I cheated, now what?
November 27, 2010 10:01 AM   Subscribe

I cheated, the only time ever, now what do I do?

I am in a long term monogamous relationship, one of more than 15 years, which has had very few issues, ever.

Last night I went to see an ex whom I loved very much, but, things went very badly for us at the end. We hadn't spoken in many years until this summer. Earlier this week we had an extended phone conversation in which my ex admitted how badly he felt for how things had been between the two us. He also finally told me he loved me, which is the one thing I had waited to hear from him.

Tonight I went over to his home to talk and work on getting past all of this, including allowing myself to get over what might have been, and instead of putting this behind me we ended up in bed together.

I love my partner. I absolutely adore him and never expected to ever do anything like this. I have been faithful for our entire relationship until now.

We are married and have been for most of our relationship. Our marriage is strong and there has never been a doubt about it until tonight.

Even with all of this, I have still always loved the other man, as we had a very intense relationship with other complicating factors including losing a child together.

I really do love my husband and I would never want to hurt him, but, I love the other man. I know I need to never see the other man again and to find a way to get over him.

How? How do I keep this from my husband? I don't want to hurt him over one indiscretion if I can assure that it is only going to be one indiscretion.

Please help me, hive mind.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (99 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
You keep this from your husband by confessing here, having us tell you it was a one time thing, and that it was stupid, and that you should keep it secret, and live with the guilt you feel as the price you pay for infidelity.
posted by Ahab at 10:04 AM on November 27, 2010 [39 favorites]


How do I keep this from my husband?

You don't. If you actually care about somebody you owe it to them to respect their autonomy by being honest. Period.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:11 AM on November 27, 2010 [12 favorites]


Postscript to Ahab: I agree, if there is no chance of having it happen again, and no chance of your husband finding out. You don't deserve to unburden yourself to him.
posted by supercres at 10:17 AM on November 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Never tell. It wouldn't make you feel better and it'll make him feel a whole lot worse. About you. Maybe forever.
posted by pracowity at 10:18 AM on November 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


If you want to keep it from your husband, making sure it never happens again would be a good start.

That said, are you really sure you can do that? The fact that you describe your ex telling you he loves you as "the one thing I had waited to hear from him" makes it sound like you're not over your ex. Maybe your current man is a nice guy and your ex is a jerk, and you're telling us you don't want to hurt your husband, but you're also telling us you're still in love with your ex. My impression is that, whether it's because you love the drama or what, you're more into your ex -- at minimum, you need to take a minute to honestly assess your relationship(s).
posted by J. Wilson at 10:24 AM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


How do I keep this from my husband?

You don't. If you actually care about somebody you owe it to them to respect their autonomy by being honest. Period.


If this is just a blip on the radar screen -- if your marriage is really as strong as you say it is and this was just a moment of weakness -- I think being honest would just destroy your relationship needlessly. If your husband thinks your marriage is as strong as you do and you tell him this, he will doubt everything and probably never trust you again.

Who would confessing help - him or you?

But you need to be honest with yourself. Is your marriage as strong as you think? Do you need to work on some things with him? With yourself? You must never see or speak to the other man again. He slept with you knowing you were married. He doesn't respect your marriage or you.
posted by unannihilated at 10:24 AM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Put it behind you. Do not injure your marriage over this. You got it off your chest by telling us: now forget it. We are make mistakes. Don't make your husband have to deal with yours. It doesn't have to be the end of the world if you don't let it. But you do need to stop thinking about this other man. Force yourself, and time will help you, if you cut off contact. Good luck.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:25 AM on November 27, 2010


You need to tell your husband. If you don't tell him, and he never finds out any other way, it will be that much easier for you to do it again. No matter how sure you are now that you'll never do it again, you can't predict the future. Particularly not when you still have feelings for the other man.

Honesty is a fundamental part of relationships. You have to tell the truth as much as you expect to hear it. It probably won't be easy, but it could also lead to better things for you and your spouse. Opening up about this to him can start the conversation you two obviously need to have - why you're still in love with your ex, what needs to be fixed in your marriage from before this happened and since, and so on. And anyway, it's bound to come up sooner or later. It's better now and from you than later.
posted by katillathehun at 10:27 AM on November 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


You "ended up in bed together?" That's a telling, although understandable, obscuring of what actually happened, which was you cheated on your husband by sleeping with someone else.

Your guilt may be punishment enough, for you, for now. But are you truly prepared to spend the rest of your life looking into his eyes and lying? Even if for whatever reason he asks you directly whether you've ever been unfaithful? Are you prepared to do that one year from now? Ten?

You're not protecting your husband by keeping this from him. You are, first and foremost, protecting yourself. Please tell him (a) that you love another man and (b) that you slept with him when ostensibly visiting to "put [him[ behind you" and let you both decide your future(s) with everything on the table.
posted by MimeticHaHa at 10:30 AM on November 27, 2010 [8 favorites]


I would only add to katillathehun's reply that sooner is better.
You have zero control over the ex's behaviour and so control over the knowledge is not yours. The only way to take that control is to tell your partner and the sooner you do this the sooner you can get over what you are dreading.
posted by episodic at 10:32 AM on November 27, 2010


Basically what unannihilated said, better than I did.
posted by MimeticHaHa at 10:32 AM on November 27, 2010


To me it sounds like you have a great deal of residual emotion associated with your ex, to the point where it's interfering with the foundation of your primary relationship. This is not going to go away over night, and I will wager that as the months wear on, your guilt over this incident is going to increase, and I believe it will begin to eat away at your ability to be a normal, functioning member of the marriage you are a part of. Loved ones are perceptive. Your husband may well suspect that something is wrong, and it is likely that he will try to get to the bottom of it because he loves you and wants to help. What will you do then if you haven't told him what happened? Are you really willing to let him find out on his own? That would be significantly more damning to your relationship, no matter how strong it is.

I remember what it was like for me to discover that my first SO had cheated on me, and as angry as I was with him for allowing it to happen, I was more angry that he had not taken steps to exorcise his ex from his life and heart so that he could be free to love me in full. Had he admitted to me that there was overlap, had he admitted that it was going to take time for him to get some of the old stuff out, I would have treated our relationship very differently. Instead, I found out by accident and I spent an obscene amount of time trying to be understanding when what I really should have done was insist that my SO go to therapy with me.

If it were me, I would take serious steps to begin removing this ex from your life, and I believe that you will need an outside force to help you make that happen. I would consider going to therapy so that you can work through what has happened and learn how to live with your guilt. It will enable you to interface with your husband honestly, and, hopefully, be able to level with him someday.

The benefits of telling your husband outweigh the benefits and pitfalls of trying to keep this a secret.
posted by patronuscharms at 10:33 AM on November 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


Whether or not you tell your husband, get yourself checked for STIs. And make sure that you're not suddenly pregnant.
posted by adipocere at 10:33 AM on November 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Keep your mouth shut and never, ever do it again. Never see this person again. Never put yourself in a position where this could possibly happen, even if it means taking a blow to your social life. You have proved yourself incapable of self-control in this situation.

If you do it again, leave the relationship immediately.
posted by griphus at 10:34 AM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't want to hurt him over one indiscretion if I can assure that it is only going to be one indiscretion. Here you are "minimizing" this major event by referring to it as one "indescretion" and further you write that you are "iffy" about how it might happen again. If the tables were turned would you think that your husband having sex with his ex was "an indescretion....maybe"? You are playing mind games with yourself. I can tell from what I have read here that you are already planning to have more sex with the ex. Once you have sex with someone else (and an ex whom you love (d)) it is usually pretty much all over except the shouting.

