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Discussion Starter #1
I don't really feel like I deserve your help, but I'm going to ask for it anyway.

I was on a business trip last week, and last Friday night, I ended up having a one-night stand. I made a series of bad decisions and, as a result of them, I ended up cheating on my wife.

I've been with my wife for 16 years, married 7. After years of trying, we finally had a child 14 months ago, and have a wonderful little boy. I've never been unfaithful before.

I know I have problems with money. Despite this, I've been in charge of money management in our family, mostly at my own insistance. I'm dealing with clients that are not paying their bills, and as a result, I'm feeling a lot of stress and fear about not being able to support my wife and little one. This year will be my first year as sole earner, and I'm deeply afraid I'll be unable to sufficiently answer the bell.

We're not going to go broke, and we're not poor, but I have been very scared that I'm going to come up short on this dream my wife and I have had of her staying off work at least until our boy is off to school.

Feeling this way on Friday led me to my first destructive behaviour of the day. On an impulse, and an urge to feel better about where I was at, I bought myself an iPad mini on its launch date. After playing it for a while, though, the sad realization that I'd done absolutely nothing to help my situation dawned on me, and I realized that I'd screwed up in buying the iPad.

Feeling very low about the whole thing, I went out for a drink. I sat down at the bar, and a woman sat down next to me. She's a couple of years older than me. We chatted for a while. She got a little bit flirty, which surprised me, because I'm horrible at flirting and always have been. My wife tries hard to flirt with me, but I'm pretty dismal at it.

Anyway, we had a couple of more drinks, and eventually, she invited me back to her room. I felt surprised that I agreed. I'm not sure if that's what's referred to around here as "the fog," but I remember being surprised that I agreed to her next few advances, which ended up with us in bed. Fortunately, a condom was used.

Partway through, I had trouble maintaining, and that caused a sweeping feeling of disgust, guilt, shame, and remorse at what I was doing. I got out of the situation as quickly as I could, with her yelling at me on my way out.

Ever since, I've been awash in those same feelings of disgust, guilt, shame and remorse. I can't believe how easily I found myself in this situation, which up until that very night, had been anathema to me. I'm crushed that I've made such bad choices that may ruin the lives of the two people I love the most -- my wife and our son -- and that it's going to very severely impact the lives of many more people about whom I care dearly -- my parents, my parents-in-law (who have become like parents to me), and my wife's siblings.

But mostly, it's my wife and our little one that I grieve for. I love them both with everything I have, and I can't believe how badly I've failed them as a husband and a father.

I'm shocked and sickened by what I've done. I know I have no excuses. I made a series of bad choices that led to this happening. I'm 100 per cent at fault for it happening.

It breaks my heart that as I'm writing this, my wife is out enjoying a night out pursuing a new hobby, and that my child is cheerfully handing me his toys to play with. It crushes me to think that I've potentially destroyed all this beyond repair.

I know I have to tell me wife. She deserves to know the true nature of this relationship, and she deserves to decide whether it's worth her effort to try to put the pieces back together after what I've done to her.

I also know I need to tell her because there could be STIs involved. Yes, a condom was used, and I'm confident it was used properly. But that doesn't provide 100 per cent protection against anything, and doesn't provide much protection things like herpes and HPV. She needs to know that I'm going to be in the dark about my sexual health for at least weeks, if not months, and there's no way I can face the risk -- however tiny it may be -- of something that I picked up from this to be passed on to her or to our little boy.

It's tempting to listen to the voice of the "Don't tell her, don't ruin everybody's lives for one night of indiscrection" and the "a real man would just swallow all the guilt himself and work hard on becoming a better husband and father without burdening her" crowd, but I know I can't do that.

So, I'm down to "how" and "when," which is where I need the help.

When is hard -- I'm heading out of town on another weeklong road trip (I travel a fair bit in my business) starting on Sunday. Ideally, I'd like to tell her as soon as possible. I think that's the most fair thing to do in this entirely unfair (to her) scenario.

Part of me wonders if telling her before going away for a week is a good idea. I suspect there's a good chance I'll be thrown out of the house for my indiscretion anyway, and part of me wonders if that week of forced distance would be helpful.

But the vast majority of me believes that's an incredibly stupid idea. I feel like I owe it to her to be around as much as I humanly can be during the hours/days/weeks after I break her heart -- assuming that is that she'll accept my presence.

I feel like I should be around, or at least readily available, to answer any and all questions, and to offer whatever support she'll allow me to offer. I want to be there to hold her, if she'll have it. At least, I want to be there to hold her when she'll have it.

I feel like I should be there, again if allowed, in those early hours/days/weeks to help take care of our little one.

