she will blame you (and this other woman) for all the pain she’d been through. However, she will also be relieved because it will begin to make sense of what you have been doing and why you’ve been acting (from her perspective) so strangely. Plus if you’re going to rebuild your marriage, it hasd to be on better communication, openness and honesty and keeping secrets will doom the project before its even started.
Thank you for this helpful post, which has prompted me to share my story.
I have recently been unfaithful to my boyfriend. I am utterly shocked and devastated by what I have done. My AP and I had a twelve-week affair of emotional and sexual messaging, with a few snatched coffees or drinks when schedules allowed. Our one sexual encounter (not full sex, as if that matters) caused a bubble to burst, and I ended all contact at our next meeting. That will stick, without question. My feelings for the AP, such as they were, vanished within a week, to be replaced by guilt and remorse.
There are many layers to why this happened – my current relationship is the product of an affair, and had been suffering deeply because my partner’s teenage daughter refuses to speak with him after learning details of the affair. This had placed a great burden on our own relationship. However, the ultimate reason was, of course, my own weakness. Weakness I never knew was in me, and which I now know I will never allow to dictate my actions again.
The question of confession is weighing deeply on me. All instincts point to telling my partner, with whom I share a loving and honest bond. However, my current therapist advises firmly against this, explaining that it is never a good idea for something which is a mistake, never to be repeated. To offload my guilt on my boyfriend would, in his eyes, be to commit a selfish act. His view is that in these circumstances, we can allow a mistake to recede into the past, and to be a motivator for a better relationship. We should not burden our partners with knowledge of something which will never happen again, and which will devastate them.
I am deeply unsure. We have been working through counselling for all the time we have been together since he left home. There have been deep problems in the relationship, but we have approached them with commitment and mutual respect. Even during the three months of this affair, we made extraordinary strides. I simply don’t know whether I can keep this mistake private whilst we are working so hard on these issues. But then I know that the severe hurt which will be caused by the disclosure means there will be little chance to explain the true meaning (or lack thereof) of this transgression. Perhaps that is simply not a chance I deserve after what I have done.
On the other hand, after reading so many stories of disclosure, I do not underestimate the vicious pain, self-doubt, rejection and humiliation this would cause my partner. It seems that this would be the case even if he left me for what I did. Can that wounding really be justified?
I am truly lost, and would be grateful for any thoughts.
I am also one if those who confessed to an affair. We have been together for 6 years. I loved my bf and still do but the last year or so has been very difficult. We have had no sex and very little body contact. In the end, the relationship was more of a friendship..something platonic. Despite many talks and promises on his part to change something, nothing ever did. When I told him he took it very calmly and seemed to have understood why I jumped off the bridge – bc he pushed me. Now, a few days in, he seems angry and very snide and we are living from two different rooms. He doesn’t want to talk and when he does then only snide remarks. When I told him he claimed he still loves me, but is it love when you don’t care to meet the basic biological and emotional needs of your partner? Sometimes I wish I hadn’t told him bc he is the last person I’d want to hurt in this world and I see how much he is suffering now. It is very painful to live with the knowledge of having caused so much pain to him. Is there a way forward from sub a situation? Is a breakup inevitable? Is it it not selfish to withhold sex for so long and expect the other half to just suffer in silence? He claims now he could never make me happy..that is not true. He just didn’t care to make me happy in that one aspect.
A very difficult and emotive subject. My husband who I absolutely adored ( and who I would have bet my life on believing he felt the same) betrayed me nearly three years ago.
I found out, he didn’t confess until I had pretty much given him all the evidence that I knew. Then he did, and he said he realised that he was going to lose me and wanted to do anything to keep me.
We are still “together” but I will never get over the complete destruction of trust and betrayal and our relationship will never be the same. I feel I compromise my happiness by being here, but I do still care – even though a large part of my emotions are dead.
