Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I'm the bad guy and I need help

(54 Posts)
Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 13:37:40

I've NC for this.

Years ago I cheated on my DH. I regretted it straight away. I've not told him but the guilt is killing me. I feel sick and I don't know what to do. I love my DH so much and I loved him at the time. I guess the OM gave me attention and I was flattered.

It was a one off, not that that makes it any better.

I have 3 options as I see it:

1. I don't tell DH, I live with the guilt and I go on to be the best wife I can. I hope he never finds out and I'm 95% sure he won't, but there's always that chance. It's a chance I take.

2. I tell him. He'll leave me and he'll be hurting. I will still feel the guilt.

3. I can't even believe I'm writing this but anyone who searches my name will know I've just posted in mental health... I commit suicide. I've written suicide notes today. I feel like my mental health has been deteriorating for months as it is and I feel trapped inside my head. I don't know if I can go through with it or not but it seems the only option where my DH can be set free. Where I can be set free too.

Flame away, I couldn't feel any worse.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 02-May-13 13:40:51

Or you could tell him and both of you could work thro it.

Are you getting treatment for your mental health issues?

You would benefit from seeing a counsellor I think.

If it was years ago and you will enver do it agian and are determiend ot make your marriagework I would be inclined not ot tell him, however you have ot let it go as well not beat yourself up about it constantly.

Do you have children?

Do you want to remain in this marriage?

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 02-May-13 13:43:35

Forget the one night stand and sort your MH out, I'd say.

What you need to tell your husband is that you are feeling so low you've considered suicide. For whatever reason. The one night stand telling can wait.

Have you spoken to your GP? Or do you already have a MH team worker? You should speak to them.

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 13:44:15

It's a dealbreaker for him. He wouldn't stay with me and I don't blame him.

No, I'm not. I'm good at hiding how I'm feeling and I'm scared to admit it. I already see a counsellor, they do not know the full extent of how I'm feeling. I'm too ashamed.

No we don't have children. We'd discussed starting TTC this year which I think has made the guilt worse. How can I pretty much trick him into having a child with a lying, cheating bitch?

Yes, more than anything I want to remain with him. I adore him.

Thank you for replying x

Feckssake Thu 02-May-13 13:45:09

No. 1. Been there, done that, felt the guilt. If you are truly committed to your husband now, this is only going to break up what might otherwise be a very successful marriage. I know this is not the MN popular view, but I do think people can make mistakes like this and not reoffend. Give yourself a second chance and be a kickass wife.

It sounds like you're in considerable mental distress though. See your GP for a counselling referral and stop beating yourself up, love. Allow yourself to be less than perfect.

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 13:46:18

not I have a counsellor. I need to tell him. He's DHs counsellor too (we had marriage issues a long, long time ago) and I'm scared he will tell DH or make me tell him.

Feckssake Thu 02-May-13 13:46:29

Oops, too slow, I see you see a counsellor already. You need to tell them the whole story. That's the whole point, no?! - gently meant.

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 13:47:08

feck you've made me cry (in a good way) Thank you.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 02-May-13 13:49:12

If your counsellor were to tell your dh it would be highly unprofessional of him and he could risk his job. If you think there is a chance he would, then you need a different one.

Let's not tell your husband eh? Let's get you feeling better about yourself so you stop beating yourself up over it.

Have a had a wee look at your other thread smile.

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 13:49:14

I will tell him. I sort of mentioned the guilt thing at the last session but I couldn't bring myself to tell him the full story.

CinnabarRed Thu 02-May-13 13:49:46

Your counsellor won't tell your DH because s/he would be breaching his/her duties of confidentiality. And s/he can't force you to tell your DH either - s/he shouldn't really even suggest doing so - the point is helping you to come the decisions which are right for you.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 13:49:55

You need to talk to your counsellor. It would be very unfair to tell your DH just to make yourself feel better. But you need to unburden to someone in confidence and a counsellor is ideal.

HeathRobinson Thu 02-May-13 13:49:56

Could you find another counsellor to speak to about this?

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 13:50:40

not thank you. I need to have a proper cry but I'm at work so I'm going for a quick cry break in the loo! I'll be back in a bit.