I feel like I should be there, if allowed, to really see and feel the kind of pain I've caused, so I can really feel remorse for how I've made her feel, and not just for my own guilt.

Am I right that I should wait until I come back to do this?

And I'd be most welcoming to any advice on how to "best" tell this. I'm reading through Linda MacDonald's How to Help Your Spouse Heal e-book at present on the advice of a poster in another thread. Any other guidance or good materials to help me set myself up to be as supportive as I'm allowed to be?

Thanks for your time in reading this, and for all I've already learned on a subject I hoped to never have to learn about.

I know it's a longshot that she'll be willing to accept me after what I've done, but on the off chance that she is, I want to be in the best possible position to give it the best possible chance, knowing that means completely deconstructing what happened, why it happened, and how to never make it happen again.

I know I have to take 100 per cent blame, and reassure my wife at every turn that she did nothing wrong... that I made a series of bad choices once, that it's something I could never ever do again, and that I feel absolutely gutted that I've caused her this much pain and anger.

I know this has been long and rambling, and I thank you for reading. Please, I ask for any help you can offer me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First thing, get tested for STDs.
Absolutely. Although most require at least four-to-six weeks after exposure to be reasonably sure of no false negatives.

I feel like I should tell her well before that time.

We have not had any sexual interaction since I came home, and we obviously will not.
 

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IMHO a man takes his licks, gets back up, brushes himself off, makes a plan and follows through. A boy hides and lies. She may leave you. But she is only reacting to what you brought to the marriage. It's her choice. Let her make it.

Waiting one more minute to tell her raises questions about your sincerity to her. A business trip may have to wait for your marriages most critical hour.

Man up, and then follow up with how you will make it work with her. And mean it.

Good luck.
 

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Please tell her. I don't know if there's a good way to tell her. Perhaps the others have ideas of how to do it. Each day you delay telling her the worse it will be for her. Tell her as soon as possible.

I don't think the "fog" applies to your type of infidelity. It's more for the type of cheating where the person gets to know another over a period of time.

The scariest affairs (this is just my personal opinion) are the type you've had. A random encounter with a stranger and off to bed you go. I don't know how you protect against those random one night stands. At least if it was with a colleague with whom you had multiple personal conversations over a long period of time and developed feelings for her, one could understand (maybe not forgive) such an indiscretion and could guard against it by not getting too close to a colleague. You on the other hand met someone then banged her. You put something that meant nothing ahead of your wife and child. That's going to sting.

You don't get any credit for not fully completing the act. I doubt that little detail (no pun intended) will matter much to your wife.

You need to figure out why you did something you say is so against your character and morals. How can you make your wife feel safe? You can't possibly avoid conversations with women. You could and should avoid bars, pubs, etc. If you travel a lot for business as you say, she's bound to feel terribly insecure in the marriage. She won't know what you're doing and with whom. She'll have awful mind movies about what you might be doing. How can you protect her if you're away for business? Is it possible to cut down on the travel at least for a long time until she feels better (assuming she reconciles with you) ? You'll have to come up with a list of things you'll do to maintain your boundaries.

Good luck.
 

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Well... here we go, I know this won't be a popular opinion, but I have to call it the way I see it.

Assuming everything you wrote so far is 100% true.
(I'm a little suspicious of the 7 years married and 9 years "together", what does that mean, lived together or dated and lived separately?)


I'm not convinced you want to come clean for the right reasons. Sure, you're painfully guilt ridden right now and you want to do the right thing and come clean, but why? Seriously, why?

Let me suggest to you that not only did you display weakness when you went to the room with this unknown woman, but now, with this terrible guilt on your conscience, you are once again displaying weakness (IN MY OPINION). You are so overwhelmed with this guilt, that rather than accept the full weight of it solely on your shoulders, you're willing to RUIN your wife's life, create an insecurity in her that you can in no way fully comprehend, and possibly create even more of a financial burden by hindering your ability to travel, and why? Because if you tell her I think that somewhere, deep down inside, you think that you can somehow reduce your burden of guilt and maybe even get her forgiveness, and that would sure make you feel better... at her expense.

If you were having an emotional affair with someone, then yes, come clean. If you had a girlfriend, then yes, come clean. But a sleazy barfly that (assuming your story is true) you'll never see again and that you have absolutely no interest in, and, in fact, couldn't even complete the entire sex act with because you felt shame and guilt?

If it was me, and I truly was remorseful and if I knew it wasn't my nature to behave that way and I was reasonably sure it would never happen again? I wouldn't say a thing. I know that isn't the popular thing to say, but I would shoulder the guilt and spare my wife the indescribable grief.

I know what it feels like to be cheated on, as do most of the people here, and if we don't agree on anything else, we will all agree that they wouldn't wish this pain on anyone, certainly not someone we love.