Andrew G. Marshall says
If you feel like this and it’s three years on, it sounds like you’re stuck. Check my website in a few days time or search for Andrew G Marshall Infidelity Survival Training and Support Group. It launches in October 2018. You might find it helpful
Married 25 years…6 children…homeschooled
My life revolved around homeschooling, grocery shopping and church. My husband was critical of my frustration with homeschooling and thus labeled me nagative. I definately see this now. I was passed burned out. I was criticised for what I perceive to be petty things; dusting, grocery shopping to his timing/liking. Other important things such as how the much the children should use the internet and all facets of social media I tried to control to protect thier hearts by setting boundaries. I was disrespected and underminded to the point oldest child 18 quit speaking to me.
Divorced, 18 year old now talks to neithe of us.
I was suicidal 2-3 times a month after verbal vomitting from my hubs regarding my domestic abilities for the last 10 years. We split up to do individual counseling. I did EMDR (for my suicidal thoughts) and he went to a few sessions which encourgaed him to pursue divorce. He moved out of our bedroom and worked a lot. I took breaks when i could get them (no family to help). Met a man, limierance ensued and lasted 1.5 years. Was shorter but i kept trying to make him happy as i did my husband and drug out 2 years now. I tried to end almost a year ago but he sweet talked me back into a pattern i did not want to go but felt like i had no choice. Now AP has shown his true colors. He has a history with police and i am not sure why i would spend time with someone who is in that setting.
I ended the Affair over a yr ago but i didnt have support. Therfore when he reached out to talk i responded. And he flatteried me back in. However, he is missing the 6 kids i share with my Ex husband, he is also not being so nice to me cuz. Says i dont want to see him anymore or miss him or text him as much. He is right. Thats what trading probs are I had juat about rather die than confess.Exhusband moved a significantly younger nanny in and she has since moved out (3 months). Said he has taken her on a few dates. I cannot move forward cuz I constantly think my alienateded son, upcoming holidays, marriages, births ive alread missed. My ex is interested but i fear confessing will ensue losing more children. Guilt eats me daily. Sorry long..been in counseling 2 years and i still cry think what if what if and ex does too. Divorce was nasty. He is coming controlling, freaked out when i wemt to work or went to town too often However, im aasumming since son has been able disrespect me i shouldnt tell him about affair for fear he would tell them. However, i know now that the hell i thought i was going thru was easier than the hell im in now, i see good qualities now that took forgranted. I see my shortcomingings.
Any wise words would b drank up. I feel crazy talking to him (ex) cuz he waa ao nasty thru divorve. However, our house being split makes me feel crazier. Often the kids come and just sit in their rooms.
Idk….i am tired…just tired
Ty in advance. Ive been in counseling for almost 2 yrs and released but i still dont frel confident about my decision.
Andrew G. Marshall says
I am pleased that you are in counselling because it sounds like you have layers, upon layers of misery to sift through and sort out. I know it seems like a lots of hard work but it is better to get to the bottom of the pain. Of course, you’re tired. That’s natural. But be kind to yourself, take care of yourself (because you have needs too). If confessing is going to put you at risk or overwhelm your every day life, then don’t. When you’re feeling stronger, discuss it with your therapist and make a decision then.
My husband and I have been married nearly 7 years, together 12. We were each other’s first serious relationship, first sex, first most things. We were both teenagers when we got together and broke up for a year nearly ten years ago. During that time, he began having a friend with benefits relationship with a girl he shared a major with in college. She wanted to date officially, he didn’t. We got back together, got married, and 9 months ago had our daughter. We nearly divorced at the end of his college career because I found a secret email account he was using to communicate with the girl he had a sexual relationship with while we were broken up. A year before that I had found a risky photo of her on an old phone. He always denied the affair but I knew he couldn’t bring himself to be honest with me. Eventually, when he graduated two years ago(which took a much longer time than anticipated and caused many problems in our marriage and self esteem problems for him) got a job, and we bought a house I made peace that that part of our lives was over and I didn’t need to know the extent of his relationship with her. Until the other woman contacted me two months ago. She told me they had sex a handful of times after we got back together spanning 6-7 years. Even with this he was too afraid to confess at first. Eventually he agreed to everything she said and added one more time (for a total of 4 times over 6-7 years), and one more woman who was a friend of the first woman. He says he never had any deep feelings for either woman. He says he did it because he was immature and it was a time he felt like a complete loser, unable to provide for himself or his wife, basically a failure at life and that the sex was an in the moment escape and ego boost. He claims he felt horrible about it afterwards and would lock it away inside himself and tell himself that wasn’t really who he was and I would never find out so everything was going to be okay. He says it would happen again because he was still in the same situation for so long feeling so terrible about himself. He claims he’s still in love with me and he really has been doing everything to try and console me and promise me it won’t happen again. My question is, it happened for so long and the levels of deception were maintained so long, how can I ever believe it won’t happen again and that he really didn’t have any deep feelings towards this other woman? I should add, when our marriage was really rocky, I had an emotional affair and confessed to him. He said he understood why I did but that he still didn’t feel anything more than a friend with benefits level depth of emotion towards the other woman. I am a wreck and I don’t know what to do or how to believe my husband anymore. I feel so angry and ashamed that the first year of my daughters life will be plagued with this in my memory. Even more so because I used to tell him if he would just tell me what happened we could work out anything, instead the control was ripped out of our hands by the worst person from whom I could have received the news.
