I was an OW, I repent: now I want to change and stop self-beating

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  • This topic has 8 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 7 months ago by Tamiko.
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  • Tamiko
    October 17, 2023 at 6:12 am #1126271

    So, I had this friend with girlfriend and when he offered me a little affair I accepted. I, 20 F and single, we did a underwear touching but not *all the way*. Not my proudest moment. 3 months later I ended it because it hit me the full realization of what we were doing and didn’t like that part of me. Now I repent because I realized how much pain I was making to another person and how I was selling myself low. [[Didn’t tell the girlfriend because we don’t know eachother and because I don’t think I should have that responsability with another person’s couple (nor I want to keep meddling on their things). Also, I don’t know if she will believe me, if she already knows it or if she will get really mad at me and try to hurt me (yeah, should have thought that before, lust got the “best” of me)]]
    Problem is, I don’t like me at the moment, nothing at all. I keep beating myself up for having accepted the affair, saying how I should have known better, that I should have thought the consequences, that this right now it’s my karma and can’t complain… But I want to let go and be a better person to not repeat this mistake. I can’t stop feeling unworthy of working on me, that’s why I don’t really focus on “recovery”, I guess. I have another set of thoughts about how I won’t never have a good couple nor friends, and I believe it right if I don’t change me. I don’t pretend to be the next Saint Teresa of Calcutta, I just want to have better self-steem (the lack of which was the reason I accepted the affair) to avoid another situation like this. Also, somedays the shame and self hatred are really bad, they stop me from doing daily stuff. It’s bad, I can tell, to long term. I’m waiting therapist’s call but I need something to cope for the time being.
    Maybe someone has advices on how to move on and be a better person when you don’t love yourself. Specially when you’re telling yourself “you did bad, you deserve this, don’t try to stop feeling like garbage, you can’t search ‘redemption'”. Please, I don’t want to make another mistake like this nor keep feeling me like this (really unhealthy).
    Peace and best of wishes,

    October 17, 2023 at 8:21 am #1126273

    You just need to forgive yourself and do better. Make good choices and you have to decide tk stop beating yourself up.

    If you are struggling with that, you should speak to a therapist counselor. Everyone makes mistakes but you must learn from them, forgive yourself and do better. Good luck.

    October 17, 2023 at 1:59 pm #1126281

    I think what you really need is some perspective here. You’re holding on to a lot of things as truths, but largely you are giving them more weight than is appropriate. For example, listen to this:

    “Now I repent because I realized how much pain I was making to another person and how I was selling myself low.”

    You didn’t actually cause pain to another person. If anything, your ex-FWB is the one that caused pain. He’s the who is presumably in the monogamous relationship. If it hadn’t been you there, it would almost certainly have been someone else. You also don’t seem to have any knowledge of what their relationship was like. You don’t know if she’s aware of his philandering, if she’s blissfully unaware, if she’s approving or even if she’s actively encouraging. You don’t know, and at this point you don’t need to know.

    What you do know is that you don’t like the feeling of fooling around with a person who is in a relationship, primarily because you’re envisioning the pain the other partner feels. We can extrapolate a few things from that: You’re a person who deep down values honesty and doesn’t want to hurt people, even people they don’t know. Does that sound like a bad person to you?

    Obviously, therapy is a good option. But in the meantime, I think you should explore why you feel like what you did is such a crime. Why do you feel like you need to suffer for this?

    I’m not going to tell you that what you did was great (though again, we don’t know anything about the other relationship, so I’m not even going to say it was a bad thing either), but in the grand scheme of things is not worthy of the amount of punishment you are giving yourself. If anything, you’ve learned some valuable lessons about yourself, and that’s something to be proud of.

    October 17, 2023 at 5:40 pm #1126282

    I know you are not a bad person. How do I know? Because you feel ashamed of doing something that violates your values. A bad person wouldn’t feel shame or remorse. Also because you have empathy — you think about that pain that your actions caused or could have caused.

    Everyone makes mistakes in life (yes, even Mother Theresa). It’s important to acknowledge and own your mistakes. You have done that — you acknowledged that your behavior was wrong and you stopped doing it. There really isn’t any more you can do to make things right. If you ever find yourself tempted to help someone cheat in the future, you’ll be able to remember how awful it made you feel about yourself and that will help steer you in the right direction. That’s why emotions like shame and guilt exist.

    What’s NOT helpful — to you or anyone else — is falling into a spiral of shame and self-hatred that is interfering with your day to day life. Your shame delivered its message loud and clear. Holding onto it isn’t going to make things any better. It’s not making up for what you did before. It’s not helping other people you care about. It’s almost certainly harming you by not letting you do the things you want to do, and it might even be harming other people if you aren’t able to uphold your commitments because you are so stuck.

    I’m glad you reached out to a therapist because this can be a hard cycle to break by yourself. In the meantime, maybe a little self-talk and distraction can help. If you feel yourself spiraling, say to yourself, “I’m shame-spiraling again. This line of thought isn’t useful.” Then find something to do that engages your mind enough to keep you from obsessing — whether it’s watching an engrossing TV show or taking a dance class or doing a crossword puzzle or whatever. Good luck!

    October 18, 2023 at 6:33 am #1126284

    Yes, I need to do that, I’ll keep trying until I see my counselour. Thanks!


    …you’re right, at the end I just give myself more importance than what really was. Ouch. No, someone who values honesty doesn’t sound like someone bad, I’ll remember that.
    Why? Maybe because I have a story of overthinking, I guess, and to be really hard on myself when I make a mistake. Also, checking the chats with him I found many many red flags that I “blissfully” ignore, and it ashamed me to be such a fool.
    Thanks for the perspective of the bigger picture, it puts things on a better place. And yes, I don’t think I’ll forget this any soon. Thanks!


    Thanks for that, I need to read it. Yes, I think shame has already done its job, now I have to stop it because it’s like you wrote, a spiral of self-hatred very unuseful. Yes, yes and yes, worst it’s that I lose precious time for studying, now I’m trying to catch up, and that was compromise with myself.
    I like that phrase, I’m writing it down on paper. And my default reaction would be studying, I guess. Thanks again!

    Thanks a lot to everyone for answering. Best of wishes!

    October 18, 2023 at 10:09 am #1126286

    Don’t do things you know will likely make you feel terrible later, would be my suggestion other than the counselor.

    October 18, 2023 at 10:39 am #1126289

    Not a bad one, but I looked for a counselour because of all the self-steem issues I discovered after the ended affair. Obviously I’ll think twice on a future (specially after this), but I’m more worried about the big negativity of my internal speech and how it affects my choices. A really touchè comment, though!

    October 22, 2023 at 11:14 am #1126339

    Yeah, it does seem like, you know it’s your self esteem but you haven’t built it up yet. You can always move to a new counselor if the one you are working with isn’t helping you or connecting with you within a few sessions, or even one session.

    October 22, 2023 at 2:14 pm #1126342

    @Anonymousse Maybe I’m wrong, ey, I’m not counselour, but I’ll give it a shot because it really seems like a problem. Yes, thanks for the advice, I booked a session with one counselour that helped me years before. I hope everything goes well, but I also have a second option in line. Thanks again!

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I was an OW, I repent: now I want to change and stop self-beating

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