Thank you so much, I already feel a bit more focussed on actually not killing myself.

bollockstoit Thu 02-May-13 13:52:59

People make mistakes. You know it was a mistake and you feel terrible about it. You're not a bad person, please don't think of yourself as a lying cheating bitch. No wonder you feel bad if that's how you talk to yourself. Please don't do yourself in, please. It's never the right thing to do, for yourself or for your dh and family/friends.

JohnSnowsTie Thu 02-May-13 13:53:13

Agree with Feck.

I think given that years have now elapsed, it's best not to tell him.

Accept that you've made a mistake (you're human, you weren't the first and you won't be the last to make such a mistake) you've felt how toxic guilt can be, and vow never to do it again.

I'm sure the counsellor will exercise confidentiality...? I think you should him/her all - from personal experience it's like a weight has been lifted once it's all out of your system. At the moment you're carrying the full burden of your guilt and it's proving unhealthy.

JohnSnowsTie Thu 02-May-13 13:54:27

should tell him/her all

BookieMonster Thu 02-May-13 13:56:40

Before making any decisions on telling your DH or not, you need to sort out the MH issues. Please make an appointment to see your GP straight away. Tell them it is an emergency. Please.

Hullygully Thu 02-May-13 13:57:07

Don't tell him.

We all want to live idealised "pure" lives, but we all have stuff we have done/know about, we all have regrets and most of us have secrets.

We all have to find a way to live with them.

You'll do nothing but purge yourself and damage him if you tell him now.

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 13:57:44

You know, from a purely practical point of view, if you do go ahead and commit suicide two things are certain.

1. Your dh will not be free. He will never be free. He will always feel that he should have done something to stop you. He will have to live with that for the rest of his life.

2. He will probably find out about the cheating. Because he will be so desperate for a "reason" for your suicide he will hunt through your life and eventually if anyone knows, he will find out.

So suicide isn't your solution, either way. You are back to

1. Don't tell him and hope he doesn't find out - if you can "fix" your mh issues and learn to live with yourself this is an option. If not:

2. Tell him and take the risk.

It is entirely possible you would be able to work through this.

You can't carry on going to counselling, though, if you aren't prepared to be honest with your counsellor. It will be counterproductive, because instead of feeling better you will feel a lot worse.

pictish Thu 02-May-13 13:59:08

Don't tell him.
You would only be telling him to appease your guilt anyway, so you wouldn't really be doing it for him, but for yourself.

Genuine advice - keep schtum, and concentrate on your MH issues.

I wish you peace. x

Maryz Thu 02-May-13 13:59:40

Sorry, that sounded practical and cold, rather than supportive. It wasn't meant to be.

Have a few (((((((hugs)))))))

EmilyNugent Thu 02-May-13 14:16:44

I feel for you, genuinely, but I am going to go against the prevailing viewpoint, although I realise I shall probably be flamed for it.

I do see why people think it is better to keep this to yourself, but clearly the guilt is preying on your mind very heavily and probably the cause of some of your MH issues. Suicide is not the answer, though.

You need to try and get rid of the guilt before doing anything else. Try it with your counsellor. If things improve, perhaps you can go forward and live with the guilt and keep the secret. I don't think, from what you are saying, that you are the sort of person that will be able to do so. However, exploring it with your counsellor may clarify this.

My concern is if you TTC, have a child, and THEN decide to unburden yourself because you can't live with it any more. Or your husband finds out (and sometimes, it does come to light, even if you think it won't - been there, seen it, and it's devastating). If you are sure it would be a dealbreaker for him, and he would leave you, then he will also leave your child and that would be very unfair.

Generally I realise I am in the minority on MN with this view, but I don't believe in hiding these things. I don't think it's fair to either party. I always think the other partner should have the right to decide whether to work things out or let them go in matters that you know are dealbreakers.

ElizaDoLots Thu 02-May-13 14:55:42

What would your husband say if you killed yourself and he later found this on Mumsnet?

I'm pretty sure it would be something along the lines of 'why in the hell didn't she tell me - I would have forgiven rather than have her dead'.

I'm with Maryz - Option 1 and Option 2 are your only options. If you do decide to tell, maybe you could tell him with your counsellor's support and work through with both of you and your counsellor.

I hope you are OK and feeling a bit better after your cry.

Charbon Thu 02-May-13 14:56:33

This is one of those situations where one size doesn't fit all, which is why honesty with the counsellor is essential. There is no way the counsellor will betray that confidence.

