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My new identity

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Fallout posted 5/20/2013 22:58 PM

I cheated on my significant other. We have been together for almost a decade, but for the last nine months of that near-decade, I was having an affair.

I won't make any excuses for what I did. It was wrong. It was a mistake. I hate myself for what I did.

I am really struggling with knowing that I am a cheater. My new identity is that I am a lying, cheating, sneaking around, worthless, horrible person. I want to tell everyone i see what i did.. wear a badge or something. i feel like i am lying to the whole world. I don't know how to live with this new identity of being that person that no one likes. A cheater.

I confessed the affair to my boyfriend and we are attempting to reconcile. I am trying to win him back, but I destroyed so much by having this affair. Trust is gone, obviously. I'm sure if we end up breaking up over this he will never be the same sweet, trusting person he was before. That really kills me.

I have so much regret and I have no respect for myself at all anymore. He keeps reminding me that I'm a cheater... I can't say I wouldn't act the same if the roles were reversed, but it sucks to have to live like this. I would do anything to take it all back. I don't know how to forgive myself and I don't think I can.

So how do people go on with life after cheating? How do you live after you are forever a cheater in the eyes of the person you love?

stilllovinghim posted 5/20/2013 23:47 PM

Pick yourself up and realize that what you did doesn't define you unless you let it.

What you did was stupid and selfish, yes but does that define you for who YOU really are throughout eternity? Were you always the same person your whole life? I doubt it. Do you think you'll be the same now as you were during your A? I doubt that as well.

Work on fixing yourself. Take the advantage of Right Now and make healthy changes which will help define YOU.

Eta: I know what you mean by feeling like you have to walk around with a Scarlett "A"... I felt the same way for a while. Have you told your BF Everything yet or are you still holding back some details?

[This message edited by stilllovinghim at 11:50 PM, May 20th (Monday)]

20WrongsVs1 posted 5/21/2013 07:01 AM

You confessed, so at least you have shown your BF you realized your mistake, and you have a conscience.

It's too soon to tell, for me, how people go on with life. Being here on SI has shown me that it's possible, and that we're not the only ones who chose this dark path.

For a little while, IMO, you accept your BF's "reminders," and respond with an apology every time. Be completely honest when he asks questions, even (especially) if you feel the answers will hit him hard. To rebuild trust, he has to believe you're no longer hiding anything. When my BH asks me for explicit sexual details, I cringe, of course I don't want to tell him that! But, this isn't about what I want, it's about what he needs.

Good luck.

BaxtersBFF posted 5/21/2013 22:46 PM

Do you guys have any kids together? The reality is that it might be best for your BS to leave you, but it seems that most don't want to have to do that and, especially after such a long relationship, they really do want to R. But it takes a while for them to be able to make that decision with any confidence.

As to your new identity, it is likely that it isn't new at all, but that the realization is new to you. You may find that the patterns of who you were during the A were there long before the A happened. Maybe not, but it is likely, so there isn't a new identity, just a realization of how messed up you were all along.

The good news is though, as the others have said, that you don't have to resign yourself to this identity which you've recently realized. You can make changes if you put in the time and effort. And that is what's going to be the litmus test for your BS. If he see's the changes, he may want to stick around.

On the comments...take them for now, but be realistic. If it is abusive, then protect yourself. You will be the best barometer for that.

FR2012 posted 5/23/2013 18:58 PM

Honestly, I struggle with this everyday. I had an A. That's it. I did it to my husband and to us. I for some reason thought it was a good idea at the time to go behind my husbands back and screw around with someone else. It is hard to accept that title sometimes, but it is something you have to come to terms with.

Now that the affair is over though, a cheater is something you were. Not something you are now. Yes, you may have lied, cheated and snuck around behind your spouses back, but you aren't doing that now. You confessed your affair to your spouse, that is a good thing. Honestly, I wish I would have had the balls to confess my affair to my husband. But he discovered it and I think that hurt him more. I know it would have hurt him either way but I just wish I would have told him instead of how he found out.

Not many people know about my affair, and I think it is better that way. It is something that I would gladly tell anyone if that is what my husband wanted. It is something that is between my husband and I and we are working through it.

Winning your spouse back is a really hard thing to do after betraying them. I have been working so hard over the past 13 months to do everything I can to help my husband heal from my affair. Trust is a huge thing that is going to take a really long time to get back. When my husband told me that he is starting to trust me again, I didn't think I deserved it. After what I did to him, after all the trauma and turmoil I caused, I didn't think I deserved even a little bit of trust from him.

Honestly, there are a lot of things that are gone in our relationship that I destroyed with my A. One thing is the innocence of our relationship. And another thing that I completely destroyed is being firsts and onlys. We were each others first everything and onlys too. But I completely made that go away what I had my affair. I fucked that up so much that is actually kills me to think about it.

I know for a fact that forgiving yourself is probably the hardest thing to do. I am 13 months out from D-Day and I still don't forgive myself. I wish I could take back what I did and take back all the pain I have caused my husband. I hate seeing him cry, I hate seeing the pain in his eyes. It kills me.

