Additional info: He was my first serious relationship and the first man I ever slept with.
"You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." Ernie Banks
Lately I've been feeling extremely lonely. [...] tired of being alone. [...]. Feeling the way I did, I knew going out and getting drunk at a bar was a bad idea. but I did it any way.
How long will you be apart? How many more years of schooling?
Why did you go to the bar knowing full well you would end up in someone else's bed? Are you resenting your BF being away from you?
Gosh, have I been in your shoes! I understand the loneliness that you are feeling. It's terrible and- at the moment- feels like it will never end.
I felt like I was reading my own story at your age. I almost had to look around for a DeLorean to see if there was a time machine... (Sorry for the terrible 80s Back to The Future reference. I can be quite nerdy at times.)
I shutter even remembering my ONS. The next morning I woke up and felt disgusting. I mean, why would I want to be with someone who only wanted me for one night?
I told myself then that I would NEVER tell my boyfriend at the time and that I'd loose him so it was worth the pain of me carrying the burden of my infidelity forever.
If I could go back in time and tell myself how to fix things, this is what I would say:
"Wheredoigo, your boyfriend will BECOME your husband. Unfortunately for us, you never told him the truth until recently.
His response was that he wishes I would of given him the chance to make his own decision to choose the "real" me. The girl that was broken and scared of abandonment. Had he of known and chose to stay, he could of help guard us from ever feeling that way again. As a result, you never got the help you needed and suffered feeling lonely for 8 years in your marriage. This eventually lead to another affair WHILE you are married with children; almost ruining your entire family had he not chose to stay with you!
You then had to search back to the root of the issue and reveal this (on top of your married affair) which has hurt him (doubly) in a way that he feels like the entire time of your relationship (10 years) he's never actually never truly known you. Truth be known, neither did you.
If you would of went to IC (individual counseling) the first time you discovered you couldn't control your urge to drink to deal with your loneliness and used the ONS to feel my need for security, to feel pretty and to fill the need momentarily."
There's much more to the story, but I had to reach out to you and let you know that as scary as this is to face:
The whole thing feels like some horrible nightmare that I just can't wake up from. I want nothing more to forget it ever happened, because it will NEVER happen again.
Even though what happens next when you tell him will be terribly hard, the revelation and freedom in truth and honesty is beyond powerful and will allow you to reflect and reinforce your decision time and time again to never be that person. EVER.
As for your relationship, you have to let go of that outcome and know that - no matter what- you have grown as a lovely person and are one of the few that can learn from this terrible lesson before marriage and kids. You have a rare opportunity right now to better yourself and any future relationship with an insight that most adults and married couples do not understand until it is too late and extremely complicated.
I truly, truly admire you for searching out SI, researching on what to do and posting for help. It was so hard for me, even as an adult! You seem very wise beyond anything I was ever at that age. I hope you keep reading and posting to continue to grow you. I'll keep an eye out for your posts.
(edited for typos.)
[This message edited by wheredoigo at 1:04 AM, April 21st (Monday)]
Now...(I'm going to sound like a mom because I am one and I have a daughter around your age)... another part of this is that you are 20, away at school, and you've been with your boyfriend since you were 17. I'm not saying it's time to break up but I want you to consider your life, and what you want/need out of it at this point. My DD went to college with a boyfriend (same as you, they started dating when they were 17). They went to different universities and into the second year her boyfriend told her that he didn't want to be with her anymore, he wanted to experience college life and be free (not those words but that was the gist of it). She was devastated, crushed, etc. She felt the sting of that for awhile and cried for weeks and weeks. And then...she survived. She came out stronger and said that she realized she didn't feel like herself until after they broke up. She was so used to being how she was with him, for 3 years, and although she was heartbroken she was ready to be 'her' now. She thrived and found life at college to be even more interesting and enriching after that.
Next, and here's another side of it...DD got a new boyfriend awhile after that. Summer before senior year she did some traveling and saw 'what was out there'. Her bf wasn't too happy. DD was debating whether she wanted to continue to be tied down, or be free to do what she wanted and not have to answer to anybody. She encountered opportunities to cheat but didn't, but considered whether or not she wanted that type of freedom.
Turns out she stayed with boyfriend, but the point is she looked for what she needed and wanted, as a young woman seeking independence and life and learning. They talked about it, what they each needed and wanted in the relationship, and so far they're still together and growing in the relationship. For now it's working, but I know DD won't give up any part of herself for a guy anymore, and that makes me happy for her as her mom.
I feel like you need to consider all these things. I know 'you're so young' is what you're hearing so much of. The truth is, you are. You have so many options, I'm asking you to explore them and what you want at this point.
Lastly....don't get drunk and go home with random guys! That's dangerous!!! Please don't do that again, boyfriend or not. Girls get hurt and raped and it's dangerous to put yourself in that situation.
Take some time and think it all through. But I do think you need to tell your boyfriend. Just don't stay with him out of guilt or fear. You can spread your wings if that's what you choose to do, and you will be okay.
