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cannot live with the shame any longer

(116 Posts)
ayudamedios Tue 25-Mar-14 13:33:41

2 years of complete no contact and investing in my marriage and I feel very much in love with DH � I didn�t ever think it would be possible to get back to anything like this but I do not think that I can continue. I had an affair which DH doesn�t know about. This was three years ago and the more that I have invested in him and my marriage the more that I come to believe that I cannot continue without telling him the truth. I think it is because I have so much love for him and can �see� him again after feeling numb to him for so long that I just don�t think I can continue to deceive him about what went on. I have been a lapsed catholic for years but have been attending mass for the last year or so and I don�t know if it is that which is fuelling my desire to confess or if it is cause and effect. I feel so ashamed of my actions and the pain that I have caused to my family, OM�s family. I am terrified to tell DH the truth but I don�t feel as though I can go on if I don�t. I don�t think that he would forgive me. Why would he and I�m so frightened of the impact on my 2 DDs but we are living a half life unless he knows the truth and he doesn�t even know it. I would do anything to make this right again but I don�t think that it can be fixed.

I lie awake thinking of all the hurt and pain I�ve caused to everyone � the ripples of it just keep going and going. Is it selfish to confess � so that I can breathe again. What about DDs?

Has anybody been through this? What did they do?

BuzzardBird Tue 25-Mar-14 13:37:37

Who is it going to help by telling him? You is the answer. You are not helping him by telling him. You have to live with the guilt, it is the punishment for what you did.

Weathergames Tue 25-Mar-14 13:37:45

As someone who has just confessed to a ONS and been left by my partner I wouldn't unless you are prepared to accept what might happen (ie him leaving you).

eurochick Tue 25-Mar-14 13:40:05

Exactly what BuzzardBird said.

Go to confession, get it out of your system. Deal with the guilt. That is the consequence of your actions.

PeacesOfAte Tue 25-Mar-14 13:40:41

God, don't tell him. You clearly are regretting it and doing the right thing now, it won't benefit anyone for him to know. Unless you think he's likely to find out by other means then try to put it behind you and move on. Can't you confess to your priest or whatever, and get some forgiveness that way?

flanneryann Tue 25-Mar-14 13:43:13

Hi, I wanted to post to give you some support even though I don't have any first hand experience of this. The compulsion for you to confess what you have done seems so strong. Have you considered counselling for yourself? It might help to make sense of what you are feeling and help you reach a decision about what to do.
I must admit I think my first reaction would be to say nothing to him as its clear how much you love him and how much you have to lose. I am not saying that would be the moral thing to do though.
Wishing you clarity of mind and support.

ayudamedios Tue 25-Mar-14 13:46:51

Can't reply properly now as at work but I will later. Thanks for the responses which I do not deserve. I don't know why the compulsion is so strong - I don't want to lie anymore - it is not in my character.

cozietoesie Tue 25-Mar-14 13:50:01

I wouldn't say anything - you won't actually feel better, even temporarily. You'll just end up making everyone miserable and probably breaking up your family.

What I would do, however, is try to work out why you did it and what you might have got from it at the time. Knowing yourself better might enable you to contribute more to the relationship with your DH and go some way to overcome your guilt. As above, have you considered some sort of counselling?

LongPieceofString Tue 25-Mar-14 13:50:31

If my DH had had an affair at any point in our relationship I would want to know.

Others may be different of course.

babyboomersrock Tue 25-Mar-14 13:52:32

and the pain that I have caused to my family

I'm not sure what you mean, OP. If they don't know, how have you caused them pain? You're the one in pain, from guilt, and it's for you to deal with that - don't just off-load on to your partner to make yourself feel better.

I do understand that there's a moral dilemma here and your religious beliefs will impact on your decision but I'd suggest you need to speak to a counsellor (not a priest) before you think about acting on your feelings.

keepitall Tue 25-Mar-14 14:06:04

Are the children his? Were you sleeping with the OM at time of conception?