So how do people go on with life after cheating?

It is hard but you can do it. Just do everything you can to help your spouse heal. Make sure you answer every single question your spouse asks, even if they make you look terrible. Even if he asks for the details of what happened, be open and honest about it. It will make you feel better and hopefully help him heal better.

How do you live after you are forever a cheater in the eyes of the person you love?

This is something that is hard to do. But you won't forever be a cheater. It is something that you have done and hate that you have done. You will not always have that title. You used to be a cheater.

Just keep your chin up. You can make it through this. Just be honest.

[This message edited by FR2012 at 6:58 PM, May 23rd (Thursday)]

Fallout posted 5/29/2013 21:50 PM

Thank you for your responses! FR2012, I definitely relate. We were also each others first and onlys and I took that away. I hate myself for ruining that, among other things.

I want to "fix" myself and heal my BS and our relationship, but I am afraid I am doing a horrible job of it. I think I am guilty of "rugsweeping." He's upset with me for doing so little to help him heal from my betrayal. I honestly don't know what to do other than be loving, apologize all the time, have everything transparent, let him ask questions, be honest... He wants me to write out a timeline of the affair, which I said I will do but I have no idea what to include on this timeline... Like, what kind of details do you include here? I mean I could include random little "memories" though I really don't want to. Again, the rugsweeping! I want to just push all this out of my mind, and not think about all the stupid things I said to my AP, did with my AP.. Its so shameful. I was in such a weird state of mind to be ok with acting the way I did. Thinking back on it just fills me with confusion. I want to just erase it all and take it all back. Which is contrary to what I was telling my AP before I confessed the affair to my BS. No regrets no matter what, blah blah blah blah. As soon as I came clean to my BS, and saw how much damage I had done and finally examined and took responsibility for my actions rather than living in some weird affair-land where everything is backwards and upside down... I just wanted nothing more than to take EVERYTHING back.

So yeah, any suggestions on this "affair timeline" would be appreciated so I can get the ball rolling on that. I am dreading it but I know he wants me to do it.

He also hit me with this one today... since we might have to see my parents/siblings soon, he asked if I would tell them about the affair if he wanted me to. I felt this was a test on my loyalty, like what lengths I would go to for him. I know he has the right to expect such things but I did not react particularly well. I got a little frustrated thinking that I would have my entire family judging me and my relationship with him. A relationship which has been under a microscope and scrutinized for many years by my family even without an affair! I know if they knew I had cheated on him, they would just think that was a sign for us to part ways. Which, in many cases, would be.

I hate that I have to be a cheater to my BS and a liar to the rest of the world for the rest of my life.

Well, any further advice would be appreciated. I already know I need counseling, but that's not going to be possible at the moment.

BaxtersBFF posted 5/29/2013 22:25 PM

I hate that I have to be a cheater to my BS and a liar to the rest of the world for the rest of my life.

This is something you were in the past. It doesn't have to be who you are in the future.

ophelia24 posted 5/29/2013 22:40 PM

FWW in progress here.

I had an A 7 years ago which I confessed to after it was all over but never did anything to change why I thought it was ok to go outside my marriage. I then went on to have a PA 2 years later, and then became a 'dry cheater' for next 5 years. A term that refers to no work having been done on ourselves, but the only thing we aren't doing is cheating.

Fast forward to now and about 3 months ago I confessed to previous affairs going back to the beginnings of our marriage.

My H's response has been vastly different this time, and he has really woken up. Therefore, he asked for a written timeline with what I was thinking at the time, what was said, what I remember, where and when and how much sex was had, positions, etc. It is a little more difficult as it is not recent but I could remember quite a lot, and tried hard to do this. I was very honest in this timeline, painfully so, and of course it caused a lot of pain, hurt and anger for my H. But as he said, he wanted to know what it is he needed to forgive and also that his imagination couldn't be any worse than the truth.

Expect for your BS to be all over the place after reading it. He will go from weeping to raging in a heartbeat, and there will be many triggers that will bring it up again and again. Because this is the very real consequence of having affairs. Yes, its deeply shameful, embarrassing and uncomfortable to show them exactly what we were capable of and who we are, but its also freeing. Because if they choose us, we know they are choosing it all.

Good luck.

PS I too told the AP 7 years ago that I had no regrets, and great memories and even felt this for months/years after my A. I feel sad for that me. And want to slap myself upside the head at the same time.

20WrongsVs1 posted 5/30/2013 07:18 AM

A suggestion on the timeline, which I read from someone else on SI and I apologize that I can't remember who and give credit where due.

Write a PG-rated version and an R-rated version. There are BSs who say they wish they could "un-read" some of the graphic sexual details. I told my BH everything, and it was hard and awful, and now when we do certain things in bed--maybe he'll forever associate that act with the OM.

So consider doing a timeline which documents your sexual encounters, but leaves out the "gory" details.. Then do another version which describes the acts in detail. He may read the PG version and be satisfied. Or he may choose to read the R version.

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