Sorry to be crass here, but right now you are dickmatized. Love and sex are a powerful drug. Just like you shouldn't drive and take drugs..you shouldn't make huge decisions under the influence of this "drug". Go get some exercise and put all ideas on the back burner. You need to process what has happened and decide in due course what to do. Don't kid yourself into thinking something will happen and you won't be in control of it. YOU are at the helm here, don't tell yourself a lot of romantic stories about this...stay with the truthful account (which is you were probably bored, loved the idea of having sex with ex again, now regret, but also enjoyed to the max etc etc) No need to try to assuage your guilt with accounts of helplessness and/or powerlessness. You're totally in charge of yourself and how you sort this through. A therapist could help you.
posted by naplesyellow at 10:34 AM on November 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


He also finally told me he loved me, which is the one thing I had waited to hear from him.

Why are you waiting for some guy to tell you to love you if you are married?

Or put another way, why does this still have meaning for you? Maybe you should figure that out.

I don't know if you should tell your husband or not, but that seems like a revealing detail.
posted by vincele at 10:35 AM on November 27, 2010 [17 favorites]


Anonymous, I'm sorry if that came across as a bit harsh and bit explosively judgemental.

It's based on my personal experience of having long term partners confess affairs to me. On both occasions, my reaction has been disbelief, anger, hurt, and a whole lot of questioning about whether each relationship was ever as strong as I thought it was.

But I've also ended up wandering pretty damn fast why I was told. In both instances, I got the sense that I was told about the affair as part of some kind of "give me your complicity or give me your judgment" testing game. That if I wasn't willing to provide complicity, then it was proof to my partner that the relationship itself was weak, and her actions were in some way justified.

And that essentially killed the relationships, left me angrier than I was about the mere fact of the affairs, and has given me a lasting sense of bitterness towards the individuals involved.

Simply put, I would rather not have known.

I don't whether any of that might apply to your circumstances, or your partner, but if it does, it's pretty good grounds for not telling him.
posted by Ahab at 10:37 AM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


You have zero control over the ex's behaviour and so control over the knowledge is not yours. The only way to take that control is to tell your partner and the sooner you do this the sooner you can get over what you are dreading.

This is true, but I would really hope that the "ex" is a quality enough person that he would not do anything to destroy your marriage. So, I am presuming that you can trust the ex not to destroy the marriage of the woman he loves.

How about this compromise. Don't tell your husband --- it serves NO purpose if you intend to stay with him --- but if the ex somehow reveals it, you deal with the fallout then. Either lie and say the ex is lying; beg your husband's forgiveness; or leave the marriage.

But I see no good reason to reveal it, given the premises of your question.
posted by jayder at 10:44 AM on November 27, 2010


This is true, but I would really hope that the "ex" is a quality enough person that he would not do anything to destroy your marriage. So, I am presuming that you can trust the ex not to destroy the marriage of the woman he loves.

Dude willingly slept with a married woman. Dude's quality has been in question to begin with.
posted by patronuscharms at 10:45 AM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Practical concern #1: Did you use protection? If not, you should probably get tested. Yes, the other guy may be someone you trust implicitly, but stranger things have happened. Get tested for everything, HIV and everything else. If anything comes back positive, you owe it to your husband to come clean and inform him what happened.

Practical concern #2: Do you really regret this? Can you really never him again? Only you know the answers here, so you need to be honest with yourself and admit them, if only to yourself.

Baring all that, your post sounds like a plea for absolution and I think the only way that can happen is if you forgive yourself and balance the scales somehow. Being raised Catholic, after confessing, you'd be instructed to say a number of prayers. I think you need to confess, be it to a religious person or just on an empty hillside. Then you need to do something to balance the scales. Volunteer for year at soup kitchen? Teaching reading to illiterate adults for six months? Work at a hospice?

You messed up, made a mistake that you can't correct. There's no way to go but forward, so try to do something that'll be good for your soul and for others.

Telling your husband and trying to work through this with him is certainly a viable option and one worth considering.
posted by nomadicink at 10:47 AM on November 27, 2010


I hope you don't decide for or against telling your husband based solely on the input here. Use these answers to compile a list of the pros and cons of both the "tell and deal with the consequences" option and the "put it behind you and move on" sentiment. Then sit down and work out what you're going to do with the help of one person you trust. A friend, a counselor, a spiritual adviser, whatever's best for you. Part of that needs to be figuring out whether and how it's going to be possible, either way, never to see the other guy again.
posted by beagle at 10:47 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you were my wife and you told me you had an indiscretion, I could probably be persuaded to forgive you, if everything were as wonderful as you say it is. I wouldn't trust you for a long time, but I'd probably come around.

If you were my wife and you told me you had an indiscretion with someone you loved and were torn, I'd probably start getting my ducks in a row by consulting an attorney.

If you confess, and I'm not saying you should, maybe you could leave out the part where you'd always loved this other dude. I mean, what have you been doing with me for a decade and a half if you were itching for Mr Thing? I'd feel taken. Leave the love stuff out. It's only a "fuck you" that your husband will interpret very badly.

If you don't plan to see the other man ever again, you're probably best to keep this one under your hat. At first, it'll probably itch at you to fess up, but that will quiet down eventually. Telling your husband will give him grounds for divorce. He'll probably find this transgression very unforgivable. Mum's the word. (If you can't, remember "it was a one time thing" and "I was weak" not "OMG, I've pined away for this guy for 2 decades and I love him so much.")
posted by phoebus at 10:49 AM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude willingly slept with a married woman. Dude's quality has been in question to begin with.

This. And he told the OP he loved her. Doesn't sound like he expects this to be a one-time thing, and that spells trouble. I've been in the husband's shoes. I would much rather have found out directly from my ex than stumbled across the photos that confirmed my suspicions after a couple of years of him telling me that the girl who kept calling and sending stuff in the mail was just some crazy woman he couldn't get rid of.
posted by katillathehun at 10:50 AM on November 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


He also finally told me he loved me, which is the one thing I had waited to hear from him.

instead of putting this behind me we ended up in bed together.

never expected to ever do anything like this.

Our marriage is strong and there has never been a doubt about it until tonight.

I have still always loved the other man

I love the other man.

if I can assure that it is only going to be one indiscretion.


Can you? Your other quotes above suggest you can't.

Let me ask this: When you were in bed with your ex... what protection was used? Is there ANY chance whatsoever that you were at risk for either STD or pregnancy? If the answer is yes, you owe it to your husband to not also put him at risk, or at the very least to avoid intimacy with him until your own test comes back clean.

If you really, truly believe you can make this a one-time thing, then you need to cut off contact immediately with this ex, however impersonally. "Thanks for the fling, but I'm married, this can't go on. I wish you the best but I cannot have any more contact with you." End of story. Go on with your life, and be prepared to come clean to your husband if/when any of this is discovered.

If you're not able to come to such a finality, then you need to come clean to your husband and re-examine your relationship - it's not fair to him to lead him on like this and pretend that he's the love of your life when he's really not.

