confession questions

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2012
confession questions
12
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 1:31pm

Before the questions, thank you for all of the advice and thoughts and perspectives I've gotten from lurking and searching. Wow, you're all really smart and compassionate and it's really helping. Really a lot. I wouldn't have thought that being in an A would make a person more thoughtful and caring, and uh, I wouldn't figure that being thoughtful and caring would make a person likely to have an A, but here you are, a group of people more thoughtful and caring than the average bear, and you all had As. Go figure.

So, I'm not going to confess to my W. Not any time soon, maybe not ever. That's not the question.

I have thought about it though, and made my pros and cons list, because that's what I do. The reason not to confess is pretty obvious. It would hurt my W in ways I can't even imagine. I can not do that to her. I've hurt her enough even though she doesn't know about the A.

But there are some reasons to confess. First, it would be a relief. Yeah, well, sure, but I have been so incredibly selfish already, giving pain to her to get relief for me is a clear no brainer. No.

Second, the deception makes it harder reconnect with W and work on things. She and I both have been working on making our M better lately, mostly around stuff that was always there before the A. So that's good. Really good. But there's some stuff directly related to the A that needs some fixing, and she and I are in a really different place on that stuff and so she must just think I'm crazy sometimes, and sometimes I feel like I don't deserve all the effort she makes to fix things when she doesn't even know how much I broke it. So that's something to deal with, but no reason to go ruining her life over it.

So, finally, my question. How have people in a similar situation dealt with rebuilding a M while keeping this big giant secret from their spouse? I could use some tips.

The third reason to confess is the toughest one. I think she would want me to. I mean, I'm pretty sure if asked, my W would say she'd rather know. She'd rather face the ugly truth than be lied to. She might forgive me, or she might hate me forever, but she'd want to make that choice and not have me make it for her. I'm pretty sure that's what she'd say. But in the end, the reality of it, I mean I didn't just sleep with someone else, I fell in love with her. And I knew how much it would hurt her if she knew, and I knew how betrayed she would feel that I lied to her, and I still did it. Eyes wide open, I did a terrible thing to the person I love the most. That sucks. How is she ever supposed to trust me, or anyone else for that matter, after that? And we have a child. So if she decides she's done with me, that doesn't just mess up her life and my life, now it's our child's life too. And then she would have the burden of deciding whether to stay for the kid. So I just don't know what to do about reason number 3. I thought there was a second question here, but I don't know what it is.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2011
Sat, 01-21-2012 - 3:47pm
this is a tough one and i have very strong views on what i would do if i was a) the one having the affair and b) the betrayed spouse.

If I was having the affair I would like to think I'd confess all. It will either open up the conversation about the whys and wherefores in order for you to figure out what's wrong that needs fixing in your M or it will end it. Some will say it depends on what you want the outcome to be? If you want to stay and work on your M then you may want to figure out what is wrong with your M in the first place (without the A in the equation) because the A hasn't ruined your M. There were issues there before it happened. If you want out of your M then you need to end it. At this point, telling about the A is actually probably redundant as your reasons for ending the A should be about you and your W, not about the A or XAP. The only reason I'd confess is because I am pretty sure that if I started an A, then I've already checked out of the relationship and there's no going back. That said, everyone is different and has different reasons for having an A.

Have you read 'when good people have affairs'? I can't remeber the name of the author - mIra somebody..? Anyway, I highly recommend it. She lists out 17 different types of As - you will recognise which one yours was. She advises not to tell about the A. Read this before you do anything as it will help you see your M and your A on an even playing field.

So if I was the betrayed spouse, I definitely would want to know. But I like your wife would rather deal with the ugly truth and know what I'm dealing with than be kept in the dark. Some spouses will say they don't want to know because then they'd have to deal with it. Deal with the prospect that their M may have to end.

It really depends on what you want to achieve. But remember, your wife is a grown woman, she is capable of making her own decisions. You need to trust that if you gave her the truth she will be able to decide on her own free will what she wants to do with that information. and you need to be prepared that she may or may bot want to work on your M. Then you need to dig deep and ask yourself what you fear and is preventing you from confessing? if you fear she will leave you, is that a fear that you'll be on your won? that the finances and children will be a mess? that you XAP might not want you back? though i understand all of these things, it's not a valid or fair reason to keep someone in the dark. especially someone you say you care about and respect.

now, beacsue you say you love XAP (and mine told me he loved me) - for me - I cannot comprehend how someone who loves another can stay with their spouse. It is a constant lie and weight to carry that will eventually eat you up inside. I don't beleiev you can have an honest trusting relationship with your wife unless you tell the truth. that said, if you discover over time that you don't really love XAP then it's not really worth sharing that information with W.

ultimately you need to be 100% sure of what you feel and what you want before you do anything. read the book, it will help you figure it out I promise.