Bear in mind this:

Some people cannot live with the guilt and it has a corrosive effect on both the individual, the relationship and the unknowing spouse. Some secret keepers stay in relationships for too long out of guilt, find themselves overlooking poor partner behaviour or if this isn't an issue, find that sexual attraction/intimacy is difficult because of the secret.

Some people forgive themselves for the mistake, learn from what led to previous poor behaviour choices and don't let it affect themselves personally, their relationship or the unknowing partner.

Some people find themselves in the same situation again more easily next time because the taboo has gone and because they did no work on themselves.

Some partners would rather not know if there was a one-off, never-to-be repeated act of infidelity and the relationship and both people in it aren't suffering any effects because of it. Fewer people (but they do exist) would rather not know about even serial infidelities.

Some people would rather know and be given the choice whether to forgive or end the relationship.

Most people don't have a clue what they would actually do if they discovered infidelity, despite previous certainty that it would mean the relationship was over. It is one of those situations when theory and practice rarely match.

Regardless of the very plausible reasons given for not burdening someone else with one's own guilt, one of the biggest reasons why people don't tell is not altruism. It's self-protection and not wanting to incur any personal losses.

Every individual and every relationship is different. Only you know your own character and behaviour though - in reality you might think you know how your husband would respond but you really won't until it happens, which is a big risk.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 15:02:34

Alphabites I think you need to separate the behaviour from who you are. Having had a ONS does not make you a bad person; it just means you did a bad thing. There is a difference.

Dealing with the emotional fallout from this ONS is very important. You really need to discuss it with your counsellor. I think you'll find that it will help your MH issues anyway, as you can probably gain a great deal from working through why you had the ONS - was it a misplaced way of seeking validation of your attractiveness, etc when you were in a bad place mentally?

Whatever, the fact that you had a ONS does NOT make you an awful person unworthy of happiness or love.

Hope you feel better soon.

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 15:13:43

Thank you all. Lots to think about.

I will talk to my counsellor. I'm fairly sure he wouldn't say anything but it's a risk isn't it? It's someone who knows and could tell my DH.

My head is spinning. Why did I do something so bloody stupid? sad

Ipp3 Thu 02-May-13 15:17:45

I wouldn't thank my husband for telling me about a dead affair. Nothing constructive could come from telling me, so why do it?
You did something stupid because you are human and humans sometimes do stupid things. You are more than that one affair and so is your relationship. Don't let the past tax the present.

slhilly Thu 02-May-13 15:19:34

At the end of the day, Alphabetbites, it's just "the slippery friction of mucous membranes". It's happened and that can't be undone: but you do have a choice as to how much emotional significance you place on it. I can't see it helps you or your OH to invest it with huge negative connotations. It was a ONS, not a year long affair in which you fell in love with someone else.

Trazzletoes Thu 02-May-13 15:21:25

OP, I'm pretty sure a counsellor has a duty of confidentiality re: anything they get told so I can't see that your counsellor is likely to tell your DH.

Timetoask Thu 02-May-13 15:25:36

Alphabetbites: You clearly regret bitterly your mistake. If you now have a strong relationship and a good marriage, I really think you need to forgive yourself and don't jeopardise your marriage by telling your DH.

Alphabetbites Thu 02-May-13 15:32:17

slhilly that's made me giggle! Great phrasing.

I wouldn't thank DH for telling me either. I didn't particularly thank him when he told me he'd visited a FWB to tell her it was over once we'd started dating. He says nothing happened and I believe him now but I didn't at the time!

I'm going to speak to my counsellor. He has said I don't have to tell him what I'm feeling guilty over (I alluded to it last time) but he can still help. I think I might just be honest with him - he knows me pretty well now, I'm sure he'll help me figure out the best thing to do.

If we have children, I won't then tell him. It's part of the reason I feel so scared now I think. I feel like it's now or never time with regards to telling him. I don't even know if this is making sense, sorry. My head is pounding.

I don't want to cause him any hurt at all - I love him. Wish I'd thought about that at the time.

bollockstoit Thu 02-May-13 15:36:27

My friend forced my then partner to tell me he had cheated. I didn't gain anything from it at all. In fact it made me less happy than I was and I wish I didn't know about it. Ignorance is bliss in this case imo.