Whatever the outcome I wish you the best, but please don't drag your husband down further in to the hole. Either climb out, or let him go and fall in.
posted by SquidLips at 10:51 AM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Never talk to your ex again, and never tell your husband. (That is what I would want if I were him. Sometimes a lie can protect people.). Then recommit to your marriage, take stock on where you are personally and do any work on yourself that needs doing. But most importantly: never talk to ex again.
posted by yarly at 10:59 AM on November 27, 2010


I vote never tell your husband as it stands now. Problem is, will a friend find out? Will one of his friends find out? You're going to have to think ahead whether to tell or not then.

My wife and I are pretty easy going about occasional non-exclusivity, but even so
"instead of putting this behind me we ended up in bed together."

...would require a bit more explanation. IMO, people don't just slip and fall on a dick if there are no other issues (or previous agreements) going on. You might want to check that out while you aren't telling your husband.
posted by ctmf at 11:06 AM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, if you think you might, one day, in a heated argument, get so mad that you lose your mind and shout out "oh yeah? well I fucked ______ and you never knew!" then maybe you should just come clean now. Don't ever do that.
posted by ctmf at 11:10 AM on November 27, 2010


You need to tell him. Don't make people you love live a lie.
posted by milarepa at 11:11 AM on November 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't think you really want to stay with your husband.

15 years you've been waiting to get over this other guy, hoping he would finally admit his love for you? That is not the inner life of someone happily married to the right partner. Sorry.

...


Keep silent for a few days (weeks?) for the shock to wear off. Maybe see a therapist in between. DO NOT CONFIDE IN FRIENDS (ESPECIALLY YOUR EX) ABOUT ANYTHING YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. In the end, you might not be able to go on with your marriage as if nothing happened - but I think you already know that.
posted by jbenben at 11:17 AM on November 27, 2010 [13 favorites]


I vote for telling your husband. If your marriage is strong then you'll have no problem weathering this.

If you "really do love your husband", then why did you sleep with the man you've "still always loved"? Tell the man you're married to the truth. You owe him that. Keeping this kind of secret is not what a marriage is about.

But that's not what you asked. You want to know how to keep this from him. The first thing to do is work out the chain from your lover to your husband - do they have any mutual friends, work in the same business, visit the same golf club, etc? Is your lover a braggart? You need to keep these two people as far apart as possible, on a personal level. If they have mutual friends, this could blow up in your face quite badly if it gets out.
posted by Solomon at 11:20 AM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Putting myself in your husband's shoes, a random hook-up would be much easier to deal with--that's really a one time thing. Ex-sex? That's waaaay more loaded, and for all the reasons you've spelled out--you still had feelings for him, you two had lost a child together--those are messy, messy issues that obviously have not gone away over time, and certainly aren't going to disappear overnight now that you've finally gotten the verbal approval you've been looking for from you ex.

If you *really* want to save your marriage, I suggest coming clean and own your fault (the truth has a nasty way of getting out and better to hear it from you than some other source and you've got to take full responsibility for your decisions if you want any hope of husband forgiving you), going to a marriage therapist with or without husband to prove your commitment to working through this, and sitting down with husband to find out what conditions he needs to feel like you both can work through this (this conversation would probably be best done with marriage counselor, if possible). Be prepared to never see or communicate with the ex again.

Good luck. I don't envy you.
posted by smirkette at 11:22 AM on November 27, 2010


So if I understand this correctly, the sequence is:

1) your ex told you he loves you, which is what you wanted.
2) You went to visit him
3) You wound up in bed with him.

it seems to be that there is no other possible way going to visit him could have turned out. At some level, you must have known this. You seem to have made excuses for visiting him, but from where I'm sitting, the look like excuses that you told your self so that you could have a fling without admitting to yourself that that's what you were doing.

The fact is, you should have cut off all contact at step 1 in the sequence. The fact that you instead made your relationship with him closer by going to visit him shows that you cannot trust yourself. You say now that you are cutting off all contact with him, but how long will that really last? By telling yourself that it was ok because it was a one time thing you are trying to absolve yourself of the guilt. It's not OK, and it will not be a one time thing. Once you become accustomed to the guilt of a one time thing, a second time will eventually not look so bad.

Now, it could be that I'm wrong. It could be that by crossing a line, you've learned where that line is for you, and you will never cross that line again. But your writing doesn't sound like that's the case. You're trying to downplay the wrong you did, rather than play it up. That makes me very nervous. It should make you nervous too.
posted by yeolcoatl at 11:23 AM on November 27, 2010 [34 favorites]


I can only imagine how crushed I would be if my wife told me that she had cheated on me, but it would be a fraction of how crushed I would be if I found out through some other avenue other than my wife being upfront with me.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 11:27 AM on November 27, 2010


Totally disagree with jbenben. It is absolutely possible to be in love with an ex while being in love with your current partner. Life is random and sometimes one fire gets ignited without it meaning that the other one is out. Don't take this fling to mean that there's something fatally wrong with your marriage. You don't need to throw away what you have just because you made a mistake.
posted by yarly at 11:28 AM on November 27, 2010


You're not going to get a single universal answer on this one. You've already done what you wanted; the next step is to do what your spouse would want you to do. If you think he's the sort of person who would want to know, tell him. If you think he's the sort of person who wouldn't want to know, don't.

My husband would want to know. I would not. We know this about each other. Both of our answers come from the same place of "What gives our marriage the best chance from here?"

If you don't have the data to make that call, then here is my view having been where you are in a previous relationship:

People are messy and stories overlap; life is not as episodic as we like to believe. If this illegal sex provided closure for you, and you can truly shut the door on that chapter of you life and move more fully into the life you have with your spouse now, then shut the door. Keep both the door and your mouth shut. This should be easy.

If however it is not easy and you are going to sit there pining for the man who's bed you just climbed out of, then you cannot be present in your relationship. If that's the case than despite the fact you say you are in love with your husband, everything ain't as it should be in Marriageville. You should tell him, and get into couples therapy.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:32 AM on November 27, 2010 [9 favorites]


If you think you feel bad now, let's say you don't tell him... "spare his feelings". So now you have the cheating and the lying to feel bad about. Picture how horrible it'll be the first time you have sex with your husband and you picture yourself with the other guy... imagine what you'll feel like then? Then you'll have the cheating and the lying and the betrayal and everything else piled up behind the fact that you are tricking your husband into treating like the person he always loved.

I'd just go tell him. It's just more and new damage to lie about it.
posted by ServSci at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2010


How do I keep this from my husband?

Be aware there are at least two potential consequences of this:

1) Having big secrets like this can erode the connection and intimacy you enjoy. If you have a deeply shared emotional life -- and I'd guess that what's behind your "how do I keep this from him?" question means that you do -- you're likely to find this sitting in your way every time you feel the "share" impulse, and this is going to cause you to be off in all kinds of subtle ways.

2) If he does somehow find out, not finding out from you will likely make it harder to rebuild trust. And if #1 is a problem, it can often lead to #2 as your husband picks up your off-ness and tries to figure out what's going on.

I don't want to knock the "I don't want to hurt him" approach too badly, because I think it can be well-meaning, and for all I know it's even effective sometimes. But I suspect that isolating something into one individual is against a fundamental point of a deeply intimate relationship. And this is what you will be fighting against as you confront the question of how to keep this from him. You'll have to figure out how to share without sharing this.

I'd also add that as sure as you might be that this is a one time mistake, you should consider taking steps to help reinforce that. This may or may not be you, but once people cross certain lines, they sometimes become easier to cross again, particularly if the world doesn't end. Whether or not you choose to tell your husband, talking to someone -- someone you can trust to neither collude with you nor betray you -- who can help you hold yourself to some degree of accountability might help. And you're going to need someone like that to talk to anyway.
posted by weston at 11:44 AM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


RE: It is absolutely possible to be in love with an ex while being in love with your current partner.

