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Trying to move on from my affair(34 Posts)
So I'm new to Mumsnet and wanted to post on here to see if anyone has any advice or has been through a similar situation and how to go about repairing things. I know some people will think my behaviour is awful and believe me I agree but everyone makes mistakes so I hope someone out there can help.
I've been with DH for 12 years, we have two DS. Last year I had a bit of a fling with a younger guy. We never actually slept together but it went further than kissing. At the time, things between me and DH were very bad and I was extremely unhappy - I tried for over a year to explain to him how unhappy I was but he didn't get it as he was content with our relationship. Anyway, we ended up separating for 4-5 months and then going to marriage counselling to try to fix things.
In the end we decided to give it another go and initially he made loads of effort but it's kind of slid back to how it was and I feel we are lacking that connection. Maybe I am naive to expect that after so many years but it's something I really would like us to have.
I feel so guilty about what I have done as DH would be so upset and angry and probably divorce me! At the same time my self esteem is on the floor from this other guy who didn't treat me well (no more than I deserve). I just want to feel better and try and to fix my marriage - I feel like I don't know whether to end it because of the fling as if we were truly happy I wouldn't have gone there?
I know I'm in the wrong but any advice would be great as I feel so unsettled.
You need to free yourself of the burden of guilt.
The only way to do this is to tell your DH about all of this.
It will be hard but he needs to know.
It's holding you back.
You need an honest conversation with him about everything.
All your feelings, get it all out there.
He can't help repair what he doesn't know is broken.
I would be honest with DH.
Ultimately, you don't want to reconcile on a lie.
Once you have been honest including telling him what you want - see how it goes from there.
Don't let your guilt ruin you two being happy if that is what you wnt.
I'll go against this. I think guilt is pointless. It's done. In the past. No hand wringing can change that. Question is do you love him and can you now be faithful. If not then split.
I'd have to come clean. I don't think you can keep that secret yet move on at the same time
I think you have to work out what you want before you decide how to proceed.
It's not unrealistic to expect a happy marriage after 12 years, it's not at all inevitable that couples lose the connection. It's also wrong and unfair to expect a good relationship when you're deceiving your DH, both with your past 'fling' and how you feel about him now. You mention that he made lots of effort when you got back together after separating, did you make similar efforts or did you expect him to fix things for you?
I don't think you'll feel any better about yourself until you work out what you really want, I think living with the guilt is affecting your self esteem as much as how your fling treated you.
Once you know where you want this marriage to go, you can go about sorting things out. Don't mess your DH about any more.
Look - life is bit black and white.
It is only ever like that in Hollywood movie.
Unburdening yourself will help you for a very short time. It will not achieve anything - and will definitely not allow for any sort of re-conciliation. Not given where you are.
Whatever issues you and your husband have - those weren't created by your near-affair.
You (both) need to work on those issues.
Adding more problems to that pile - will not help anything.
As to your guilt - feel is it and learn from it. Don't transfer the pain onto your husband.
And in the end - you are only human. Umperfect. And you made a near-mistake in a difficult situation.
And you seem to be on the right track trying to redeem it.
Self-esteem is a difficult one. It shouldn't be based on this or that man. Or or what happened.
Maybe individual counciling can help there?
Thanks for your constructive replies. I have thought about telling him, of course I have but didn't want to tell him something that will hurt him just for my own sake I.e. to absolve my guilt so I feel better. Also, there are the DC to consider and how a fall-out would affect them (I know, I should have thought about them at the time).
Enrique, I did make effort too yes but that's a fair question. He does know that I'm not happy but sometimes it's hard to make him understand because he seems to like everything to be perfect and doesn't nessarily want to hear the negative stuff especially if it's to do with our marriage not working as he is adamant that he doesn't want a split. The guilt is definitely making me feel awful too, I hate what I have done.
I want for the family to stay together as the impact on my DC would be awful but my instinct is saying things between him and I aren't right.
Tell him so he can decide if he wants to stay or not.
I wouldn't tell him, it wouldn't acheive anything.
I do think if you have been unhappy for so long though and since had an affair of sorts then maybe it is time to split permanently. Which may seem frightening as you have children but it will need to be done for you to be fully happy.
Josuk, thank you. I am having individual counselling to deal with this and other issues.
Justdontknow, I've been thinking the same thing. It's so hard.
It's such a tricky one as I'm torn between disclosure and the fact that by unburdening yourself you are going to cause him unnecessary distress.
It goes without saying that honesty is the decent and right thing, but I think only you know whether it would be the best course of action in your marriage and if the guilt is going to torment you and ultimately prevent a happy future together.
What I take from your reply
He does know that I'm not happy but sometimes it's hard to make him understand because he seems to like everything to be perfect and doesn't nessarily want to hear the negative stuff especially if it's to do with our marriage not working as he is adamant that he doesn't want a split
You've got to talk to him as knowing you're not happy, but not liking to hear anything negative, is not going to help achieve the outcome of staying together. Surely he can see that?
