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Marriedman2013 posted 5/13/2013 18:59 PM

I am a new member and have been doing a lot of reading within this site as well as many others. I haven’t yet shared my story, but I have a question for this group. Will I be accepted here if I am committed to ending, in counseling, identifying what is broken within me, living my life now in a way that shows I am 100% committed to my wife, and yet I choose not to tell my wife of my affair.

Is the belief here that if that step isn’t taken than you are not truly healed or repentant.

I respect the work that the WS’s have done in their lives and the passion by which they express their beliefs, but is confessing right for everyone.

If you have read the book “When good people have affairs” or have done research on Mira Kirshenbaum you will know she is a therapist and author who is considered by some to be a leader in the field of counseling and dealing with relationships, infidelity and healing from that. Here are her thoughts on whether to tell your spouse about the affair:

I really will do anything to tell the truth, so it took me a long time to get to the point where I say, just don't tell. Because how does it make a person less guilty to inflict terrible pain on someone? Which is exactly what the confession does. It puts the other person in a permanent state of hurt and grief and loss of trust and an inability to feel safe, and it doesn't alleviate your guilt. Your relationship is dealt a potentially devastating blow. Honesty is great, but it's an abstract moral principle.... The higher moral principle, I believe, is not hurting people. And when you confess to having an affair, you are hurting someone more than you can ever imagine. So I tell people, if you care that much about honesty, figure out who you want to be with, commit to that relationship and devote the rest of your life to making it the most honest relationship you can. But confessing your affair is the kind of honesty that is unnecessarily destructive. There are two huge exceptions to not telling: if you're having an affair and you haven't practiced safe sex, even if it's only one time, you have to tell. Again, the moral principle is minimizing the hurt. But this time, the greatest risk of hurt comes from inflicting a sexually transmitted disease, and I've never seen a relationship recover from that. You also have to tell if discovery is imminent or likely going to be found out, then it's better for you to be the one to make the confession first.”.

I ask this because I have seen some of the recent threads and I question whether this opinion would be fairly judged or even accepted here.

Catwoman posted 5/13/2013 19:14 PM

I have the utmost respect for Mira Kirshenbaum and have read her "Too Good to Leave; Too Bad to Stay."

However, I think she oversimplifies things here, I much prefer Janis Abrams Spring's discussion of this topic in "After the Affair." Se advocates telling unless there are circumstances of potential violence or other rare situations.

Lying is the enemy of intimacy. By intimacy, I don't mean sex but emotional intimacy. When you have parts of yourself from your spouse, you erect walls. That eventually leads to a serious weakening of the marriage.

I would encourage you to continue to read and especially to interact with those WSs that have successfully reconciled, They can give you the benefit of their experiences and help you see the best path to take.

I wish you much peace with your healing.


solus sto posted 5/13/2013 19:24 PM

I lived for many years with a man who told himself he was committed to remaining faithful after infidelity. He white-knuckled it---without my support (because I didn't know). What I DID know was that there was an inexplicable barrier between us. The intimacy--emotional intimacy--was robbed from our marriage.

And that, of course, resulted in further dissatisfaction, on his part. And additional infidelities.

You can remain married with secrets and lies.

But you can't have a real, fulfilling, honest marriage built on a foundation of respect and honesty. You won't have emotional intimacy.

You will erect a wall between you. She will sense it. It may or may not lead to more infidelity. But it WILL, effectively, end your marriage---whether you stay together or not.

I wish it were different. I really do.

But making this decision for your wife is hugely wrong.

[This message edited by solus sto at 7:25 PM, May 13th (Monday)]

Aubrie posted 5/13/2013 19:28 PM

So the only time to confess is in the event of unprotected sex or when there's a high possibility of getting busted?

Emotional intimacy will never, ever, ever be accomplished with these hidden truths or giant white lies.

Doesn't matter if a WS finds the whys, commits 100000% to the marriage, and never cheats another day in their life. They are still hiding a massive lie.

I dunno about you, but I've had enough lies in my life. And as sucky as it's been, confessing was the best thing I ever could have done. Because until I got real and honest, our marriage didn't have a snowball's chance in hell at surviving. I can't even begin to imagine hiding an affair and trying to "make the marriage work". That's counter-productive eh? Hiding, but "working". Doesn't make any sense.

WS don't want to confess because they are scared. They don't want to face the consequences. They don't want to deal with the fall-out. It's too much of an "inconvenience" for everyone involved. All that screams, "Me, me, meeeeee." They claim to have the BS's interests at heart. "I don't want to hurt them." Tooooo late. The marriage is already toast.

hardlessons posted 5/13/2013 19:46 PM

MM2013, if the roles were reversed would you be okay with it? Honestly? Your wife out there doing what your doing with another man?