'Course it is.

But in the confines of THIS marriage (because not all marriages follow the same rules), it appears that being in love with your ex while also being in love with your husband is a definite no. That means that the "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" adage comes into play. If the OP's ex were deceased, for example, then yes, it would be normal for her to be maintaining love for both parties. The third party in this situation is not dead.

I would personally not be able to deal with it if I discovered my SO was in love with me but also in love with someone else. One of my closest friends, on the other hand, practices polyamory and for her and her partners, there is a spoken agreement about how their love is shared and how their relationships are dictated. It differs from relationship to relationship. What matters is what the rules are for this particular couple.
posted by patronuscharms at 11:47 AM on November 27, 2010


If you tell him you might want to do it in the office of a couple's therapist.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:08 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really do love my husband and I would never want to hurt him, but, I love the other man. I know I need to never see the other man again and to find a way to get over him.

How? How do I keep this from my husband? I don't want to hurt him over one indiscretion if I can assure that it is only going to be one indiscretion.


Before you start lying to your husband, you need to come to terms with the fact that you're lying to yourself. Your ex tells you he loves you, and you already know that you love him. He invites you over to his house to talk, and you accept. Having sex with your ex was a very definite possibility under those circumstances. Stop thinking of it like is was some sort of unexpected coincidence, because if you tell yourself "Oh, it just happened" enough, you're distancing yourself from the choices you made which led to your infidelity. And the more you think that your choices had nothing to do with what happened, the more likely it's going to happen again.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:11 PM on November 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't know what you should do, but my advice is to spend some time in silence, allow yourself to completely feel what you are feeling, and let the turmoil within settle down before doing anything at all. If you are feeling any sense of urgency about telling him, this is not the time to speak. Wait until you know what to do (and you will).
posted by Wordwoman at 12:18 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


instead of putting this behind me we ended up in bed together

Unless he roofied you (in which case, call the police), you chose to have sex with your ex-boyfriend, and to break your agreements around monogamy with your husband.

I say this not to be mean, but because lying to yourself about what happened isn't going to help you solve this problem. You ended up in bed with your ex because you made that choice.

I have no idea whether you should tell him or not. If my husband did this, I would want him to tell me, but I am not your husband. I think you should respect his wishes around this, insofar as you know them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:33 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really do love my husband and I would never want to hurt him, but, I love the other man. I know I need to never see the other man again and to find a way to get over him.

How? How do I keep this from my husband? I don't want to hurt him over one indiscretion
if I can assure that it is only going to be one indiscretion.


I have to agree with some others that this doesn't sound like the language of someone who is really and truly not ever going to fuck the ex again. "I don't want to hurt him . . . BUT"; "I don't want to hurt him . . . IF." eep. Those are actually some seriously dismaying conditionals. You can't even say that you know that this was a one-time thing. You can't even say that you won't hurt your husband . . . only that you wouldn't, except for these minor exceptions: you love the other man and you can't be sure you won't accidentally screw him again.

I'm putting it this way not to hurt you, but to say that you really need to straighten your head out about this. Currently you are setting yourself up for more ex-sex, more betrayal. If I were you I would think about that very, very carefully.
posted by taz at 1:19 PM on November 27, 2010


Another possible element to consider: What if you do not tell your husband, and your guilt builds, and you begin to resent him simply for existing and "making" you feel guilty? Could that add still another destructive factor?
posted by fivesavagepalms at 1:21 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tonight I went over to his home to talk and work on getting past all of this, including allowing myself to get over what might have been, and instead of putting this behind me we ended up in bed together.

Oh come now. It's been at least 15 years since you've been with this guy and now suddenly, after all these years, you needed to see him to get past your relationship? Methinks not. If you really wanted to put things behind you, why did you agree to see him? Seems a little backwards to me.

I'm with the others, I really don't think there's any such thing as "ending up" in bed together. So first you need to parse out what you really wanted to happen. You can't, with much credibility, say that you've waited 15 years for him to tell you he loves you and at the same time say that you spontaneously ended up getting it on.

It seems to me that before you tell your husband you're going to need to be very very honest with yourself about what happened. No hiding behind innocuous intentions and false pretexts, no minimizing by saying it only happened once, no pretending that it's something that just happened. Sex with someone you've carried a 15+ year spark for never never ever "just happens."

You and ex built together a context where sex could happen. You're going to have to let that settle in for awhile. It does not make you a bad person and it does not mean you have to torture yourself with this indefinitely, but you do need to take full responsibility for it.

As for loving the ex and your husband. Loving someone is not the same as loving the relationship you build with them or loving the life you have with them. You two lost a child together, you had an intense relationship and he's just now telling seemingly-happily-married-for-15 years-you he loves you? That's a three alarm fire in my head. Clearly he's under your skin for some reason, but that does not mean he has to be in your life. I suspect if you figure out why he's been there for so long you'll also figure out what to do with the feelings you still have for him.

I would be very careful with the ex if you decide you want to stay in your marriage. There will always be one more conversation to have, one more piece of unfinished business to tie up. Part of truly putting a relationship behind you is letting the unfinished stuff stay that way. Part of closing a chapter of your life is realizing that you don't need the other person to help you do that.

Part of being honest with yourself is also taking a long look at your marriage. Are you getting what you want and need, are you really happy in it or do you think you should be happy because of whatever whatever whatever? If your marriage was so strong to begin with, how could this one thing, this one guy suddenly throw that into question?

At some point you will have to tell your husband. But you need to have a better grasp of what's really going on with you before you do.
posted by space_cookie at 1:28 PM on November 27, 2010 [15 favorites]


Begin with stopping lying to yourself. You decided to go have sex with your ex when you scheduled a visit with him, you didn't just "end up" in bed.
posted by the bricabrac man at 2:05 PM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


We all get sparks for other people. We especially get prone to get sparks for others around 15 yrs into a relationship, because that is usually right around mid-life crisis age. Part of being committed to your marriage is deciding, each day, no matter the emotional weather, to disregard the sparks. The sparks are not messages from the Universe, they are biology trying to continue the species. Still having a spark with someone from 15 years ago does not indicate that person is your fated soul-mate -- it just means you never let them go. You felt the spark, and you chose to let your mind run with it. And frankly, if you never let them go . . . either your commitment to your marriage is not so strong or you are not so mature.

Either way, you have a lot of work to do.

And if you should discover you don't want to commit to your husband, the kindest thing is to figure it out FAST and get out ASAP. Your husband deserves to have a good life and should be permitted to get on with it without having [any more?] of his time wasted.
posted by MeiraV at 2:23 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm blown away by the number of people saying things along the lines of "no sense throwing away your 'solid' marriage because of this one mistake".

Yeah, you made a mistake, and you would make it worse by never telling your husband. You've been dishonest once. You'll be dishonest every day for the rest of your life until you tell your husband about this.

If the two of you really were as solid as you think, you wouldn't have made the decision you made that night. Don't continue to fool yourself. Do the right thing.
posted by Glendale at 2:34 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am sad for you. There is no easy way, no choice from this point that will repair the damage without a lot of pain.

As has been said above, there are two schools of thought:
1) Your spouse doesn't deserve to have to carry this burden. You should carry your guilt, and take it to your grave.
2) Your spouse deserves honesty, and you should tell the truth, and accept the consequences.

