The snippet from the book you mention above doesn't really compute. Moral high ground is not objective, so it does come down to a personal choice. If you want to make that choice, then make it. I'm curious why you would put effort into finding supporting documentation of what you want to do. Or did you have another path in mind before you read the book?
You mention that you were an authentic husband and father. You mention that you tried everything to get your wife to come out of her funk. I guess I'm curious if she tells the same story.
I remember feeling like you, that I had put in every effort and that I had lived an honest and authentic life. Never cheated on my wife, always a good dad...pretty much got along with everyone. And then something snapped. It wasn't until almost 6 months later that I got into an EA. So, what I'm saying is that I understand how you might feel that nothing will change if you tell the truth because that's what you did before. I would suggest that your memory may not be 100% accurate as to who you were, or even who you are now. It took a lot of time to break down my own barriers and see the real me. I'm honest now, but it is different than the honesty I prided myself on before the EA. It is more real now. And I wouldn't have gotten here if I had kept it a secret. (actually, I'm one of those whose head would have exploded if I didn't tell...)
Whats done in the dark does some how some way come to the light.
You wouldnt want to put in all this work and one day, maybe years from now, she finds out the truth. then all the work you put in was for nothing. and it could all be ended.
once you tell her that could mark a new beginning. even if youve stopped the A and the truth comes out 10 yrs from now she may not believe that it ended so long ago and may believe that all those years were a lie. and she may be more devastated that you could hold onto a lie for all those years than the A itself.
You will also have to continue covering up things and continue to lie. It may make her upset but it will help her and your marriage heal. She not going to be fully okay until you tell her the truth. You will not either. Trust that she likely knows something is off and it will be a relief to her to know that she isnt crazy. If you never been a BS you probably have no clue the pain of knowing "something" is wrong but telling yourself your crazy and beating yourself up over it. confirmation of the deception becomes a relief! If you want to regain emotional intimacy and openness you have to tell her the truth.
You may want to take some more time to look into why you dont want to tell her.
Not telling you what to think but just seriously consider the pros and cons of telling vs not. and not how they will effect you, but her and the marriage.
Like your W, I suffered from depression during my M. I always thought it was 'me'. Like you, my H professed to be an open, honest guy. In working through all of this, we discovered (well, he KNEW, so I should say I discovered...) that he had been suppressing emotions from a very early age- long before I was around- and this contributed to a lack of intimacy in our M. We discovered that this lack of intimacy and my gut feelings about things were what was causing my depression. My life was a lie and,on some level, I knew that.
Now, we can discuss the 'tell or no' issue until the cows come home and get nowhere. So, are you ready to get started sorting out your stuff?? If so, I have a few questions for you:
1) You say you were an authentic and honest man for 17 years of your 22 year M. What changed?
2) How long was your A?
3) Was it one A or a series of As?
4) Does your wife know your AP?
5) Why do you think you had an A?
6) If your W WERE to find out, how do you think she would react?
To me, it is about the BS 's ability to make an informed decision about their future. It is about respecting her.
Would they be accepted or would they be judged
That mindset is something that I'd like to help you shed.
Not unlike your worries about what people will think about you here at SI, it sounds like you are still wrapped up in people's perceptions of you on the outside.
Is it normal to be terrified of how your confession is going to go over? Totally. The thing is, if you are trying to do the RIGHT thing here, you have to let go of that.
We tend to foster a culture of transparency here, give or take. Cat put it really well...
Lying is the enemy of intimacy. By intimacy, I don't mean sex but emotional intimacy. When you [hide] parts of yourself from your spouse, you erect walls. That eventually leads to a serious weakening of the marriage.
The thing is, if you even have to ask what we think in the manner in which you have, you already know both the answer to how we'll respond, AND what the right thing to do here is.
I've lied. I've kept secrets. I've solemnly swore to myself never to do something again and wished that the evidence would just quietly evaporate, and I know that it was never the right thing to do. It was the easy thing. It was the selfish thing. Period.
I'm not judging you. I'm just reiterating the truth that you are fearful to face. Let us help you do the thing you know in your heart and mind is right.
but to say that being and honest, authentic man that my sons and wife could be proud will set things right or fix things, just doesnt fully compute with me because i was that man and it didnt mean much.
It doesn't compute because you do all those things for you! Not whether someone notices or not, not whether someone validates you or not. Being that guy is not a matter of compliance to how things should go or be, it is either who you choose to be or not.
