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Making amends for prior behavior

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Lonelygirl10 posted 9/30/2013 22:40 PM

I feel like I've been making a lot of new posts the past couple of days. Thanks for listening and giving advice I have another question.

A little bit of background. My current boyfriend cheated on me with two girls, and we are trying to make it work. In my last relationship, I cheated on the guy with a coworker on two separate days with the same person. I never confessed, and we mutually ended the relationship about 3 months later. It was a serious relationship. We dated 4 years.

In my last IC session, she was asking me a lot of questions very quickly. At the very end of the session, she asked if I think I deserve to be happy. Without thinking, it just popped out of my mouth that I deserved what my current boyfriend did because I did it to my ex-boyfriend. And I also said that at least my wBF was better than me because he confessed, and I didn't confess.

So, my IC believes that in order to move forward, I need to confess my prior A to my ex-boyfriend. She thinks that I'm stuck because I haven't forgiven myself for that. She said that in order to either walk away from my wBF or to forgive my wBF, she thinks that I need to confess the truth to my xBF and forgive myself.

I have very torn feelings about it. He is happily engaged to someone else now, and I think that confessing this three years after we broke up would just cause him unnecessary hurt. But then at the same time, I feel like a hypocrite every single time I lecture wBF about honesty since I wasn't honest about my own crap.

Do you think it's a good or bad idea to make amends and confess prior behavior/lies?

[This message edited by Lonelygirl10 at 10:49 PM, September 30th (Monday)]

mainlyinpain posted 9/30/2013 22:50 PM

Well, honesty is always good.
I see this as being suggested to help you, to find honesty in your life, but don't know what it will do to your former bf.
I think if you think it would help you go for it.
Maybe it will be good for him, put additional closure to your relationship and really be confirmation of his new one.
After all, it is the truth, why not let him know the truth?
Start out saying you are glad he is in a good place and that you think you need to tell him something about your prior relationship. Seeif he is interested.

h0peless posted 9/30/2013 23:06 PM

Maybe it isn't about making amends. Maybe it's about fixing what's broken inside of you. Maybe you feel like a hypocrite because you've been hurt by the same thing you did to someone else and you haven't yet started to work on the issues that allowed you to make that choice.

Lonelygirl10 posted 9/30/2013 23:17 PM

I've talked in IC a little about why I cheated, but not alot. She has seemed more focused on getting me to confess it

h0peless posted 9/30/2013 23:28 PM

Maybe that would be helpful for you in some sense but that seems to me to be a lot like barking up the wrong tree. You are feeling badly for doing something horrible to someone else, even if that person doesn't know it. If you were to tell him (and I sort of think that if you did right now, it wouldn't be for the right reasons), would that make what you did go away?

Life is often about personal growth. That personal growth really sucks a lot of the time. I can all but guarantee that telling him won't assuage your guilt. You're going to have to dig deeper to find the answers to that from within.

uncertainone posted 9/30/2013 23:56 PM

I feel like a hypocrite every single time I lecture wBF about honesty since I wasn't honest about my own crap

So, why lecture WBF about honesty? What's the goal? Do you feel by lecturing him he'll suddenly have an epiphany and never lie again?

Your relationship was built on lies you both told each other about both your pasts to represent yourselves as something neither of you were.

I think you have your hands more than full digging into your internal processes. Do you feel you've done the work needed to get healthy and safe for yourself and others?

While you absolutely wronged your previous boy friend he is unaware of your harm. He has moved on happily with his life. If you want to make amends make sure you've done the work so that you never do anything like that to someone else.

Do you feel, other than the pain you've experienced from your current boy friend you've even really thought about your past choices?

[This message edited by uncertainone at 11:57 PM, September 30th (Monday)]

womaninflux posted 10/1/2013 00:19 AM

In the 12 step programs the step about making amends to people says something about doing so when possible and only when it will not cause harm to that person or others. I am a big believer in honesty above all else but in this instance, it might be more appropriate for you to write a letter to your exbf, confess the affair but just read the letter to the therapist and then destroy it. I think having a face to face talk with him or phone conversation would be pointless, not to mention awkward. Plus, guys have a really difficult time getting over being cheated on. I know 2 guys who never forgot getting cheated on by their h.s. girlfriends. To this day, they check up on their wives even though neither wife gives either of them any reason to worry. So it might cause harm to his current relationship now or down the road.

gonnabe2016 posted 10/1/2013 00:32 AM

I disagree with your IC. Leave your x alone and let him live his life.