Andrew G. Marshall says
What a horrible way to find out about your husband’s infidelity! But I am pleased that he doing everything to support you. If you think it would be helpful to have some support look at my online group How do you trust him again? That comes at the end of the recovery journey. The one benefit of infidelity is that it brings all the unburied bodies from a relationship (and the unfaithful partner’s past) up to the surface where they can be learned from. So you will feel better when you feel he has truly changed (rather than saying what you want to hear) and the two of you have the tools to resolve issues as they come up (rather than them going under ground).
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.
I have been married 15 years, have two children. I have been engaged in explicit sexual texting with someone that my husband knows (it’s not a friend or neighbour or anything but he knows him). We have met up a couple of times for sex. I was out one night and I received a text from him which wasn’t his usual tone and it turned out it was his wife. She got hold of his phone and read every message (pics were also there). Obviously she wants to expose the “affair” to my husband. I know I have to tell him before she does but I can’t do now and ruin the big family Christmas we have planned. I have been unhappy for years but the guilt is killing me knowing that I’m going to break his heart. It’s made me realise that I don’t want to lose him and I certainly don’t want to break up my family. I was planing on maybe booking a place for a weekend, writing everything in a letter for him to read while I’m there in another room so that I can get everything down, my reasons for doing it, the debilitating guilt I felt and the realisation that I do still love him and hope he can somehow forgive me. I know I have to tell him so he doesn’t find out from the other betrayed partner.
Thanks for reading
Andrew G. Marshall says
It is ALWAYS better to get in first and tell your story than let someone else tell it. And I promise that it won’t be kind to you. However, it will be a great weight off your mind – even though you will find your husband is more upset than you ever thought possible and you will feel worse than you ever thought possible. However, it can be the beginning of a new type of honesty between you and your husband which can heal the problems in your marriage. i wish you courage.
I am married for 10 years, and even have a child. My wife, is a great girl, even though we don’t seem to match each other’s emotional/intellectual needs, I would be wrong to say that anything was her fault….
3 years back, my best friend (11 years), and I ended up being in a love relationship. It felt like heaven, we both matched at every possible level, and were so much in love….. This continued for less than an year, when she asked me to tell my wife about it, I being a coward could not muster the courage of hurting my wife, and losing my child forever. On one hand I loved my best friend immensely, to the extent that I could not think about anyone else, and on the other hand I knew this is wrong, and I should not cause so much pain, to so many people because of my desires.
It so happened, that in an year, I had to move far, relocate with my family. We both knew that is probably the end of it, but we couldn’t stop loving each other. On the other hand, I wanted to treat my wife in the best way possible, making up for my guilt! Which I did. Although I could not love her. We have had a sexless marriage for close to 3 years now.
In the mean time, I ditched my love, even though she means the world to me, because I did not have the spine to stand up for her, and I am too soft to hurt my child or my wife. Also, I realized that my love should probably move on, or else she was stuck with me..