Good luck
EO
The first day of the rest of my life: 25/10/2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2012
Sun, 01-22-2012 - 3:34pm

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this EO.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2011
Sun, 01-22-2012 - 4:23pm
Alpha

It sounds like you have already decided your end point: to have a long and happy marriage with your wife. Congratulations on this decision. Now you should be able to move forward with that decision.

What you must come to terms with first though is the possibility that you didn't really love XAP OR that you have changed your beliefs. Did you believe, before you met your XAP that you had one true love in life (most likely your wife)? That you could only ever truly love one person? It wasn't possible to love two people at the same time?

I bet you have been grappling with how you can now possibly love two women?

They say there are three things which make relationships lasting ones. People need to have the following: same values, beliefs and commitment. All the other stuff like common interests are merely aesthetics though can of course enrich the relationship.

Now think about your beliefs and your wife's. If you believe you can love two people at the same time, does your wife believe the same? If she told you she too loved another man as well as yourself, how would that make you feel? If you told her you loved her but was capable of loving another woman, how would she feel? What would she think?

<>

That may be the case but think about the future of your relationship if you continue to keep this hidden and your beliefs hidden? Imagine one night you and your wife are having dinner with friends and enter a debate about 'true love'. Everyone in the room is talking about the concept of 'the one' and 'soulmates'. Obviously you wish you could agree but you may find yourself wanting to say out loud 'i believe you can love more than one person at the same time' - how will your wife feel about this? OR, you lie and agree with everyone else to keep the status quo and your heart feels heavy that you've just lied to everyone and most of all yourself.

I hope you don't find any of this offensive. I am merely trying to point out the possible scenarios ahead of you if you don't think carefully and look deep inside about how you are feeling. If you honestly, truly love XAP then why on earth would you not pursue that and end your marriage? If you truly love your wife, how can you love another? If you have changed your beliefs about love then you sure as hell better make sure they are aligned with your wife's because it could catch you out some point down the line. Maybe not, maybe you'll be lucky and the scenario I presented never comes along. But one thing I do know for sure is that when we lie, we carry a weight around with us constantly. If you're prepared for that then I wish you luck.

I'd hazard a guess that you truly believe you love XAP but I want you to consider the possibility that you were only in love with the fantasy of her and the feelings the A gave you.

It killed me when my XMM told me he now thought it possible to love two women and that he would always love me. Fact is, he didn't know me well enough to truly love me. I wasn't 'me' during the course of our A. I was being someone I thought he wanted - caring, patient, selfless....I am these things but not to the extent and pedastal he put me up on. Knowing him much better now, I would not love him the way he thinks and the way his wife does because what I see now is very different to what I saw of him during the A. And I believe that if we entered into a RL relationship he would annoy the sh*t out of me and I would never have put up with the things his wife does. Our values (and now beliefs) are different and so it would never work and we would never be able to love each other the way we thought.

Like I said, you've made your decision now and that's a huge thing. Just don't rush it by skipping over some of the necessary steps which is evaluating your feelings, thoughts and actions about the A and XAP. Until you deal with this you won't ever quite be settled into your new life. Because that's what's ahead of you - a new life.

EO
The first day of the rest of my life: 25/10/2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2012
Sun, 01-22-2012 - 7:04pm

You hit the nail on the head with some of this, but...

Alpha

ooh, I feel so not Alpha right now. Bad name choice. Alpha is the natural abbreviation. How about AB?


<

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2011
Mon, 01-23-2012 - 2:08pm

Hi AB.

A few things.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-19-2012
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 11:14am

Thanks Lulu. I've read some of your story and saw many similarities. I'm so sorry that you're in a similar situation, but it does help to know that we're not alone. Thanks for the offer to share what's worked for you and your H in your efforts to rebuild. I'll PM you.

