I'm brand new so I'm sorry if any acronyms or things are wrong. Let me know and I'll adjust.
I took a job on a cruise ship in Aug 2019 and cheated on my partner of five years in the beginning of November. I told him on July 4. I begged for the chance to work on things but he said no, and that while he won't rule anything out in future he needs me out of the apartment and to have time to process.
I know what I did was wrong. I hate myself. I am trying to work on myself. I sent him this letter the day after (I'm sorry it's really long), and let him know that in texts I will be neutral and not initiate communication, and leave it up to him. He expressed gratitude for this.
I’ve said it fifty times now but I didn’t want the sun to come up this morning. I wanted to hold you as long as I could. I don’t want to get out of bed because I don’t want to face a world where I don’t get to hold you like that anymore.
I’m writing because I don’t think I said everything I wanted to last night.
All of this comes with a few facts - just in case anything I say below comes off as “well I did it because x!”:
- I love you.
- I fucked up. I did a wrong, evil thing and there is no excusing it.
- I desperately, desperately want to find a way to make this work and rebuild our trust.
- I confessed because I thought you deserved to know, not because I was trying to alleviate my own guilt.
- I’m taking steps immediately to work on it on my end.
- I love you enough that if what you don’t want is me, or if trying hurts you, I will step back.
- I don’t expect anything overnight, and I love and respect you and whatever time you need to process. If speaking to me helps, I am here. If you want distance, less contact, or for me to adjust anything about how I’m interacting with you, tell me and I will immediately adjust.
- I am going to be very deliberate and overly cautious with all my language and interactions with you. I am going to ask detailed questions about things as we move forward in an attempt to make sure your needs are being met - i.e. instead of just texting you updates, I asked permission for a single check-in tonight ahead of time so that it’s not a surprise, and to confirm that what you want is no contact throughout today. Stuff like that.
You asked last night why I did what I did. I think my answer wasn’t what it should have been. Or really I don’t think I answered the question right. You asked my “reason” and the reality is there isn’t a reason because there is no excuse. But “I don’t know” isn’t acceptable or a reason either. And I think I word vomited a series of things off the top of my head to try and explain the environment that the thing happened in (we were in a bad place, I was lonely, I was depressed, I was drinking) instead of answering the why because of confusion of phrasing. I spoke to my therapist today and she rephrased it in a way I found helpful, and better able to answer: “What are the specific roots of your wrong?”
One of the reasons I don’t like how I answered last night is that I don’t want there to be any version of this where you think what I did was due to anything you did. I explained the environment, but it’s important that you know it doesn’t have anything to do with you. You are a good, loving, kind, strong, marvelous person. The only thing you did wrong was love a bad person.
I think the problem is that I knew, deep down, that it would be a deal breaker for you, while at the same time I don’t and didn’t want to break up. I know those are two opposing things. I think I was self-sabatoging due to a fear and distrust of being loved and in something good. I love you. I think I also fear being loved. Again none of this is an excuse. What I did was evil, and in an awful way I did it because I knew I would be unable to live with myself without telling you if we were going to try and make things work. Your unwavering love, your trust, and your commitment would become unbearable because they were being directed towards someone proved unworthy of those things.
I should have told you right away. Advice from others isn’t an excuse. Again it is an explanation of environment - and I think it happened again in order for me to punish myself. It was the worst possible thing to do, early in the contract, far away from you, with no ability to see you in person. To do it when I couldn’t tell you myself face to face made it worse. I think I did it because those things combined to make me squirm longer and allow me to punish myself (deservedly) more. I couldn’t speak to you, couldn’t speak to others, couldn’t take care of myself, and I had done an evil thing. Self flagellation. I was able to finally confirm what a voice in my head had been screeching for years - that I’m not worthy of love, and that if others don’t hurt me I will eventually hurt them because I am a bad person.
You are and were my pillar. You are the person I am most able to be myself around, most able to show my insecurities and anxieties and silly sides and childish sides and sad sides and panics around. It made no sense to me that you could see all that and still possibly love me. I don’t and didn’t deserve your love and for some manic reason I had to prove that I was bad, and that I didn’t deserve it. Each time we were working on something, it was being done relatively healthily. In a weird way our relationship felt like imposter syndrome - that I was leading you on with building things well, that if I DIDN’T do something unforgivable you would go on being fooled by me and not realize that I am secretly an awful person.
I did something selfish and evil and wrong. I broke the good thing that we have been building, something that I’ve loved building and treasured having. I hurt you, and that is the biggest regret of my life. I am so sorry. You do not, now or ever, deserve to be treated the way that I treated you. I am glad Helen is angry “for you.” I am glad you called your moo. I want you to talk to others about this, and I want you to feel your feelings about it fully, including anger towards me. I do not want you to try and protect me or avoid “badmouthing” me at the expense of your healing. We have a lot of mutual friends. A lot of them are going to hate me. You expressed a dislike for that thought - it’s okay. Harming you and losing you hurts more than any of that. I honestly don’t know that the rest will even register.