You can forgive yourself for your previous behavior without *confessing* to your x. That ship has sailed.

Were you honest with your current boyfriend about your past behavior?

I feel like a hypocrite every single time I lecture wBF about honesty since I wasn't honest about my own crap.

You live and you learn. I see this as an instance where you learned what *doesn't work* from a previous relationship that you were in. You are able to say "I did <this> and look how it turned out. NOT so good. It was the WRONG way to deal with the situation....."

Sad in AZ posted 10/1/2013 05:58 AM

Just because their title is counselor doesn't mean they're good. Her advice is not necessarily bad for you, but it's stupid at best for your XBF. womaninflux gave you a great option; write the letter--a full-on, no holds barred confession--then burn it.

I don't know your current situation, and this comes with the caveat that I am definitely not a therapist, but it might be helpful to confess this to your current WBF; put all the cards on the table and see where you can go from here. It could blow up in your face, but to my mind that's better then carrying the secret guilt around in this relationship.

My caution is that this sort of backfired for me; when I was trying to get the X to pull his head out of his ass, I told him that an old friend had professed his love for me 20 years prior. I shut down that friend and I was trying to use the situation to show the X that he could have shut down the OW, but he continually threw it back in my face and even threatened to harm this old friend It was all part of his remorselessness, but it made my life more uncomfortable than it had to be.

Lonelygirl10 posted 10/1/2013 06:28 AM

So, why lecture WBF about honesty? What's the goal? Do you feel by lecturing him he'll suddenly have an epiphany and never lie again?

Maybe the word lecture was too strong. I caught wBF in more lies yesterday, and we sat in his car for 4-5 hours talking about it. It was recent lies. Lies about stuff that happened a couple weeks ago. I kept telling him how much I want to be in an honest relationship, and how much his lying hurts me. But I feel like a hypocrite when I say those things, because I know I spun my own web of lies with my xBF. Who am I to tell him that lying is bad? I don't have that right since I screwed up my past relationship. I guess I look at it like I lied and did horrible things, but I learned my lesson and know I wouldn't do it again. I'm having significant trust issues with wBF, but why shouldn't I trust him? By me saying I don't trust him, I'm also saying that I'm not worthy of trust myself.

Do you feel, other than the pain you've experienced from your current boy friend you've even really thought about your past choices?

Yes and no. After it happened, I got really depressed. I should have sought IC then, but didn't. I thought a lot about why I made the decisions that I did. But no, I can't say 100% that I've done the same work on me that I want my wBF to do on him. I keep telling him that I don't feel safe with him because he hasn't done the work, but I don't think I've done the work from my past mistakes either. My IC disagrees with me. She said that I am one of her most honest patients, and that it amazes her how bluntly honest I am about my flaws and thoughts. So, I'm not sure.

Were you honest with your current boyfriend about your past behavior?

Yes, he knows. Right after Dday, I felt like a hypocrite for being so upset at him when I knew that I had done the same thing in the past. So probably a week after Dday, I confessed to wBF that I had cheated on xBF. We have had several conversations about it since then.

TrustGone posted 10/1/2013 08:22 AM

Telling xBF that you cheated on him now will do nothing for you and cause him pain, so why do it? If you have been honest with your wBF then you have been honest in your current relationship and that is what matters now. I do not agree with the therapist on this helping to resolve your issues. If you haven't gotten to the real reason you did it, then that is what you need to work on now.

Lonelygirl10 posted 10/1/2013 08:35 AM

Telling xBF that you cheated on him now will do nothing for you and cause him pain, so why do it?

I agree. My IC was just very insistent on me needing to confess. She thinks I'm stuck since I haven't confessed. I'm seeing her again tomorrow, so trying to figure out what to say to her.

Nature_Girl posted 10/1/2013 09:45 AM

I volunteer at my church in a recovery style of support group. We help people who are trying to overcome various traumas & challenges. We are based quite a bit on the 12-step principles.

