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Wayward Side :
I destroyed my marriage over something that started when I was 15 years old. I can’t handle the guilt. Need advice.

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 RemorsefulWoman (original poster new member #79500) posted at 8:44 PM on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Please, don’t judge me. Easy on me. I’m already dying inside, please, have empathy.

I (F34) had a friend (M33) for several years. We met in 2002 and we were really close. We’d talk about everything. Things started to change from an innocent friendship to something else when he joked about something that I said and kind of started to flirt with me. We were 15 years old. I was extremely lonely, my mom is narcissistic, my dad was alcoholic and wouldn’t care about my existence because they had divorced and he just couldn’t care less, I had borderline personality disorder from being raised by a narcissistic mother, deeply depressed. I had no friends other than him and everyone used to bully me all the time. This friend was the only person who would give me a little bit of attention and treat me with decency. He has always been super intelligent and a lot smarter than I was, keep that information in mind. He was lonely too. He made me feel things I had never felt before even though sometimes he’d act like a jerk with me. He was immature. I started to fall for the good feelings and when I realized, I was completely involved.

We’d flirt very often via MSN, but nothing really happened until 2006, when I gave him his first kiss. I met my husband (34) in 2007. I fell in love with him, we started dating and I stopped flirting with my friend. For a while. Yes, sadly, everything started again after some time and I just couldn’t get out of it. I couldn’t understand what was happening because I was still completely in love and attracted to my husband (boyfriend at the time).

A year later, the year our first daughter was born (I got pregnant in the 5th month of relationship), my husband went through my MSN conversation history (I had no idea it was available) and read everything. He wanted to break up, but he forgave me and gave me another chance, but I was so stupid/mentally ill/ attached to my friend and to what he represented in my life, that I eventually ended up going back to the forbidden talks. My friend would trigger me and I’d fall, I couldn’t help it! I just couldn’t. I was completely involved and attached. He knew exactly what to say to make me give in. He knew me better than anyone else. He knew my weaknesses and would take advantage of them over and over. I didn’t see it at the time, but later I realized that. Even he realized that. He was lonely and I’d made his ego bigger and bigger. I am NOT saying it was my friend’s fault or that I was his poor victim. I was guilty too, of course, I should’ve ended up everything, but I was selfish , childish and couldn’t let go of the way my friend made me feel. I was addicted to that.

I spent years asking my friend to stop the inappropriate messages (I never started them, but if he did, I couldn’t resist), we’d stop for a few months, sometimes a whole year, but eventually, it’d start again. We never had sex, we only kissed once in 2006. All the rest was virtual. I felt guilty the whole time because my husband has always been the best! An amazing person who’d always treat me like a princess! He’s always taken care of me. He didn’t deserve that and he had absolutely nothing to do with what happened. I wasn’t unhappy with him, unsatisfied or not in love with him or anything like that. That was something that started way before I met him and I wasn’t decent, strong enough to end it for good because I was an egocentric, childish, selfish idiot.

In 2017 or in the beginning of 2018 (I don’t remember exactly, but yeah, the situation lasted that long, even though it would happen once or twice a year) I was already another person. I started to read and learn about my condition, had little to no borderline traits, I wasn’t childish or selfish anymore. I realized what was going on inside of me and I understood that I was trapped once, but that this time I could get out of it. I was strong enough to stand up for myself and for my marriage. The whole situation was killing me inside because I love my husband and our family. I couldn’t handle the remorse and the guilt anymore, so I said to my friend:

"This is over for good. I have a lot to lose and you lose nothing. If you try anything, I’ll completely ignore you or be rude to you. If you want to have any contact with me, it’ll be only as a friend and nothing else. We started as innocent friends, that’s how it has to be".

He was already a changed person too, he also grew up and totally respected my decision. We went back to the innocent friendship, but we’d barely talk to each other. I deleted everything related to it and cowardly tried to move on with my life without saying a word to my husband. I was absolutely guilty, remorseful and having to live with that because I didn’t want to make my husband suffer or split up our family (we have 2 daughters, 13 and 3 year old)b over something that was already over. I was terrified.