KBabs Thu 02-May-13 15:40:39

+1 as Dahlen suggests best to always separate the behaviour from the person, whoever it is. This creates a space for forgiveness and allows healing to occur.

Focus on getting yourself feeling better for now and going forwards

Charbon Thu 02-May-13 15:53:24

Whether you would want to know or whether all the strangers here dealing with hypotheses would want to know, isn't the issue.

This is about a completely different person; your husband. If he has ever said 'I wouldn't want to know' then be guided by that. If he has ever said 'I'd want to know' be guided by that.

What ever your decision, acknowledge the self-interest that applies both to telling and not telling. Don't be tempted to repackage it as something you are doing purely for your husband's benefit, because that honestly is never true.

Bargains and trade-offs are normal in this type of decision. People are very able to convince themselves of their own altruism, but find it more uncomfortable to acknowledge the pay-offs for them personally in the final decision they make. If you're going to live with this either way, it pays to try to see this from your husband's point of view and to acknowledge all angles and pay-offs for the people involved.

slhilly Thu 02-May-13 16:10:12

Not mine, but Robert Heinlein's phrase. I think Charbon's advice is excellent.

slhilly Thu 02-May-13 16:10:25

Glad it made you laugh!

MrsHoarder Thu 02-May-13 16:20:02

In cases like this I think there is a lot to be said for the traditional RC sacrament of reconciliation. You confess (to a disinterested 3rd party who is pledged to secrecy), are given penance to do, do it and are forgiven and can try to move on from the guilt.

Salbertina Thu 02-May-13 16:52:09

To err is human, OP. please don't kill yourself over a one night stand long ago, death over meaningless sex?? I get your position more than i want to say on here, so its not that i don't sympathise .

A counsellor cannot break your confidence unless in exceptional circs of your life or someone else's being in danger. Confess all to them, NOT dh. I honestly think no good would come of that at all. I think your guilt is wrongly making you think it would.

Branleuse Thu 02-May-13 17:01:20

make sure your guilt and self flagellation is not making you overlook the reasons why you were unhappy enough to cheat. If you really loved him, you wouldnt have cheated. If he really loves you. He wont leave you for it

Charbon Thu 02-May-13 17:21:22

People do cheat on those they love and with whom they are very happy and content. The issue is often within that person and can be entirely unconnected to his/her feelings for a sanctioned partner, or satisfaction levels in the relationship. Infidelity like this is usually more to do with poor coping mechanisms during other 'life tests' and also as a result of having poor boundaries. 'Love' doesn't prevent infidelity and neither does it always overcome mistrust and loss of fidelity. Some people regard fidelity as being more important than 'love' and some regard love and other 'benefits' as being of more importance than a fidelity transgression. Not everyone is the same.

Salbertina Thu 02-May-13 17:29:33

Op pls also stop labelling yourself lying bitch or bad. Not healthy.
Don't do it. You made a mistake, the same one millions of people do

Dryjuice25 Thu 02-May-13 18:38:20

I know a similar sort of scenario where a woman cheated on her dh and couldn't leave with the guilt. She committed suicide and left a note with the reasons. It turned out that the dh had been secretly planning to leave her for an OW! He had been cheating on her for years. He then married OW within 2 years!

My point is you can never know what another person is hiding from you and cheating is not the worst thing you could do.

Lweji Thu 02-May-13 19:44:48

Honestly, you did it, it is over, there are no consequences (such as STIs, or children from OH), you regret it and you love your husband, and you won't do it again.
So, I would not tell him.

You do need to get over the guilt. We all make mistakes and things we are not proud of, and the best learn from them, as you seem to have.

I agree that you should discuss with your counselor to help you move on.

MooncupGoddess Thu 02-May-13 20:56:33

Yes do tell the counsellor and talk it all through. .

Of course it's important to think about your OH's feelings, but your feelings are important too. If even after discussing it with the counsellor you still feel it hanging over you, then maybe you should tell your OH. If you say everything you've said here (it was years ago, you've felt dreadful ever since and would never ever do such a thing again) then I'd be very surprised (though of course I don't know him) if he ended the relationship as a result, assuming otherwise all is well between you.

