Iíve now been on SI for over 3 months and have learned a lot about infidelity whether I liked it or not. Iíve compiled all the information that I learned about confessing Ė before and after. I wish to share in a large post that could hopefully help new members. This post is not about the steps to take after a confession, it is truly about understanding the importance of the confession. I'm a product of SI from before confession/after so this comes from a lot of wise members...
The day I joined, I was fresh out of multiple PAs and EAs. I was scared, confused, upset, disgusted, worried, angryÖ A world of emotions that are commonly felt by a WS that are in a fog and not sure whatís reality or not. The reality is that you have cheated on your spouse and what you feel would be unforgivable. This is a bloody nightmare and one that you cannot wake up from. The thought of confessing to my BH made me shake, cry hysterically, feel physically ill and hide from the world. It was the un-thinkable to confess. The thought of keeping it a secret made me feel happy and safe yet paranoid, scared, still upset and worried.
I felt safe because I knew my BH would never find out about my affairs on his own. I felt happy because he still saw the same wife that he had always had, the faithful one. I felt paranoid because it also felt like you were wearing a sign that said you cheated. I was upset and worried that I had cheated multiple times which meant I could cheat again because the pattern was already developed. I googled Ďserial cheaterí and found some ugly topics. I knew that I was heading down a path of endless destruction. I realized to myself that I serial cheated and the likelihood to cheat again was prominent.
Throughout my short time on SI, it is primarily spent in the wayward section for obvious reasons. I often see other WS pop up, make a couple posts and leave. The stories are usually the same.. They cheated, the affair is over, they hate themselves but cannot bear the consequences to confess. For that very reason is my motivation to write about confessions.
This is a controversial topic and MANY people have their own opinion on the hows, whys and shoulds of a confession. Unfortunately, I received private messages from some BSs that told me NOT to confess. That was not good advice for ME. They should keep that to themselves and not project their own issue onto someone else. If you are a WS that has not confessed, consider both sides of the coin. Weigh pros and cons, donít base your decision on what someone tells you. Make your decision and OWN it 100%. I almost let myself off the hook by the multiple PMs telling me not to confess.
I also received a load of great advice on why I needed to confess. The advice was taken to heart and I wish to share with others to pay it forward.
An Urban Legend of Confessing your Affairs
ďIt relieves guilt and is selfish to confessĒ
No it does NOT relieve guilt. It is not selfish to confess, itís actually the opposite IMHO. It is called a consequence for having an affair in the first place. The guilt lives with you every day, whether or not you confessed.
Hiding Your Affairs - Trying to Fix Yourself and/or Fixing the Marriage
This does and will not work. Do you even know where to begin on fixing yourself? In order to fix yourself, you need to dig deep into yourself and be 100% honest with yourself and your spouse. Identify the reasons you allowed yourself to cheat. Identify the triggers that allowed you as well. Read some books, attend counseling.. If you are hiding an affair, you are also going to have to attempt to hide the fixes. NOT POSSIBLE. If you demand marriage counseling, your spouse is confused. Itís cruel to put your spouse in the position of marriage counseling when you are being dishonest with everyone including the counselor. You are also going to be unsuccessful with fixing a marriage when the real problem is YOU. Own the fact you had the affair and own your consequence. You would be living a lie every minute of every day that you hide your affairs.
One more important point to remember. Affairs thrive in secrecy. Do you truly trust yourself that you would never cheat again, just because you are trying to fix yourself? My answer was no. I knew that if I hid my affairs, it left me wide open for future affairs. I considered hiding them and taking my BH to marriage counseling. It would have been a joke. I also would have kept on blaming him for my affairs and trying to fix a marriage that he didnít even know it was broken. He had NO idea that we were in this much trouble. How could he know?
Why Would I Want To Confess If I Donít Want a Divorce?
Yes it might mean divorce BUT it might also mean that you could reconcile and have a better marriage than ever before. One that is truly open, honest, loving and most of all authenticÖ Give your betrayed spouse more credit than that!!! You have NO idea how they would really act if you confess your affair(s) to them. Yes they might say they would leave ASAP if they knew you cheated. BUT you never know until they are put in that position. I knew when I confessed it could mean divorce but I prayed that it wouldnít. I finally had come to realize that my affairs had a consequence. I wanted to gain my integrity back. I wanted my husband to know the woman he was married to. Although my affairs do not make the person I am, it was a major betrayal to him and our marriage. I did everything in my power to let my husband know that I didnít want a divorce and that I loved him. To my surprise, I found out that he loved me enough to stay. I pictured being thrown out on my ass. It didnít happen. I didnít give my BH enough credit. That was a big mistake to underestimate my own husband. He hated that I cheated but so very thankful that I came clean.
How Much To Confess?
In a simple answer Ė EVERYTHING. Let your spouse lead you on how much information to give them and when they want to hear it. They will have a million questions. Answer them truthfully and as complete as you can. It is embarrassing to confess to your husband that you gave a guy you barely knew a BJ and to top it off, it was the 4th guy you had cheated with. Yes I had a laundry list to confess. My BH knows every disgusting, dirty detail of my deeds. You know what he was angry about? How I degraded myself. He was mad that I hurt myself too. Imagine that? All Iím saying, give them all the details.
