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#894339 11/24/00 10:58 PM
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I was the WS, and used to post here several years ago and received great advice. I need to be able to talk about what's happened since I've confessed my affair to my husband (keeping in mind this has been 4 years since confession). <P>I was advised by many to tell him what I had done, and some not to tell. Let me just say now, that I am sickened at my poor choice in having an affair, I had an enormous amount of self-loathing for so long, and have been able to overcome this after several years of counseling. I realize the reasons (selfish, and some marital) for it, and have worked on these issues. But this isn't the reason for my post.<P>I had been advised by my counselor at the time not to tell my husband about my affair. I didn't believe at that time that this was the best route to go, I couldn't imagine having to live with this, and had to let my husband know because I felt honesty was the best way, I wouldn't want any secrets between us.<P>My husband maintains to this day that my confession was the ruination of the marriage (we're on really shaky ground, because he can't come to terms with this still).<P>I love him, and will always love him and made a horrible mistake. But I also can't blame him for his feelings. I sometimes look at my own situation as if I weren't in it, and think how could he want me again? But then I have immersed myself in reading about this, and couples can recover. But we've been in a holding pattern, staying in it for the "sake of the kids" like he says.<P>Counseling, church, talking openly, marriage seminars and my husband says since day one of when I told him about my affair that he cannot ever forget this, ever. <P>Today I was watching Dr. Laura (I know she's quite controversial and not so diplomatic at times, but she does speak the truth) and she said that confessing an affair only alleviates the WS guilt and gives their spouse an incredible amount of pain to live with the rest of their lives. <P>I realize that for many, an affair needs to come out into the open (like my husband has said) because a spouse who cheats has habitual problems with affairs. But for the person who has made a mistake (singular) and feels so sickened by what they've done and knows they will not do it again, what does confessing really do? For the spouse (like mine) who is a wonderful man, but cannot deal with the thoughts, this is a death sentence for my marriage.<P>I know that counseling, talking, dealing with feelings needs to be done. We've done it and more. He still cannot come to terms and maintains he will never be able to. <P>I would think for many, confessing an affair is something necessary, to be able to solve what needs to be fixed within that particular marriage. But for us, (and after 4 years, I know) it wasn't.

#894340 11/24/00 11:53 PM
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Personally, I don't agree with Dr. Laura's particular brand of "truth" most of the time. However, while I am a firm believer in telling the truth, I also would say that there are SOME INDIVIDUALS, it seems, who cannot deal with the truth.<P>It seems to be almost a "gender" issue as to whether or not confessing improves a relationship or not. So far, most of those I've seen who have had serious difficulties with the other spouse not being able to "let go" and deal with the issues have been wives who have confessed affairs to their husbands. This may be a horrible generalization, but I've been on this forum for 2 years and that is what I've seen.<P>My feeling about this is that Dr. Laura is wrong. Confession of an affair is a necessary part of healing for both the WS and BS. The problem comes from when the BS cannot let go of the "blame" he/she wants to place and see his/her own contributions to the breakdown of the marital relationship. For those who may think I have no idea what I am talking about, let me just say that I am a betrayed spouse, and, while finding out about my husband's affair hurt like a fiery sword plunged into my gut, it also gave me an incredible sense of relief to know that I wasn't crazy - something HAD been going on all that time. I used this crisis as an opportunity, rather than allowing it to drag me down. Everyone has that ability, but not everyone is willing to pick him/herself up out of the muck of the ditch and climb back up onto the road. It's hard work.<P>So ... here is my take on your situation, learnedalot: Your husband is the selfish one after 4 years. Not you. You have done what is needed and worked on you and your relationship. It sounds as if your husband wants to use your confession against you forever - and that isn't very mature. It IS very ego-centric, however, and foolish. He has something that some men on this forum may never ever see: a contrite wife who has confessed her mistake and worked hard on improving the marriage. Look at Chris - he would have, at one time, given anything to have received the respect and caring from his wife that you have given to your husband.<P>Your husband is a very lucky man to have someone like you, and I hope he will wake up and see that very soon!<P>------------------<BR>terri<BR><B>Courage</B><P>Whatever course you decide upon,<BR>there is always someone to tell you<BR>that you are wrong.<P>There are always difficulties arising<BR>which tempt you to believe that your <BR>critics are right.<P>To map out a course of action <BR>and follow it to an end <BR>requires courage.<P><I>Ralph Waldo Emerson</I>