About 3 weeks ago, my husband was using my laptop and needed to check his email. He opened the gmail website and it was my email that was logged in on Google Chrome. He saw the opportunity and took it. He went through my email and found a WhatsApp conversation history with my friend from 2014. I though I had deleted everything, but I hadn’t. Imagine how crushed my poor husband got when he realized that, after I promised him in 2008 that I wasn’t going to do that again, in 2014 I was still doing it! The poor guy is destroyed. He said he lost his twenties being faithful to someone who wasn’t exclusively his. He feels like what we lived at the time was a lie. He says he doesn’t care if it’s over now, because it happened for too long. None of the reasons I mentioned here was enough to him (which I understand, nothing justifies such a thing). He’s crushed and it’s all on me. I told my friend what was going on, we said goodbye and blocked each other. For good.

At first my husband wanted the divorce, but then he reconsidered and decided to give me a second chance, or at least that’s what he’s been trying to do. We’re living in the same house with our daughters, but he’s changed (obviously). He became cold, can’t call me "babe" anymore, he calls me by my name now (we only called each other by our names when we were mad at each other) and he can’t say "I love you" anymore. The only thing that isn’t gone and got better was the sex. The sex is better than ever. Sometimes, (definitely not as often as he used to), he hugs me and kisses me out of nowhere. I can see he’s really trying to get over it even though he’s hurt and suffering like hell and I consider myself a very lucky woman, because he shouldn’t even be trying, I don’t deserve it.

I’m so embarrassed and mortified that I can’t even look at myself in the mirror or look him in the eye, but at the same time, I’m relieved that he found out what happened and how it happened. I was so coward that I was willing to take this to my grave. I’d always be haunted by this ghost from time to time and I thought it was going to be like this forever. I used to have nightmares of me burying a dead body very often. I knew it was due to the fact that I was hiding something big. I’m glad he’s aware now, I’m glad I’m not hiding anything from him anymore. He definitely doesn’t deserve that. He’s such an amazing guy and I love him with all of my heart.

I’m devastated that I gave him all of this pain. I cry everyday over seeing him with a sad look on his eyes. I miss his joy, his love, the crazy and funny things he used to do to make us laugh, but make no mistake: I KNOW I DESERVE ALL THIS AND SO MUCH MORE! I know!! I killed his happiness and I deserve a lifetime of suffering. I’ve already thought about taking my own life because the guilt and the shame are driving me crazy, but I can’t abandon my daughters. So I just cry and hope for the best.

"Why didn’t the guilt drive her crazy while she was cheating on her husband?", you must be wondering. As a matter of fact, it did, but as I said, I was too childish. Reckless, immature. I accepted to take the risk. I wouldn’t let go of it. No, I’m not crying everyday only because I got caught. I’m truly devastated to see my husband suffering the way he is and because of me!!! I’m devastated that I put our family in this awful situation!!
I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive myself. I’m seeing a therapist, but I truly believe this guilt will last until my last breath. A lifetime of remorse is still not enough for me. I wish there was a way that I could make it up to my husband, but there isn’t. I screwed up bad!!

Ps: He doesn’t wanna go to couple’s therapy, so I’m working on myself with therapy to become a better person.

posts: 1   ·   registered: Oct. 19th, 2021
id 8694044
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survrus ( member #67698) posted at 2:41 AM on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

RW,

Write out a timeline for your affair, leave out nothing, do not minimize, omit or lie.

Offer to take a polygraph based on the timeline you wrote out.

Offer a post nuptial agreement.

If there was masturbation involved it was not an EA, so please don't minimize that to your BH.

Expose to the OMs spouse or SO.

Understand that when you go back to someone before your spouse it makes them feel like your 2nd choice or that you settled for them.

Don't lie about anything ever again.