Yes I'm sure he would be upset and it would shake up your relationship for a while. But if the alternative is you feeling wretched and consumed with guilt for the rest of your life - well, that would probably have an even more damaging effect on your relationship.

quietlysuggests Thu 02-May-13 21:05:46

OP if you cannot live with the guilt then put simply, you cannot live with this guilt.
You are so distressed by your actions that you think killing yourself is a viable option to be seriously considered.
Your brain is telling you that it cannot cope with your DH not knowing.
I think it speaks to the goodness of who you truly are.
I think you are a moral, loyal, good woman and I think if you tell him you will be able to live with that.
I wish you all the best.

ImperialBlether Thu 02-May-13 21:19:57

I wouldn't tell him, but I think I wouldn't tell the counsellor, either. I wouldn't share a counsellor with a partner. You have to feel you can absolutely trust them and you clearly don't feel you can.

Someone mentioned a priest and I wondered whether you'd thought of someone like that, who is completely independent. I'm not religious, though I was brought up Catholic. I do think that it's possible to find someone who you can talk to who can help you get it all in perspective.

It would be good for you to analyse why you did what you did. Was it someone you knew? Was there anything wrong in the relationship or was it a chance encounter where you both got drunk?

You feel so very guilty now but I am worried that you are elevating your husband to some higher status that nobody really deserves.

cjel Thu 02-May-13 22:15:19

A counsellor has a duty of confidentiality. I think you should be brave and take the risk of discussing with your counsellor. It is not the time now to make any decisions about what you will or won't do. Once you have discussed your options with this third party, like you have here, you will start to be much clearer in you head and it won't be spinning. You may have tough choices but once discussed you will be happier and confident in your choices.xxxx

Selba Thu 02-May-13 23:17:04

What you did was foolish but not evil.
You shagged another bloke. You did not rob and murder a pensioner.
The law recognises and punishes the second but ignores the first.

Forgive yourself and move on.


cronullansw Fri 03-May-13 00:11:58

Op, under law, if you commit a crime and get caught, you get a punishment.

In your mind, you committed a crime, your ons. But you've also served your punishment - in full - by suffering this guilt for years and beating yourself up over it time and time again.

So you can now forgive yourself, you did the crime, you served the time, now you can move on. Don't bother telling hubby and do not continue with the suicide thoughts, not good.

Chin up, look after hubby AND yourself xxx

jynier Fri 03-May-13 02:12:28

OP Sorry that you're feeling so bad! Regarding option 3 (suicide) - have you made plans for your demise apart from writing the notes? Hope that you have abandoned the idea completely.*dying is easy, living is hard*

Alphabetbites Fri 03-May-13 08:54:08

jyn I'd thought about how I'd do it but not planned much further than that to be honest.

Thank you all for your comments. I'm not going to rush into anything and I'll speak to a 3rd party, whether it's my counsellor, a new counsellor or someone else before I decide about telling DH.

I'm hoping I can somehow live with the guilt as my preference would be to not tell him purely because it won't make me feel better, it will make him feel shit and we'll probably end up apart.

I've paid to have two "home swab" kits for STIs as I was convinced I'd done the first one wrong. Both negative. I feel I need to get a full screening done, just to put my mind at rest. Realistically, I know I don't have an STI but I think I want to get the screening done so it's confirmed. I tried to go this week when DH was away but the wait was too long and I had another appointment to get to. I'll take a day off work soon and will go and have the full screen done, it'll at least stop me worrying about that.

It was someone I knew from a long time ago. He's never met DH. I went to his when DH was away. I knew what would happen. I put myself in that situation. Things were ok with DH - they've never been perfect, although I'd say we're in the best place we've ever been now. Things weren't awful though and I'd say that I did it because I was flattered with the attention. DH isn't great at giving attention, sympathy, etc. I forgot what it was like to hear "you look beautiful" and I fell for it.

Salbertina Fri 03-May-13 09:37:28

Sounds encouraging, Op and v sensible.

Look, no such thing as "perfect" and we all could/would fall for sudden lavish compliments esp from blast-from-the-past type person.

You made a mistake, haul yourself up, speak to someone other than dh and you'll get through this. Such is life and all that, life is suffering but how we deal with it is what counts.

cjel Fri 03-May-13 10:18:30

so glad you feel a bit better. I hope you feel you at least have realistic choices now.xx

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now