About 15 years ago I behaved badly. Should I tell my husband about it? Ordinarily I'd say no, it's in the past. But there are some complicating factors. Help me figure out what to do.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the backstory.
This started 15 years ago. Hubby and I had been married, at that point, for about 5 years. I was going through a lot of personal turmoil akin to an early midlife crisis. Suddenly, on a temporary work project, I found myself working with my best girlfriend, Jane, and an outrageously handsome and charming man, John. I developed an enormous crush on John, which I talked about (incessantly, I'm afraid) with Jane, who also found him attractive. Eventually I started flirting with him, to a ridiculous degree. I made it clear that I'd sleep with him if he just snapped his fingers. John was kind to me, but not interested, not that it stopped me. John, Jane and I traveled for work, which meant the three of us were in close proximity for weeks at a time, and one drunken night I even confessed my attraction to John's male best friend who had joined the project. And then the next morning Jane tearfully confessed that she and John had slept together.
I was so mortified about my ridiculous behavior. Jane's confession made me see how stupidly I had been behaving. I quit my crush cold turkey, never said anything to my husband about it, and watched, mostly without any rancor, as Jane and John got into a very serious relationship that led to marriage. I even performed their wedding ceremony (as I am a Universal Life Church minister). The subject of my outrageous flirting and crush-while-married never came up again. Jane and I remained best friends. Hubby and I socialized with them, traveled with them, etc.
Two years ago it became clear that Jane and John's marriage, which had produced one child who is now 13, was irreperably dysfunctional. John, while gorgeous, turned out to be a horrible person, basically. Post-divorce, it became clear that John wanted to be a sort of stereotypical recently-divorced dude, meaning he will always blow off his joint custody duties if he's got a hot date, and is more interested in living a fancy free, unencumbered lifestyle. I have helped support Jane through these difficulties. My husband never really liked John, so is also on Jane's side.
So, no reason to tell Hubby about any of this. Except...
Now Jane has a terminal cancer diagnosis. She has a few months left. I am the executor and trustee of Jane's estate, which involves large sums of money. Because of various other factors I won't go into -- except to say that John is greedy and untrustworthy, bordering on criminal -- the setup of Jane's estate (done with top-notch legal advice and estate planners) is structured such that I will be doling out the money to John until the child graduates from high school. He will need approval from me for various expenditures. This is structured so that he will not bankrupt the estate before the child is old enough to be on her own.
Based on what I know now of John's character, I have no doubt that this situation will become antagonistic. I worry that this will drive him to maliciously reveal my poor behavior from years ago to my husband. It's basically the only way that John can hurt me. But then again, maybe he won't.
Should I pre-emptively tell my husband about this? Or wait and hope that John never says anything. Knowing my husband's character, I know that he will be very hurt by this. He will be very hurt by the secret, and thinking that all these years John, Jane and I hid something from him. I can honestly say that I have never flirted with anyone else, much less slept with anyone else. I love my husband and hope to be married to him for the rest of my life.
So, should I tell him now? Or wait and hope for the best?