I have NEVER done this before, and I felt extremely guilty while doing it. My fiancé and I have had the talk about cheating in the past and he said he would never tolerate it — that it would be the end of the relationship if I ever cheated (he comes from a family where adultery has destroyed the family.) If it weren’t for this past conversation I would just tell him because I know honesty is key, especially in a relationship. Not to mention I feel guilty every single time he does something sweet. The guilt is eating at me alive; I have a hard time enjoying things with him because it constantly pops up in my mind.
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
The reason you want to tell him what happened isn’t because you believe “honesty is key”; you want to tell him because the guilt is keeping you from enjoying life. Well, too 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…).
Before him, I never had an issue with a little porn watching, or if a guy glanced at another woman, or even if he admitted that another woman was attractive. Now, I hate it, and it’s gotten to the point that I hate going out in public with him, but I hate leaving him alone too. It’s driving me insane. We started working on this last year and I wanted proof that he wasn’t hiding anything additional from me, and I found out that he had been talking to his ex for two years without mentioning it. He had also been messaging “friends” on Facebook privately at 2 a.m. to tell them how beautiful he thought they were. We’ve had lots of talks, and I explained the damage that was done, and I understand why he lied and hid things, but I can’t seem to shake the hurt.
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.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.