I was cheated on by my xGF in my previous relationship. I hope it's ok with you if I post.
First of all, I truly admire your courage and strength to come here. It shows that you do care a lot for him and that you do have lots of remorse for your actions. Please, bear that in mind no matter what happens in the future, and know that this shows how much good there is in you.
Secondly, with regards to your question - my (now ex)GF waited for several months to tell me, and I really wished she had told me immediately. And if she had, I think we would have stood a better chance at eventually reconcilling.
Because she was able to keep it inside her for so long and keep me from suspecting anything, it made me think that she could easily lie to me again if it happened again. If she had told me immediately, it would have been better.
Also, I felt manipulated by her not telling me sooner. As if she wanted to wait while I'd become more invested in the relationship, more in love, so that when she would tell me, it would make it harder for me to leave. And it did. And that's why I stayed (she eventually left me, in part because she was unhappy with who I'd become after learning of her cheating). But I really wish I hadn't been manipulated into staying. Especially thinking what if she got pregnant before she told me or perhaps even tried to get pregnant without telling me.
Another reason is that I had had bad experience with STD scares with a previous girl - I almost got involved with a girl who later found out her ex had HIV. Since then, I had been really careful when it comes to this. So this ex, that cheated on me, let me sleep with her for several months after cheating on me, potentially exposing me to life-changing/threatening STDs by not telling me before we had sex again after her cheating. It infuriated me and made me think just how little she cares for my well-being and how much she put her own desires (not to be alone, to me not leave her) before my own desires.
On that note, please get tested for STDs... Please, for your own well-being. You seem like a basically really great gal and I would hate for anything to happen to you in this area and to not be treated immediately.
One more thing - when we started dating, I had told her that whatever happens, that she better never lie to me, that to me that's the worst thing she could do. If she had been forthcoming immediately, I could have easier convinced myself to not only physically stay, but to eventually take the emotional plunge into trusting and openning up to her.
Also, I think when things settle down a bit, you will be glad you have told him immediately, and you will be spared of the guilt of knowing you had kept him in the dark for so long. That might go a long way into forgiving yourself (sooner/easier) than if you compound this bad choice by making further bad choices. And at least it won't eat you inside every day, knowing that you're keeping this big secret from him. Since you seem very remorseful, I imagine it will be only a matter of time before it will have dire consequences for your relationship, but at least if you tell now, it will be the least bad option.
And I think other people have posted valuable insights, and I particularly agree with wheredoigo's post, which was as beautiful as it was sad/painful to read. If she had told me sooner, there would have been a better chance at me staying and doing whatever I could to protect her and soothe the scared girl inside of her. But because she had waited so long, it was no longer us against the world, but me against her&the rest of the world...
In summation, I think if you tell him immediately, you have a much better chance at 1.) eventually being happy with yourself&forgiving yourself and 2.) eventually being really happy, without such manipulation and secrets and with him making an informed decision about staying.
You made a horrible decision. It's time to take responsibility, show your BF the respect and concern for his health&happinness he deserves and not make further bad choices by keeping it a secret.
And personally, if she would have done that immediately, I might have not stayed with her, but I think I would respect her greatly for, after making a bad decision, doing the right thing by me.
Btw, when you tell him, be very honest about the drinking&cheating being your selfish decision. Yes, the loneliness, potential self-esteem issues etc. provide a/the context for what happened, but ultimately you decided to get drunk knowing it was a bad decison. So be very clear on this, tell him you won't drink at all anymore, will search out individual/group counselling to get to the bottom of all this, stay away from guys, definitely stay away from this guy and not have any contact & willing to do other necessary things to make this right. And that you will offer him maximum understanding and support while he deals with the fallout from this. That's what I would have wanted to hear from my ex gf, and hopefully it would help if you tell your BF. (p.s. tell him (and I hope you do) you will do the no drinking & counselling regardless if he chooses to stay or not. That you're doing this not only as something to keep him/you two, but for yourself as well). Oh, and I'd encourage him to join an infidelity site to help him encourage him and work through this. Not this site, but perhaps talkaboutmarriage.com . It would help him and I think your relationship odds as well.
I truly truly wish you and your BF all the best, both individually and as a couple. And I really hope that eventually you will be able to share with us on how great things have been going!
I'm glad you decided to tell him and that you found our replies helpful!
I will try to write up my reply to your other thread soon!
Wishing you all the best,
When I was in College I cheated on my girlfriend who then became my wife. I never told her, and she based her entire life on the belief that I was a faithful person to her and she would not have married me if I wasn't. She found out nearly 20 years later at the same time she found out that I cheated again when she was my wife. This is now something that she will never ever forgive me for because I literally stole her life from her. Don't make this same bad decision. You made a horrible decision when you cheated. Don't make another horrible decision by starting your life with this person based on lies. Just my 2 cents from someone who has a mountain of bad decisions in my past.