#894341 11/25/00 04:34 AM
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Hi learnedalot,<P>I have thought about your post quite a bit, and I know that there have been posters here off-and-on who decide not to tell their spouse they have been unfaithful. Most of them don't continue to post for long because they are constantly advised to be open and honest and (for whatever reason) they don't want to do that.<P>I have known about my husband's affair since since September of 1999 and have been dealing with its effects since it started in the spring of 1999. I have come to believe that I will never be free of the effects of his choice to be unfaithful. Like you, my husband is remorseful. We are in counseling and are really trying to heal from this horrible thing. But the pain, disappointment, resentment, grief, anger, etc. don't magically disappear when the betrayed spouse says "I'm sorry and I wish I hadn't done it and I'll never do it again and I would change it if I could."<P>I have spend countless fruitless hours wishing that the affair had never happened, but I have NEVER spent one second wishing that I had not found out the truth. I wish with all my heart and soul that it was not the truth, but I do not wish for a lie or deception.<P>Making the choice to live with this kind of secret is making a choice for a certain kind of marriage, one that is more comfortable perhaps, but also a relationship that is lacking in true sharing and bonding, a relationship that is shallow and unbalanced. Of course, it could also be said that an affair causes the same kind of effects.<P>I suppose it depends on the value one places on openness and honesty. If these things really exist in a relationship, infidelity would never occur. I look at it in this way, if I had cancer I would want to know about it so that I could receive treatment for it and have the chance to recover from it. Even if the cancer had progressed too far for treatment, I would want to know so that I could prepare for the inevitable. I do not subscribe to the theory that ignorance is bliss.<P>Has your husband actually told you that he wishes you had kept your affair a secret? If he has said that, do you think he really means it? And do you honestly think it is possible to have a really good marriage with that kind of thing hanging over it?<P>Other posters on this site continue to demonstrate that it is possible to rebuild a marriage after an affair, and that hope is what keeps me going through this dark time. HOWEVER, it takes a great effort on the part of both partners. Your husband has to truly WANT to recover, and he obviously hasn't made that choice. Maybe he is afraid of being hurt and disappointed again, I know that feeling very well.<P>I don't believe that an affair has to ruin a marriage, and I don't see how an honest confession could destroy it either. But an unwillingness to forgive and the desire to continue to punish a partner will most assuredly cause the marriage to fail. I hope that the two of you will be able to overcome those obstacles.<P>Peppermint

#894342 11/25/00 02:13 PM
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I applaud you for confessing. I don't believe true honesty is ever achieved again without it. I can understand your need to unload and also your reaction of self-loathing. I think that is natural, but so is your husband's hurt and inability to forgive. I think that for the SW and the BS what makes recovery possible is BOTH honesty and forgiveness from both people. <P>Affairs do not happen in a vaccuum with one person shouldering all the responsibility for the conditions that make it possible (I am not condoning affairs. The WS is totally to blame for taking that fatal step, but both are responsible for making their relationship fragile). Both parties need to recognize what they did to weaken the bond. Both need to forgive themselves and each other. I think the recognition of our humanity and the willingness to love and try again is what gives us the strength to make it happy again.<P>I think you've both suffered enough for your mistake. I hope your H gets some help dealing with this betrayal so you can both get on with your lives. This is holding you back from growth. <P>I don't think that some people can't deal with the truth. I think that some people need help in doing so. What in life is worth having if it is based on lies? Not being able to deal with the truth comes from fear. Honesty is the antithesis of fear.<P>I also have never regretted knowing the truth. I only wish I had known it sooner. Yes, it is and was painful, but I cannot fight a ghost.<p>[This message has been edited by popeye (edited November 25, 2000).]

#894343 11/25/00 08:51 PM
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Thanks so much terri, peppermint & popeye for your responses.<P><B>terri</B>, <P>I have to agree with what you're saying--I've <B>never</B> thought that keeping my affair a secret would be the better choice. That's why I was honestly very surprised to hear Dr. Laura (and I've never been a fan of hers, but I've always thought before she doled out reasonable advice) say that confessing your affair only serves to alleviate your own guilt; a secret best taken to your grave. My own counselor advised the same. I've always believed that having all your cards laid out on the table (and if the situation were reversed, I certainly would want to know) is the only way, but I was beginning to question my beliefs lately. <P>I don't think the problem lies within telling, it's the fact that my husband cannot deal with what I've done. I don't know what else I can do at this point. If I could take it back, I would do just about anything to be able to, but I can't. And I understand the grieving process he must be going through, but he'll go into modes at times where he just cannot get over the images (he says). I ask him to please try to replace those he's having with new ones we've made and can make, but it's not that easy (he says). <P>By the way, I have a great admiration for what you are doing as far as your own marriage. Your husband is lucky to have someone like you, and I pray he realizes it soon, before it's too late. <P><B>peppermint</B> ,<P>I'm so sorry for what you've been through with your own situation. <P>As far as whether my husband actually told me that he wished I kept the affair a secret, on many occasions he said this. He told me that if I could have just not said anything about my affair, that we would be fine. If I could have just taken this as a horrible lesson to have learned and "kept it to myself", then our marriage would be better off. I think he really means he wished it wouldn't have happened, but I also truly believe he would rather have remained unknowing of my affair. I honestly don't believe our marriage would be better, but rather, worse than it is already. I just can't stand to think of not being able to be completely open about all aspects of what we've both been through, good or bad. Even terrible, like this. Like you've said, ignorance is not bliss, and you cannot have true intimacy without total truth. <P><B>popeye</B>,<P>I think you're right. I do think we've both suffered enough, and fighting something you don't know that's there is impossible. <P>At this point, I'm going to continue with counseling (not with the same one who advised not admitting) and do what I can, but I must admit that I feel sometimes that I will never be able to make up for my poor choice.<P>Thanks again all.