Throw away whatever keepsakes you got from OM.

posts: 1073   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2018   ·   location: USA
id 8694089
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foreverlabeled ( member #52070) posted at 2:35 PM on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

My friend would trigger me and I’d fall, I couldn’t help it!

Nothing is going to change if you don't take ownership of your choices. Because it may have felt like you just couldn't help it, but I assure you you're wrong. You could have stopped it at any point, you just didn't want to. And that is a perfectly acceptable answer to this. You just need to choose now to own up to it. Playing the victim is not going to help your cause. If that is your stance on this, then what stops you from letting it bleed into other areas of your life? How will it serve you now and in the future?

And moreover, imagine if your BH had an affair and said, "I just couldn't help it" how would that fly with you?

I’m relieved that he found out what happened and how it happened. I was so coward that I was willing to take this to my grave.

I actually felt this way too. Not immediately but the more I began to practice and value honesty and the path I wanted to take, I knew it never would have happened had I not been caught and made the choice to face it all head on. I'll never be glad for the pain I caused but I will always be grateful and proud of what I did with it. So I can only hope you will also use this as a catalysts for your own healing change.

Welcome so SI by the way. Let us know where we can help.

33 divorced Madhatter
Time is no ones friend, nor their enemy. It moves forward at its own fixed pace, careless of our wants to speed it or slow it.

posts: 2535   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2016   ·   location: southeast
id 8694138
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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 3:39 PM on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

I deserve a lifetime of suffering

No, you don't. 💗

He doesn’t wanna go to couple’s therapy, so I’m working on myself with therapy to become a better person.

Good. This is the right plan. Keep those appointments.

When the WS sees their BS's pain upon discovery and then resumes the affair, that's a double whammy. The only way to heal that is to be honest and transparent and trustworthy in everything that you do from now forward. You're going to have to work hard to earn his trust again, and it's going to take a long time.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

posts: 604   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8694152
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BraveSirRobin ( member #69242) posted at 6:38 PM on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

First off, I am very glad to hear that you're sticking around for your family. You cannot leave your BH to deal not only with the aftermath of your affair, but also with raising grieving, abandoned children. I say this with compassion, but also sternly: suicide is not an option. If you find yourself thinking of it in more than passing terms, you need to get immediate help from your therapist or call a suicide hotline (in the US, call 800-273-8255). Don't let those thoughts turn into an escapist fantasy, because you've shown that you have problems with the boundary between escapist fantasy and irreversible action.

Second: I'm not a mental health professional, but I am curious about your BPD diagnosis, because your behavior doesn't sound like what I understand to be consistent with BPD. You've had what your husband apparently believed was a happy marriage, rather than a pattern of broken relationships. BPD often manifests with anger, hostility and alienation, but so far, you sound like a pretty typical limerent and compartmentalizing wayward. Was this an official diagnosis? We're talking about borderline personality disorder, not bipolar?

I advise you to order and read, as soon as possible, "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass. It's a good balance between compassion for your situation and forcing your head around to face reality. Affairs are made up of hundreds of small choices, and long term affairs are made of thousands. That's what your BH is trying to absorb. I kept my lies buried for decades (I was 19, not 15), so my husband lost his twenties, thirties AND forties in a marriage to someone he couldn't trust. I really do understand where you're coming from here, but I can't rub your head and tell you it's all going to be ok or agree that you couldn't help it. I will tell you that it will get a lot better, but "better" might not look like what you're imagining. It might mean alone, at least for a while, and that is extremely challenging.

Finally, tell the complete, total and absolute truth. Write it all down. Don't minimize how often, how long, what was said, or what was done. You aren't on your second chance, you're on your third, and it would be breathtakingly cruel to put your husband at risk of another D-Day. That kind of selfishness has to end now, because every lie you tell is for your benefit, not his.

WW/BW 50s (Me)
BH/WH 50s (TimeSpiral)

posts: 2136   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8694189
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