I don't think anyone can tell you which is the right course for you, but I would strongly suggest you consult a neutral third party (counselor, etc.) and get some help with hashing that out.

For me, option #2 would be the right one. I am very emotionally attuned to my partner, and even small changes in the atmosphere of my relationship affect me. I feel off-balance when "all is not well" with him. I wouldn't be able to negotiate a mysterious dark spot in my relationship... feeling like there was something wrong, but not knowing what it was. It would eat away at the quality of my life, and if I ever did find out the truth, I would deeply resent my spouse for not bringing me the truth, and allowing me the option of deciding how I wanted to handle it for myself.

I feel strongly that with something as weighty as my partner's fidelity, I have a right to know the truth, since it is something that affects me so deeply and personally. A partner who knew me, loved me, and cared about me would know this, and would tell me the truth, knowing that I would do everything in my power to work it out with him.

Either way, it is obvious that your ex is intoxicating to you. Avoid him like the plague, if you hope to have any chance of continuing your marriage. Cut off all contact. Get help with this if you can, since it is critical that you keep this person out of your life right now. (Counselor would be good.)

Best of luck to you.
posted by eleyna at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Okay.

If you really, really mean that this was a one-off mistake that will never happen again, you don't tell your husband. It is not worth wrecking a good relationship over a one-off mistake - if that was all it was.

You say you still love your ex. This is a problem. You need to realise that you have to lose that. If you still love him yet you want to keep your marriage, you DO NOT see your ex again. At all. It is over. Okay? Because if you still love your ex and you still can end up in bed with him, that is a huge, huge problem. Is your husband and your marriage more important than your ex? If so, you do not see your ex again. You file it in the fondly-remembered past. It is over. You do not act on fond nostalgia. You do not think, "Oh, I can see him again, it'll be okay this time." No. No, no, no. It will not be okay this time. It will be a problem. Always. You resist. You do not do it.

I do not agree with those who say you must be honest with your husband, and I say that as an ex-husband whose ex-wife fucked someone else and left me. You have had fifteen years of doing the right thing and you fucked up once. It was a big fuck-up, yes, but so long as you are sure you will not do it again that is precisely why you do not share it with the one person who means everything to you. Because if you did there is a very real chance it would blow your - and his - life apart. For what? One bad, but never-to-be-repeated mistake. One mad rush of blood to the head and the pudenda. It is not worth it. The sum total of pain would be immeasurably greater than it would if you stay silent but behave in future.

But also...

Get yourself tested for STDs before you have sex with your husband again. Yes, even if you used a condom, goddammit. You owe him at least that much.
posted by Decani at 3:16 PM on November 27, 2010


Curious, did you mention your ex's call earlier in the week to your husband? Does he know the ex is in the picture? Did your husband know you went to see your ex yesterday? What does he think is happening?
posted by mazola at 4:19 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know your husband better than anyone else does.. You should know what he would prefer.. I'm the kind of guy that gives the truth and wants it in return.

The way I see it, the relationship has already been ruined. If you decide not to tell him the truth then you're building the relationship on a lie, from this point forward. You're not sparing his feelings by not telling him, you're just not being real. I would rather be hurt and be living a real life then have a fake relationship with my wife.
posted by Glendale at 4:43 PM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would say instead of just "oh, go get tested and don't have sex until then" that you do have some responsibility to tell someone who think's they're in a sexually monogamous relationship with you. People deserve to be able to make informed decisions about their sexual health. There's probably a low chance you have an STI, but it's the principle of the thing. No judgment here.
posted by threeants at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you tell him now, there is a chance - a small one - that you could salvage your marriage and move forward, rebuild trust, etc. If he finds out later... I doubt that that trust could ever be rebuilt.
posted by lemniskate at 5:30 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm no kind of expert... But it often seems like the only thing more tawdry than having an affair is projecting the pain into the heart of an unsuspecting spouse, thereby cleansing one's own guilt.

If you value your marriage and the feelings of the spouse, then say nothing: Squat over the truth, howsoever uncomfortably, until the day you die and then one sunset beyond.

If you don't value your marriage or the feelings of your spouse, you probably need better counsel —advice of greater intimacy— than you're going to get from strangers on the internet.
posted by Cridland at 5:42 PM on November 27, 2010


Oh, man! My first husband squatted over the truth so much he got hemorrhoids! I do not recommend this as a humane choice.
posted by taz at 6:16 PM on November 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does your husband deserve the right to decide whether or not he is with a faithful person?

I say the answer is yes.

I say also that you are being very unrealistic about things, start to finish.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:50 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a husband, I wouldn't want to know about a one-time fling, if it was just sex and assuming I didn't end up with an STD because of it.

If it is a love affair, I'd want to know, as it not only means emotional hurt but a potential economic/other loss if my wife or I decide it's time for the marriage to end.

I'm a bit puzzled how you carried a spark for 15 years, but, whatever...at this point, my advice would be to can your marriage and go back to the ex, whether it then lasts two weeks or two decades. You seem to be incredibly invested in this former relationship and it's going to knaw at you, undermining your marriage further. You seem to view your marriage as a safe harbor ("at least I'm not alone while waiting for ex to say he loves me!" is how it sounds to me)--this is not fair to your husband.

Whether you can love more than one person is moot if your husband cannot accept that someone can. Your ex has nothing to lose, your husband has everything to lose. If this is indeed one time, zip your lip; if not, end your marriage and go back to ex.

Based on the way you worded this, it's not going to be one time.
posted by maxwelton at 7:36 PM on November 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


[Several comments removed. This is not the place for an argument about "feminine demons" or whatever.]
posted by cortex at 9:31 PM on November 27, 2010


One other thing. Telling is far more likely to prevent you from doing this again. The thing is, before you cheated, you were certain you would cheat. Now, after cheating, you are certain you wouldn't do it again. Are you realistic? By giving him the chance to make up his mind on whether or not he wants to be with a woman who has been unfaithful, it will give you the chance to not make this mistake again, as you will be working hard to regain his trust.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:47 PM on November 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


If this was a stranger or something it might make sense to keep it a secret, but this sounds like trouble with a capital T is heading your way. Tell your husband before the truth comes out and you can possibly save your marriage, or at least help it dissolve in a way that lets you not hate yourself for the rest of your days.

In addition: Maybe you don't 'deserve to unburden" yourself, whatever that means, but you certainly will be taking a step back towards moral certitude and strength by doing so. Sometimes it's best to do the right thing, whatever the outcome might potentially be, and whatever shitty thing lead to that situation.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:19 PM on November 27, 2010


I can't help but think that a great deal of this-- your continued connection to your ex-- is because of the grief you share over losing a child. I wonder if your actions are partly driven by a desire to lay that grief to rest, or to move on from it. The grief of losing a child is different from the grief over losing a parent or a friend; it's the kind that you never put behind you, and just learn to live with. People asking why the OP is still emotionally engaged with her ex could find the answer there.

As for your question-- what to do now-- I don't have an answer. Just that it's quite likely that your husband is already sensing that something is wrong; and if you're going to tell him, don't wait a month, or two. Don't let him discover that he's been living in a different relationship from the one he thought he had for too long a period of time. Either tell him quickly, or not at all. And perhaps see a therapist about the process of mourning, and how it comes and goes and can suddenly rise up again without warning.
posted by jokeefe at 12:42 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Original poster here. A few answers, some more questions.