#894344 11/25/00 09:32 PM
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learnedalot,<P>I have to agree with all the ladies here...<BR>...your H, unfortunately, is the one who still has to grow!<P>You are brave, and honest, and open...<BR>...qualities he is obviously overlooking!<P>Most people will have a hard time forgetting...<BR>...forgiveness is the <I>easy part</I>...<BR>...I hope your counselor is giving practical guidance on how (through both your and H efforts) he can work on gradually forgetting.<P> [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]<P>Jim

#894345 11/26/00 01:00 AM
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LAL,<P>You certainly have 'learned a lot' and I back you on your decision to tell your husband. <P>Dr. Laura is kinda like my mom - on occasion she can give awesome advice and totally help you see the light. BUT she also scurries thru her life with a severe personality disorder that slants her perspective on reality to the point where you must carefully examine the advice you are given. Ignore her on this one. YOU DID THE RIGHT THING.<P>It is not your fault that your H does not have the strength to come to terms with reality in a constructive manner. He has chosen to have the attitude he has all by himself. I suspect that the two of you have had all sorts of issues and problems for quite awhile now. This is just the straw that broke the camel's already overburdened back.<P>Please don't beat yourself up for trying to make a new start. As a fellow WS, I am privy to the bottomless vat of pain our actions have caused. But there is a time for healing and forgiveness. If your H cannot partake of it with you, your journey will be lonely, but not impossible.<P>It is your turn now to Plan A all you can. Let him know it is time to turn over a new leaf. Try to figure out WHY you had the affair - which needs of yours wasn't he able to meet, which weakness of yours won out. Tell him about it. Be the best you can be for him now. Also, try to get him to a counsellor with you. <P>LAL, again, I commend your bravery. I hope your H can be brave with you. Keep posting and let us know what you need!<P>Khyra <BR><p>[This message has been edited by Khyra (edited November 26, 2000).]

#894346 11/26/00 06:54 PM
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Learnedalot,<P>From my perspective, I would say you did the right thing. My wife confessed to her affair earlier this year two months after it was over. It was crushing for me, and in a lot of ways it still is. Her situation was a lot like yours - she came to a point where she didn't want anything between us. <P>On some level it is selfish, but on another I realize that her confession means that she really wants our marriage to work, and that getting it out in the open and dealing with it is the only way. I was becoming suspicious towards the end and knew that there was something "not right." But before I could get up the nerve to ask her she is the one that really came clean.<P>About your husband. As one that has been betrayed I can tell you that the images are very hard to suppress. The wounds run very deep. My wife had a fling 9 years ago before we were married, and while we were not legally bound at the time we were an exclusive couple (at least I thought we were). I still have images of her and the OM that sometimes can be overwhelming. I will never forget. However, I don't use them against my wife anymore and hardly ever bring it up. Your husband really has to stop doing this. I won't ever forget, but I forgave her for it a long time ago.<P>The affair earlier this year obviously is more serious and hits closer to home for me. It's been about 2 1/2 months since my D-Day and I still have dreams and images often. My wife has been as supportive as she can, and I know she hates seeing me this way. Even today, she just came up to me out of the blue and said "I'm sorry for what I did to you. I hope you can forgive me one day." I know she means it.<P>I don't have any advice as to what to do about your husband. I'm not a professional or anything. All I can say is that I am glad my wife was honest. It tells me that there was something wrong with our marriage and that we needed to fix it. We are working on that right now. I hope things work out for you as well.<P>HD

#894347 11/26/00 07:39 PM
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NSR, thanks so much for your kind words. The counselor we (I) have now is very good; supportive of marriage and offers constructive advice. More focus is on moving forward than living in the past. I know that for several years after confession that we have (and still do, probably always will) to handle the images, the hurt, the feelings that arise from what I've done. But offering practical solutions on how to move forward is what I would think is healthier right now. I'm hoping my husband will agree to talk to the counselor soon. <P>Khyra, I do have to agree with you re Dr. Laura. I guess when you are inundated with advice that seems to be the same ( to not confess) you start questioning what you've done. We've had problems before this- including communication (or lack of), anger, and a whole bunch of other stuff. You've given some really good advice on how to handle this now, but unfortunately my husband doesn't want to talk about "it" (as he calls it) or how to solve the problems. What happens is he gets into this mode where he becomes quiet and completely cold and then mentions how horrible it was and how I ruined the marriage by what I've done. This goes on for awhile, then he retreats into not wanting to talk about it at all. It's a mixture of feeling hurt and angry at what I've done, then not wanting to discuss anything and how to improve our relationship.<P>I realize in order to have some type of healing from this, we need to move forward and discuss in a constructive way how to help him deal with these feelings and images and anger. I'm sure that he is just protecting his own feelings, but I guess I just feel that we both have a conscious choice here, one to heal or not. Thanks, Khyra.<P>HurtingDeeply, so sorry for what you've been through. It does sound as if you're wife is very remorseful for what she's done, but I can only imagine how much pain it is.<P>I'll continue to see my counselor and try to get my husband to go. Hopefully, one day. Thanks everybody.


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