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Can I ever get over being the OW?(62 Posts)
I've NC for this but do post under another name.
When I was 18 I had a relationship with a man who was in a long term relationship with young children. We met at work and he lived a way away and came to stay in town for the week, coming back at weekends. It first started off as just friendly chatter and then turned into more. It eventually ended when I left to go travelling, although when I returned he wanted to restart things, although I had met my now DH and didn't respond. I knew he had a partner and still persued it.
This was almost 10 years ago now and after recently having a dd of my own, have been thinking about this time constantly. I am wracked with guilt and don't know how to deal with it. I know that I did something awful, but at the time I was able to brush that away. Now i feel like i have to make amends for being so selfish. I dont think this is coming out right but I dont seem to be able to articulate the remorse I feel.
Obviously I know it takes two to tango, but I really pursued him. Not that it is an excuse, but I was an extremely naive 18 year old with crushing self esteem issues and remember feeling desired for the first time. Lots of girls at work fancied him and he picked me type thing. He was my first sexual experience.
Sorry this was so long. I really want to move on from this but find the guilt crushing and cant seem to move past it. I guess that is my punishment. My dh is very supportive but I dont want to keep bringing it up and I dont really think he understands.
You need to let it go by the sounds of it he was a womaniser and if it wasn't you it would be someone else. We learn from our mistakes. The wife might of moved on and be happy with someone who treats her with respect.
Don't punish yourself.
You were barely an adult.
He should have known better.
I expect you wouldn't do the same now as an adult.
No good will come of being wracked with guilt, I expect he isn't.
Get over yourself
You chose to do it
Live with it or move on
I hope his wife has been able to
Is anything else going on that might be making you anxious?
I ask because it sounds as though you've focused on this to give yourself something to feel bad about. Most of us would be able to reason this away: older, wiser, etc. and forgive ourselves. It sort of sounds as though you are doing the reverse.
Stop giving it head space.
It sounds mean, but there's absolutely nothing that you can do about it now. You can't change it. Beating yourself up is just stripping your life of happiness. It's not changing anything.
Forgive yourself because you were 18. Even it you followed him round naked, he should have been faithful. The responsibility was his. You were young and stupid and we all are. We make different decisions and different mistakes but once they are done, they are done.
I know i should put it out of my mind but i cant seem to. I haven't been dwelling on it since it had happened, and I had buried the whole thing in my mind and never thought about it until it popped in to my mind a couple of months ago, I was quite shocked as I had'nt thought about it since it happened.
Tizzy I had a very traumatic birth with dd which I still dont feel up to dealing with and really struggled with dd at the beginning which may be related? I do feel much more with it DD wise now though..
My then fiancé (now husband) and I went through 4 horrific years when we were younger. I turned to drink, he turned to women. The main one, yeah, she knew about me but kept after him but you know what? I've never once hated or blamed her. Though she was older than me so not some naive young thing, she was insecure etc but mostly just desperate to be loved and wanted and cherished, something I can understand, and my husband just wanted to be wanted. It wasn't healthy, it wasn't good, but there we go. Ultimately, it was up to him to say no, whether she chased him or not. Don't beat yourself up. What's done is done, we can't change the past only Learn From it if we can and move on, or drown in our own unhappiness. The main thing is, you feel guilt. If you were a bad person you wouldn't give a damn, but you do, and that says a lot.
Oh no yet another hand-wringing self-flagellation thread because a poster thinks they don't conform to the mumsnet ideal of holier than thou perfection. Neither do I and I really couldn't give a fuck.
People do horrendous things to each other every day of the week and will keep on doing till the human race dies out. What you did is really not that bad.
I think you are displacing your other fears. That this is about your traumatic birth and your fears about keeping yourself and your family together in the most literal way.
I had a really horrendous incident where I was unwittingly incredibly, car-crashingly rude and hurtful to a stranger about 18 years ago. It was awful - just wasn't me. I know when I'm under a lot of pressure as the memory of that incident starts appearing in my brain. Do you think the same thing could be happening to you?