So if I understand this correctly, the sequence is:

1) your ex told you he loves you, which is what you wanted.
2) You went to visit him
3) You wound up in bed with him.

it seems to be that there is no other possible way going to visit him could have turned out. At some level, you must have known this. You seem to have made excuses for visiting him, but from where I'm sitting, the look like excuses that you told your self so that you could have a fling without admitting to yourself that that's what you were doing.


You are right. You are. I could not admit this to myself last night when I wrote this question. I knew what was likely to happen yet, I went anyway.



The fact is, you should have cut off all contact at step 1 in the sequence. The fact that you instead made your relationship with him closer by going to visit him shows that you cannot trust yourself. You say now that you are cutting off all contact with him, but how long will that really last?

I should have stopped at step 1, I didn't. It was a mistake beyond all mistakes. I was trying to absolve myself from the guilt but, that isn't going to happen. Right now I am in so much pain from doing something to hurt my husband like this, that it is causing physical symptoms.

I told the ex that it was over, it was a one time thing, he is now blocked from my phone, my email, my facebook account, my website, and anything else I could come up with. I chicken shitted out and called him, told him to never contact me again, and that I was going to make my marriage work as my husband was who I vowed to spend my life with.



Now, it could be that I'm wrong. It could be that by crossing a line, you've learned where that line is for you, and you will never cross that line again. But your writing doesn't sound like that's the case. You're trying to downplay the wrong you did, rather than play it up. That makes me very nervous. It should make you nervous too.

It does. I am scared that I am not strong enough to do this, yet, I have to be. I have no choice. I love my husband. Our marriage has been through more than I can post here without identifying us, and has always remained strong, until this one time.

We married very young and in fact our only in our mid-30s, as is the ex.

That said, are you really sure you can do that? The fact that you describe your ex telling you he loves you as "the one thing I had waited to hear from him" makes it sound like you're not over your ex. Maybe your current man is a nice guy and your ex is a jerk, and you're telling us you don't want to hurt your husband, but you're also telling us you're still in love with your ex. My impression is that, whether it's because you love the drama or what, you're more into your ex -- at minimum, you need to take a minute to honestly assess your relationship(s).

My relationship with my ex was fraught with a lot of awful things. He did not treat me well, and always held back on how he felt about me. One of the things that happened during our phone conversation was he told me how very sorry he was for how he had treated me.

My husband is an amazing, caring, wonderful man who has always treated me like his queen. I love him, but, I have to be honest, I do still love my ex.

In a perfect world my husband and my ex would both be poly (they are not, they are both very monogamous and I never was prior to my husband.) This will never happen and my vows are to my husband.




I can't help but think that a great deal of this-- your continued connection to your ex-- is because of the grief you share over losing a child. I wonder if your actions are partly driven by a desire to lay that grief to rest, or to move on from it. The grief of losing a child is different from the grief over losing a parent or a friend; it's the kind that you never put behind you, and just learn to live with. People asking why the OP is still emotionally engaged with her ex could find the answer there.


That is a lot of it. I am willing to admit that. Our son died. The only child I had died. I have never been able to conceive again and in fact gave up the idea and now have an IUD so that the minute chance was gone.

My ex is the only one who shared my son with me, the only one who understands when I hear his name and burst into tears. He is the only one who gives me a glimpse of what our son might have been.

I did not speak to my ex for years. We avoided one another to the point of not going to the home of friends whom we had in common. This summer that changed.

With that, so did the rest of my world. I wish I could go back until the start of summer and not go to the party I went to. I wish I could go back a few days and not take his call. I wish I could go back two days and not go to his home. I can't.


The only thing I did right in this whole situation is making sure that we used a condom. Even with that, I plan on not being intimate with my husband until I can be tested.


At this point I am leaning toward not telling my husband. He did not know about the phone conversation, nor where I went on the night it happened. We have discussed in the past what we would want if the other cheated and he has typically leaned toward not being told if it only happened one time.

Now I have to make sure it is only that one time.

Thank you for all of your time and advice. Please, if you have anymore share it with me, either on this post or in memail or at sockpuppetnumber9 at gmail.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 5:22 AM on November 28, 2010


I suggest you ask some questions of these folks: www.survivinginfidelity.com
posted by Ironmouth at 9:51 AM on November 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


We have discussed in the past what we would want if the other cheated and he has typically leaned toward not being told if it only happened one time.

Then you need to go by his wishes, not by what we think.

And I am so glad that you heard our very sharp comments about "this didn't 'just happen'" in the spirit in which they were intended. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it helps more often than not.

I wish you all the best in working this out.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2010


Now I have to make sure it is only that one time.

What about going to therapy or something? In the section about bursting into tears, it seems clear that you have some very raw feelings there that deserve your attention. I don't think white-knuckling this situation and just trying harder will work over the long run here.

I still get the sense that some complicated truths are being swept under simplistic and romantic sounding rugs. Embracing truth and getting down in the gritty reality (so you can clean it up) will pay off in the long run.

For instance, the bit about renouncing your ex to be true to "your vows" strikes me like romanticizing the vows rather than something more real and down to earth. Maybe? I can't put my finger on it, but there is something here that feels kind of dramatic and fake to me, maybe I'm wrong.

In the book When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron talks about running toward dramatic emotions as a way of escaping quieter truths that are painful or deeply confusing. What about going to therapy and saying that you'd like help getting beyond self-deception and toward being more real with yourself, that you'd like help grieving the loss of this child, and that you want to fully understand how you cheated on your husband so you can be sure it never happens again?
posted by salvia at 1:05 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


And I am so glad that you heard our very sharp comments about "this didn't 'just happen'" in the spirit in which they were intended. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it helps more often than not.

Oh, it hurts to admit it. It hurts more than I care to admit but, I had to admit it to myself. Thanks for the good wishes.

What about going to therapy or something? That's on the menu for this week. I'm going to be calling some counselors to find someone who can seem me quickly.

For instance, the bit about renouncing your ex to be true to "your vows" strikes me like romanticizing the vows rather than something more real and down to earth. Maybe? I can't put my finger on it, but there is something here that feels kind of dramatic and fake to me, maybe I'm wrong.

No, that really is who I truly am. I have always been a firm believer in marriage as a permanent commitment and sticking to what you have pledged to your partner. While I fucked up, royally, I still believe in them and need to do what is best for my marriage and husband.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 2:02 PM on November 28, 2010


Then it sounds like you've got a better handle on things now. I hope you are able to work through the heavy things you've had on your shoulders for a while. Also wishing you the best.
posted by patronuscharms at 2:24 AM on November 29, 2010


Another vote in the "tell your husband right away" column. Long-term relationships require complete honesty. And that fact is, it will come out someday. There's too much entropy in the universe for this not to somehow get back to your husband, even if it's ten years down the line. And when it does, the message your husband will get is, "Wow, she's capable of being deceitful with me for long stretches of time. Wonder what else she's hidden from me?"

Tell him, now.
posted by jbickers at 8:08 AM on November 29, 2010


Also:

My husband is an amazing, caring, wonderful man who has always treated me like his queen. I love him, but, I have to be honest, I do still love my ex.

Your husband deserves to know this.
posted by jbickers at 8:09 AM on November 29, 2010


At this point I am leaning toward not telling my husband. He did not know about the phone conversation, nor where I went on the night it happened. We have discussed in the past what we would want if the other cheated and he has typically leaned toward not being told if it only happened one time.