That more than any author should be your guide.

momdaughterwife posted 5/13/2013 19:53 PM

BS here. No stop sign. My FWH confessed because MOW's BH was trying to call and out the affair. My feeling is your spouse deserves to know so she can decide what to do. Yes- she'll be in pain. But you can help her and yourself and your marriage. That being said you already cheated so whether to save the marriage should be up to her. I don't believe you can spare her. Maybe she's blissfully unaware but I doubt it. During FWH's affair I was in absolute misery. Knowing was a relief. Yes I wasn't crazy. My instincts were correct. Has your wife expresses any concerns? Barriers and walls make a spouse miserable. That's one thing I know for sure. Good luck.

Skye posted 5/13/2013 19:54 PM

My husband didn't confess, but for all intents and purposes he did. He got busted in a way that he engineered. He felt so guilty and couldn't handle it. I didn't need his confession. I wish I had never known. Just like the affair was all about his being selfish, so was his "confession."

[This message edited by Skye at 7:58 PM, May 13th (Monday)]

mysticpenguin posted 5/13/2013 20:08 PM

Betrayed wife here -- I don't see a stop sign.

My wayward husband waited until his indiscretions had all been over for ~6 months to tell me the truth.

During the months he was cheating on me, and afterwards, up until the confession, I was so terribly confused and hurt. I am so glad that I know now.... it hurts, but it's good to know what was actually going on in my marriage; WHY he was acting the crazy way he was, WHY all of a sudden he was distant, cool; why something intangible had changed.

I deserve(d) to know the truth about what was going on in our relationship.

While things got better in our relationship prior to the confession, he never could completely connect with me. There was always something missing, preventing us from attaining true emotional intimacy. Now that "wall" seems to be gone, praise God. It never would have come down had he kept these secrets from me.

[This message edited by mysticpenguin at 12:31 AM, May 18th (Saturday)]

Itstoohard posted 5/13/2013 20:28 PM

BW. When our 20 yr old son was having an affair with his 45 yr old married boss my FWH immediately told her husband. He felt he should know. But when he cheated he lied to me for 22 yrs. M was miserable.

Marriedman2013 posted 5/13/2013 20:45 PM

Hard lessons, I am not sure i would want to know. Its opinion that i know is not widely accepted here, but its how i feel. I wonder sometimes if people confess for selfish reasons. We are clearly selfish in having an affair and I think people can confess for selfish reasons as well. We sometimes hide behind the veil of they need to know, and if i dont do this, then i cant heal. I dont know if i agree with that, but i completely understand where it comes from and someones right to confess.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 5/13/2013 20:57 PM

To answer your question, as long as you are ending or have ended your A, you will be accepted here.

I SO wish my H had confessed. Instead, I found out and he really dragged out telling the truth. THAT really hurt our M and damaged trust.

Anyway, please read this thread:
It's not about the initial confession, but I think it could be helpful to you.

Titanium posted 5/13/2013 21:01 PM

Although your wife is not responsible at all for the affair, I do know that the marriages that suffer with an affair are suffering its own issues and that both spouses should take 50% responsiblilty for that. So I am thinking that if you keep this info to yourself will your marriage thrive or crash and burn???

Affair aside, don't your want to see if your spouse is truly happy in your marriage?? Why did you have the affair?? Just some things to think about. I fully respect your decision but how wonderful would it be to have a truly honest, trusting and healthy marriage hey :)

I wish my WH would tell me everything so we can build a much happier marriage together.

All the very best to you.

grapefruit posted 5/13/2013 21:07 PM

I read part of that book recently, and to be honest, I thought it was bullshit! She says at the beginning that even if you're asked point blank to deny an affair. Um, if you're asked point blank your partner probably already has a pretty good idea that something is going on!

I've also read Janis Abrahms Spring's book "After the Affair" and thought her take was much better, too.

I can see what you mean about confessing - but really, what chance do you have to really work on yourself and your marriage if you don't confess?

hardlessons posted 5/13/2013 21:24 PM

I am not sure i would want to know.

I understand being unsure of feelings, After doing what I did and being who I am for so long I didn't and still don't always trust where my feelings come from. I want them to come from an honest authentic man that my wife, sons and I can be proud of.

So, sit on that question maybe for a bit and really decide if you could be happy living a fantasy.