Why did you not choose the OM?

Tell him please, do the right thing - he has the right to decide if he wants to continue to have you in his life or on what conditions he wishes the relationship to continue.

ayudamedios Tue 25-Mar-14 14:18:24

There is no doubt whatsoever that the children are his. I slept with OM twice it was not really about sex but an emotional connection getting out of hand.

keepitall Tue 25-Mar-14 14:32:54

Well if the affair was away from conceiving the children I think it narrows the reasons for still telling him.

Complete disclosure its the healthiest basis to develop your relationship with OH. That seems the default opinion to most just look at the wont tell me his salary thread on the current front page.

Before you do that though you have to work out if it does go wrong and OH wants to call it a day would you be able to adjust and succeed as a lone parent. Do you earn you own wage/have savings to be able to cope?

Dahlen Tue 25-Mar-14 14:37:07

We can't tell you how to handle this.

Withholding the truth can be a huge betrayal of trust. Countless women on here have been driven to distraction by lies and deceit from their partners, even when they have corroborating evidence. To deny under those circumstances is suggestive of an appalling lack of respect for your partner.

In your case it appears that your partner has no suspicions whatsoever, however, which would make your confession much more about guilt than it would about respect for his feelings, making it more of a selfish act rather than a noble one.

The trouble is, you're not your partner, so you can't guess how you'd feel in his position.

He may prefer not to know because while not knowing he can continue with the happy marriage and not have that lingering doubt or fear. This is why some people manage to ignore evidence for affairs; they don't want to know because they don't want to change their lifestyle for whatever reason.

Alternatively, he could decide that he wants to know because anything less than full disclosure is living a lie.

He could refuse to stay with you or he could be devastated but choose to work through it (odds are less likely when the female has the affair however, be warned).

There are too many variables out of your control here. You can't know what's right for your DH because you're not him. In a way, assuming that you'd know what someone would want and acting accordingly is a strange form of arrogance. With so many variables, I'd say you have no choice but to be guided by your own conscience and what you want.

graceholl Tue 25-Mar-14 14:48:26

I agree with LongPiece imagine the shoe was on the other foot, wouldn't you want to know?

You have to tell him.

Your punishment may now be living with the guilt as Buzzard said but quite frankly he has every right to know as you are living a lie that will effect your whole family. If he leaves you then that will be heart breaking but it is his decision to make - you cheated.

Sorry for sounding tough, I cannot abide cheating no matter the situation.

ayudamedios Tue 25-Mar-14 14:50:27

I tried to tell him before it became an affair - I told him I had met up with somebody and that I felt frightened because I had feelings for them. He stonewalled it and never brought it up although we went through a very rough period of fighting and arguing and hurt in the months after. I just don't know. I will return to this properly after work.

graceholl Tue 25-Mar-14 14:54:42

In which case OP he may have a prior inkling and it may be better to just get it out of the way and tell him. I know it must take courage to tell him.

How do you imagine he would react if you were to tell him?

graceholl Tue 25-Mar-14 14:55:19

wow every single sentence ending identically there, sorry. engage brain.

AutumnMadness Tue 25-Mar-14 15:02:16

OP, I would really consider very carefully the motivations for your desire to confess to your husband. At present, it seems that not much good will come out of this confession for your family members. What would they gain by the knowledge of your affair? I would hazard to guess that you are after forgiveness from your husband. But consider whether it is fair to place this burden on him. You had the affair, not him. Why is it his job to cleanse you?

I do not mean this in a negative way. But you need to think about cleansing and forgiving yourself first and foremost. You say you are a church-going Catholic. Well, despair counts as a rather deadly sin in Christianity. It is good to recognise our mistakes and to feel guilt, but it is not good to let ourselves be overwhelmed by our guilt, to let it become the driving force in our lives. Guilt is good in moderation when it allows us to be critically reflective and not repeat past mistakes. But it should not paralise us and leave us unable to move on with life and to care for those around us.