Yes, one of the steps is about making amends. However, the caveat is in place that this must not happen if it will cause harm to the other person. This is CRITICAL.

I think you confessing out of the blue like this to your exB and attempting some sort of amends is going to be harmful to him and his relationship. Furthermore, making amends isn't at the beginning of the recovery process, it's more in the middle. You need to have worked your way up to it. You need to be at a certain place in your head & heart before you attempt it.

I applaud you for what you're doing. You're doing the hard work. You're doing a bold self-examination. It's painful but ohsocritical. This is good stuff you're working through. I urge you to put off the making amends step for at least six months while you do more work on yourself.

((((HUGS)))) Good work, Hon!

rachelc posted 10/1/2013 10:05 AM

I get the not disrupting his life thing but what if... what if he knew something was going on but couldn't put his finger on it, the way many of us just knew. What if you told him and then he said to himself, "ok, I felt that in my gut and now know I'm not crazy." and he then moves forward in his life trusting himself more.
do we owe people that?

Lonelygirl10 posted 10/1/2013 10:13 AM

I get the not disrupting his life thing but what if... what if he knew something was going on but couldn't put his finger on it, the way many of us just knew. What if you told him and then he said to himself, "ok, I felt that in my gut and now know I'm not crazy." and he then moves forward in his life trusting himself more.
do we owe people that?

Yeah, that's partly causing my confusion too. I don't think he ever suspected it. He never asked me any questions about it. But, part of my guilt is that I allowed him to end the relationship thinking that he was the bad person. He did alot of things that I wasn't happy with, like strip clubs. We argued about it constantly. And when we broke up, he said I deserved better. But really, I was worse than him. So I partly feel like he deserves to know that. But I'm also scared of admitting that to him too.

I don't want to mess up his life if he's happy now. But if he cheated on me, there's a part of me that would want to know now.

uncertainone posted 10/1/2013 10:17 AM

And when we broke up, he said I deserved better

You do realize this is a pretty standard "see ya" comment...along with it's not you it's me and I just need to find myself. Then there's the one about space.

What work have you done on why you cheated? Before your boyfriend cheated on you had you honestly even thought about it? At all?

Lonelygirl10 posted 10/1/2013 10:22 AM

What work have you done on why you cheated? Before your boyfriend cheated on you had you honestly even thought about it? At all?

I definitely thought about it. I would be driving down the road, and have an image pop in my head that would make me feel sick thinking about what I did. But I didn't go to IC or read books until after my wBF confessed. I've always moved on very fast after a relationship. I also have problems letting go of relationships. I guess it's my codependency issues.

Josephine01 posted 10/1/2013 10:34 AM

It is possible that your last bf wonders why the relationship ended. Perhaps telling him the truth may help him realize why. Honesty is never wrong, but I see why you struggle with this choice.

But I would tell him and let him know you want to try and figure out why you did it and this is why you are confessing.

The new wife may wonder why you are contacting him and think that you are interested in him again. So be careful.

uncertainone posted 10/1/2013 10:34 AM

I've always moved on very fast after a relationship. I also have problems letting go of relationships

Was another person ever involved in the "transition"?

Many have a tougher time with what's done to them rather than what "they've" done to others.

I'm not sure about the whole co-dependency deal. I think it's sometimes getting what you want from a source without processing it through a sewage treatment plant. You're gonna get a lot of shit along with the kibbles you're craving.

Lonelygirl10 posted 10/1/2013 10:43 AM

Was another person ever involved in the "transition"?

Cheating on my xBF did help me to end the relationship. I started wanting out of the relationship a year before I cheated. I knew we were not compatible, and did not want to marry him. I stayed in the relationship stupidly thinking he'd suddenly change his values and everything would work out. The cheating wasn't planned in advance, and I didn't know I was going to do it until the night it happened. It happened two times, and nothing since then. I did not date the OM after my relationship ended. But being completely honest, knowing that the possibility was there if I wanted it made it easier for me to leave xBF. I'm just starting to see this stuff about me, and it's not a pretty picture. Especially since current wBF reads all my posts. But I'm trying to be honest because I want to be better.

[This message edited by Lonelygirl10 at 10:45 AM, October 1st (Tuesday)]

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