All my posts are edited - I hate typos. :)
One thing to keep in mind is that the affair will ALWAYS be there, whether you confess it or not. This can in fact cause some damage to both you and your wife in the long run.
I had a brief affair a few months into my relationship with my wife, long before we were married. I kept it a secret for 15 years. That was 15 years of looking my girlfriend/fiancee/wife in the eye, and just wanting to confess to her, but I didn't, because I didn't want to hurt her. That would be selfish of me to just release that burden off of myself and hurt her, right?
Turns out that my dishonesty and lack of transparency caused me to feel such guilt, I ended up overlooking boundaries that were being crossed in all sorts of different facets of life, including our relationship and our marriage. I thought that the fact that I was jealous of her male "friend" was just a byproduct of me feeling guilty, even though obvious boundaries were being crossed. Turns out she had a 15 year affair with this "friend" of hers.
I didn't confess my affair until after my wife confessed hers. By that time, my affair was old business to me, but it was a brand new hurt to her. Like it happened yesterday. That's some harsh shit there.
If I could go back in time, I would certainly do things differently.
Things to keep in mind...
Best of luck to you.
While there is an overwhelming majority opinion on some topics such as confession, it is seldom universal (except that it is better to confess than be discovered). Whichever path you choose, you will receive support, gentle guidance and two by fours, and a large number of people who really do want you to succeed. So long as you can roll with the punches and keep coming back, you will also find that many of your views evolve over time, and will likely discover that the people you come to admire, respect, and genuinely like, will often be the ones that piss you off in the early stages by telling you thruths you are not quite ready to hear.
One bit of advice before reaching the stage of confessing, is to make damn sure the affairs are truly over before confessing. It's kinda like the Rubicon, after you cross it, if you try going back you will just lose everyone important's respect and be crushed by an angry legion.*
*Okay, I just recently finished watching some documentaries on youtube that reminded me of watching Spartacus and Rome, but you get the idea.
Do not back up. Severe tire damage.
Posted in general a while ago about wishing I didn't know. No one wants this pain. It's killing me.
I discovered my WH's affair. It would've been so much better if he had ended it, and then confessed everything while earnestly apologizing and expressing his desire to save our marriage. Instead, there were so many lies that I still don't know what is what. He lied to our kids too. Besides learning he cheated, we also learned that saving his own ass was more important than our well-being. That's been very hard on us.
I'm sorry that being authentic and honest for 17 yrs didn't set things right in your marriage. I do wish you could have eked out a bit more honesty to tell your wife you were unhappy in your marriage and wished to leave it and find someone else. Perhaps that would have motivated her to seek help for her depression and you could have started working on the M together, before you chose to head down the wayward path.
I think it's great that you have ended your A(s?) on your own. As far as not wanting to confess, I understand not wanting to start what will likely be a s**tstorm of epic proportions!
However, I wonder if being deceptive and dishonest for the last 5 years help set things straight in your life? If it did, I can understand why you're determined to now focus on your marriage with your inauthenticity and dishonesty intact. Aren't you concerned that whatever led to the A path last time, might remain open and seem welcoming again?
If it didn't fix things, though, please realize you cannot go back to being authentic and honest while keeping your secrets. You aren't really being faithful to your wife if you're still being faithful to your secrets about being unfaithful. And there's ALWAYS a chance she'll find out. Or your boys will. There are so many ways that can happen. Just read a few profiles in JFO forum.
Finally, I'm not sure how being honest and authentic with your sons did not work to make things right or fix things. if it didn't mean much to your sons that you were someone they could be proud of, what do you think it will mean to them if they find out they have a very good reason to NOT be proud of?
My son told his dad that, no matter what good he does going forward, he'd always have an asterisk by his name. That is one of the most devastating consequences of this mess—hearing my DS call his beloved father "a jerk."
Good luck to you and your family, with whatever you decide to do.
BS:45 WH:47 needhelp123
8yr EA&PA w/MCOW emp/frmr emp
19y M * 25y T, 2 teens
DDay 12/31/12*5w TT
Sick tired sad
My wife had a mental health breakdown and during that time had an affair. It was short. She ended it. I suspected things were not right but had no clue how far wrong things had been. During this time she had treated me badly, and that hurt a lot, but I really knew almost nothing about the reality of her days while I was at work.