You really were young and irresponsible at the time - but it might have been very much worse (prison?!).
You need to talk about this to someone. You are right that DH doesn't need to hear about it any more.
Counsellors are brilliant for exactly these kinds of things (the wrongness of your first sexual experience and the wrongness of your first birth experience).
couldn't have said it better, RunRabbit.
We all make mistakes, op. That sounds so lame but it's true. I have made the same mistake and I know the guilt. It sounds like the traumatic birth has set this off, kind of redirected your anxiety. This is exactly the kind of thing therapists deal with.
OP is asking how to move on so not sure why people are posting "you need to move on".
I would agree that counselling with a professional would help here.
Usually I feel venom towards OW, since my h cheated on me with a colleague when my kids were babies. However, in your case, you were little more than a child yourself and had no idea of the reality the wife was facing at home with small kids. One of the things that broke me the most about the woman my h cheated with was the fact that she had a child of about 5 of her own. I couldn't understand how she could be involved with my h, knowing the day to day reality of what I was doing - ie sleep deprived, constantly dealing with small DC. At the time, I remember thinking that I could have understood it better (from the woman's PoV) if it had been a naive young girl he cheated with rather than the mum if a 5yo who knew the reality of divorce (although she already had a new partner by the time she took up with my h )
You must let it go.
You were a kid, you need to forgive yourself this.
It was a mistake, it happened but you walked away.
It's possible the trauma of the birth has brought on postnatal depression?? ( I know little about it and not trying to diagnose you) so maybe a chat with your gp would help.
Take care xx
Let it go. Forgive yourself. It shows you have a humane spirit that it's bothered you so much. Truthfully, when my partner cheated, I couldn't really give a stuff about the women, (I know that's not true for many). It wasn't about that for me. They could have been anyone. You're investing in it in a way that makes you the central actor of the story whereas it was really about them, in some way you can't know about. Also, I had a fling with a married man years ago. I feel very bad about it but I was going through my own thing that led me there, stupidly. Reframe it as being part of your journey that got you to where you are now, where you wouldn't do that. That's a good thing. Good luck.
You really need to seek counselling - both to help with the traumatic birth and your past experience of being the OW. It's obviously bothering you a lot so no amount of suggestions of "just get over it etc" will actually work.
I agree with other posters. We have all done stuff we regret. Some of us have done some pretty terrible stuff by MN and anyone's standards tbh.
It will be your general anxiety levels that have tapped the memory. At 18 we all knew jack shit to be honest. Don't dwell on it. It's gone. You weren't to blame.
Yes, get counselling if you can.
But generally, let it go.
You weren't responsible for his pre-existing relationship, he was. He could have been faithful to his partner; he wasn't.
You made a mistake and you've learned from it, and it was a long time ago. You can't change the past, it's been and gone. Like another poster said if it hadn't been you it would have been some other woman.
It sounds like you might be going through a bit of pnd.
Just to add ignore the bad comments, no one is perfect.
It was ten years ago!
Your a different person living a different life!
Your being very hard on yourself!
Is everything else in your life ok?
Over thinking and unnecessarily guilt can be signs of depression.
How long ago did you have your baby? Could it be PND?
Ah just seen you had a traumatic birth. Have you talked to you health visitor/GP about how your feeling? Honestly it sounds like either PND or PTSD has raised its head. It's all very treatable and you can get help but talk to someone soon. The longer you leave it the worse it can get.
I speak from experience op. I got PND and started hating myself for all the natural growing experience! Speak to someone X
Thank you for all taking the time to reply. I feel like I can't talk to anyone about it in real life so this is a relief.
DD is 11 mo now, and we did have a very rocky start and trouble bonding although this has really improved.
I have been thinking about counselling for the birth but I find it unbareable to even think about let alone talk about which has been putting me off. I hadn't considered that the two may be related.
I haven't been thinking about it constantly for months, more I go a few weeks without thinking about it and then it will hit be again and I cant stop thinking about it.
I'm back at work in a position of responsibility and on the outside look very put together.
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