What do I do? I feel like the guilt alone is enough punishment, but, at the same time, I feel like I’ll never feel “ok” unless I tell him. — Feeling Guilty
You don’t want to tell him because you believe “honesty is key”; you want to tell him because the guilt is keeping you from enjoying life. Well, too fucking bad. “Guilt” is the price you pay for cheating. You don’t get to just unload the burden of your guilt because it’s no fun. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell your fiancé what happened. I might suggest keeping it to yourself if anything in your letter indicated that this was a one-time thing that wasn’t a symptom of a relationship in trouble and that you felt strongly you would never cheat again. But you don’t say anything like that. You suggest that relationship issues are what drove you to cheat and that the cheating wasn’t an isolated occasion but happened multiple times, over the span of three weeks, “off and on.”
I’m not even sure what “off and on” means when you’re talking about two kisses unless there was emotional cheating as well, which I assume there was. You were” vulnerable,” after all. I suspect your ex picked up on the vulnerability and offered to provide you with something you felt you weren’t getting from your fiancé. And THAT is why you need to tell your fiancé — not to relieve your guilt but to address the issues between you so that the next time “things sort of hit a wall” your response won’t be to find comfort in another man but instead will be to turn to your partner and work through your problems.
Yes, you fiancé may leave you because you cheated. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell him. It means you should evaluate why you pursued cheating — over the span of weeks — when you knew how devastating it would be to your relationship. Is it possible you were trying to sabotage your relationship? To look for a way out — a reason for your fiancé to end things? That’s something to think about. At any rate, I think you know that the cheating isn’t the only issue here and that it is merely a symptom of something deeper that needs to be addressed before you can move forward (either with your partner or not…).
It’s understandable that you’re concerned about the risks involved for your boyfriend if he invests in this business. You’ve now made those concerns apparent. Are there risks for you? Financial or otherwise? If so, you need to make those concerns clear, too, and consider opting out of the relationship and protecting your assets if he risks your financial or emotional well-being despite your expressed concerns. If there are no risks for you beyond being an emotional support system to your boyfriend, you should let your boyfriend pursue whatever he wants to pursue now that you’ve shared your opinion.
Express whatever faith you have in him, and wait to see what happens. If the business venture is as risky as you think it is, your boyfriend may learn quickly that your concerns were warranted and he may listen to you more readily the next time. And if he succeeds, despite your concerns, your faith and respect in him may grow as a result. Either way, your relationship is more likely to move forward by giving your boyfriend the space to figure things out on his own (including making and learning from mistakes).
It’s been about a year now of working on it, and over the course of the year he has become more honest and open with me, I think he’s stopped watching porn, and I haven’t seen him checking out other women around me, but I can’t seem to move past the hurt and I find it difficult to trust him after so many lies. Any advice or tips on how I can move past the hurt and learn to trust him again? — Trying to Trust Again
No. Sometimes we simply can’t move past hurt in a relationship enough to stay with someone, and I think this is a perfect example. You sound like you’re working really hard for this relationship and why? You don’t even want to go out in public with him. The last time things were really good between you was your first year of dating, years ago, before you moved in together. That was the honeymoon period. Actually, moving in together is a honeymoon period, too, and things weren’t even good then. This is not a relationship worth working on. The trust isn’t there, it’s never going to be there, it’s time to move on. Why did you even agree to marry him? Why would anyone get engaged to someone she hates going out in public with and hates leaving alone because she’s so worried he’s constantly checking out and thinking about other women? That’s not husband material for you. Aim higher.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.