Donít trickle truth (TT). It was the worst thing you can do to your BS. It keeps the wound open for longer and is harder to heal from. Tell them everything. Donít hide a previous affair or some of the acts you performed. Itís embarrassing but it is helpful for your BS to heal which should now be your top priority.
If you have trouble remembering all the details of the hows/whens of your affair, start writing out a timeline. It might help trigger further details that can lead to timeframes as well.
My BH did not need a written timeline. I knew my dates and gave them to him verbally. He asked for every single detail about dates/times/placesÖ It is important for your BS to know so they donít have to guess and think you are still lying to them.
Well.. this is a tricky topic. For me, I deleted every single trace or link to my affairs way before I confessed. I was a crafty bitch and knew how to cover my trail. Some BSs need to see the evidence or worse, thatís how they catch you first. With technology today, its easy to get caught because of the digital fingerprints that you leave in places you least expect. My BH asked to see my texts/pics.. I told him I deleted everything. He said ok and moved on with other types of questions.
Iím not promoting deleting because in some cases, it can really save you. Maybe workplace sexual harassment cases.. or to show the truth isnít as crazy as the BS imagines it to be. You might have to show your BS all the evidence to give them a peace of mind and help with mind movies. In your case if youíre reading it and thinking about your evidence, you should also consider your AP. Your AP might have the evidence in some creepy type of shrine and will get to your BS.. So in some cases, you will need to show your BS regardless if you want to before it gets to them by other methods.
Confessing VS Getting Caught
I believe this is truly detrimental to the reconciliation of your marriage. Again, my BH has thanked me for confessing. It has helped save a lot of devastation that can be caused by an affair. He never had to worry about me cheating or trying find evidence on me. I came to him and confessed everything. We are on a path to a great R and there is a lot of grief that I saved my BH by coming forward first.
But It Was OnlyÖA KissÖ
It was cheating. Admit it. I was the first one to sayÖ But I didnít have sex! The truth was that I was very sexually active with multiple men and seriously betrayed my husband. No, I didnít have full intercourse but itís still classified as an affair and is still cheating. Donít minimize your actions by saying, But it was only. When you are confessing, donít downplay what you did. Accept responsibility and own what you did, accept that you cheated.
Advice From BS SIers that were given to me:Ö. Will keep anonymous unless some would like me to post the authors:
Regarding Intimacy Lost During an Affair:
ďOne thing to note on the confessing vs. never telling or hoping it's never found out debate..
I didn't realize the intimacy that was being robbed from our marriage by the things we did not know. Only with the truth on the table was there any clarity about who we were and what we could be together. Yes, the possibility of it ending the marriage was always there with a d-day. But we didn't, and I can honestly say at this point we wouldn't be where we are without having torn down the whole marriage to it's foundations and building it back up. We knew something was wrong, but had no idea at the scope of itĒ
Why you Cannot Blameshift & Minimize on D-day
ďThe lies, blameshifting, and minimization on D-day and afterward did more damage than the A. The A is traumatic. It's made much, much worse when the WS is more focused on protecting himself or herself than trying to comfort and help the BS. While you should be factual about what happened- both physically and emotionally- in your As, don't ever minimize your behavior by saying "But we didn't have sex so it could have been worse" or "it was only...".
An Analogy That Has Been Shared on SI about Hiding Your Affairs
"I feel like this is a lie, albeit one that you're telling with good intentions, and that is unacceptable to me. Those kinds of lies/omissions are like not telling me that there's a smudge of dog poop in my chocolate ice cream....your intention might be that you don't want to ruin my enjoyment of the ice cream, and you know it's a really small smudge of dog poop which I'll never see or taste if you don't tell me about it.....but in reality it all comes down to the fact you are letting me eat poop and that's just not what you do to someone you love. Our relationship is the ice cream. Those women and what you did with them are the dog poop. Just because I'm looking forward to enjoying our relationship (the ice cream), and you're sorry you let dog poop get into my ice cream, and you don't want to ruin my enjoyment of the ice cream, doesn't mean that it's okay to keep secrets about the dog poop."
If you have read this far and you are thinking about confessing but afraid. Make a phone call to a counselor. It is definitely ok to seek professional advice before you confess. It really helps speak out loud, gain support, insight, strength.. It is all positive and important you start making necessary steps to heal yourself and the marriage.
If you are a lurker on SI or only have made 1-2 posts.. Start posting. Share your story and reach out. I would not be in this place of reconciliation with my husband or healing within myself if I had not asked for help. When you start posting, sharing information about yourself, you are likely to make a friend. A friend that will help you through and stick by you. The support in real life is probably lacking so this was very important for me. I give my SI friend all the credit in the world with helping me pre/post confession and likely we are now life long buds :)
I do understand that many could debate my points and add to them. I even think I might have missed some points because wow, there is a lot to know about confessing...