Consider ways to forgive yourself. You are a Christian. Perhaps you can ask God to forgive you (he is supposed to, isn't he?), do some form of penance. I believe this is more about your relationship with yourself rather than your husband.

If I were your husband, I would not want you to tell me. I would see it as you asking me to deal with your problems. Yes, marriage is for solving problems together, but sometimes it can get too much.

keepitall Tue 25-Mar-14 15:19:08

Sorry but i completely disagree with AutumnMadness and others on this thread who are saying not to tell him.

What if the children hadn't been his and he didnt know. On the basis of the reasoning of the above poster that would remain secret from the OH?

What if the OP had unprotected sex? Would the DH have a right to be told to have a STI check?

What if the affair was still continuing?

Why are some posters here seeking to ensure that the OP is able to deal with HAVING AN AFFAIR in solitude and then expecting the DH to be blissfully ignorant and continue supporting someone who cheated on him.

The only reason I can see for this stance is that others are seeking to ensure that the OP doesn't experience any negative consequences on top of what she is feeling internally through guilt.

Everyone has the right to self-determine if they wish to continue in a relationship and more importantly with someone who has now a proven track record of cheating. Tell him. And its hypocritical of others to say don't because if the OP was a man talking about not telling his wife then the comments would be so much different.

NotNewButNameChanged Tue 25-Mar-14 15:36:29

The general consensus on these threads is usually about 70% "don't tell" and 30% "do tell" - which always surprises me.

Personally, I am in the "do tell" camp because I think deceit is not on in a relationship and while "ignorance may be bliss" I agree with keepitall in that everyone has the right to be in a relationship that meets THEIR boundaries and dealbreakers. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and being cheated on shows a distinct lack of respect for the person we supposedly love. You marry or live with someone because you love the person you believe them to be. You have a right to learn if that person is NOT the person you believe them to be.

FolkGirl Tue 25-Mar-14 15:36:38

Wow. I'm astounded and annoyed to see so many posts telling you not to tell him. I'm pretty confident that you'd be getting a completely different response if you were a man who'd cheated on your wife. I need to remember this thread the next time I read one of those...

I completely agree with keepitall.

I am an adult. I have the right to decide who I am in a relationship with and whether I continue that relationship and I deserve to base those decisions on the actual truth and not the fabricated truth my partner chooses to present to me. Why does the OP's husband deserve less than me?!

AutumnMadness Tue 25-Mar-14 15:50:31

I think it is unfair to drag things like STDs and illegitimate (pardon me for anachronisms) children into the picture when OP has not mentioned either. I think it is best not to overcomplicate the picture with things imaginary.

Just a question for those in the "do tell" camp. If you were the husband, would you ask for a divorce? If not, why would you want to know (assuming that the affair that happened three years ago did not have any impact on your present life as the case seems to be with the OP)?

I do understand the desire to know exactly who you are married to. But I am also a pragmatist and think about what this knowledge would practically bring into my life. I am also weary of such confessionals as they are often not about showing your partner who you are but offloading your problems onto your partner. You speak about the right to decide. What about the right not to decide?

Abbykins1 Tue 25-Mar-14 15:53:17

You committed the sin,you feel you have done your penance and now you want to ask for forgiveness.

God will forgive you.

Your husband won’t!

FolkGirl Tue 25-Mar-14 16:01:56

Autumn Well people are quite happy to drag STIs into the discussion if it's a man who's been found to have had an affair, just in case...

And yes, I would ask for a divorce. I kicked my husband out and ended my marriage when I found he'd registered on extra marital affair websites. I had no evidence anything had actually happened at that point (the truth came out after), but yes, if I found out my spouse had had an affair, I would end it.

The right not to decide? What does that even mean? I have the right to not make decisions about my own life..?

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