EO, your words were also very helpful. We see the 'was it love' thing differently, but we were in different situations, and even two people in exactly the same situation might see it differently. I've spent (wasted?) a lot of time hoping my xAP knows that I still love her. Your post made me see the possibility that maybe she would be better off if she feels like it wasn't really love. We don't all need to see things the same way, we just all need to find our own ways to make peace with it. So, thanks for sharing your story and your perspective with me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2011
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 2:50pm
AB

My apologies first of all, how presumptuous of me to think you were a man! Clearly, man or woman, the same still apllies so glad you still found some of what I said helpful.

<>

I'm not disputing your love for XAP. I know XAP and I most likely loved each other as much as we could in the context we were in. Ultimately though if I were to consider what real love, true love means then it's not what we gave each other in the A. It's so much more, it's sharing your life, fears, hopes, dreams and thoughts with another. Knowing that i will never have that with XAP keeps me on the path of healing as I know letting the hope of 'us' go is the only way I will find and experience the love I want and need.

You are in a good place AB if you day on track with focusing on your M as you have established that you love your W. Being a W yourself in this must be a double edged sword as you will be very in touch with you emotions and therefore your wife's and sensitive to it where I think men are just naturally better at compartmentalising their emotions so I wish you all the best on your journey. Keep us posted. I am mostly on the EAS board as that's where I belong now.

EO
The first day of the rest of my life: 25/10/2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-22-2011
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 3:44pm

Hi EO.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2011
Tue, 01-24-2012 - 4:19pm
Thanks Lulu and no problem. This whole experience really makes you revaluate your belief system. I know mine has changed...and for the better. I am no longer in fantasy world, holding onto a fantasy that will remain just that. A fantasy.

((Squeezes))
EO
The first day of the rest of my life: 25/10/2011
Community Leader
Registered: 05-23-2003
Thu, 01-26-2012 - 7:44pm
Hiya AB,

Have I told you how happy I am that you found us? I am. You are smart, articulate, introspective, and funny - and you have already brought a lot of good things to our little board here. So, thank you. :)

I stayed out of this one, because as you know, my experience with telling was quite different, and I wasn't sure I had anything to offer. HA. As if. LOL And you've already gotten some great advice from EO, and from our dear Lu. But now I find myself thinking that I can chime in on a couple of things that you touched on, aside from the confession question.

As far as the love question - that answer is completely yours. And maybe you will find that the answer changes with time and distance, or maybe not. As Lu said - that doesn't so much matter at this point, and it won't make a difference either way, really. Maybe if you come to the realization that it wasn't - that could help in your healing from it and make it easier to get over. But then again, that could set a whole other thought process in motion too, that could be equally difficult. Because say that you do realize that maybe it wasn't really love you felt...well, then your story seems to change, right? If it wasn't even love that you risked everything for...then...what are you left with?

This is a super negative road to go down, and honestly, if you don't have to walk it, that wouldn't be a bad thing. Trust me on that one. :)

So, all that to say that it really doesn't matter what label you slap onto the feelings you had/have. What does matter is coming to some kind of acceptance with them. And too - keep this in mind: Feelings are just feelings. In and of themselves, they aren't good *or* bad - they just are. But, actions are different, those can be labeled good or bad, and those are what matter, I believe.

Does that make sense? I mean, you can twist yourself up and beat yourself bloody, castigating yourself for the feelings - but those aren't something that you can really DO anything about. You can't order yourself to "unfeel" something. But - by the same token, I do believe that the feelings do need actions in order to sustain them. So, deprive them of the actions...and you may find that they fade away quietly.

Don't let them torment you, I mean. Because the only real sure thing about feelings is that they can and do change. :)

And...with that said...the guilt and shame you are experiencing are ALSO feelings. And the same rules apply, I believe.

If through your actions, you are feeding those feelings (by continuing in the affair, or maintaining contact) - then you are giving them fuel.

You feed the feelings that you want to stick around. Look for joy in your world, look for happiness, look for love in your relationship. Celebrate those things when you see them, and take actions that will help those things grow. Acceptance is a much easier place to reach when we are coming there from a positive perspective. So, nurture that, where you can.

If you want to have a better relationship with your wife - then HAVE ONE. Work towards that goal, do the things that you can do in order to improve the relationship, change the things that you feel that you need to within yourself in order to be a better partner, wife, friend. Be the best YOU that you can be - and go from there.

I mean...that's really all any of us can do, right?

Hugs,

Kim

    

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