Don't tell him then. BUT BUT BUT you can never get drunk again or get swept up in dramatics and heats of moments (as you seem to be prone) and tell him. If you don't think you can hold it in, then it's better to just tell him now.

Also, go to therapy. I think it would do you some good dealing with the loss of your child and separating your grief and grief connection to your ex from your current life and current love (for your husband).

And once you've dealt with that, maybe you should try to address how you were not monogamous prior to your marriage. You need to figure out if you are really happy in a monogamous lifestyle and if not, then work with your husband to set up an arrangement or end the marriage amicably.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A few months ago, I cheated on my partner as well. We had been together for almost two years. I felt then as you feel now -- I love him tremendously, and I never intended to hurt him or betray him in the way that I did. My situation is a bit different than yours, so let me stick to the basics.

I chose to pretend it didn't happen. I knew it was something I would never do again, and I didn't want to undo the wonderful relationship we had together. I figured I could learn from this huge mistake and keep it absolutely secret.

A week goes by, two weeks, three, four, five . . . Nearly everyday the guilt would surface for as long as I would let it. Sometimes I'd be able to push it down, other times it nearly wrestled me down. It began eating me away inside, the way a parasite might do when trapped in the human body. The guilt, the shame, the knowledge of the ineffable misdeed I had perpetrated. And then I couldn't take it anymore. On my own accord, I came clean to my partner. He had had no idea. The hurt I saw on his face when I told him made my feel physically ill. It was perhaps one of the hardest things I had ever done.

And that began the long process of recovery. For a time we were apart, and then we tried to make things work again. But it didn't work out. This is the important part. You know why it didn't work? Because I would not have cheated on him if I had been one-hundred-percent happy in that relationship. Look, I understand that your situation is different -- much different. I strongly advise to NOT listen to those here who are telling you to NOT TELL YOUR HUSBAND. From my own personal experience, IT WILL HAUNT YOU. You will see your treachery every time he smiles, or kisses you, or tells you he loves you.

I am not sugarcoating this for you because, frankly, it is a serious business. You made a mistake. Own up to it. Tell your husband. Explain everything. First, try to understand why you did what you did. Truly, try to sort it out. And then tell him. It will hurt, for the both of you. It will be a mistake that will take boundless amounts of time to heal over. Perhaps it will be the one mistake that ends your marriage . . . and perhaps that's what is meant to happen. Perhaps you cheated on your husband because you don't want to be with him. Perhaps you're not fully convinced.

Or perhaps this will be the one event that ultimately solidifies your relationship with your husband. Perhaps the two of you will overcome this and be all that much stronger for it. I do not know.

This is what I do know. Do not take the coward's path. It is dark and lonely and cold. Take the higher path. Confess to yourself and confess to your husband. The deed is done, my friend. Live with the consequences, and learn from them as well.

Remember: the truth will set you free.
posted by fignewton at 9:55 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


If this were a one-time thing, I would lean on not telling him—why tear his heart just to make yourself feel better? That said, since you've cut off all contact with the ex, what are the chances he's going to get pissed and decide to give your husband a call? You already mentioned that the ex treated you badly in the past. And his present-day behavior clearly shows he doesn't give two-shits about your husband/family anyway...

Also, I have to say, the line "I absolutely adore [my husband]" sounds pretty hollow when it's tacked on to a question such as this. Looking it up, adore means to "love and respect (someone) deeply". One doesn't knowingly betray someone they adore.
posted by blueberry at 10:09 PM on December 1, 2010


But it didn't work out. This is the important part. You know why it didn't work? Because I would not have cheated on him if I had been one-hundred-percent happy in that relationship.

There's one thing I would like you to remember, OP, and that's what I think got you in bed with your ex and with this poster above:

There is no relationship anyone will be 100% happy in. Every relationship is settling in one way or another. We do not live in a fantasy world where we can get everything we want. Learning that is the most important lesson you can learn--you can't have super-special closure with the Ex without destroying, even retroactively, everything that you have with the one you are with now.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:12 AM on December 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I have to say, the line "I absolutely adore [my husband]" sounds pretty hollow when it's tacked on to a question such as this. Looking it up, adore means to "love and respect (someone) deeply". One doesn't knowingly betray someone they adore.

I fucked up, I'm human. I do adore, love and respect my husband. What happened was a mistake, that will not be repeated. I am doing everything I can to assure that. I have cut-off the ex entirely, I am now seeing a therapist, and I went back on the psychiatric medication I had gone off of a couple weeks earlier.

This is going to be a long process, as of right now, it hasn't even been a full week since it all happened.

Learning that is the most important lesson you can learn--you can't have super-special closure with the Ex without destroying, even retroactively, everything that you have with the one you are with now.

I realize all of this, now. I am rebuilding things with my husband, but, even more importantly I am working on myself. I have buried the loss of my son, and the subsequent fall out for 15 years. I should not have. I should have handle it back then.

At least I am handling it now, instead of after I was divorced, as if I hadn't posted here and spent the whole weekend thinking on it, then three days this week with a therapist working on it, that was what would have happened.

I'm still checking this thread in case anyone else has anything to say to me. I do appreciate everything that was posted here, even if I didn't follow your advice.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 5:32 PM on December 3, 2010


How about a hug, sockpuppetnumber9? We are just fallible human creatures, after all. *hug*
posted by jokeefe at 12:29 AM on December 4, 2010


Thank you, Jokeefe Thank you very much.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 1:38 AM on December 4, 2010


The ex killed himself last night. I am devastated in so many ways. Thank you again for your advice.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 10:04 PM on December 16, 2010


Holy shit. I'm so sorry to hear that. :(
posted by salvia at 10:29 PM on December 16, 2010


Oh my god. Please tell me that you are, now, in contact with people who are helping you. I mean with you, right now, in the room with you, that you are not alone. My email is in my profile.
posted by jokeefe at 11:39 PM on December 16, 2010


Oh honey :( I am so very, very sorry. So sorry.

Honestly, the infidelity seems like the lowest item on your personal totem pole of hell at the moment. The death of your child's father after the loss of your son would be complicated and painful enough all by itself. Please make sure you have made an emergency appointment with your therapist, that you are leaning on your spouse, and that whatever you can do to care for yourself, you do.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:11 AM on December 17, 2010


I'm alone but I am doing the best that can be expected. I've been crying all night and I am waiting to hear from the police as I was the last person he spoke with prior to killing himself.

I am in no shape to drive, I feel like I could have stopped him, he asked me to come over and I didn't. Maybe if I had gone over there, he would be here, still. The police took forever to check on him and I wonder that if they had gotten there quicker would he be ok?

I'm going to try to get into see any therapist I can as the one I started with is not a good fit for me and I do not want to discuss my ex's death with someone I am not comfortable with.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 3:08 AM on December 17, 2010


This is not your fault.

This is not your fault.

This is not your fault.

If you had gone over there he might have done this in front of you. Heck, he may have tried to take you with him.

Bottom line is,

This is not your fault.

He made a choice and he is/was responsible for it. Period.

Period.

I am so very very very sorry you are having to deal with this. Sending you hugs and an invite to memail me anytime should you need someone to yack with.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:52 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, please listen to Alia.

He may have been planning this for a long time. This may have been why he talked with you in the first place, apologized for his former treatment of you, told you he loved you. He was settling accounts.

Please hold on. Whatever he chose to do, it was as the star of his own drama, and one that only partly involved you.
posted by jokeefe at 8:15 AM on December 17, 2010


I have calls into two therapists for today. If no one can see me, I'm was directed to a center that will do emergency care.