Think carefully about what you're about to do. The one night stand can't be undone, that's your burden. Once you tell her, that can't be undone either, and then it becomes three peoples burden, yes, your infant will be affected too.

I don't feel good about suggesting you think twice before jumping into this, but I can't help but think that your trying to share the burden of this guilt for selfish reasons.

How do you live with the guilt? I don't know. Are you better off sparing your wife the grief and carrying the burden yourself? I don't know.

T
 

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I'm not convinced you want to come clean for the right reasons. Sure, you're painfully guilt ridden right now and you want to do the right thing and come clean, but why? Seriously, why?



If you were having an emotional affair with someone, then yes, come clean. If you had a girlfriend, then yes, come clean. But a sleazy barfly that (assuming your story is true) you'll never see again and that you have absolutely no interest in, and, in fact, couldn't even complete the entire sex act with because you felt shame and guilt?

If it was me, and I truly was remorseful and if I knew it wasn't my nature to behave that way and I was reasonably sure it would never happen again? I wouldn't say a thing. I know that isn't the popular thing to say, but I would shoulder the guilt and spare my wife the indescribable grief.


T

No offense meant Tony, but I completely disagree with everything you posted.

The OP has already said that his wife deserves the truth about him. He is correct. She deserves to know that he can't keep his d*** in his pants when he is out on the road. She has a right to decide if she wants to stay in a marriage with someone like that.

This whole idea you have about sparing her grief is completely misguided in my opinion. So it will be better when she finds out 2 years after the fact? No. As a matter of fact, the longer he waits to come clean, the worse it will be. She is going to feel like the entire time between his cheating and Dday is a lie. If he doesn't tell her for 2-3 years, or if something happens and she finds out years from now, that whole amount of time in between the two is destroyed. That is no longer "years of being happily married" but it is now " years of lies and betrayal".

OP, you know you need to come clean and let your wife decide what she wants. You need to take a deeper look at yourself and figure out WHY you allowed any of that to happen regardless of what she decides.
 

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I agree right now you have cheated, if you don't tell her you have cheated and lied to her face every day since (sounds like you've figured that already).
 

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I dont have any advice to offer as to when to tell her or how, but I do feel incredibly sad for your wife and how this is going to make her feel.

Its the worst feeling in the world to know your spouse has betrayed you!

Good luck!
 

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Well, in my husband's case, he happened to have a condom because he'd actually been trolling for a random woman to pick up. His "spontaneous" and "unplanned" ONS was actually quite well planned and pre-meditated.

He also didn't tell me about it for 2 years.

Don't be my husband, OP. Don't ever be the kind of @sshat who looks his wife in the eye every single day and lies to her, for years. There's very little on this earth that will do more damage to her than that.
 
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Here's my 2 cents. #1 have you ever met that woman before? are you colleagues? #2 most will disagree, but I'd rather not know, if this was seriously an accidental infidelity and won't happen again. I'd suggest seeing a councillor and talking it out with them. The thing is, this could cost you your marriage... I have been betrayed and left for an affair partner right after giving birth to our bub #2 and I'd personally rather not know, if this was something completely meaningless. I have felt so much pain and anguish over that.... I'd rather be saved it.
If you do decide to tell however, DO NOT do it before you go away. She might want to punch you or kick you out, but when she needs you there to talk when SHE feels like it, you should be available. Otherwise you seem like a coward who ran away and abandoned her at the worst time. Also, since this happened on a business trip, you could be providing a potentially lethal trigger to your marriage.
 

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The problem with not telling your wife, as some suggest, is that it could make you want to try again...just my opinion.

In your wife's shoes, I'd want to know. And yes. I'd divorce over something like that. But hey, you have to take that chance, don't you, when you do something like cheat on your spouse...
 

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So, there are some serious issues in this marriage aside from your ONS. Those issues merit a discussion, individual counseling and marriage counseling all on their own.

I strongly feel that honesty is the best policy with regards to the ONS. When you start keeping secrets (especially a big one), it starts getting easier and becomes a habit to start keeping other secrets. This is very dangerous and can lead to other ONS or PA.

It will not be easy to talk about this with your wife, but you do owe her your HONESTY and allow her to make choices in her life as to whether she wishes to work through them or not with you.
 

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There is no good time to throw a handgrenate like this on your wife, so why not just tell it like it is now after you have figured out what to say (do Coffee Amores list for preparation).
 

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Take not telling her off the table. Not because she deserves to know, or it's the right thing to do. Because you have too, for you.

You have a conscious and feel this guilt deep in your soul... This secret will eat you alive, it will change you fundementally and that tiny cancer will eat you from the inside out. It will come out, it always does. This is a secret you can't carry.

You deal with this, or it will deal with you.
 
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