Good luck

mainlyinpain posted 5/13/2013 21:37 PM

I applaud you for deciding to live a faithful life. I am a BS and I urge you to tell. There is a chance that your spouse will find out herself someday. There is immense value in your telling her and letting her choose the course of her own life. You have not allowed that so far in that she thinks she has been living in a monogamous marriage and she has not been. I also think this will be so much less painful than if she finds out another way. And so much less painful than if she finds out after many years have passed and she knows she lived those years with you where you kept it secret from her. You will be unusual from the WS here if you go to her, confess all truths, don't do trickle truth, lay it on the line and let her know her true life. Don't keep the part of her life that has been behind her back only known to you and the OW. You may find that going through this together brings you closer together and makes your marriage better than it ever was.

She-Ra posted 5/13/2013 21:38 PM


You are definitely accepted here if you are committed to ending your affair however you will hear a lot of opposing opinions about your theory on not confessing. If you are looking to get a bunch of people on your side about not confessing that won't happen.

I didn't want to confess either. Pretty fucking glad I did though. The longer you keep that secret, the worse it gets. I could never live with the dark secret and thinking if only my husband knew, he would leave me. Well he does know and he didn't leave me. The real work began.

You say you are going to counselling? Does your wife know? Have you told her a lie about why you are going? Just an example of how lies are needed to cover up lies. She is probably already suspicious but she might ignore the red flags because she loves you. You are taking advantage of the trust she has for you

Do you think if you don't confess that you won't cheat again? Do you think that going to counselling and hiding your book reading is the answer?

From what I've learned in the past year is that society in general is ok with infidelity as a secret unless you get caught. And confessing relieves guilt only. That is fucked up thinking if you look closer at it. The person who loves you the most in life and is your family doesn't deserve the worst treatment of all. Lying about affairs is cruel to them and their belief that you are someone they thought they knew. My husband would have innocently gone along with life while I wallowed in my own guilt. In the months that I had my As and lied, he thought I was acting weird. Did he think I was cheating? No not his wife. Something else was wrong. The miscarriages , his absence for his work, or my work.. Something else he rationalized and explained away. When I confessed a light bulb went off in his head and went wow.... Now I know what's wrong!! It all made sense.

Now your wife... Maybe the same deal. She thinks oh my husband is stressed from late hours, family, bills etc. In reality your affair is the problem with you. If she is your soul mate, your love... She deserves the truth

I feel like I can talk a lot about this subject but realize it also falls on deaf ears. Whenever someone posted to me before I reached a point of wanting to confess it was hard to hear. How could this Internet stranger know what's best. They don't know me or my husband. But once I was willing to accept their advice to heart, I was able to gain strength with their support before and after confession. It was amazing to have the type of support on this site. You either want help or you don't. Debating a topic is one thing but accepting help is a whole other kettle of fish

Lionne posted 5/13/2013 21:46 PM

It is my belief, only because of my experience of course, that at some level, your wife knows that something isn't right. Maybe she suspects an affair, maybe she just feels insecure, maybe she even knows but is afraid to confront you. But this huge barrier between you will be there unless you have honesty.

Tell her.

Marriedman2013 posted 5/13/2013 21:52 PM

Hardlessons, your question is interesting to me because for 17 years of my 22 year marriage, i felt i was just that. I was an honest, authentic man who was not only a nurturing father to my two sons, but a husband that was communicative, open, and supportive. I was an open book about every aspect of my life. It did little or nothing to make my wife happy or my marriage strong. As my wife circled into her world of depression, i tried harder and harder to be there emotionally, physically, asking her, begging her to get help...whatever it took to help her.

In all of my focus on her, i lost touch with myself, and then lost my way and made a huge mistake. I am 100% responsible for the choices i have made in my life, and the choice to cross the line, no one made me do that but me....but to say that being and honest, authentic man that my sons and wife could be proud will set things right or fix things, just doesnt fully compute with me because i was that man and it didnt mean much.

[This message edited by Marriedman2013 at 9:59 PM, May 13th (Monday)]

Marriedman2013 posted 5/13/2013 22:04 PM

Messedup, i am not looking to get anyone on my side. I was just trying to gauge whether confessing is a "deal" breaker here. I can tell by all the posts that i have read where most if not all posters stand. I just wanted to know if someone who had a different opinion on this aspect of healing, would they be accepted or would they be judged.

[This message edited by Marriedman2013 at 10:06 PM, May 13th (Monday)]

She-Ra posted 5/13/2013 22:13 PM

Maybe you will receive a PM from a random person likely a BS who will give their similar views as you on keeping affairs a secret. Check your inbox every now and then. They will not post to you publicly in fear of angering a fellow BS. I only know this because I received PMs like that

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