Our relationship (my love and mine) ended, my wife is happier than ever, as I changed myself in many ways, to make her life better/ happier.
But , I am still in love with best friend, and feel guilty of betraying her. She, is so hurt, that she will never take me back now.
I am a mess. I want to tell my wife now, about everything, so that at least she knows the truth. And also because the lady I loved, knows that I am correcting myself, and maybe she might take me back…..
What do I do? Should I be telling my wife, or should I let this be a secret in my heart forever, and work on my marriage, like I have been for the last two years?
I might lose my marriage, my child, by doing this. I might have lost my love already. But I might be at peace, lonely somewhere!!
Andrew G. Marshall says
It sounds like you are good at making other people happy. You have changed yourself to make your wife happier. Except you are in a sexless marriage. Why don’t you tell your wife how that feels for you? let me guess…. because you don’t want to upset her or rock the boat. How many other things don’t you speak up about? How did you learn to put your needs last and other people’s first? Think about your mother.. Did you try and keep her happy too? Have you been trained from an early age? What I am trying to get you look at is not with which woman to go off into the sunset but who you are, what you want and how to learn to communicate effectively so you can get some of your emotional and intellectual needs met… Many men in your position think the answer is to find the right woman but I would suggest you have got to find (and know) yourself first.
I’ve been with my now wife for 6 years, married just 6 months ago. We’re expecting our first child in 7 months. I’ve been having an affair for the past 2.5 months. I haven’t told my wife yet purely out of a bunch of selfish reasons and to avoid hurting her. I’m not sure how she’ll react or how I’ll feel when I tell her. Every scenario has gone through my head; forgiving me…all the way to aborting the child and divorcing me…and all things in between. I’m pretty much doing the worst possible thing you can do to another human-being and not be thrown in jail. There are people in jail for less ‘crimes’ than the one I’m committing. One of the scariest parts of all of this is when I tell her, if she asks me if I’ll do anything and everything to make things better so we can get past it and live a long, happy life…my answer is I don’t know. Perhaps when I finally tell her, it’ll be that moment when I’ll ‘know’ if I really love her or I went through the motions and got married for the wrong reasons?
Andrew G. Marshall says
I would look at WHY now? Why when your wife is pregnant? How do you feel about being a father? What was your relationship with your own father like? Could you have freaked out because of the pregnancy? I can’t tell you how many men do it. And what do men do to feel better when they are in crisis? Look for sex. Basically, we are told from childhood to ignore out feelings. Big boys don’t cry etc. From our teenage years, we are taught to consult our penis! So guess what… we sometimes get confused about how to respond to an emotional crisis and turn it into a sexual (a love crisis). Remember, you will be found out. Maybe not today but soon. It is better to confess and be in control of the timing….
I have been with my husband for 23 years and married for almost 16. we have 3 children together, 21 year old twins and a 14 year old. Less than a month ago I cheated. It was purely sex with no emotions involved. He was younger and just made me feel good about myself and made me feel wanted. We run in the same circle so have seen each other since and everything is good. But, since then I have reconnected with my first love and have began an emotional affair with him. All of the feeling we had 25 years ago for each other came back instantly. He has had half of my heart for the last 25 years and still does. My husband and I have not been in a good place for at least the last 6 years with the last 2 being even worse after he was diagnosed with cancer. In the last 2 years I have fallen out of love with him, though I do still love him. As for my husband, I don’t think he has a clue and if he does he is not letting on. I have addressed our issues with my husband and all he does is cry and smother me now. I suggested counseling, but he thought we needed to prioritize and work on our finances first. I am at the point where I don’t know if I even want it fixed, but I also do not want to hurt him. And, I just don’t know where I would go or what I would do. As for my boys, they would actually be understanding of a divorce because it was my older 2 boys that made me realize how unhappy I have been for so long, and my youngest is also sick of seeing and feeling the constant tension in our home. But, if they found out about the cheating and the affair, I don’t think they could forgive me. I really am stuck and just don’t know where to go from here.
Andrew G. Marshall says
It is good that you have addressed your issues with your husband but you missed out some important information. He does not know that are having an affair, he needs the full information.