I am falling apart. I can not stop crying. Between the grief and the anger, I am in knots. I am angry he did this to me. I am angry that I was the last person he spoke to.

Logically, I know that I couldn't stop him. But, deep down I feel like it is my fault. I knew how bad of shape he was in that afternoon. I didn't go to him. He pleaded for me to come see him and I didn't.

I was watching TV late last night, a reality medical show, and a guy about the right age, with similar features, came in with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I lost it again. I do not understand how it was so bad that he had to die. He had friends, family, children, all who loved him very much.

I am angry because it isn't fair that he brought old emotions back up in me, then did this. Why not just leave me out of it? Why not just let me go on in my marriage without ever doubting it like this?

I have a million questions and not a single fucking answer.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 4:11 AM on December 20, 2010


deep down I feel like it is my fault. I knew how bad of shape he was in that afternoon. I didn't go to him. He pleaded for me to come see him and I didn't.

This is so very, very not true. As Alia suggests, perhaps he would have ended by taking you with him had you gone. Maybe he wanted you to be the one to find him... perhaps that was his bizarre plan. But even putting those possibilities aside, you could not have been with him every moment to assure this didn't happen. Nothing you could possibly have done would have fixed this, including abandoning your life to tend to his. It's not something that happened because of you, it's something he drew you into.

The cruelty of what he did is staggering, really; it's okay to be furious. Be sure to see someone today, no matter what.
posted by taz at 5:28 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, you poor thing. You have all of my sympathy.

You couldn't have stopped it. If the friends, family, children (!) that he had were not enough -- then you would also not have been enough. God knows what would have happened if you'd gone over there, but it wouldn't have saved him.

I hope the ritual of the new year will help you in gaining some peace and moving forward.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:33 PM on December 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, christ. I am so, so sorry. You're in my prayers, okay?
posted by patronuscharms at 11:23 PM on December 21, 2010


I am still pushing through this, unable to get into any sort of counselor or therapist's office due to the holidays and the fact that there are very few services around here. I was offered inpatient treatment, but, that is not what I need, in fact I think it would make things worse.

The crying is down to a few times a day but there is still so much going on in my head that I do not know which end is up. I can not believe he is dead, especially by his own hand. My soul feels like it has been destroyed by him, as I feel like he took a huge chunk of me with him. I am trying to get back into my life, but, I just do not know how to do this.

On New Year's Eve I was alone and I did a small ritual of writing out the pain on paper, burning it and sending it out to the sky to deal with. It seemed to help a little bit to do this.

Now, my added question, does anyone have any clue how I could go about actually getting some help without going inpatient? I have called a dozen places, no one can see me, the emergency place only offered inpatient treatment. Even if I was willing to do that, I can not afford that and I can not bankrupt my family due to this situation.

Once again, hivemind, can you help me?
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 2:00 AM on January 4, 2011


It's a work week now where I am; almost everyone is back. What happens if you just start calling through a list of therapists in your area? Just pull out the phone book and start dialing. You'll have to leave messages but people should be able to call you back today. You could also try a suicide hotline and see if they can give out names of therapists in your area who are experienced in this topic. Apogies if what I described is what you already tried. I am so sorry you're going through this.
posted by salvia at 7:59 AM on January 4, 2011


Could you possibly through a mod tell us where you are? Perhaps somebody has some local recommendations.
posted by Wordwoman at 1:22 PM on January 4, 2011


I have an appointment with a psychiatrist. I am in contact with friends who know the whole story. I am back on my antidepressant.

I am sure I will continue to update this thread throughout the year. Thank you AskMefi.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 10:24 PM on January 6, 2011


Yes, please do. And I'll continue to check it. We're all pulling hard for you here.
posted by jokeefe at 9:03 AM on January 12, 2011


I am now two months past the initial infidelity, a bit more than a month past the ex's suicide and I am hanging in there. The therapists within a 50 mile radius have not panned out, I have been dealing with this by writing and talking to my best friend.

My heart is just broken. As if the guilt for the affair wasn't enough dealing with his death is just crushing my soul. It is hard to miss someone that you shouldn't. It is hard to know that you loved someone as much as I loved the ex, yet, I could not save him.

Every day is hard. I am getting through it though. I talk to his family quite a bit, as they all have known me for more than half of my life. They know the entire situation and are completely supportive of me. They are just awesome people.

I miss him. I miss just knowing he is alive.


On the other side of things my marriage is better than it has been in years. We have reconnected with one another in a way I didn't think was possible. I do believe that he knows that there was something going on, but, has chosen to let it go. I am lucky to have him in my life. I realize now I was taking him for granted and that we had both become complacent in our marriage. The death of the ex seems to have changed us for the better.

Again, I will continue to update this thread as it has helped me to do so, as have so many of you all.

Thank you.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 12:59 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the other side of things my marriage is better than it has been in years.

This is an excellent thing, and if it helps you can think of it as the present that he gave to you amidst all of that pain. Be happy in the love you have with your family now, and keep remembering to build it up and make it good. Pu effort and intention into this love.

My positive energy to you sp9, I am so glad to hear your story has had a happy ending.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:43 AM on February 28, 2011


7.5 months later and things are still tough, but, not as raw as they were. I still miss the ex and I am grieving over the loss. I found out that I was the last person he communicated to in every way possible (text, phone, facebook, etc..) and that as soon as he sent the last message he destroyed his telephone.

I have written 100,000 words about this since his death, then deleted them all, but, that is what has gotten me through this time.

I am stronger for having gone through this. I am more secure in who I am and where I want my life to go. My marriage is continually improving and we are back to the levels we were years ago, before the weight of a tough number of years had brought us down.

I know I'll never be completely over his death, part of me will always love him, but, I have given myself permission to move on as I am emotionally able to do so. It is hard to deal with but, I have no choice but to deal with each emotion as it hits. I have ended up not seeing a therapist as none panned out. I do not recommend this course for others, though, as it would be easier if I had one.

Thanks again, MeFi.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 9:19 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, I'm so glad to see you here! I've been thinking of you and hoping for the best, and not wanting to intrude on your privacy-- it's good to hear that you've been working with your grief and that you marriage is getting better. Bless.
posted by jokeefe at 9:59 PM on July 27, 2011


Tonight is one year since the conversation with him that started all of this. We are also closing in on one year since he died.

I am very sad tonight, and so very alone as there is no one I can talk to about this. I am hiding it very well, but I do miss him and I think part of me always will.

We're almost to the one year mark of when I posted this, so this may be my final update:

My marriage is doing fantastic. In fact, we are still back to how we were in the early years of our marriage and getting our lives back on track and moving toward or planned goals.

Mentally, on the majority of days, I am doing well. The days that have huge memories attached (night before Thanksgiving, day after Thanksgiving, etc...) I imagine will always hit me at least a little bit.

I also have admitted to myself that I knew exactly what was going to happen, went into it with my eyes open, even though I didn't want to believe I was doing that. Mistakes happen, I made mine, I have not made anything further like that in any way, shape or form.

Mid-December will be tough, but it would be with any loss like that. No one should have to say goodbye in that manner, taking our own life is never the answer to temporary problems.

Thank you to all on AskMeFi over the last year. I really needed you all in the first days after the mistake, and even more after he took his life.
posted by sockpuppetnumber9 at 5:21 PM on November 23, 2011


Thank you for dropping by to update us. Wishing you all the best.
posted by jokeefe at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2011


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