She got help, counseling, and committed to never doing anything like this again. She reconciled with me, apologized for how she treated me, and worked hard to be the best mom and wife that she could be. She would never tell about the affair, she would do the right thing and carry that cross to the grave so that the truth would never hurt me. She never wanted to ever hurt me again.
9 years passed. To keep the secret meant more lies, each lie was another betrayal, they piled up, guilt upon guilt, you love someone but you tell them lies, year after year. You live a lie with the person you love.
9 years of trying to figure it out, what was wrong in my marriage, disconnectedness for no apparent reason, racking my brain and talking to my wife and even counseling with her and coming up empty every time.
Finally, as I was nearly to the point of walking away from it all, leaving someone that I loved more than I've ever loved anyone, convinced that what was wrong was me, and tortured by the thought that I just could not connect with her, she confessed.
Guilt grows, into a might oak tree, that roots itself into your very soul.
That confession hurt. Horribly. I went through Hell. But, at the same time, it allowed us to become what we should have been all along.
It did little or nothing to make my wife happy or my marriage strong. As my wife circled into her world of depression, i tried harder and harder to be there emotionally, physically, asking her, begging her to get help...whatever it took to help her.
^^^^^This - quite a lot of resentment toward your wife there.
I'm a FWW who recently confessed to multiple affairs going back 21 years, the most recent 5 years ago.
I suspect your reluctance to confess your affair, and you looking for supporting evidence for this decision, is that you are reluctant to have your wife be in the position of occupying the moral high ground in your marriage, especially as you felt you did the lions share of keeping it together.
Many of us waywards blamed our SO for having our affair(s)- it is Wayward textbook justification for our behaviour because we are not willing to face ourselves and why we felt that taking ourselves outside our marriage could possibly fix what was wrong in it. Been there done that myself.
Many people on here have said what I now know is the only way to have real intimacy in a marriage, and that is that the truth must be told, and like the saying goes - "the truth will set you free". Secrets sit there and fester and create a barrier between you and your SO. I never realised how much until I finally told my H everything. Its been hard, but it becomes more worth it every day.
I hope you too find the courage to tell the truth.
13 years. Digest that for a moment. 13 years of lies. 13 years of sharing a life with someone who was not the man I thought he was. 13 years of my life not making sense in so many ways. 13 YEARS.
You may think no one will ever find out. You may think you can bury this. You can't. And I can tell you, it is much worse finding out years later than having a WS come to you, confess, and you can both decide how to move forward.
I found out about OW1 16 years after the A, OW2 8 years after and OW3 a year after. All within about 3 weeks.
I actually believe if I had found out about OW1 16 years ago we might have had a chance at a good life together.
He has now realised the devastation his actions have caused me, is remorseful and faithful.
But it may be too little too late.
He has told me that he told himself it wouldn't happen again after OW1. I am sure you are telling yourself that too. Maybe in your case it won't.
Now he says he would do anything to go back and make better choices. But like I said it may be too late. I also find this hard to believe. he lied so often and for so long. Why would I believe him now?
There is no guarantee she will never find out.
How will she feel if she finds out in 10 years time?
How ill you feel waiting for the hammer to fall?
How will this effect your relationship with her?
If/when she finds out she WILL wonder how many others there were and like me she will not believe anything you say. Nothing you say will convince her that you are being honest.
Not after you have hidden this.
me (WW/BS): 48
4 kiddos in mid 20's
Me: I didn't sign up for this.
Him: you're already in this. All you can do is resign...
Intimacy is talked about a great deal but what is it exactly.....emotional and/or physical closeness?? Honesty and integrity about and in your life together??.....willingness to give and be everything for your partner. If its these things then I believe I was there. I felt as though I was there.....emotionally.....physically....spiritually....I shared everything with her. Thoughts, Feelings, fears, desires...did that. Had deep meaningful convesations about children, our future...did that. Expressed and showed my love and desire for my wife....did that! Wanting to help her with her depression, willing to do whatever it took. Done. Even with all that and two beautiful boys, she still couldn't love herself or be happy with life, or seek help. I was losing hope in us. Did I express this to her...absolutely I did.. These are conversations we have had through out the first 17 years of our marriage. I was unsure as a husband what else I could have done. It took me a long time to realize that love and intimacy are not always enough to save someone from themselves. I know that ultimately we cant save anyone and that they must help themselves, but its tough to sit and watch someone hate themsevles and the world around them and not try and do something for them. Its also difficult not to let resentment creep in when you feel that a relationship is not 50/50 and that emotionally you are carrying the heavy part. I don't know how to stop that part of my humanness.