I have been having an affair with an associate pastor for almost a year now and I confided in a friend because I felt so many emotions at once and couldn’t contain them anymore. My friend confronted the other pastor about what was happening between us and the associate pastor and myself were brought in for meetings. He told me to deny everything and he would take care of things. He resigned a week later and my family stopped going to the church too. It’s been a couple months since that has happened and we have still been seeing each other. I ran into someone from church and recently found out that he still denies our affair and said I was the one coming onto him. I have developed feelings for him and we are both unhappily married with kids. With all that has happened, I have lost several friends and my reputation has been ruined. Part of me wants go back to the church and confess everything and try to mend my friendships. I betrayed two of my best friends, all cause he was telling me what I needed to hear. Should I confess or leave it be? When we’re together, it feels so good but as soon as he leaves I get depressed. Should I confess to his wife? I see her everyday and it hurts me to know that he’s lying to her. He has everyone thinking I’m the bad person and he has done nothing wrong..
Andrew G. Marshall says
First of all, don’t have anything more to do with the associate pastor. He has put himself first in all of this, he asked you to lie on his behalf and then he’s lied about you. Meanwhile, he is telling you what you ‘want to hear’. No matter how good it feels to be with him, this is a HUGE prize to pay for it. I would apologise and confess to your best friends – so you can rebuild these relationships. I would also ask for their advice about how to make up with the other friends that you have lost. I would not speak to his wife. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she knows he is lying to her. How she is dealing with her husband and her life is up to her. If she wants to hear from you, I am sure she will approach you. In the meantime, stick to sorting out your life and focusing on sorting out your marriage, your friendship circle and your future.
I’m caught in the grips of the guilt over my affair that ended 4 years ago and wondering if I should confess. My wife and I have been together since 2006 and married since 2010. We have a 4 year old daughter. I love my wife and daughter very much and the reasons for my selfish behaviours I think comes from insecurities I’ve long held and a desire to explore sides of myself I couldn’t with my wife.
About 6 weeks before my wedding I had a tryst with a stranger. I wasn’t looking to have sex and the situation was very unexpected. We didn’t sleep together but she did perform oral sex on me. I never saw her again. I had guilt from that but I buried it because I wanted to marry my wife. A year after our wedding, a woman I worked with made a pass at me. I resisted initially and I made it known I didn’t want to pursue anything with her. She apologized and I thought we would be ok to be friendly again. Unfortunately, that first pass at me softened my resistance and I started to think about her. I didn’t encourage anything but she noticed I was more receptive and her persistence wore me down. We never had sex. Most of our interactions were through text or occasional lunches and events we would arrange to meet. We would hold hands, grope over clothing and simulate sex but we didn’t perform sexual activity unclothed. I’m rationalising I know but I still find it an important thing to be clear about. Nonetheless, we were undeniably in a relationship of some sort. It wasn’t consistent. The first year and a half was the most emotionally intense though we’d see each other only occasionally. It lasted in total 3 years up until my wife and I left California and moved to Maryland with our new born. I ended my connection to the other woman and we’ve only connected once to acknowledge the end of our connection.
There was so much new life experiences the first 2 years after our move that I don’t think I had time to process what I’d done. Starting about a year and a half ago I began to feel much more and the guilt was affecting me. It has been very hard to manage more recently and I’m thinking about telling my wife about the affair and tryst. It will end my marriage and shatter my wife and daughter’s life. I don’t want to do this. There’s very little chance she would find out about the affair because I was careful about it though I know deep down she suspected it. I’m wondering what I should do. I think I need to talk with a therapist to be clear. Any advice is appreciated.
Andrew G. Marshall says
One of the brilliant things about writing down your thoughts is that you often find the answers for yourself. And that’s just what you did! You need to talk to a therapist to understand the ‘insecurities’ that you have long held and think through what to do next. I wish you all the best.
Please do not confess if it will not be discovered. Commit to who you love and become the best spouse you can. The fallout is not worth it and your spouse will never look at you the same again. It is not worth it!!!
I completely agree! I confessed and now my life is ruined. Love who you love and commit to them 100%