I can only suggest further counselling, whether you need to seek that kind of help alone in the first instance and then move on to couples counselling, someone more knowledgeable than me might be able to say.
If you tell your DH he'll divorce you and everyone around you will view you as 'the bad guy'. It literally has no redeeming features. You won't feel any better, that's for sure.
Consider counselling on your own, or just try and let it go for free. Or quietly and calmly end the relationship as 'we're just not compatible/the same/end of the road' and both be nice, calm and amicable about it.
What are your actual reasons for being unhappy in your marriage? You've been vague on this. Is it your DH's behaviour? Don't fancy him? What?
If you really are sorry, and it really won't happen again, I honestly can't see the point in telling him. You'll still feel guilty and he will feel hurt and you'll have an even greater wound to heal.
I really think that a lot of people who insist you should always tell no matter what the circumstances just want you to be punished for it. Pointless for reconciliation.
I don't know if telling him would help either.
I'm not happy because I feel that we have lost that connection. He's very laid back and doesn't really make much effort with regard to us spending time together. I have talked to him about this and said that we need to put more effort into our relationship and spending quality time as a couple. I recently booked for us to go away for a few days without the kids, gave him the dates, them we had to cancel (and lose the money) because he'd 'forgotten' the dates and couldn't take time off work.
I like to be out doing things at the weekend whereas he prefers lying in the sofa watching tv.
I think sexually we are mismatched as he has a lower sex drive than me (not that he would admit that) but this leads to him not being interested quite a lot of the time. Again I've discussed this with him.
He doesn't really talk to me about stuff e.g. Past relationships, colleagues.
I could go on...
I obviously have plenty of faults myself so not trying to run him down, he's a fantastic dad but I just feel like there's something missing .
The fling was a symptom of your unhappiness. You are still not happy. Telling your DH about the fling is not going to make you both, suddenly, happy. If the problems are still there and nothing has changed, you are going to be unfaithful again. Best to make a clean break of it and have the chance of being happy, if your DH is not willing to change. You sound more like flat mates than a married couple from your last post. He might be a great Dad but you need him to be a husband as well.
I think that if your relationship with DH has been bad for ages, you have tried and he didn't much of an effort, telling him about the affair will be the nail in the coffin of your relationship.
So you can free your guilt by telling him (honestly, the guilt will stay there regardless especially if he decides he wants a divorce), or learn to live with your guilt so you have a chance to fix your relationship.
To be honest, I think that your best option is NOT to tell him about the affair but end the relationship. If he is so disinterested and have been so for years, and you felt to unapreciated to the point of having an affair, it is clear there's not much relationship to save.
Just leave, don't tell him about the affair, it is no longer ongoing and not telling him will make it easier to keep in civil terms for the sake of the children.
Being divorced is not as bad as people make. I'm sure that every divorced woman can tell you that it was far more difficult to take the decision to leave than dealing with the consequences of it. Just start planning your exit and leave when you are ready.
Living in a bad or almost dead relationship kills you inside day by day. Getting divorced may turn up as lovely as feeling like the sun has finally come out.
You say he isnt putiting the same effort in he did when you got back together.
Maybe the issue is with you. How much effort are you putting in. Your response to your problems were to strike up and affair with another man. Your guilt is eating away at you and probably making you act in certain ways.
I dont believe for a second that you dont want to tell him for his sake. Its for your sake. Because you dont want him to divorce you. So he isnt getting a choice in this.
You know the whole situation. Its a bit off to moan about what he is putting into the marriage when you had an affair and are keeping it from him.
I dont think havung an affair makes you a bad person. We all fuck up. But there seems to be a huge amount of blaming him. If you are unhappy, then leave. But you cant keep a huge secret from him like this and then bemoan the amount of effort he puts in.
It's not necessarily about faults or about rights and wrongs, it's about a combination that works.
How you describe your life together sounds to me more like good friends or housemates to be honest, not lovers or life partners.
What would you say about that assessment?
Gorgosparta, thanks for your messsge. I think you've made some very valid points especially regarding the guilt. I don't want to tell him and of course I'm thinking of myself as well as him but mainly it's the kids as I don't think any child needs to hear stuff like that about their parents (I did about one of mine and it was awful). My fault for doing it in the first place I know but there has to be damage limitation.
My initial response to our problems was to talk to him and this went on for months even years. Then yes I did have a fling because it was nice to feel desirable for a few seconds... and that's all the time I felt good for as there's so much bad stuff that comes with it!
Karma, thanks for your comments. It is really scary and tbh would like my family to stay together and to feel like I'm in love with my husband again.
He won't change his ways by the sounds of it so you really need to think about being brace and ending your relationship as you sound unhappy to me. People very rarely change.
It sounds as if you don't value your DP, you don't hurt or betray someone you really care for. It's like you are saying you had an affair but it was his fault for not being enough for you. That's pretty crap.
You need to own up first, take responsibility for your own actions, the affair was no ones fault but your own. Time for you to care enough to tell him. It's the least you can do now.
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