I was lost and made the mistake of opening up to a married co-worker, which quickly turned into EA and then became a PA. I had a Dday shortly there after. I did leave, saying i couldnt continue like this, wanted a divorce, had feelings for someone else. We went into counseling, individual and marriage and i came back. We each were in IC for 2 years but both stopped. Things got better and life went back to what it was before. My affair stopped at that point but then started up again and continued off and on for the next 5 years. Periods of NC, brought on by both XAP and I. My wife believes I haven't spoken to her in 5 years. Her depression is still there but is controlled somewhat with Medication. Therapy was helpful at first, but she lost desire to go and stopped. I continued for a bit but stopped as well. Is our marriage or life miserable...No. We have moments of laughter, of connectedness, of contentment. Is that intimacy?? In the context of our marriage...it may be. Is it only one way since I had and affair that she is unaware of.....to some the answer will undoubtedly be yes.
Did I justify my affair, my behavior at that time, I am sure I did. Everyone justifies their behavior....even those that decide to confess. Do I justify it now... No. I own the choices I have made over the last 5 years. The lying, the deceiving, the cheating are by my hand, by my choice. My wife did not make me have an affair. My own inability to deal with my brokenness, my own issues let me to an affair. I am fully aware that I am lost and broken and that is why I am back in therapy and on this site. I am NC with my XAP. I want to change. I am trying to find my way back to the man I used to be. Is it addiction, is it co-dependency, am I just a cake eater, am I a love junkie. How could I have lived a double life for so long and so easily? These are issues I am trying to figure out.
I am not sure if I will confess or not. That is my choice. Its curious to me that an opinion of a therapist that has seen thousands if not tens of thousands of couples and what infedfilty has done to marriages can be so easily dismissed as being wrong. I understand the "born again" mentality of those that have seen the light and the benefit of confession and now believe that it is the one true way to salvation. I may get there. I am not there yet.
[This message edited by Marriedman2013 at 7:44 AM, May 14th (Tuesday)]
I was an honest, authentic man who was not only a nurturing father to my two sons, but a husband that was communicative, open, and supportive. I was an open book about every aspect of my life.
I am trying to find my way back to the man I used to be.
You will never find your way back to the man you once were if you choose to live a dishonest life and keep lying to your wife. Lying to her has nothing to do with protecting her, but everything to do with protecting yourself. You don't want to face the consequences for your choice to continue cheating. You think that by being in IC now and stopping the affair that you have atoned yourself, but you haven't.
If you want to be an honest, authentic man again, then do what an honest, authentic man would do....tell your wife the truth and face the consequences.
Sometimes it's better to push someone away...not because you stopped loving them but because you can't take the pain anymore.
My affairs (two since February) were brief but BH found out by rooting out an awful, horrible email I'd written complaining about him to a former AP. What a great way to find out, huh? And follow that up by learning of a wife's ultimate betrayal of being with another man (one of two As was officially consummated...but due to the first's physical malfunction, so I deserve no credit for that) and it has devastated him.
So I hate that I hurt him so much. Had he never found out, maybe I would've quit (the guilt was causing me awful insomnia), put the A behind me, realized how awesome my H is in comparison to the APs, put on my big-girl panties and talked to him about our M. Or maybe I would've continued being a lying, cheating, betraying slut till I got caught.
The discovery forced me to reveal my feelings to him, about our M, which I had suppressed for years. For that I am grateful, and I believe we will come out better for it. We've gone from watching hours of stupid TV, to talking all night. It has made us deeply reconnect--emotionally as well as (to both of our surprise) physically, intimately.
The past few weeks have been a manic-depressive roller coaster at home. My wish is that I'd talked to him about my feelings in the first place, and maybe avoided the A altogether.
Ultimately I truly believe it is for the best that he knows. But right now it is hard, because it is so painful. You have a very difficult decision that only you can make for yourself.
Will you be accepted here? To ease yourself in more gently, consider first posting your story in Wayward Side with a big fat stop sign! I haven't had the courage to post my full story yet. Just dipping my toes in by commenting on others' threads :)