I don’t believe apologizing means you can be forgiven. But I also don’t believe in making an apology without owning your sins and saying what you will do to make sure it never happens again. I’m in therapy. I’m increasing the number of sessions per week. I’m working actively with my therapist on why I did this and what the roots are. We are diving headfirst into topics I’ve been avoiding, even with therapists, even with you. You have no reason to believe me, but I have never cheated before this - not on you or any other relationship. It will never happen again. I have hit rock bottom in the look on your face last night that has made me forcibly confront the worst parts of me. I am determined to do the work to try and confront as many of those parts as humanely possible.
I respect and accept that you want us to be broken up. Know that I am committed to rebuilding anything I can with you. I love you and if I can’t be your love, I want to at least if possible be your friend and be in your life to offer you whatever support and love you will accept. Know that I want you to heal, that I will answer any questions you have honestly and will respect your needs. If you need space, and don’t want me to reach out unless you ask, I will do so. If you want a nightly check in, I will do so. If you need me and everything I own out the door tomorrow I will do so.
I love you so much. I know that I do not deserve a second chance, but if there is any part of you that is willing to try, know that I am willing to do anything to make sure that today is not the last time I get to wake up next to you. I’m not ready to be done. You make me happy. I want to be your small raccoon. I want to cuddle and kiss and love on you, sit and climb on you, play with your ears, lay on top of you when you’re sad, fall asleep together, fall asleep on you, fall asleep watching movies, go on walks in the park, go to the deli together, go grocery shopping together, go on movie night dates and go for dinners together, see you in shows and tell everyone I’m next to that I’m your girlfriend, watch you work at your desk, talk to you, listen to you, hear you forget what words are, be goofy together, spend hours in bed talking and being silly together, take train rides together, play little app games together, play chess together, love each other no matter what size/shape we are, go to the gym together, be husky and raccoon together and there’s so much I still want to do with you, that I was looking forward to doing with you. I want to hear you criticize my cooking. I want to hear your voice in my ear when you call me and walk to the train. I love hearing you talk about rehearsals, about acting, about classes. Oh my god I don’t want to think about life without you. My life isn’t happy without you in it. I’m not going to beg you to stay together every day, because I know what I did was the absolute worst thing, and because I want to respect that you know what you need. But please know that if you want to try, that what I did will never happen again, and that every day I will be actively working on myself to be the best most honest most trustworthy person you can rely on. I will be honest, I will be open, I will communicate, and I will show you every day with my actions for the rest of my life that I love trust and respect you. What I did was wrong. I really, truly believe that there is so much good here to save and still build on. It won’t be easy. I really think we can do it though. Please, please consider trying. Even before this, when things were bad and we were both admitting it, we were still fighting to work on it. I want to fight to work on this with you. I think even the way we are dealing with it now, with the hurt and anger and fear but communication and directness and respect we are proving that we have the tools to communicate honestly and combat this. If you believe that I am sorry, and that I will never do this again, and that I will put in the work to ensure those things, I think we have the basics. If this is the straw on top of a million other things, and you are just finished, I respect that. But if it is this, and this alone that has shattered you - please, please consider us working on it. I need you and love you and want to prove it to you. I fucked up hugely in many ways. I will do anything to try and move forward to rebuild slowly.
I want you, and I want you enough to whack myself every day into the person you could lean on. And that is true regardless of whether we are together. You are my standard for the kind of person I want. You are the love of my life.
I hurt you. I love you. I am so sorry.
I’m always yours,
I miss him so much. I have moved out. It'll be two weeks on the 18th. I have cried all day every day since I told him. I am not sleeping and miss him. He hasn't messaged me. I hate that, but I'm not going to do anything to disrespect the boundaries he's putting up.
I really need advice. I have been talking to my therapist, and she has brought up that she wants me evaluated for Bipolar II. I'm scared and shocked, but after going through the whys I'm sad to say it makes a lot of sense. I was dealing with a lot of frantic mood shifts for the past few years, and some really heavy depressive episodes. I don't think it excuses my action at all, but I do think it might provide some context. He's the only person I want to talk to about it. I'm so scared, they're talking about mood stabilizers. I'll be compliant with whatever is prescribed, something has been really wrong for a long time and I am definitely at rock bottom.
I get evaluated on Tuesday. I guess I'm wondering what I do if they say I have it and I need meds and he's still not talking to me. Would it be helpful for him to know? It's a bad illness, maybe it would be helpful for him having closure knowing he wouldn't want to be with someone with a bad illness like that? Or at least he can go "she's fucking insane" and feel distance? I just want to cry and cuddle with him and figure this out and I can't and it's killing me.
Please, if you have any advice I could really use it.