Help me get over my guilt over a past infidelity!
August 26, 2005 5:17 AM Subscribe
How do I get over the guilt of having been (very) unfaithful to my loving wife, when she doesn't have any idea it happened?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (55 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A few years ago, my wife got a great job offer several hundred miles away from where we were living, and we decided to move, as I didn't much like my job anyway. She moved, and I stayed behind so we could continue to have my income while I looked for a job near where we were moving.
I flew to visit her every couple of weeks, at which times I also went on as many interviews as I could get. I finally got a job and moved to join them after almost four months of looking.
During those months, though, I did a very, very bad thing. My wife and I had been having some issues in our marriage before the move, and being apart, especially with her stress from having to find a place for us to live while starting a new job, didn't help. I had a lot of free time, and unwisely started spending a lot of it hanging out with an old female friend of mine who'd recently split up with her husband, and with whom I'd had a fling back in 1995, before I was married to my wife.
I was lonely, she was lonely, and before either of us knew what was happening we were having a full-blown affair. I somehow managed to convince myself I was in love with her, and told her so, though I realize now that that was really my frustration and loneliness talking. Even after I moved to live with my wife, I e-mailed her poems, and went on walks after my wife was asleep so I could call her from my cell phone. Each time I came back to the area she lived, for a variety of legitimate reasons, over the next six months (four or five times), we slept together several times. My wife knew absolutely nothing about it.
She still knows nothing about it, and I have no intention of telling her. The woman with whom I had the affair has since gotten engaged to someone else, and I trust her to keep the secret. My wife and I have mostly fixed things up in our marriage, and are very happy together as much of the time as any married couple, I suspect, is.
But I'm still wracked with guilt, and don't know how to fix that. I'm happy with my wife now, but the knowledge of what I did still burns in the back of my head. Sometimes I feel like I should tell my wife, but then I think it through and don't see any good reason to do so—we're happy together now, so why ruin that by telling her about an affair that's over and will never be resurrected?
What can I do to ease my guilt? Do I even deserve to have my guilt eased, or am I too much of a jerk?